Telluride & Snowvation Are Modernizing the E-Commerce Experience for TSG Ski & Snowboard School Guests.

DENVER, CO x MOUNTAIN VILLAGE, CO (July 25, 2017) —

Condé Nast’s #1 Rated Ski Resort, Telluride Ski & Golf Resort, is improving guests’ ski school experiences with innovative technology. The top rated and breathtaking Southwestern Colorado resort has partnered with Snowvation, which has revolutionized the ski and snowboard industry by offering resorts groundbreaking software to streamline all aspects of their ski school and better engage guests and instructors.

"Telluride is excited to provide an enhanced end-user experience within the electronic sales and fulfillment processes for our ski & snowboard school product segments,” said Carson Taylor, Director of Skier Service Sales at Telluride. “We’re eager to evaluate Snowvation’s software and look forward to getting feedback from our consumer base as it pertains to functionality.”

The adoption of this software comes with great timing, as Telluride continues to grow in ski & snowboard school and beyond. Located in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, Telluride appeals to a broad range of skiers & snowboarders from around the nation and globe, with dynamic terrain and a remarkable 4,425 ft vertical drop on over 2,000 skiable acres.

“Generally speaking, innovation in the ski industry as it pertains to the tech environment has been stale for the last decade,” said Noah Sheedy, Director of the Ski & Snowboard School at Telluride. “We are committed to providing our guests with a world class experience, and that includes before and after the visit from booking to departure. Piloting new e-commerce technology will make for a seamless visit to our ski & snowboard school.”

Snowvation, founded in 2016, is growing the ski and snowboard industry by leveraging modern day technologies to help dozens of its partner resorts in the U.S., China, & Japan, better accommodate and communicate with today’s customers. With innovative cloud software, it enhances guest experiences and streamlines resort operations and processes.

“Snowvation is elated to have an opportunity to make an already amazing resort even better, when it comes to the booking experience,” said Michael Stocker, CEO at Snowvation. “It is with strong conviction that we believe Telluride’s guests will benefit tremendously from using Snowvation’s booking technology in ski & snowboard school. It is encouraging to see a leading resort with innovative personnel like Telluride step up to the plate to meet the rapidly changing needs of our ski & snowboard consumers.”


Media Contact: Faarah Ameerally
faarah@snowvation.com(970) 633-0322


About Snowvation: Founded in 2016, Snowvation is a venture backed technology company growing the ski and snowboard industry by leveraging modern day technologies to help resorts like Telluride, better accommodate and communicate with today’s customers. With innovative cloud software, it enhances guest experiences and streamlines resort operations and processes. 

VISIT snowvation.com to learn more about Snowvation's innovative technology currently enhancing the guest experience at ski resorts worldwide.

Learn More About International Ski School With Paul Hanlon

We spoke with Paul Hanlon to learn more about what it's like to operate an international Ski School. As a lifelong skier that has had the opportunity to test the powder around the world, we loved learning more about his experience abroad in the industry.

Founder, Michael Stocker, skiing with Paul Hanlon and Peter Richer. 

Founder, Michael Stocker, skiing with Paul Hanlon and Peter Richer. 

How long have you been skiing/instructing?

Paul: I have been a ski instructor for the past 9 years, but the first 3 years was on a part-time basis, while I was studying at university. I started skiing when I was 9 in Andorra, with my family and I skied around one to two weeks per season in Europe growing up.

What is your favorite ski destination?

Typically, in autumn Hokkaido is hit by typhoons, which often knock down trees etc. This can often make the woodland terrain feel completely different year after year.

Paul: This is a hard question! Engelberg in Switzerland certainly has some of the best terrain I’ve ever skied, however with 500-600 inches of snow falling in Hokkaido every season, it’s hard not to love skiing here in Japan.

