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This post is long over due. Last week, former Vail executive Andy Daly and real estate partners Tom and John Gart of the outdoor retail chain gart Bros. bought Colorado ski area Powderhorn for $1.4 million. Powderhorn, a quaint ski resort in western Colorado has four lifts accessing 1,600 skiable acres with an inn and restaurant sees 75,000 visitors annually. Years of low skier visits and a down economy contributed to its auction at an unbelievable price. In addition to the amenities already mentioned, the purchase included 700 acres of land that may be developed into a golf course.

Despite being from Colorado, Daly, like myslef, have never skied at Powderhorn. It excites me that someone with capital, experience, and a personal passion for skiing has stepped in to help turn the resort around. Daly hopes to imporve every single aspect of the mountain stating “we firmly believe that with a little bit of investment and some focus on the service side — everything from on-mountain grooming and developing the terrain parks to the food quality and guest services — we can have a pretty big impact on the market.” It is inspiring to hear that he not only has a plan, but is ready to focus on competitive elements like the terrain park to help bring the masses to the mountain.

Though it is too late in the summer for any big changes to begin, I am sure that within the next year efforts will be made to restore Powderhorn as a productive resort in the Mesa County community.

Trail map of Powderhorn Ski Area

ESPN online writer Devon O’Neil recently told the world about Tanner Hall’s new app for iphones, ipads, and Macs set to hit the store in time for the X Games. I am super excited to see how ‘Tanner Hall Half Pipe Skiing’ will work for users as Tanner hopes it will offer a much more realistic experience. The first app will be free, and hopefully followed by an urban rail game, a backcountry freeskiing game, and an advanced pipe-skiing game for $0.99.

Following suit with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater there will be other pro skiers featured in the game, all decked out in actual product. As game developer Dave Howard says “If they’re playing the game and they like the jacket he’s wearing, they can actually go purchase that jacket.” This is an excellent avenue to merge entertainment and sponsorship to help increase visibility and drive sales. On any given day in the terrain park, one can already spot a slew of kids wearing the same outfit as their favorite pro. If this app goes as planned, it can spread to more urban areas with less hype and access to the skiing community. And lets face it, no one knows how to look good in cold weather better than skiers and riders.

If the first game goes well and generates productive feedback, I think we will see the follow up apps kick ass. I look forward to putting angry birds down and picking Tanner Hall Half Pipe Skiing up.

Ten years ago, how many avid powder hunting skiers and riders knew of Las Lenas, Argentina? How many knew of Valle el Arpa, Chile? How many people today know about these places? Hopefully a lot more now that the Freeskiing World Tour is heading back to South America. And this year, Red Bull has put their brand on the opening stop of the tour labeling it the Red Bull Powder Disorder. Keeping inline with the tradition big lines and big cliffs, this stop will include man made jumps for even more action.

Las Lenas employee Sofia Fernandez Madero explains “the natural characteristics of our mountain and the climate favor our position as the off-piste Mecca in this region.” WHY ARE WE NOT THERE NOW?! For the last two weeks I have read nothing but posts about the deep untracked pow being skied down south, and I can’t help but wonder how I did not know about it. I knew racers have been going to Chile for years to rack up some summer speed miles but had no grasp on the magnitude of the pow.

With the freeskiing big mountain scene gaining steam, red bull putting their stamp on it, and endless tales of freshies I expect travelers to consider a trip south next summer for skiing rather than an expensive heli trip to Alaska. It isn’t uncommon for dedicated enthusiasts to head to Europe for a ski trip during the winter, but I expect to see that same demographic heading to South America for summer time skiing in the future.

I love when social media delivers you fun news for the skiing community. Alpine Meadows and Moment Skis are teaming up and calling upon their fans to design a limited edition Alpine Meadows ski. The rules are pretty basic, design a top sheet using Photoshop or Illustrator that feature the Alpine Meadows and Moment logos. The top five designs picked by Moment representatives will then be put to a public vote via Alpine’s Facebook page. The winner of the contest will receive:

1:  A pair of the limited-edition Alpine/Moment collaboration skis with your design in your choice of sizes.

2: 2011-12 Alpine Meadows Unfiltered season pass – good at Alpine Meadows, Homewood Mountain Resort, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Red Lodge Mountain Resort in Montana, and Durango Mountain Resort in Colorado.

