For taking vertical-integration marketing to the next level

Why would the nation’s largest ski resort, with premier properties in Colorado, Utah and California, buy a couple of podunk slopes in the middle of the Midwest? Because it’s marketing genius. Vail didn’t acquire Wilmot Mountain near Chicago, Afton Alps near Minneapolis and Mount Brighton near Detroit for their (lack of) steep verticals and fresh powder; it bought them for their access to the urban populations (Chicago has just about as many people as the entire state of Utah) that represent some of the company’s largest customer bases. In essence, the Midwest acquisitions are marketing pieces — introducing city-dwellers to the sport, then offering deals to travel out West to the big resorts where Vail can also capitalize from its lodging, dining and retail services. Vail knows travelers spend more money, and that’s why it’s building an impressive global resort network — including Perisher in Australia and Whistler Blackcomb in Canada — to attract skiers worldwide.

SGB Magazine Fall Innovators Issue celebrates the ideas changing the way we run, hike or play the game. For the full story please click here.

Lead photo courtesy Vail Resorts