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TPP Update #3 – If I’m Honest, My Skiing Has Almost Nothing to do with Lift Ticket Prices

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Last week my little one (or L.O. as I’ve heard the lingo goes) hit the 9 month mark. This means two things.

First, she can almost crawl. Second, it’s time for another “Parent Project” update on ways I feel resorts can reach young parents as I traverse this life-stage myself.

In my first and second updates I said that “babies cost money”, “babies are still expensive”, and “it means less play money, one car, and a very simple lifestyle.” While these are all true, I keep realizing that even if I wanted to ski this Saturday, money wouldn’t be the thing that stopped us.

If You Want Vail, You Pay for Vail
There is a vocal crowd that feels skiing is “pricing out the middle class.” They see $139 passes at Vail and spew indignant rage across the web.

I am not in that camp.

In Logan, UT, where I used to live, the opening of Cherry Peak will mean there are three resorts within an hour with day passes under $45 and season passes under $325. Even if you stayed right smack dab between Beaver Creek and Vail next week, you could hit Ski Cooper or Sunlight for less than $40 a day, both of which are awesome mountains. Factor in inflation and skiing now is often right on par with skiing then.

For most skiers, the issue isn’t the cost, it’s the size of the mountain they want to have access to. For me, the issue isn’t the cost, is the schedule that comes with a baby.

A Hypothetical
Let’s say my wife and I want to ski at Cooper this weekend. If the LO wakes up at 6:30 which is about average, she’ll be ready to go down for a nap by 9:30. The nap will likely be 1:00 or so (thus starting what I’ll refer to as the “midday nap-gap”), so by 10:30 everyone is up but now she’ll be hungry.

Food, diaper change, packing, we could be ready to leave by 11:30 optimistically. If we left right then, we could be on the hill by 1:00 with a 2:30 nap looming in the distance. If Cooper had a parents predicament ticket, we could each get about 45 minutes of skiing in before nap time forced us off the mountain in the hope she’d sleep on the way home.

What about babysitters? Well, that’s tricky too. Because other families have weekend plans just like you do. Barring a bored neighbor or nearby grandparent, it’s a tough draw. And while it’s true for about the price of a day-pass I could put the LO in daycare at Cooper, that’s where it gets really tricky. As I mentioned last update “being with Kim and Callie is better than skiing.” So, in effect, I’d be paying someone to remove my peak source of happiness and paying someone else to replace it. After all, this is what you’re asking me to leave in the lodge:

What To Do
The more I live this stage of my life, the more I think that best things a resort can tell me about have almost nothing to do with me sliding down a mountain.

Last week my little fam spent the midday nap-gap at Vail watching the US Open, having lunch, and wandering the village. A few of us in the office had slipped out for a some fluffy tracks during the previous day’s storm, but that didn’t even come close to the fun I had with my wife and daughter.

So here’s my conclusional idea: for young parents, maybe the most valuable thing you can share is the events calendar instead of the snow report. Give me something fun, simple, and short that we can do together that’s not skiing, and there’s a much higher chance we’ll do it.

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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