TELLURIDE - The Telluride Ski and Golf Resort announced several updates for the 2013-14 ski season this week. Here’s your guide to what’s in store for the 2013-2014 season:
Back to the Future:
The Telluride Ski Resort is changing its tagline for the upcoming season. The resort chose “The Most Beautiful Place You’ll Ever Ski” as the tagline that encompasses Telluride’s brand, and which will now be used on all marketing materials. The new tagline replaces the previous “Unmatched in North America” slogan.
“This year we are focusing on our natural surroundings, an aspect our guests truly appreciate and value,” said Tom Watkinson, director of the resort’s public relations and communications. The resort considered other taglines, he said, including “Discover the Gold” and “ Discover the Good Life.”
“The Most Beautiful Place You’ll Ever Ski” was a marketing tagline used by Telski in the 1990s.
The Telluride Ski Resort, the Telluride Tourism Board and the Colorado Flights Alliance are working together to increase visitors traveling by plane to the Montrose and Telluride airports, long a goal of all three organizations.
“A major challenge of being located in the box canyon is that it’s difficult for a lot of Americans to access the ski resort because of its remoteness and long proximity from airport hubs,” said Chuck Horning, president and CEO of the resort.
The Colorado Flights Alliance, an organization with a goal of increasing aviation passenger traffic through the Telluride and Montrose airports, recently announced flight service increases for the winter. Montrose will offer direct, round-trip flights from Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Dallas and Houston. Great Lakes Airlines will continue to offer flights to and from Telluride and Denver.
“Last year’s solid performance put us in a good position to add to our flights this winter, and the new Allegiant Service from LAX will be a great addition for our guests and locals alike,” said Matt Skinner, chief operating officer of Colorado flights. “We’re looking forward to a great season, and to exploring further flight expansion option for our two airports.”
Michael Martelon, president and CEO of the Telluride Tourism Board, which works closely with the resort to market the destination, added, “The airlines are very data-oriented, and we’ve got the content to present our case to enable them to make informed decisions.”
While increasing the number of flights through the two airports is vital to increasing options for consumers and regional residents, all three organizations will work effectively to fill each flight, increasing the efficiency of the service and bring more tourism revenue to Telluride and the region.
Martelon said that advances in digital marketing techniques enable the tourism board to inch closer to increasing occupancy levels on flights to the region.
“We’ve never been able to market to people on this level in terms of the data we collect, and how we can use that to pinpoint individuals in our target markets, he said.
Telluride Ski Resort Executive Vice President Jeff Proteau said the resort is focusing more of its marketing and sales resources to attracting group sales, like the Young Presidents Organization, an organization of young corporate presidents that will return this season for a week of skiing, entertainment and conferences.
For a winter flight map and schedule, visit www.coloradoflights.org/schedule.
According to Horning, the biggest capital improvement for this winter will be found beneath skis and snowboards. The company invested $1 million on snowmaking and grooming operations, updating snowmaking infrastructure and purchasing new snow guns., The impact, according to the new snowmaking director Brandon Green, will be a system that creates “more snow faster, cheaper and with less waste.”
Green has also increased the size of the snowmaking system by positioning snow guns on Butterfly trail above the Gorrono Ranch Restaurant and on a part of Village Bypass. Snowmaking is scheduled to begin in late October, and will continue, at the latest, until February, with snowmaking crews working 12-hour shifts, 24-hours hours a day.
Once the snow is on the ground and ready to ski, the mountain has improved its ability to groom the snow-covered trails. The resort has purchased three new Sno-Cats, one of them so advanced, Horning said, “it is the best machine as far as I’m concerned.”
Combined, the snowmaking and grooming improvements cost the mountain $2 million, according to Horning, but will go a long way in creating more, better snow earlier in the season. Without hosting the World Cup event this year, the manmade snow will not need to be used to build a snowboard course, and can be distributed across the mountain.
The resort has renamed its Ophir Loop trail ‘Stormin’ Norman,’ after Norman Schwarzkopf, a local resident and renowned four-star general who led coalition and American forces in the Persian Gulf War. Schwarzkopf, who lived in the Ski Ranches outside Mountain Village, died in December 2012 following a bout of pneumonia.
Horning recalled Schwarzkopf as “a good friend and an even better poker player,” adding that he remembered how the general saluted soldiers at the Telluride Fourth of July Celebration each year he attended.
Season pass holders at Telluride will now be able to use Solitude Mountain Resort outside Salt Lake City. Solitude boasts 500 inches of snow annually and covers 1200 acres, 65 trails and three bowls.
Telluride season passholders will be able to ski both earlier and later in the season, as Solitude opens November 14 and closes April 20, although both resorts will have blackout dates for the exchange from December 26-31. Telluride pass holders also receive the added benefits of ten percent off on-mountain food and beverage and 10 percent off resort lodging at Solitude.
“This opportunity allows Telluride pass holders to check out what’s happening in Utah and Utah skiers to experience the best Colorado has to offer,” said Heidi Lauterbach, sponsorship manager for Telluride Ski Resort. “This partnership of two unique resorts brings the best of skiing together,” she added.