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Beyond The Slopes

Ski Resorts Need To Have Plan For Non-Skiers To Ensure Year-Round Success

Thursday, January 05, 2017
Steve Pike
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North America’s ski slopes are bustling these days with those who want to experience the thrills of shooshing on fresh white powder. To be sure, this is the best time of year for skiers—and a profitable time of year for ski resorts, particularly for those resorts and mountain hotels that know the importance of attracting non-skiing guests.

As good as the slopes might be, it’s key for ski resorts—and ski areas—to offer amenities away from them. Snowmass, CO, for example, offers a variety of winter activities, including ice karting, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.

“Each winter, we continue to see non-skiers visiting our property, and therefore ensure we have amenities that go beyond the slopes available,” said John Quigley, director of sales and marketing of Viceroy Snowmass, which features a spa, three restaurants and a fitness center. “We recognize that not all members of families or couples ski, so Viceroy Snowmass places a great emphasis on appealing to all our visitors and ensuring we have amenities and activities available to everyone regardless of their ski ability (or lack thereof). Additionally, skiers take advantage of the non-ski offerings on days off the slopes as well.”

This winter, Viceroy Snowmass is offering a signature Omakase 360 Experience. “Omakase” is the Japanese phrase that translates to “I’ll leave it up to you.”

“Guests agree to let our expert team of concierges take the reins of their entire visit, from meals to bucket-list experiences to relaxation—until they say the word,” Quigley said. “Each day guests receive a curated itinerary with personalized surprises and amenities along the way. Elements can be F&B experiences; spa/wellness related; activity based beyond the slopes. The idea is guests never know what’s coming throughout their stay.”

Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado offers Winter Wine Excursions that begin at the Beaver Creek Nordic Sports Center, where participants are outfitted with the latest snowshoe adventure equipment. Located adjacent to the Nordic Sports Center, Strawberry Park Express lift takes guests to McCoy Park—Beaver Creek’s dedicated Nordic and snowshoe trail system. Perched above the mountain’s downhill ski slopes, McCoy Park has more than 30 kilometers of maintained trails for snowshoeing and lends unobstructed views of Beaver Creek’s Grouse Mountain, as well as surrounding peaks within the Sawatch, Gore and Flat Top Mountain Ranges.

Following a 60- to 90-minute guided snowshoe with narration of Beaver Creek’s history and natural environment, guests descend Strawberry Park Express to the Osprey Fireside Grill for a fireside selection of charcuterie and wine pairings served by executive chef Ryan Murray.

For those not into skiing in New York’s Catskill Mountains, the Catskill Mountain Foundation's Piano Performance Museum gives visitors a glimpse into the development of pianos in Europe and America over the past four centuries.
Non-skiers also can spend an afternoon exploring the Catskills Beverage Trail. This series of six adult beverage spots are linked by their dedication to creating beers and wines using locally sourced ingredients.

Across the country in ski crazy Park City, UT, non-skiers and skiers taking time off from the slopes have access to activities such as snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dog-sledding adventures, tubing at Gorgoza Park, and visiting the Olympic Park, site of the 2002 Olympics.

The Waldorf Astoria Park City provides a personalized concierge on property who works with each guest on a vacation agenda. “Our hotel also offers Signature Experiences that cater to non-skiers, including our ‘Become the Brewmaster Experience’ that gives visitors an exclusive, private tour with the head Brewmaster of Park City Brewery and a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process,” said Danielle Summers, marketing manager of Waldorf Astoria Park City. “Non-skier business is vital to Waldorf Astoria Park City’s operations, as well as the entire town of Park City.”

The Waldorf Astoria Park City is one of the few area pet-friendly hotels. In addition, the hotel features a year-round, heated pool and a custom beer named “Pow Day” that is a rye pale ale brewed by Park City Brewery. The brew is meant to be a “Pow Day,” also known as the best kind of day on the mountain, that skiers and non-skiers alike can enjoy.

Waldorf Astoria Park City, Summers said, “does not necessarily” track which guests are non-skiers because a lot of its business is families that are merged with those that ski and others that do not.

“I would say that about a third of our guests do not ski or board while staying during the winter,” Summers said. “This is because our hotel and Park City as a destination gives a winter wonderland experience past the ski resort offerings.”

The Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley, CA, has on-site activities for non-skiers such as snowshoe tours, dogsledding, ice skating at the resort’s ice rink, spa appointments, and dining at its five restaurants.

The resort has designed special events, such as a monthly Craft Beer Weekend; Little Chefs kid’s pizza-making event; and Mixology Events—at which guests learn to create three seasonal craft cocktails using ingredients from the resort’s on-site garden. Painted Peaks is the resort’s wine and painting class event.

“We’re equally as busy during summer months as compared to winter,” said Briitni Kern, marketing manager for the Resort at Squaw Creek. “No matter what season it is, families come to Resort at Squaw Creek to have an authentic Lake Tahoe experience and we provide them with that in an all-encompassing way via all the events, activities, and interests at the resort and in the Lake Tahoe area.”

Steve Pike
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division

Bio: Steve Pike is an award-winning golf writer and author who helped define golf business reporting in the early 1990s as the first Golf Business Editor for Golfweek magazine and later at Golf World and Golf Shop Operations magazines for Golf Digest. Pike further pioneered this genre at the PGA of America and Time Warner as the golf business writer and editor for PGA.com. He started in newspapers more than ...
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