SlopeFillers On SAM

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SlopeFillers On SAM features past and present blog posts each week of marketing guru, Gregg Blanchard.  Having worn many different marketing hats before entering skiing, Gregg provides a fresh perspective on the industry, sharing his ideas, insights and analysis for winter resort marketers. Whether it's an in-depth post on Google analytics or a rant on social media let-downs, Gregg's reviews and commentaries are thought-provoking, at the very least.   


Ten bucks says you played “hide and seek” when you were a wee lad or lass.
The game only works because you can’t see everyone from the beginning. Spot a toe poking out from behind a tree or a toosh to the side of the sofa, and the game (and fun) is up [...]

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What’s the Solution to the Portrayal of a Bleak Future and Brilliant Past for Skiing?

For a while I’ve been intrigued by the idea that I’m going to call “last generation nostalgia” until I find a more official moniker. The belief that 30 or so years ago life, society, morals, and culture were all better. That any changes between then and now have been for the worse. I’ll give you [...]

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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 [...]

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Face it, Cherry Peak, Skiing is Simply Not Going to Be Enough to Succeed

The first new resort in Utah in over 30 years is opening this Fall just a stone’s throw from my old stomping grounds. I haven’t heard back from their Marketing team to get their take, but with a million thoughts about what they should do, this week I’m temporarily going back to my daily-posting ways [...]

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The Top 50 Ski Resort YouTube Videos Uploaded This Season

I haven’t done a list like this for a while, but after creating this list for someone who was interested in how they stacked up on Friday and then getting a similar question just a few hours later, I thought it might be an insightful one to share. Not only to see where your videos [...]

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Resorts & Rule 40: Don’t Let the Smooth Taste Fool You

With debate about Rule 40 a common topic among marketers this week, Jon Slaughter and Andy Miller of Park City Mountain Resort weighed in. You’ve got a relative in Sochi competing for Team USA. You’re proud, but you can’t tell anyone. No bragging in the bar. No sign to hang on the porch. No ‘good [...]

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Last Week I Used the Best, Most Effective Ski Resort App I’ve Ever Used

The first time I skied Snowbasin I nearly missed one of the most incredible views I’ve ever seen from lift-served skiing simply because I kept turning one way instead of another. If I had known, I would have gone that way on every single run. As I finally got hands-on with Copper Mountain’s new Sherpa [...]

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Five Marketing Lessons from a Day in
Disneyland – #3: My Ad, Your Ad

Disney is more like a destination ski resort than I thought. As such, a day in the park a few weeks ago taught me some very interesting lessons about why they are so successful as a business. Here’s one of those lessons. The Tradeoff Imagine you are in charge of Facebook’s sign up page. One [...]

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You see, the average resort website has 8.12 elements in their nav menu. I first published that number over two years ago, but ever since I’ve been wondering if there is a better way. These are my early thoughts on what I’ve come up with [...]

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When You Give a Resort Troll Attention, He’ll Ask for More…or Not

The web is rife with trolls. Folks whose twisted need for attention is somehow satisfied when negative emotion is directed toward their hollow corner of the internet. The gripe isn’t so much a gripe as a means to a psychological end. Resorts are no exception. Take Jay Peak for example. Ricardo On the 22nd day [...]

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The Lovely Simplicity of Snowbird’s Content Strategy from Opening Day 2013

I love simplicity. From design to strategy, minimizing complexity (my clever way of not saying “simplicity” again) has served me very, very well over the years. So when I saw what Snowbird did on their opening day, I smiled. First 50 As the teeming masses eagerly waited for the first chair, Snowbird’s photog, Matt Crawley, [...]

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Pundits Will Think Your 2013 Marketing Sucked…but Were You Wrong?

The New Year signals a steady stream of critics calling out the marketing winners and losers of last year. For the ski industry, this carries on (with the occasional break) for months, with the final chapter in this anecdotal parade coming as the season wraps up. But let’s be clear about a few things before [...]

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2014 Prediction #3: The Triumphant Return of My Favorite Marketing Medium

Social media is on an interesting journey. The industry has been high, it’s been low, it’s been everything in between. It’s been no different for marketing on this channel. More Numbers, More Reasons Many resort marketers found a balance with social media very early. While, on the other hand, some treated it like a magic [...]