For the last six seasons, I have mainly skied at the Rusutsu Resort and I’m yet to get bored of the terrain or powder. It’s a pretty special mountain and despite getting busier in recent years, I still have a few secret powder stashes where I can normally find fresh tracks on my days off. Also, there is some great backcountry terrain around the resort, which is not to be missed. The lift accessed tree skiing at Rusutsu is pretty special and packed full of fun features. Typically, in autumn Hokkaido is hit by typhoons, which often knock down trees etc. This can often make the woodland terrain feel completely different year after year.

Also, Hokkaido Sapporo Teine has to be one of my favorite mountains. It’s a real local’s hill close to downtown Sapporo, which gets a lot of powder. It definitely has some of the steepest lift accessed side country terrain in Hokkaido. You can be on the lift in around 30 minutes from the city center and even get there via the subway. It’s a real hidden gem for powder.

When did you discover your passion for skiing and snowboarding/ what is your favorite part of your job?

Paul: I have loved skiing since my first winter holiday and have tried to ski as many days as possible since. I decided to train as a ski instructor to spend a season on the snow. It sounded like a great adventure and a real challenge. However, after shadowing some lessons I really felt ski instructing or working in a teaching environment would suit me.

My first week ski instructing was spent in Italy and it was one of the best weeks skiing ever! Seeing my students improve their technique and become hooked on skiing was a great feeling. I soon realized that this was the right industry for me.

Although I don’t spend as much time on my skis as I used to, it’s great to be involved in an industry I feel passionate about.

What role do you envision technology playing in the future of the ski industry?

Paul: Technology is already proving helpful within lessons with many instructors can provide video feedback to their clients. Videos clips and feedback emails with tactics, advice and recommended drills, helps clients take more from their lessons.

Also, communication technology help instructors and clients keep in contact year on year and build professional relationships.

Technology now allows clients to easily book a lesson via their smart phone, select their instructor and arrange a meeting point without ever going to a reception desk. This makes booking lessons quick and easy. Clients can also check instructor reviews or select a previous/recommended instructor to ensure they get the right instructor for them.

Hopefully technology will make it easier for customers to book a lesson and reduce operational costs for schools.  

What are the biggest challenges you face in the ski industry?

Paul: Integrating technology to improve efficiency and improve the guest experience is high on our priority list. Until recently, the Rusutsu School used an antiquated paper0based system and customers were required to physically visit the school reception. We are now upgrading the system, which should make the guest experience much smoother.

Visa issues are always a big issue in Japanese ski schools. Instructors need to be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa or require visa sponsorship. To be eligible for a sponsored visa, instructors are required to have over and eight to ten seasons, or 36 months teaching experience.

This restricts a lot of younger instructors who are not eligible for a Working Holiday Visa. Hopefully, in the future the visa regulations for instructors will be relaxed to meet the increasing demand for international instructors in Japan. I think a slight relaxation of the visa restrictions would allow us to retain more staff year on year and create a better product for our international customers.

What else would you like to see in the future of the ski industry?

Paul: I would like to see a focus on delivering more products, which focus on intermediate to advanced clients looking to improve their skill all over the mountain. Often people tend only to take lessons for the first few weeks and tend to plateau as intermediates. This can often lead to picking up numerous bad habits.

I think lessons helping people develop their off-piste skills and help them develop skills to ski/ride the whole mountain. Not just on the trails. 

I would also like to see clients drive new lesson types with suggestions and feedback. This would help schools find out what the clients want and offer new products based on this data.

What are the benefits of taking a ski lesson through ski school?

Exploring some of Rusutsu's great jumps!

Exploring some of Rusutsu's great jumps!

Paul: I think having a good time is always the most important thing when skiing/snowboarding. When taking a lesson, your instructor will be working hard to ensure you have the best time possible. Instructors carefully select the appropriate terrain, speed and turn shape. They also carefully assess the condition of their clients and schedule stops/coffee breaks to minimize risk and create a safe, fun environment. Once you are having fun and comfortable, you are the right environment to learn and improve.

