skip to main content

Why don’t people ski after March? Because they don’t care…enough.

divider image for this post

Maybe for you that date is Easter, maybe it’s President’s Day. Whatever the exact box on the calendar, there is a date out there when folks come less and less.

Typically it corresponds to another thing we’ve familiar with: the backyard effect.

For many people, if there’s no snow in their backyards in January, they won’t come skiing. Likewise, when the snow melts off those backyards in March, they won’t come skiing. We sometimes think of this as a “give a mouse a cookie” scenario where that snow makes them think of skiing and they go, “hey, I should go skiing.”

I have a different theory.

Guests vs Us

A number of years ago I gathered a really unique, thought-provoking data set.

I started by looking at all the paying, winter guests who also had Twitter accounts across 20 resorts and then found what percentage of those people called themselves a “skier” or “snowboarder” in their Twitter bio. Before I shared it, however, I asked you all to predict the result.

Here’s how it all went down.

results of the data set

We thought about 30% would identify as skiers on Twitter. In reality, only 2% did. Just 4% mentioned our sport at all. But there was one group that did see 30% identify as skiers on Twitter. The marketers who took the survey.

In other words, we sometimes expect our guests to feel and act the same way with skiing that we do.

But let’s take this a layer deeper. These folks probably do build some of their identify on a sport or activity, it’s just not skiing. Skiing, on their list of things they love to do, isn’t #1.

Skiing Isn’t #1

For folks in our industry, we can’t get enough of skiing. We’d do it year round if we could. It’s who we are. And that’s why we identify as “skiers” or “snowboarders”. Most of our guests, however, have lots of other stuff they love. Bike riding, camping, golf, swimming, kayaking, movies, running, video games, you name it.

How many of those things get harder when snow is on the ground? Yeah, quite a few.

My theory is simply this: snow on the ground doesn’t remind people about skiing, snow on the ground prevents people from doing many of the things they like doing even more than skiing.

A Story

Our family had an awesome winter this year. We got about 20-25 days in, the kids did great, and despite the lack of storms, our local mountain held up amazingly well. But as soon as the snow melted off our yard and the playgrounds were no longer buried in white and the bike path was clear, can you guess what happened?

Both kids completely lost interest in skiing. There was all this amazing stuff they loved to do outside and now they could do it.

Stuff that, maybe, just maybe, they like even more than skiing.

If I’m honest with myself, I’m much the same way. I love skiing, but one of the big reasons I love skiing is because it’s something to do when I can’t do all the other stuff I love doing.

The Moral

What’s the moral of the story? Hope for more suburban snow? Possibly.

But I think it comes back to a hot topic lately in our industry: the guest experience. If skiing is lower on the priority list for millions of our guests, one of the best things we could do to raise it up a few notches is bring the experience up a few notches as well.

Food for 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.

Get the weekly digest.

New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.