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Wait a doggone second, I thought nobody ever scanned QR codes?

How many times have you seen QR codes mocked with the idea that nobody actually scans them? [...]

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To App or Not to App, That is Today’s Resort Marketing Question

Oh, apps. If I were to start a business tomorrow, the last thing I’d put at the core of my model is a mobile app. It’s a tough space. It’s a tough thing to monetize. Among other things, Ski Nation seems to be learning this lesson right now. Yet, from a marketing perspective, the outlook [...]

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The New Content Quandary: Finding a Balance Between Old and New

I love Throwback Thursday for two reasons. First, as a sucker for all things ski history, it’s fun to see the resorts dip into their archives and throw way back to the early days of lift-served skiing. Second, I love that it comes with a little less pressure to create something new. Quandary That’s the [...]

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Social Media + Resorts: Every Time You Post, This is What You’re Agreeing To

I typically ride my bike to the office every day, but lately I’ve had to make a goal of 3 days a week as temperatures have already been below 0° F this month. Driving, however, has it’s perks. A few quiet minutes in the car each day allows me to once again do something I [...]

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Three Birds with One Tweet: Timber Ridge is the First I’ve Seen Do This

Time to highlight some simple marketing again. This time, it comes from Timber Ridge Lodge in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I don’t think I’ve ever featured any of their efforts before, but in the spirit of simplicity, I’ll tone down my yakking and jump right in: Thanks to shalynn h for the great 4 star review [...]

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Early, Late, Before, After? Hitting the Sweet Spot for Resort Snow Reporting.

My snow report sketch last week got some interesting feedback. Especially the idea of sending it the night before. But not wanting to get the cart ahead of the horse, I decided to take a quick look at how snow reporting stands now and the best practices that exist. To find my answer, I went [...]

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what if we aren't charging enough for lift tickets and skiing?

Ask a skier what’s wrong with skiing and they’ll tell you, in a resounding chorus, “it costs too darn much!” What’s the solution? “Lower ticket prices,” they say, “make it more affordable.”
Revenue is a matter of price times volume. If you lower the cost, you have to make up for it in number of skiers [...]

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If I Were Your Resort, I’d Stop Generating Traffic for YouTube and Vimeo

While discussing Twitter with various marketers recently, I’ve often heard the complaint that: “I just don’t get a lot of traffic from Twitter. It’s great for other things, but it doesn’t generate many site visitors.” To which my brain silently responds: “You actually generate a TON of traffic through Twitter…you just generate it for other [...]

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Whistler, Aspen, and Keystone’s Freeskier Print Ads Come Under the Microscope

This week we’re looking at print ads. Specicially, resort ads that appeared in the recent “Resort Guide” issue of Freeskier magazine. Judges were given an overview of Freeskier’s audience before ranking eleven ads on three criteria that had been determined by a survey of resort marketers. Today are the ads from pages 1-33 of the issue [...]

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In the world of ski print ads, this reigns king... but what about others?

It’s been a while since I talked about print ads. A long while, but I do have an excuse.

Ready? I didn’t see any.

Well, I saw some, but they were few and far between or hyper-local and not representative of resorts as a whole. So I waited...until last week when the Freeskier resort guide came with not one, not two, but ELEVEN resort print ads. Hallelujah. [...]

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The email that i believe Needs to Accompany Every Lesson in Skiing

When I was a kid, I used to sliently worry about weird stuff. Like, somehow, I had mixed up the day of the backpacking trip and I was going to show up at my scout leader's doorstep a day early loaded to the gills with gear. Or that I had mixed up the time of a birthday party and I'd be three hours early. So, when I went skiing for the first time, it's probably no surprise that I had a few concerns [...]

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Ceteris Paribus, This One Idea Really Makes Sugarloaf’s Content Strategy Shine

In college, my Business Law professor used to love to toss out random latin phrases to both sound smart and confuse his students.  If it weren’t for a bizarre combination of name, voice, and facial expressions, he may have accomplished both points instead of just the latter.  But today I want to start with the phrase I lead with in the headline [...] 

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Stay tuned for next week's post...