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How Snowbasin Replicated a Powerful Piece of EpicMix by Turning a Product into a Marketing Expense

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I’ve always felt EpicMix photo was one of the smartest moves within the platform.

Not that seeing people tweet pins wasn’t…well…awesome, but putting professional photos into the hands of every skier to easily (or automatically) share with their friends was brilliant.

But when you look at the reason for this decision, you start to realize that the genius may be much more than skin deep.

A vs B
Let’s break it up into what photos were before EpicMix Photos and what they were after.

BEFORE: Photos are a business. Take X photos at $X.XX/each, based on demand deploy X photographers at $X.XX/hr with $X,XXX.XX worth of gear. If revenue > cost, we win.

Then EpicMix came along.

AFTER: Photos are a marketing expense. Take X photos for free (x XX% who buy a package download of high-res versions), based on demand deploy X photographers at $X.XX/hr with $X,XXX.XX worth of gear. If marketing reach > cost, we win.

In essence, all they did was estimate whether the revenue they made from paid photos would be greater or less than the marketing value of these photos being spread all over the web (+the intrinsic value to the skiers that get those reminders of their skiing experiences).

From watch the numbers in terms of sharing and reach, I think the math was clear which is why they made the decision they did.

Old Snowbasin vs New Snowbasin
Snowbasin, as far as I can tell, has had an option for on-mountain photography for a while now.

But only recently does it seem they’ve done the same math as Vail Resorts and decided that the value of these photos in the hands of all skiers would be more valuable than the value of selling them to a few.

It’s only been up for a few days, but the results are already looking pretty sharp.

Keep in mind, however, that there is no RFID pass scan to link photos to a skier nor is there a tightly integrated system to share or find then share photos.

Instead you first search for the day you skied.


Then sort through the day’s photos to find yours.


And click on the photo to view / download the larger version.


Before going to your favorite social network to share.

Remember Three Things
Compared to EpicMix, the time required to find and share photos seems like it will decrease the volume of sharing, and it will, but keep in mind a few things.

First, most Snowbasin skiers haven’t used EpicMix. To them, this is amazing and their enthusiasm will likely create more than enough motivation to sort through photos. Second, this is a first iteration. In a way, it’s like the classic startup MVP (minimum viable product). If it works well enough as is, it will certainly justify more investment into a custom platform.

Finally, this was packaged as a “gift” for the anniversary season and carries very little cost. In other words, if it works. They can run with it. If it doesn’t, there’s no harm in going back to the old model.

Love the idea and effort. Nice work, Snowbasin.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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