Also, a lesson is also great way to see the mountain, get local info on the resort. Often instructors can recommend best trails, off-piste terrain or even the best local bars and restaurants. This can really change your overall experience.

Ski school isn’t just for beginners, so how can more advanced skiers gain from these lessons?

Paul: With skiing, you can always improve, refine your technique and learn new skills. The terrain and snow conditions are always changing. Taking a lesson is a great way to refine your technique and keep up to date. I think it’s important to keep learning, as we can always improve.  

In Japan the powder can be exceptionally deep and often even highly experienced skier/snowboarders are not used of this type of snow. A lesson is a great way to get familiar with the powder in a safe, fun environment.

At Rusutsu, we have recently started a special mountain guiding program where our most experienced instructors, guide advanced/expert level clients to the best lift accessed terrain in the area. They use their experience and local knowledge to find guests the best and deepest powder away from the crowds. 

Is there a certification process for your instructors? What does it entail?

Paul: At Rusutsu, we only recruit instructors with an internationally recognized ski/snowboard certifications. We also provide Japanese training and exams via the SAJ (Ski Association of Japan). We require all our international instructors to sit these exams over the course of the season.

The SAJ skiing/snowboarding style is pretty different when compared to some other ski/snowboarding instructor associations, but I think it’s good for instructors to challenge themselves to learn something new. Instructors always tend to enjoy the training and it’s a great way for them to try some basic Japanese phrases they can use on the mountain and bond with Rusutsu’s fantastic Japanese instructors.  

What makes Rusutsu’s International Ski School special?

Rusutsu Resort in Hokkaido known for their beautiful terrain.

Rusutsu Resort in Hokkaido known for their beautiful terrain.

Paul: In recent years, the Rusutsu Resort international school has grown significantly, but we work hard to keep a fun, close, team environment. We organize regular social nights, which create a fun working atmosphere. Also, we try to keep a Japanese feel as almost all other resort staff are Japanese. We encourage our instructors to learn some basic Japanese to get to know the Japanese staff and working culture. I think it’s good for all instructors visiting Japan to get a real authentic Japanese experience.

We have a growing number of returning staff each season, which is great to see. I think happy and highly motivated teams deliver the best lessons. This improves the experience for guests and staff alike.

At Rusutsu all instructors teach exclusively private lessons, which creates a better experience for instructors and clients. Also we provide free accommodations, a season pass and subsidized meals. This helps ensure all our instructors can have a comfortable season even in quiet periods.

Personally, I think the night skiing is pretty special. Our staff accommodation is located right next to the lifts. Even after a busy day at work, I can grab my skis and ski under the lights until 20:00. Last winter some of my deepest turns were after work.

Could you tell us more about Rusutsu’s culture and atmosphere?

Paul: People often describe Rusutsu as an outlandish Disney inspired resort with a great ski area. I think that is a pretty accurate description.  

People often describe Rusutsu as an outlandish Disney inspired resort with a great ski area. I think that is a pretty accurate description.  

Rusutsu is certainly a very unique resort! Before arriving here, it’s hard to imagine skiing through a snow-covered amusement park or seeing a resort with a two-story carousel and numerous animatronic dogs. The great snow, terrain and eccentric resort attractions help to make Rusutsu Resort a truly unique and memorable destination.

In addition to expert powder lovers, the resort caters for exceptionally well for families and beginners, with many activities and attractions catered for non-skiers. Rusutsu is popular year-round destination with a large amusement park, four, 18-hole golf courses and many seasonal events and attractions.

Why do you think Rusutsu’s has been so successful?

Paul: Rusutsu has long been popular with Japanese guests; however, in recent years it has become renowned as one of the world’s best power destinations.  Increased international exposure has certainly helped it develop a strong global reputation. In the last few seasons, Rusutsu has welcomed numerous pro skiers and snowboarders, filming their latest edits. It’s great to see pro athletes in January waiting the lift lines skiing and the same terrain.

