Best & Worst – New England’s ski biz

The ski season is over, and the awards are out. In the ski biz, The SAMMY’s are akin to Hollywood’s Oscar and ESPN’s ESPY awards. Brought to you by SAM, Ski Area Management Magazine, which is the Bible to ski industry peeps, these annual awards recognize the best in the ski industry, giving kudos to creativity and poking fun at campaigns that blew this past snow season.

This year’s SAMMY for leadership and excellence went to, drum roll, the GM at McIntyre. Never heard of McIntyre? It’s a 170′ vertical ski hill in Manchester New Hampshire.


McIntyre’s General Manager Ross Boisvert was honored with a SAMMY for his career at McIntyre from 1984 as a ski instructor, to ski school director, and GM in 2009. SAM lauded Ross for growing lesson programs to over 5,000 students a week, overseeing construction of new lodges, lifts and improved snowmaking. Congrats to Ross Boisvert for putting McIntyre on the map and putting so many NH kids on the slopes!

SAM also reveals the best and worst in ski marketing, call it the SAM and “Slam” list, here are this year’s Eastern winners and losers:

Killington/Pico and Sugarloaf earned kudos for “Best Bring-A-Friend” programs by simply rewarding any veteran skier with a free lift ticket if they brought a beginner.

Wachusett was touted for Best TV ads for their fresh daily, time-stamped ad spots that were short, sweet and more frequent.

Stowe got a big thumbs up for “Biggest Understatement” for their subtle ad stating, “For the few who appreciate the difference between ski trip and life experience.”

Stratton and Bretton Woods meanwhile both got bagged for their print ads – apparently a ski jumping bear and a blurry glade shot don’t cut it.

Smugglers Notch and Jay Peak both got props from their print campaigns that integrated social media and technology. Jay Peak’s “moment(us)” ads featured fan photos and invited readers to submit their photos, and share their “moments.” Smuggs’ iPad style ad with colorful square buttons was engaging and entertaining – with the tagline “more family fun per square inch.”


Killington was noted for “Best Use of Nightlife” for a party scene ad stating “There are 24 happy hours in our day” and the tagline “Release your Beast.” Killington Pass Promo also got raves, especially for opening earliest and exclusively for pass holders on Oct 13 and closing last on May 26.

Snowshoe Mountain was scolded for “silent social media” after Hurricane Sandy dumped serious snow on the West Virginia ski area but no facebook powder updates were provided.

So there’s the best and worst in East Coast spin for ski mountain managers and marketers to reflect on as they plan next year’s hits and misses. See the Western ski resort winners and losers at SAM.

See on the slopes in the fall.


Photo by Greg Burke

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