In less than a week and a half, like the salmon of Capistrano, the X Games hordes will once again flock to the mountains of Aspen.
As a spectator, I love the X Games. As a marketer, I have very different thoughts. Today I’ll share a shortlist of the cons. Tomorrow, I’ll wear my other hat and cover the pros.
Keep in mind that I’m writing this as it regards the ski industry as a whole rather than the benefits to the host or any one area.
#1 It Widens the Gap
I’ve written about this before (twice actually), but we have a massive gap in our sport that doesn’t exist in others. The X Games, with it’s branded focus on the extreme, widens that gap.
The X Games inspire people to try skiing, but the longer it takes for new skiers to get close to what inspired them, the worse off I think we’ll be.
#2 Skews Dangers of Skiing
Like a Tesla that catches fire, ski injuries (and deaths) are great headlines. Not because they are common, but because they are rare.
Skiing is a very safe sport for most participants. But when the masses are only exposed to skiing when it’s at its most dangerous, it skews expectations about how risky our sport really is.
#3 Not True Skiing
Skiers ski for a lot of reasons, but “progression”, at least in the context the X Games present it in, is rarely one of them. This is especially true when you look at who the current business model of skiing relies on.
The X Games are fun to watch, but it doesn’t tell the true story of skiing. It doesn’t speak for the millions of skiers who have no interest in risking life and limb for the sake of progression, but ski because of very simple, non-progressive reasons.
Not All Bad
As I mentioned earlier, tomorrow I’ll be hit the upsides of the X Games in terms of resort marketing.
This annual event isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for our industry, but it’s not all bad either.
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