I think for experts, Rusutsu has one of the best snow records in the world. The world renowned Hokkaido powder combined with a modern, efficient lift system and no crowds mean lift lines are rare and it’s easy to get fresh tracks. Rusutsu is also one of Hokkaidos largest ski areas with a large amount of varied terrain spread over three interconnected mountains. Recently, the management’s progressive attitude to side-country/tree skiing has really helped Rusutsu gain international acclaim and popularity.

For beginners and families the resort has great learning facilities, ski in/ski out convenience, a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities/attractions all conveniently located in one place. In the last 5-10 years we have seen a significant increase in guests from South East Asia and China learning to ski/snowboard in Rusutsu. Soft snow, wide gentle terrain and friendly international instructors have helped convert many first time skiers/snowboarders into winter addicts who return every season.

 

 

62% of Lesson and Booking Requests Are Made After Regular Business Hours

We may still be in the beginning stages of summer, but as we know, many of our true powder loving guests are often thinking a few months ahead into the beautiful snowy season. Why wouldn’t we start capitalizing now on these thoughts, or set up technology to help us do so?

Sounds great, but how do we do this? We’ve outlined a few suggestions that should make its way into the industry and that promote early booking to benefit both resorts and customers.  We hope this can be a conversation-starting summer series of best practices across various industries that can be implemented into your business to satisfy customers while promoting early bookings.

Part I: Mobile Booking

Approximately 62% of the requests made through our system of our availability and concierge requests for lessons occur after operating hours
— Snowvation

The ski industry may take an example from the hotel industry. Many industry leaders there have made the transition over to booking applications to keep customers engaged in real-time and capitalize on the exclusive deals offered to those who use the app. For example, Expedia reported that their mobile bookings, either by app or mobile-friendly website, continue on an upward trend and now encompass around 75% of their users.

Without a mobile platform optimized for on-the-go use, it is easy to put off booking a reservation until closer to the season or even worse, never. Let’s imagine we were able to do this in the ski industry?  Can we imagine how much easier our lives would be if we saw that 75% of our transactions didn’t need human interaction and could be done on a guest’s mobile device?

We think this has a huge potential, and we already see it. At Snowvation, for the 2016-17 season, approximately 62% of the requests made through our system of our availability and concierge requests for lessons occur after operating hours.  What’s more, 36.7% of our guest usage was on a mobile device (We’ll get to the other 63% later in this series).  The future is now.

Regardless if you use our platform or not, you can provide them with a solution.  Here are just a few tips that you can implement now on our site for free (or pretty darn close to it) to make your operations more mobile friendly.

  1. Ensure your website is responsive, or friendly for mobile devices.  Specifically, enabling abilities to book tickets and secure lodging all from the same platform.  If you are in a redesign and want an awesome free responsive template, check Bootstrap (We use it here at Snowvation).
  2. Offer a quick form for people to leave information and have your reservation staff use them for call back lead generation.  
If you want, steal ours here that we use to generate email-based leads in our SV Link Product.

If you want, steal ours here that we use to generate email-based leads in our SV Link Product.

By thinking mobile first, we can get closer to that 75% of the world that the travel industry has already catered to. The time to go mobile is now and by implementing these tips, your resort can be well on the way to success in this market.

 
 
 

Article by Faarah Ameerally, Marketing & Sales Intern

ShredBetter Crosses 5,000 Users & Launches ShredBetter Award Levels, a New Standard for Instructor Status

DENVER, COLORADO (March 28, 2017) - The 2016-17 ski & snowboard season is winding down and ShredBetter.com is pleased to announce ShredBetter Award Levels, the creation of a 2017-2018 ShredBetter Global Team, and our end of season metrics and numbers.

