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Trends The ski industry has challenges, night skiing has solutions.

night skiing at Jiminy Peak

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

 Mar 8, 2021

I was blown away by the response when I wrote about this the other day on SlopeFillers. Night skiing is clearly a topic that needs more attention. So I’m going to keep the conversation going here.

Our industry worries about price perception, night skiing offers a cheaper alternative. We’ve struggled to convince people who work 9-5 to ski 9-4, night skiing works with skiers’ schedules and lets them have both. Even if the clouds make daylight flatter than a pancake, night skiing lights bring back the depth and visibility. And what better way to unwind after a busy day than skiing?

But night skiing if often an afterthought. What should we do? Four things.

Study It

I get a lot of resort surveys and resort surveys often asked dozens of questions. But of all the resort surveys I’ve seen this year from mountains with night skiing, wanna take a guess at how many have a question about this product? Yep, zero.

Step one, we’ve got to start studying this product more. We’ve got to better understand the dynamics, the demand, and the limitations on both an individual resort and industry as a whole.

Sharing Success (and Failure) Stories

Can you think of a session at a major conference in the last 5 years that’s talked about night skiing? Neither can I. As we learn more from skiers, we need to compliment that with more sharing by operators. This is especially true as in-person conferences resume.

I’m sure night skiing has failed in some places. Yet it’s thrived in others. Let’s share these stories, these numbers, and these lessons and create a broader understanding of how night skiing can be done successfully and the mistakes that can prevent it.

Give It More Marketing Budget

The other day I was pulling various bits of marketing shared by ski resorts across a multi-year span. In the end, I was looking at nearly 900,000 social posts and emails and videos. Wanna take a guess at how many of them mentioned night skiing?

Just 0.26%. And many of those talked about day skiing first and mentioned night skiing at the end. Like I said, afterthought.

What’s incredible to me is how many people do end up night skiing each year even though there’s virtually no marketing done around it. It doesn’t need to be 50% or even 25%, but it has to be more than 0.25% of our collective conversation if we want people to realize or remember they can ski on days other than the weekend without taking work off.

Try It Ourselves

Most importantly, resort marketers need to get out and try it more often. If you have lights at your mountain, stick around for a few laps under the lights and talk to the skiers you meet. If you don’t have lights, find a mountain nearby that does.

Until we see how great the experience is ourselves, it will be tough to believe in it enough to do any of the above if we don’t even know what it’s like.

Optimism

My third day on snow was night skiing at Brighton, Utah. Since then probably half of the ski days have actually been ski nights. I love night skiing.

Zooming out I can see the problems it solves for our industry – the pricing perception, the midweeks, the flat light, the smaller time chunks – and I’m extremely excited to see the chatter pick up around this incredibly fun, accessible type of skiing.

Let’s keep it going.

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