Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort was recognized by the National Ski Areas Association for its new initiative to attract skiers and riders to the sport. On Tuesday, May 8, the National Ski Areas Association presented Purgatory with an award for the “Best Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month Campaign” during the national convention’s Marketing Awards Reception in San Antonio, TX. This award recognizes the resort that has the most compelling marketing campaign to attract new customers to the industry.
“We are excited that our program introduced so many new skiers and riders to these incredible lifelong sports,” stated Sven Brunso, vice president of sales and marketing at Durango Mountain Resort. “We were able to reach a diverse audience and are extremely pleased with the results of the program.”
Purgatory introduced two new programs in January 2012 for kids and adults to try skiing and riding for the first time. The 3-Session Start „em off Right Beginner Package included 3 half-day ski or snowboard lessons, 3 days of rental equipment and 3 days of lift tickets for $99 with a savings of nearly $250 over the regular price. Upon completion of this program, participants could purchase a $99 season pass and continue practicing skiing or riding for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season which allowed them low cost entry into the sport and the opportunity to practice their newly acquires skills through repetition. The Beginner Day Deal included a half-day ski or snowboard beginner lesson, rental equipment and lift ticket for $49, a savings of $66.
These new programs attracted 316 participants. Of these participants, 52% tried skiing, 48% tried snowboarding and 46% of those eligible purchased a season pass through the program. Statistics show that retention of first time skiers/riders is exponential when the first experience includes professional instruction.
“This program was a major initiative for us this season, and we believe that we need to do our part to help grow the winter sports industry,” stated Brunso. “The fact that we had nearly half of eligible participants purchase a season pass, tells us that they had a positive experience with learning a new snow sport, and we hope they will continue to ski and ride in the future.”
The promotional campaign focused on the local Durango market and the surrounding area, including Ignacio, Cortez, Farmington and Albuquerque and featured radio spots, online advertisements and print ads, as well as a targeted public relations campaign aimed at introducing first timers to skiing and snowboarding.
Purgatory’s initiative was part of the National “Learn to Ski & Ride Month” in January, an effort organized by the snow sports industry, including the National Ski Areas Association, SnowSports Industries of America, National Ski Patrol, the Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Association of Snowboard Instructors and other resorts and organizations to encourage children and adults to ski and snowboard as a way to get outdoor exercise at a time when most people tend to stay inside.