We are excited to announce that ShredBetter continues to be the world’s largest online platform for ski & snowboard instructor booking, profiles, reviews, ratings, and more. As of today’s release, 5,153 instructors and consumers utilize all of our 100% free functionality including digital progress cards, robust profiles, pictures, video & movement analysis of clients, reviews, ratings, and more.  What’s more, over 1,100 resort lessons have been facilitated through our platform and generated new revenue to over 20 resorts worldwide.

ShredBetter Awards for 2017-18: Starting in the 2017-18 season, ShredBetter is pleased to launch our ShredBetter Award Level and points system for all instructors on the platform. This new robust system of levels and points creates a new way for consumers looking to find the best instructors around the world. Based on a point system comprised of positive reviews, progress cards sent, bookings requested, and more, ShredBetter will reward instructors for embracing technology to facilitate the guest experience.  Points are awarded as follows:

Starting with our ShredBetter Diamond Level, to ShredBetter Double Diamond and Triple Diamond, consumers will have a new status quo to look for when searching for the best ski & snowboard instructor at any resort. ShredBetter instructors will automatically receive status upon meeting the minimum thresholds for each level. Additionally, all levels of ShredBetter Diamond Instructors will be featured at the top of their respective mountain pages. And, of course there will be plenty of swag to go along!

ShredBetter Global Team: We are delighted to announce the creation of the ShredBetter Global Team. The members of our Global Team represent the best of the best, having received 100s of 5-star reviews, 100s of progress cards sent, and countless booking requests all through ShredBetter.com and via our partner resorts websites. Our Global Team will be featured on the homepage of ShredBetter and will receive recognition at the 2017 NSAA National Show. Additionally, the Global Team will be a part of the ongoing enhancement of ShredBetter’s student level system, ratings and review metrics, digital progress card features, and more. Our Global Team represents ski & snowboard instructors from all corners of the world who are leaders in teaching, skiing & riding, and modern digital engagement. Stay tuned to hear the announcement of our ten 2017-18 ShredBetter Global Team members in the next few weeks.

We always want to hear from you! Contact us anytime, info@snowvation.com.

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About ShredBetter

ShredBetter is the leading platform to find, rate, and review ski and snowboard instructors. Founded in 2013 by Mike Ma and Brian Morgan, ShredBetter.com has grown to a community of over 5,000 instructors and users who have shared thousands of reviews and progress cards with each other to improve guests’ on-snow experience.

About Snowvation Inc.

Snowvation, founded in 2015, strives to grow the ski & snowboard industry by leveraging modern day technologies to help resorts adapt to the changing consumer. Snowvation offers an innovative cloud software to enhance the guest experience at ski & snowboard resorts and to streamline resort operations and processes. Snowvation is the parent company of ShredBetter.

China’s Top Ski Resort Partners With Snowvation

DENVER, COLORADO x ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA (October 9, 2016) — China’s top ski resort, Genting Secret Garden Resort, is improving guests’ ski school experiences with innovative technology. The host of the 2021 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships and Beijing 2022 Olympic Venue has partnered with Snowvation, which has revolutionized the ski and snowboard industry by offering resorts groundbreaking software to streamline all aspects of their ski school management and better engage guests and instructors.

"Genting Secret Garden is very excited to integrate Snowvation’s technology into our operational model,” said Erin O’Hara, Mountain Vice General Manager of the resort, located 100 miles outside of Beijing. “Providing world-class customer service is a key driver to our success. Snowvation’s cloud software enables our ski school to operate at a world class level.”

The adoption of this software couldn’t have come at a better time. China’s ski market is rapidly growing. In fact, the there are more than 12 million skiers in China with annual growth reaching 25 percent.

“Being able to leverage a cutting edge platform like Snowvation’s booking platform allows our marketing and sales efforts to reach their full potential,” O’Hara said. “Ski school is a major source for our operational revenue and our instructors spend the most time with our guests. Therefore, having a platform like Snowvation’s allows our instructors to engage with our guests much more professionally and organized than before.  It’s a true customer-centric model that we were looking for. "

Snowvation, founded in 2015, is growing the ski and snowboard industry by leveraging modern day technologies to help resorts like Genting Secret Garden better accommodate and communicate with today’s customers. With innovative cloud software, it enhances guest experiences and streamlines resort operations and processes.

