Epic Mix’s first season a big success for Vail Resorts | VailDaily.com

Epic Mix’s first season a big success for Vail Resorts

NWS Mnt Travel Symposium 3 DT 4-6-11

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – A new Vail Resorts program has been so successful in its first year that it’s spawned something of a folk hero.

Epic Mix, a social media offshoot of Vail Resorts’ successful Epic Pass, has made “Shawn C” a star because of the number of days he’s skied (140-plus this season), as well as the number of resorts he’s skied, the vertical feet he’s logged and the 60-plus digital pins he’s earned for his feats.

At a Wednesday afternoon Mountain Travel Symposium seminar, Mike Slone of Vail Resorts told a crowded meeting room that people tracking Shawn C’s exploits are just one way Epic Mix is starting to change the way people look at the sport. And it isn’t just younger folks, either.

Slone said that two couples in Summit County – all of whom are well past 70 years old – decided they wanted to earn Epic Mix “conqueror” pins for riding every lift at Keystone in one day.

“They said they’d never even thought of doing that before,” Slone said.

Talking about a day’s exploits on the slopes is nothing new, of course. People have swapped stories since people have gathered at ski areas. What Epic Mix does is give those stories a much, much wider audience.

And that wider audience is the point. As opposed to traditional marketing that relied on advertising types trying to tell people what’s hot, consumers today are far more likely to pay attention to each other, especially if people are participating on Facebook, Twitter or other online outlets.

“It’s an ongoing dialog that builds trust,” Slone said. “It adds value to customers, and customers create more customers.”

That’s why Vail Resorts spent a lot of time and money to get Epic Mix up and running this season. And it’s hard to argue with the results.

Slone told the crowd about having lunch with his family at Empire Burger in Breckenridge.

“A whole table of skiers was talking about Epic Mix,” Slone said. “My wife told them, ‘I skied today with two kids and I skied more than you.'”

And Epic Mix is far from finished, Slone said.

“We’re just getting started,” he said. “Version 2.0 will bring a new mountain (Northstar at Tahoe) and new audiences.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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