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What Crazy-Successful Outdoor Events Can Teach Us About Growing the Ski Industry

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I’m sitting under a tree on a 90° day in Utah waiting for a bus dressed in my finest business casual.

Why am I doing this? I’ll tell you.

Recently I noticed that a lot of creative juices start flowing once I get out of the office. Specifically, when I travel. So I’m trying something: field trips. I grab my laptop, jump on public transportation, and start writing posts as I go to some destination where I’ll get a unique perspective on skiing.

Round One
Today’s first attempt has gone amazingly well and, just as theorized, ideas and creativity are flowing at a rate I haven’t seen in some time.

This is partly due to today’s destination:

Like skiing, The Color Run depends on getting people outside to succeed. As we all know, no easy task even for other sports that are also shrinking like golf that take place in warmer weather. Like skiing, The Color Run depends on getting the younger crowd to buy. Also a tough task. But in just a few short years (the company started in 2012) it has grown to hundreds of annual events across the world with no sign of slowing down.

As we lick the wounds of yet another down year for overall skier visits, let me share a few reasons why The Color RUn has been so successful.

Reason #1) ALL Fun
A traditional 5k holds some of it’s selling power in the feeling and excitment that one gets at the FINISH LINE The sense of accomplishment.

What The Color Run does is give feeling and excitement to the ENTIRE race. Think about that for a second.

Reason #2) Designed Experiences
We’ve seen the research and reflections of its truths in our own behavior: experiences are starting to sell faster. Especially compared to things.

So they took something that has a sense of accomplishment built in – a race – and turned it into an experience. What Dinseyland did for carnival rides, The Color Run is doing for athletic events.

Reason #3) Shareable
And, as you might have guessed, when you have a fun, unique, exciting experience, people can’t wait to share it. In a sense, The Color Run is designed to be shared.

And they do. During the early days of The Color Run, a couple Facebook posts were all it took to get the ball rolling and fill a 6,000-10,000 person event.

Designing Skiing
Those are the two words I keep coming to as I think about this concept: that we need to work harder at designing the experience of skiing.

Maybe its experimenting and getting creative with the shape of snow for all skier levels and types (not just beginners and park rats), maybe it’s color or sound or service or making games out of skiing or an entirely new way to slide.

I don’t know the answer, but these are the principles at the core of The Color Run’s success are hard to ignore and, as such, are definitely worth some thought.

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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