“We’re thrilled to work with Erin and his team at Genting Secret Garden to help offer their guests a world class experience on and off the snow with our technology, at a particularly exciting time as the Chinese ski industry continues to see growth soar,” said Michael Stocker, CEO at Snowvation.

Snowvation Partners with First Japanese Snow School

DENVER, COLORADO (July 5, 2016) — Skiers and snowboarders visiting the Niseko, Japan area can now, among other benefits, instantly book lessons in real time with Niseko Wow Snowsports School.

Snowvation, which offers resorts innovative cloud software to streamline all aspects of ski school management, recently partnered with Niseko Wow to be the first Japanese snow school using the platform. Niseko Wow will utilize the full platform, which Snowvation offers to optimize scheduling, reporting, inventory management, sales and ecommerce, and customer relationship management.

“The quality of the Snowvation platform will not only help our Snowsports School grow, it will scale with us, and handle a greater number of bookings with incredible ease. We’re delighted to be on board” said Patrick Lyon, General Manager of Niseko Wow. “The ease of use of the platform will make the guest’s booking experience as simple and painless as possible. The advanced scheduling system will in turn make coordinating these bookings with instructors a breeze.”

The partnership will greatly improve skiers’ and snowboarders’ experiences when searching for and booking lessons in Japan, as well as dramatically transform guests’ experiences at Niseko Wow.

"I couldn’t be more excited about our first partnership in Japan being with our friends at Niseko Wow” said Scot Ennis, Chief Growth Officer of Snowvation. “Niseko Wow needed to move on from legacy systems and chose Snowvation within one week of seeing our demo. They needed the hassle of scheduling eliminated and a seamless ecommerce experience. Customers will now be able to book lessons directly through Niseko Wow’s website with their chosen instructor. By partnering with Niseko Wow, we can now deliver a best-of-breed e-commerce experience to the skiing and riding public in Japan.”

“Niseko Wow’s ultimate goal is to provide the most amazing holidays possible on snow. Thanks to Snowvation, that process can begin months before the guests even arrive” said Lyon. With the most innovative fully cloud and mobile optimized platform in the industry, reserving a lesson takes seconds and snow school directors can manage their operations and reservations from their smartphone.

Snowvation is partnering with resorts around the world to enhance the guest, instructor, and management experience with state of the art cloud software.

The 2 Major Reasons Why Millennial Participation is Weak in the Ski Industry

The goal here is to point out constant problems facing the ski & snowboard industry in engaging with the Millennial generation, and to offer some solutions.

Last June, the New York Times published a fantastic read: Oh, to Be Young, Millennial, and So Wanted by Marketers. I reflected on this report for quite awhile and often share it whenever I find myself discussing Millennials with others. The article correctly points out just how desperate, confused, and frustrated many marketers are in trying to engage their company or industry with the Millennial generation. Having spent the last year working in the ski & snowboard market as a Millennial, I discovered that this paradigm holds astoundingly true for our industry. Millennial is a buzz word everywhere, but it's such a frequent topic of discussion in the ski industry that entire panels and seminars at industry conventions have been dedicated to understanding the 18-35 year old. At the heart of the discussion: why is Millennial participation so weak in the ski & snowboard industry? While in some ways I would consider myself a ski industry insider, I still feel like an outsider in most ways. As an outsider, there seem to be two overwhelming reasons for the challenges resorts face in engaging with this generation: inefficient technology and a lack of transparency, variability, and justification in pricing.

