On May 24, 2017

Powdr restructuring; acquisitions focus on adventure lifestyle

By Karen D. Lorentz

Powdr, Killington and Pico’s parent company since 2007, has restructured and is expanding — this time with its first foray outside the U.S. with the licensing of the Woodward Riviera Maya facility at the Hard Rock Hotel in Cancùn, Mexico. A Woodward in the Dominican Republic and one in Park City, Utah, are in the planning stages, according to Powdr spokesperson Jennifer Rudolph.

Rudolph also noted that when Powdr recently rebranded, “Corp.” was dropped from the former official name Powdr Corp. and a descriptor/tag line of “Adventure Lifestyle Co.” was adopted.

Powdr’s restructuring of the corporate team reflects the expansive and diversified focus the company has increasingly taken since 2008 when it acquired Outside TV, which just won a Sports Emmy Award for outstanding camera work on its original series Image Quest.

Restructuring and diversification

Wade Martin, who joined the company in 2013 to head Powdr’s new Enterprises division, was named chief revenue officer with duties focused on a new internal marketing agency, as well as all business development efforts as continuing president of Powdr Enterprises. Martin described the change as creating “a centralized revenue team” that Powdr previously did not have.

The new marketing services division he oversees is headed by Megan Fearnow  and Mietra Beyer, both formerly of Factory Design Labs. They work closely with Martin to implement the Enterprises strategy of growth and integration, Rudolph said.

Key to building an event, media and sponsorship business, in 2015 Powdr Enterprises acquired Human Movement Management, an active entertainment and event company that produces running races, festivals, triathlons, obstacle races, and outdoor events, including events like the inaugural 2017 Under Armour Mountain Running Series this August at Killington and Killington’s Witchcraft Festival, which is expanding to two October weekends at Killington this year.

In 2015 Powdr Enterprises also announced a strategic brand partnership with Boyne Resorts, an alliance bringing together the corporate partnership rights of the two largest privately-owned and operated companies in the mountain sports industry with a goal “to provide

brand partners to reach mountain sports and active lifestyle consumers through the combined reach and influence of 19 authentic mountain resorts across North America,”

The reorganized corporate structure also includes two executive vice presidents: Tim Brennwald, who is also COO in charge of the ski resorts, and Jody Churich, who is COO of Woodward, Powdr’s youth-focused snow and action sports programs.

Justin Sibley is the new chief financial officer of Powdr Adventure Lifestyle Co. and oversees administrative, financial, and risk-management operations as well as the ongoing development of financial and operational strategies. Sibley joined Powdr in 2014 after working as finance director at  Backcountry.com and previously at eBay, Inc.

Since the founding of Powdr in 1993, chairman, CEO, and President of Powdr Adventure Lifestyle Co. John Cumming has been focused on creating great mountain and outdoor experiences—hiking, biking, river rafting as well as snow sports—that include opportunities for kids to engage in learning and fun through sports. He recently led the initiative to define the company’s core values and generate strategies in the restructuring.

Known for its eight mountain ski resorts—Copper, Killington, Pico, Mt. Bachelor, Boreal, Soda Springs, Lee Canyon and Eldora as well as Gorgoza Park, a tubing and kids’ snow activities park in Utah, Powdr has adapted to a changing ski industry scene and evolved into an “adventure lifestyle company” with a mission to deliver memorable experiences, enhance people’s lives and have fun doing it.” This can also be seen in the revamped website (www.powdr.com) and the recent rebranding of Woodward, Rudolph noted.

“Having gone through significant transformation and diversification over the years, identifying Powdr as an adventure lifestyle company aligned with our growth trajectory and the kind of company we’ve become. Today, Powdr’s portfolio of experiential businesses includes mountain resorts and destinations, media production and distribution, the Woodward youth lifestyle and action-sports programs and facilities, and engaging, experiential events,” Martin told the Mountain Times.

Transformation fuels growth

In 2008 Powdr acquired Outside TV, the only national network dedicated to the active adventure lifestyle.  The network’s programming features a variety of adventure sports, including skiing, surfing and hiking, paired with storylines highlighting locations and top athletes from around the world.  In addition, OutsideTV.com is home to Campfire, where Outsiders gather to share their adventure stories for the chance to win prizes and be featured on OutsideTV, Rudolph explained.

In 2011 Powdr acquired the Woodward, Penn., action camps, having acquired the Woodward Copper camp in its 2009 purchase of Copper, and later acquiring Woodward West (Stallion Springs, Calif.) and Woodward Tahoe (2012) through licensing agreements. The mission to inspire kids “to thrive through creative expression in sport, technology, and music” was updated with “a refreshed marketing approach to the company’s image and experience offerings, which includes an updated tagline “Built by Woodward” as well as a new logo, “stepping out of the box.” New creative for advertising and new digital properties were launched at the end of March, Rudolph noted.

In June 2016 Powdr acquired Sun Country Tours, an award-winning river adventure outfitter and tour operator based in Bend, Ore. Operations fell under nearby near Mt. Bachelor oversight, thereby expanding Powdr’s recreation options to include river rafting, standup paddle boarding, and tubing.

Powdr’s latest ski acquisition of Eldora in Colorado also occurred in June 2016.

Powdr has become one of the largest ski resort operators in North America — the resorts do 3.5 million visits annually, summer included. Unlike ski conglomerates, Powdr focuses on winter and summer mountain offerings and active lifestyle sports and does not develop real estate.

This focus differentiates the company in an increasingly consolidated resort market, and the continued expansion into year-round activities and events also helps to position Killington in a uniquely competitive position that fits well with its “Beast of the East” moniker.

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