Friday, December 18, 2015

Ski Resorts & Social Media: The EpicMix Case of Study (6)

On February 2015, Vail Resorts announced a new feature for its award-winning, multi-channel app, EpicMix. EpicMix Challenges will allow skiers and riders to throw down the gauntlet and compete with friends and family to complete on-mountain challenges at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge or Keystone in Colorado, Canyons in Park City, Utah, Heavenly, Northstar or Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe, Afton Alps in Minnesota or Mt. Brighton in Michigan.
Using the RFID chip embedded in season passes and day tickets, EpicMix Challenges gathers stats and tracks guests as they enjoy the mountain, and lets guests compete for achievements and share them on social media. For example, the Mile High Challenge is earned by skiing 5,280 vertical feet in a day at a single resort. The participants can track their progress against one another even if they’re skiing different resorts.
"EpicMix Challenges will provide a new, fun, competitive way for guests to experience our resorts", said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. "There is a challenge for every type of guest based on their real-life achievements to take at their preferred pace. While it’s part of a larger social media trend, there really is nothing like it in the ski industry".
Challenges aren’t only for expert skiers and riders. There is a challenge for guests of all ages and ability levels. Guests log into any one of the various EpicMix channels (app, mobile web, desktop) and select challenges based on difficulty (beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert), type (vertical feet, lift rides, days on mountain) and length (day, multi-day, season). Guests can join public challenges or invite friends and family to join a challenge. Participants can track their own progress in real time throughout the challenge to see what they have left to complete, and can also see how they measure up against friends and family. Participants can post and share the results in Facebook.
Examples of challenges include the 5 Buck Challenge (beginner challenge earned by riding five lifts in a day at a single resort), the 10k Challenge (intermediate challenge earned by skiing 10,000 vertical feet in a day at a single resort), the King of the Hill Challenge (advanced challenge earned by skiing 300,000 vertical feet in a season) and the Vail Conqueror (expert challenge earned by riding all the chairlifts at Vail in a day). 
"Skiing and riding have always been about storytelling, and EpicMix Challenges provides another way for guests to try new adventures, accomplish new things and share those accomplishments with their friends and family", said Lynch.

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