One of the most common numbers we cite at Snowvation, as RRC Associates first reported, is that Millennials are skiing or snowboarding just 5 days a season on average whereas Baby Boomers are participating about 10 days on average per season. It becomes abundantly clear how problematic this will become as Baby Boomers drop out of the sport and are replaced by the half-as-engaged Millennial. The first major shortcoming has to be attributed to technology and e-commerce. It’s no secret within the industry that our technology and software has inhibited the guest experience for years, but that problem is exacerbated for Millennials. This is where I may start to sound like your average arrogant, lazy, self-centered Millennial, but please reserve judgement! I grew up helping my family book vacations as a teenageer. It was so easy for me to hop on Expedia and arrange our travel plans by the time I was 16. By the time I was 18, I could book dinner from my phone or laptop. By the time I was 19, I could get a car service from my phone. At this rate, Amazon may be delivering groceries with drones before a guest can book a ski lesson from their smartphone.

Before I became involved in the ski industry, I recall trying to plan a multi-day multi-resort trip with a friend, just over a year ago. My experience in booking the trip was incredibly challenging and drastically different at every resort. At many resorts, there was nothing I could do sans picking up the phone and dialing a resort agent. By the way, this is an agent who is being paid to do what a computer or software could do for free. At other resorts, I had some level of an e-commerce experience but it was either tedious, time consuming, or incomplete. Resorts are certainly complicated with many products and more nuances to their processes than a hotel or restaurant. However the e-commerce experience and process effectively makes it seem as though my lesson, lift ticket, and hotel are each occurring at different ski resorts. My skiing buddy was aiming to take a private lesson at one resort on our trip. We visited this resort’s website, and found their online booking tool for private lessons. Great! We clicked through, and discovered it was simply a chat box with someone at the resort. We opened the chat box, asked to book a private lesson, and we were given an 800 number. Keep in mind, this was a world-class resort.

Now let’s talk about part two of the problem: pricing. Many Millennials reached adulthood during the Great Recession. We are deal hunters and we are used to having complete information, many options, and many deals when making purchases. While this could be dismissed as purely anecdotal, I will never visit a restaurant or hotel without first visiting Yelp, TripAdvisor, or a similar platform. I can assure you that most Millennials rely on these sites more than one would think. But, let’s not forget, it’s not just Millennials who have come to rely on these platforms. All generations possess new expectations as consumers. The biggest expectation may be transparency and justification. If CUT at the Beverly Wilshire wants to charge $70 for a steak, I am going to read at least 5-10 reviews to make sure that this is going to be one hell of a steak! To draw a parallel to the ski industry, if a resort is looking to charge up to $1,000 for a full day of private instruction, the Millennial (or any) consumer absolutely wants to know exactly what this product is. Who is the instructor? Who is the best instructor for me? Why does the ski school get to pick the best instructor for me? Why is the most popular instructor at Resort A, with all his PSIA certifications, and a background teaching around the world, charged the same exact price as the average part timer? But let’s leave that for a separate discussion (bottom line, instructors should be dynamically priced). Great, now that I have decided to book my $900 private lesson with Patrick, why is it so damn hard to actually buy it!? Millennials spend money; there is no doubt about it. It’s well known that our generation prefers to spend the big bucks on experiences, traveling, and events, rather than items, like cars or houses. Sure, that might not be the most wise decision, but it’s what we do! As a resort owner or operator, this should be embraced! Millennials are willing to pay up, but the product needs to be clear, justified, and most importantly, easy to purchase.

Millennial rant over. Now that I’ve completed my daily dose of complaining and portrayed that classic Millennial sense of entitlement, let’s talk about some solutions. First, the e-commerce and technological infrastructure at resorts needs a total overhaul. Forget about another face lift or band-aid solution, throw everything out and start from scratch. That might seem like a daunting task, but technology is meant to make our lives easier. The first couple of times I used Uber was a rough around the edges (probably for the driver too). However, it didn’t take long to figure it out as a customer, and for Uber to figure it out as a startup. The pieces eventually come together, and I’m a firm believer that the value of new technology far outweighs the initial headaches that come along with it.

