Karen D. Lorentz posted Oct 10, 2013
“Grow the market” is the rallying cry in the U.S. ski industry, especially with the fear of the baby boomers “aging out.”
But that doesn’t mean that Killington and Pico have forgotten about the “golden oldies” – also known as the ‘mature market’ – who still enjoy being on the hill.
Just the opposite. New this year, those age 80+ can enjoy a season pass for $39.
But how about others under 80 who also have more free time to enjoy life?
In true Killington/Pico fashion, they want all of us, including mature types of all ability levels, to enjoy what mountain snow sports can offer – something few other sports can provide – a chance to come together to socialize and participate in a sport with like-minded folks.
So Rob Megnin, marketing director for Killington Resort and Pico Mountain, Tracy Taylor, director of operations for Pico, and Kelly O’Brien, Killington/Pico marketing manager have put their heads together to develop a 50-plus program at Pico for those with a common interest of staying active and socializing in winter.
O’Brien had received an email asking for such a program; that request dovetailed nicely with the fact that Killington and Pico have a large population of 50+ skiers and riders, and Megnin wants that to continue.
Currently, the Monday program is in the planning stages. Thus far, they would like to offer an opportunity for folks to get together over complimentary coffee and danish to socialize and meet new ski/ride buddies whose companionship they can enjoy on the lift and/or trails.
For those who don’t have season passes, “a very inexpensive lift ticket for a full day of skiing/riding will be offered,” Megnin said. They are also thinking about having guests like Donna Weinbrecht or members of the resorts’ Executive Team chat with and/or ski with folks.
The organizers seek input from those people who might participate in the Mondays at Pico program. Would you like to see presentations? What type of speakers or subjects? Ski related? Music? Art? Cooking? Finance? And if so, when? After lunch? After skiing? First thing in the morning? (and miss all that corduroy – you got to be kidding!)
Or should they just have invited guests socialize in the base lodge and out on the hill? Or do that followed by a presentation for those who would like to stay?
And speaking of lunch, should Pico provide an area for potlucks and crockpots? Or a reasonable lunch to purchase? Main meal or light fare?
What about lessons?
Megnin made it clear that this program is “not about trying to sell anything nor pushing people to get better but rather to champion networking so more people can enjoy the bonding aspects of snow sports.”
That was part of the original appeal of skiing and remains so for many, and it is worth fostering, Megnin said. And as a bonus, the good vibrations that socializing engenders may ultimately help to spread the word and foster a love for the snow among the younger generations – the participants own children and grandchildren or friends.
But what about those who gave up skiing and might like to return?
Megnin said that if that proves an interest or need, providing low-cost equipment and lessons would be doable. Whatever need arises can be accommodated, including if grandparents want a lesson in how to teach their grandkids. But Megnin reiterated that he doesn’t see the program as focused on lessons, rather, it’s about bonding and being a ski-buddy initiator.
So now is the time to let Megnin or Taylor know what you would like to see for “Mondays at Pico.” (I am told they will not “card” so an interested 40-something need not feel excluded in this invite.)
You can email Tracy Taylor at [email protected] or Rob Megnin at [email protected] and for those who still like to pen a letter, send to either or both at Killington and Pico Resorts, 4763 Killington Road, Killington, VT 05751.