Mount Snow rocks with Winter X Games
Each of Vermont’s 22 ski resorts markets itself individually and has its own clientele. For example, Mount Snow, in the southern part of the state, considers itself a weekend destination and a day market.
“Because of our location, we are the closet big mountain resort to the eastern metropolitan areas,” said spokeswoman Melissa Gullotti. “That works in our favor. We get day-trippers from Albany, western Massachusetts and Boston. We generally get people from New Jersey and New York for the Weekend, So we stay busy.”
Mount, Snow is an American Skiing Company property. According to
Skip King, the company’s vice president of communications,. skier
visits there were up “A tiny bit!’ this past year, at 513,500. The. year
before, the number was “a little below that.
So how does Mount Snow plan to bring more business to the mountain? For one thing, for the second year in a row, it will host the ESPN Winter X Games.
“This past February was our first time hosting the games,” Gullotti said. “It was the first time they were held on the East Coast, and we basically shattered all attendance records from the past Winter X Games. Over four days, 83,500 people were here. We’ll be hosting the games again in 2001.”
To secure the games, ASC signed a four-year contract with ESPN; the contract specified that the 2000 and 2001 games would be at Mount Snow. The next two years will be at a resort to be named later.
The Winter X Games have been growing rapidly, and by hosting them, Mount Snow benefits from everything from word-of-mouth to television exposure.
“In the years to come, We anticipate additional skier visits as well as people. visiting the Mount Snow valley because of the coverage we got from ESPN, ESPN 2 and ABC,” Gullotti said.
Out of all the ASC resorts in New England, Mount Snow was chosen
because its location in southern Vermont was close to a huge potential
spectator base” in Boston, New York and western Massachusetts,
Gullotti said. ESPN is based in Connecticut.
“Also, we were chosen because of what the Mount Snow valley has to offer,” Gullotti said. “The valley was very attractive. There are 10,000 pillows in this valley, Additionally, Brattleboro is 20 miles away, and Bennington is near, and both towns saw a ton of business. We’re in an area that can house a lot of people and offer many different activities like dining and snowmobiling Also, Mount Snow has produced and hosted very successful events in the past. Our events background was a big draw for ESPN as well.”
Governor Howard Dean attended the games, and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Tourism and Marketing helped.
One thing that didn’t help was the weather.
“We’ve been below. average in natural snow for the past two years,” Gullotti said. “The entire country, especially New England, is, really due, for a strong snow season. Snow drives business. It’s called the ‘Backyard Syndrome.’ Basically, you ‘have guests from Albany or Manhattan. They go out in their back yard, its – 60 degrees, they don’t have snow, so they go and golf. If you don’t have snow in your backyard, it’s harder to visualize that the mountains have It’s just a reaction, All ski areas around the fight with that.”
That’s where marketing comes in, Gullotti said.
“We do snow reports and tapes to local news, stations for them to play on television weather reports,” she said. “We do radio reports. We send snowballs to the press. But with the snow drought we’ve had. it’s nitely a challenge.”
Colorado gets more natural snow, but the East Coast is better at manufacturing it, Gullotti said.
“In terms of snowmaking, our production crew is fantastic,” Gullotti said. “The X Games, for example, are ESPN’s event, but they had a good crew to: work with at the mountain, and we really, look forward to next year.
Aside from the X games’ Mount Snow is depending on conference. and converition business to fill its Grand Summit Resort Hotel, which opened in February of 1998.
“It’s the largest conference facility in southern Vermont,” Gullotti said. “We’ve got a full marketing plan and a really strong conference sales team, and that’s going to be great for year-round business.”
Copyright Boutin-McQuiston, Inc. Sep 01, 2000
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