Getting back to ski specific solutions, let’s create one streamlined process where I, as the guest, can keep my total click count below say 15.  I can do everything from my iPhone, and I can get that instant gratification which every Millennial desires. I can visit my resort’s website, decide I want a private lesson, and meet all the Pros at the resort online. When I find my desired instructor, I can see her exact availability up to the minute for my upcoming visit next weekend. By the way, that gets rid of the tired customer service agents managing the phones all day and taking away from your bottom line. I can book my instructor for a 2 hour lesson at 1:00 PM. I know what she looks like, I know what she excels at, and even more revolutionary, she might even know something about me before I get there! What’s the benefit here? Not only are we simplifying and streamlining the process, we’re also creating a deeper relationship between the guest and the resort.  Further, we’re increasing the chance for repeat visits, more spending on lessons, more tips and kickers for the instructor, and higher employee morale! Yes, this is one very specific fix with finite benefits, but it’s symbolic of how much opportunity the industry has to innovate.

We can’t boil the ocean with technology, but over time we can make meaningful and lasting improvements internally and externally. It might seem like a risk, but all it takes is the willingness to let go of a few antiquated ski industry processes at a time. Let’s adapt to today’s consumer, the Millennial, and together we can grow the sport we all love.

Snowvation Acquires Leading Ski & Snowboard School Platform ShredBetter

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Addition of ShredBetter creates industry’s first turnkey ski school management and e-commerce solution

DENVER, COLORADO (April 26, 2016) — Skiers and snowboarders have come to depend on ShredBetter.com to find, rate and review instructors. Now, skiers and snowboarders also will be able to use the platform to book lessons — revolutionizing the ski and snowboard industry.

Snowvation, which offers resorts innovative cloud software to streamline all aspects of their ski school management, recently acquired ShredBetter. Skiers and snowboarders can continue to access instructor reviews and ratings via ShredBetter.com. Resorts also will be able to offer lessons through the website.

 

“We believe leveraging technology is the best way for the ski industry to engage with the changing behavior of today’s consumer” said Michael Stocker, CEO of Snowvation. “Snowvation and ShredBetter’s partnership modernizes resort and guest processes in a seamless way.”

 

The partnership will greatly improve skiers’ and snowboarders’ experiences when searching for and booking lessons, as well as dramatically transform guests’ experiences at resort ski schools.

 

"As both an entrepreneur and an active instructor, I've seen a great need for modernizing the technology of today's ski school,” said Mike Ma, Business Founder of ShredBetter. “By partnering with Snowvation, we can deliver a best-of-breed e-commerce experience to the skiing and riding public.”

 

ShredBetter was founded by Ma and Brian Morgan, Technical Founder.  In addition, its look, feel, and logo was created by designer, Allison Malcom-Carroll. Ma and Morgan, who both have strong entrepreneurial and technical backgrounds, will continue to serve as Senior Operating Advisors at Snowvation.

 

"The combination of ShredBetter's front-end instructor and guest experience with Snowvation's enterprise scheduling and ski school management solutions will provide resorts and guests with a state-of-the-art, easy-to-deploy, end-to-end solution," Morgan said.

 

The new partners will be at the National Ski Areas Association Convention, held in Nashville, Tennessee, May 18-21.

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About ShredBetter

ShredBetter is the leading platform to find, rate, and review ski and snowboard instructors. Founded in 2013 by Mike Ma and Brian Morgan, ShredBetter.comhas grown to a community of over 500 instructors and 1,000 guests who have shared over 400 reviews and 500 progress cards with each other to improve guests’ on-snow experience.

 

About Snowvation

Snowvation, founded in 2015, strives to grow the ski & snowboard industry by leveraging modern day technologies to help resorts adapt to the changing consumer. Snowvation offers an innovative cloud software to enhance the guest experience at ski & snowboard resorts and to streamline resort operations and processes.