Not a bad deal at all! Alpine Meadows must have had success using Facebook for their 4th of July T-shirt vote and they are at it again, but this the time the prize is much better. Alpine has 10,437 likes on Facebook, and as mentioned in my previous blog Moment skis has 6,625 likes; this collaboration should really help drive traffic to both pages, then actual websites, and hopefully converting clicks into skier visits or customers. Who knows, Moment may even stumble upon a new graphic designer.

As an Alpine Meadows season pass holder and a local student at Unversity of Nevada, Reno, I am very excited to see the eventual ski designs. This should be fun news for the Reno/Tahoe ski community and the ski community in general. I showed the contest to my graphic design roommate, so be looking for Marty Harris’ design in the final five.

"The Buttress" after a powder day at Tough Guy Productions Telemark Big Mountain competition at Alpine Meadows 2011.

Have you ever really needed your carpet professionally cleaned, or replaced all together, and kept putting it off? Only when Grandma and Grandpa finally come for graduation or Christmas do you find the motivation to get it done. Events are a key catalyst needed for resorts to justify the value in upgrades. This past March I spent spring break in Rjukan, Norway, for the FIS Telemark World Championships where they had spent the last two years preparing for the event by building a new lodge and two new surface lifts for the race hill. The ski center already offered great terrain and high speed lifts, but the additional T-bars allowed for real estate expansion at a new base and more skiable acres for their stats.

Snowbasin Resort in Ogden, Utah used the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics to build two spectacular gondolas, a high speed quad, and the Mt. Allen tram that accesses the top of the mens downhill start. Along side the great on slope addition in preparation for the Olympics, First Tracks!! Online Ski Magazine thought the base lodge was in need of recognition and recently published an article arguing that Snowbasin may have the best bathrooms in the world, worthy of being voted into the hall of fame by bestroom.com.

The action sports world of the X Games, Grand Prix, and Dew Tour generates a list of events that has promoted snow making and grooming operations. Breckenridge and Aspen both have incredible terrain parks all season long due to the immense early season snow making efforts and the the incredible machines used to sculpt the mountain.

Already claiming stellar reputations, these mountains leveraged the coverage and high status of events as reason to stay ahead of the game. Let me know what you think of my take on the role events can play in resort upgrades, or any mountains that may have done so that I left out.

An Olympic torch runner cut into the trees across from the race hill in Hafjell, NO for the 1994 Lillehammer games.

Today, August 2, 2011, if you go to www.K2skis.com you will be blocked from the page. That is, until you ‘Like’ them on Facebook and then you’ll be treated to a Facebook page filled with videos and information on their new line of skis for the 2011-12 season. This is a wonderful use of social media to excite consumers and make them want to learn about the new product line.

Currently, K2’s website is being renovated leaving Facebook as their only online presence until the new site goes live on August 11. Using Facebook as your interim site is a great way to maintain a presence at an extremely low cost. Additionally, this tactic has two great benefits:

1) K2 is gathering more and more followers on Facebook

2) When the new site launches, everyone will want to check it out

It is brilliant really, creating this hype will help get consumers to your website when it first launches and then provides the ability to continually update them in their Facebook news feed. It is invigorating to see a personal favorite ski company put inbound marketing to use. This campaign has been blowing up on twitter to those in the know, and has continued to spread to everyday users of the product. At this time, K2 is only the third company that I have looked into for next season’s products. And why? Because they told me to!  And it looks to be working for K2, blowing away the competition with an impressive 77 thousand likes on Facebook.

Other companies and their FB followers:

  • Rossignol                                               58 thousand likes
  • Head Ski                                                 56 thousand likes
  • Salomon Freeski                                 56 thousand likes
  • Black Diamond Equipment            54 thousand likes
  • Armada Skis                                         51 thousand likes
  • Line Skis                                                43 thousand likes
  • Atomic Skiing                                    14 thousand likes
  • Volkl                                                     12 thousand likes
  • Dynastar                                             12 thousand likes
  • 4FRNT Skis                                        nearly 8 thousand likes
  • Moment Skis                                    6 thousand likes
  • Fischer Skis*                                   5 thousand likes
  • Nordica USA                                   2 thousand likes
  • Elan                                                    1 thousand likes
*eight different pages come up for Fischer on a Facebook search, I chose the one with the most followers.

Image on K2's home page at http://www.K2skis.com

Drew Hauser


Raised in the Colorado Rockies, I use my passion as a skier to expand on knowledge of the industry seeking a career in outdoor retail or resort operations.


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