Story by Mike Doble – [email protected]
Wednesday, August 22nd had the feel of a typical SkiNC / SkiSoutheast day in the middle of a normal winter. Not only is our design team hustling to deliver on an 11th hour request of mine to provide us a new look for the website; we are working to open a SkiSoutheast "headquarters" complete with a new staff of people to man it. More about that in a moment.
My day started off with Joe Stevens calling me to advise me that there had been a West Virginia Ski Areas Association meeting last week and all of the participants were pumped to work even more heavily and interactively with SkiSoutheast for this coming season. He and I have also been speaking about a plan to potentially bring in Herb Stevens (the Skiing Weatherman formerly of SnoCountry) as a part of our team. I also communicated with our own meteorologist of regional fame – Brad Panovich to see if we can reunite with Brad to get him more involved this season.
Later Wednesday morning and then again for an hour or so yesterday afternoon Herb Stevens and I spoke at length and we’ve agreed to bring him on board in SOME fashion this season. We’ve got to get the details ironed out, but we fully expect to be getting his content which is always informative and entertaining. For those unaware, Herb Stevens has been delivering national ski weather reporting for television stations nationwide for more than a couple of decades. Herb calls Rhode Island home and he’s one of the original on-air personalities when the WEATHER CHANNEL debuted back in 1982. Ski and snowboarding buffs will recognize Herb as a skiing aficionado who has been delivering his weekly forecasts for ski resorts in the Northeast and nationwide for years. His immediate to long range forecasts are far more reliable than most anything you’ll normally find elsewhere and we’re excited to be collaborating with Herb for the upcoming season as part of our content staff.
Herb’s focus for us will be the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski resort communities, however for those looking to head further north and west, he will provide some valuable content to make more informed choices.
Our plan is to hopefully have a weather team of sorts that consists of Brad Panovich, Herb Stevens AND our own staff meteorologist Kenny Griffin to form what will have to be the best weather prognosticators this side of the Pacific…at least as far as a ski web presence is concerned. Who would have "thunk it", huh?
We’ll certainly be talking about that a bit more in the coming days and weeks.
While we are at it we’ll certainly be picking this team’s brains about how they feel this winter will go in terms of cold and snow. We’ll give them a little more time before putting the pressure on them to deliver!
I also heard from Kenny Hess from Massanutten Resort yesterday and we’re excited to share that Massanutten Resort will be installing ANOTHER (a second) LIVE STREAMING camera on the slopes. Massanutten will be taking their marketing plans with SkiSoutheast up a peg this season, which is great to hear.
We’ll be bragging about this more soon, but we JUST installed a new video deliver server that is THE SWEETEST server you can purchase and we’ve set it up on a 1GIG per SECOND connection which should deliver those snowflakes in HD to all interested in hitting the cams this season. There should be NO MORE maxing out this system.
…all of this and we’re still in August!
A SNEAK PEAK AT OUR NEW LOOK…
Here’s a link to nothing more than a flat IMAGE of what we’re working on for the new website.
When you’re done looking around, you’ll want to come back here and drop me an email with your thoughts of the new logo display and fonts, etc. Email me your thoughts, comments and suggestions to: [email protected]
They will be appreciated as we are still in the creative stages of the design and would love your input.
The idea is hopefully to deliver WHAT OUR VISITORS are looking for quicker and clearer. You’ll notice that we’ve taken the ski resort links off the front page. Those looking for resort information will simply click on "The Resorts" to get more indepth information of "what’s new", slope offerings, etc.
NEW FOR THIS SEASON
While we will provide information on all resorts, and while we will provide up-to-date snow reporting for all ski areas, we will ONLY be promoting the resorts who are partnering with us exclusively. You WILL notice the difference when we go LIVE. After sixteen years, we think we’ve proven our worthiness to promote and deliver traffic and from now on we’ll try to disperse the bulk of our traffic to those who appreciate what we do around here. Enough said.
Also you’ll notice that we are making a more dedicated effort to promote our advertisers that come in the form of lodging, dining, ski equipment and more. While we’ll still have all of the things such as videos, photos and daily writing updates – we want to more directly promote those who are helping us bring you this important content. Our vacation planner and links to lodging, equipment rentals and providers will be more prominent.
WE WANT MORE OF YOU GUYS INVOLVED…
A few years ago I probably received anywhere from 100-1000 photos a day from some dedicated skiers and snowboarders who provided tens of thousands of images each season showing how the slopes and trails looked on their visit to their favorite hills. Many of these were frequent skiers and riders; some were ski patrol at the various resorts and others were semi-regulars and season pass holders at their beloved hills. At one point we had some 150+ volunteer reporters who provided trip reports and more. This information, along with the ski area’s input and reports provides a wealth of helpful information so that we all know what to expect before ever heading to the slopes.
We’ll be recruiting many from the past and those of you who would like to be a part of this network to provide that sort of insight to the masses. We’ll reward the best and try to grow that network this season. If you’re interested in reporting and sending photos this season – drop me an email at [email protected]
We’re REINSTATING the GIVEAWAYS! WOOHOO!
Over the last few seasons we’ve just been really so busy that we simply have not given away many of the freebie lift tickets and cabin rentals that we’ve had at our disposal. I know it sounds crazy but the resorts and our clients have freely provided a ton for us to giveaway and we’ve just not gotten around to it. That will change this season. We’ll be sharing more about that in the coming weeks!
We’re currently strategizing the where and how we’re doing all of this, but the plan is to open up some space dedicated solely for the purpose of coordinating and supporting all of this new content delivery. We’re trying to implement a staff of five or six of us that will be tasked with communicating and delivering the best of the best. We’ll have some "part timers" who will deliver some content (weather, etc) and we’ll hope to recruit enough volunteers who will help us tie it all together. As many as nine people will be involved daily-weekly to HOPEFULLY make us an even more interesting place to visit online each and every day. All of this will be housed in a dedicated SkiSoutheast Headquarters.
So it’s an exciting time for us here at SkiSoutheast.com. We hope you’ll spread the news to visit us often. To make all of this possible we’ll be implementing a dedicated sales & marketing staff who will be contacting businesses regionally to generate the revenue to pull this all together. If you HAVE SALES EXPERIENCE and would like to find out more about how to earn money promoting something that you love…then email me your resume or details at [email protected] . Be sure to include your phone number. We’re running some ads and will hit the ground running no later than mid September.
Whew! That’s it for now.
Remember to have a look at the prototype and give us your input: http://www.skisoutheast.com/2012_2013_Prototype.htm