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Behind the Scenes of the Beautiful Sugar Bowl Website / Print Redesign

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“This week is website week. We’ll be covering everything from case studies to owning your channels and what you can do to be ready come redesign time. Enjoy.”

A few weeks ago, for no reason I can remember, I found myself on the Sugar Bowl website.

Now, I had been to this site before at least once, but in my haste had looked right past the design, layout, and feel. Once I looked, I loved what I saw. So I asked who was behind the scenes:

With such an eagerness to recommend, I got in touch with Saint Pierre’s Creative Director Tyler Saint Pierre about using a brief case study on his site as a post on SlopeFillers. He didn’t just say yes, he replied with a writeup of the process and a letter from Sugar Bowl’s Director of Sales and Marketing, John Monson, with feedback on the project.

Now, this is website week, but I wanted to highlight this partly because how well the website design and brand fits into the rest of their creative. Here’s a recap of what they said.

The Problem

JOHN: “As a mid-size, drive-market ski resort surrounded by several larger world-class destination resorts, it is imperative that we employ savvy marketing strategy, well-executed tactics, aesthetic imagery, smart branding and an overall sales and marketing platform that not only secures but grows our share of the overall ski and snowboard market in Tahoe. In the summer of 2010, Sugar Bowl Resort began a search for a new designer and creative partner that would help us to create a new brand, fine-tune our messaging, sharpen our media placement and ultimately improve our perceived brand identity with skiers and riders.”

TYLER: “At that time, the then 72-year-old brand was experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. Sugar Bowl was looking for its voice, and was lacking a consistent message. With the majority of communications focused on discounts and deals, the brand itself suffered. Marketing communications were a bit devoid of the emotion that ultimately attracts skiers and riders. The resort was trying to be everything to everybody, attempting to compete with the bigger, flashier resorts in the area, instead of focusing on who they are, what they do best, and what people love about them. Working collaboratively, once we identified those elements, we got to work.”

The Solution

TYLER: “Saint Pierre and Sugar Bowl took an honest look at the resort’s core values and key differentiators, and incorporated them into the brand repositioning. We researched and clearly identified the customers with the highest potential and crafted a consistent, emotion-centered brand message to capture their attention. The Brands Standard Guide developed for the resort ensures a creative, coherent, consistent look and feel, as does the new photography developed specifically for Sugar Bowl.”

Web Design

Resort Brochure


Mobile Advertising

The Results

JOHN: “At the halfway point of the 2010/11 season, we’re pleased to report that feedback from skiers, riders, homeowners, and local and regional media has been nothing short of incredibly positive regarding our new “It’s Your Turn” brand platform, with a noticeable – and quantifiable – improvement over last season’s efforts. Saint Pierre has been instrumental in helping Sugar Bowl increase year-to-date paid skier visits by 23%, season pass visits by 38%, and total revenues by nearly 21%.”

TYLER: “The strategic, new brand ecosystem, targeted to Sacramento and Bay Area skiers and riders, led to a significant increase in year-over-year paid day skiers from 2009/10 to 2010/11. The effort was awarded ADDYs in the categories of Integrated Branding and Newspaper Campaign.”

Check out the full, updated case study on Saint Pierre’s website:

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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