I started the SkiNC.com/SkiSoutheast.com network of ski websites back in 1996 out of a love for all things snow. Back then and really through all the fourteen seasons since – I have operated the website on an "information IN is information OUT" basis. That basically means that if a ski area shared information with me, I’d report it. If they didn’t…well you know the rest…
I had to operate that way because while the websites were fun and entertaining to produce, bills had to be paid and food had to be put on the table. What provides me my way of life is web design, hosting and search engine marketing. We’re pretty blessed to work with more than 1200 websites and clients in 34 states and three countries, however that "real job" has dictated more and more hours of face time to keep the flow working efficiently.
My enthusiasm and love for the region prompted me to create "sister websites" to SkiSoutheast.com such as www.HighCountryWebCams.com, www.HighCountryWeather.com as well as covering hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, golf and the myriad other mountain activities and attractions through websites such as www.GolfNorthCarolina.com, www.GolfSC.com, HighCountryOutdoors.com, and numerous others. I tell people daily that we’ve become the "anti-Orville Redenbacher" of marketing. Redenbacher has been quoted as saying, "Find the Thing You Do Better than Everyone Else…" and we seem to be so "all over the place" that it is really difficult to be the best at any one of them.
I am prejudiced, but I feel that we have the best ski web presence east of the Rockies and we certainly have a webcam network that is better than anything else out there in terms of delivering the mountains to the world via live cameras, etc. However those websites could be so much more and we’ve set 2011 as the year that we’re going to take things to a totally different level. That has been a goal for the last couple of years and we’ve only been limitedly successful. While we may be the best in the region…we’re still falling woefully short of all we could be.
That IS the challenge that I have presented to our graphics and marketing staff for 2011. Timing is EVERYTHING and even though we’re just past the midway point in the 2010-2011 season this was a great time to move Kenny Griffin into the role as Communications Director for our ski, weather and webcam network of websites.
Kenny’s a 24 year old snowboarding freak who also happens to hold a degree from UNC Charlotte in Meteorology. When you can dangle a pretty decent weather and snow related network in front of someone like Kenny, it’s like holding a bucket of grain in front of hungry horse. For those unaware – when you dangle a bucket of sweet grain in front of a horse, they’ll pretty much follow you anywhere.
We were able to dangle an audience of 4,827,026 people in front of a young weather and snow enthusiast and the nogotiating was pretty much over in terms of getting Kenny on board. Our regular viewers/readers probably know that Kenny is now the second person that we’ve plugged into that position within the last few months after assigning AppNet staffer, Sarah Davis, that role prior to the beginning of the season. For those concerned, Sarah’s still with us, however she’s become important in other aspects of our daily operation. When Kenny came to us it was simply a perfect fit into the puzzle that is SkiSoutheast.com, HighCountryWeather.com, HighCountryWebCams.com and the other prongs of our tourism outreach.
Last year we began a search for a fresh, young face who happened to love everything to do with skiing, snowboarding, snow, weather, and our mountains. As you might expect, that wasn’t all that hard to find! I think we could have easily interviewed 4,827,026 people for that position. Combining those interests with someone who also had the ability to write, create, communicate and market made the search MUCH more difficult. So Kenny was a refreshing find that we think will bring a pretty cool perspective to the website.
Translation, we’re pretty excited to have Kenny as part of our team as well.
We’ve set some goals for the network of sites for the next year and we’re excited to see how it all unfolds. We think we’ve done a pretty decent job of promoting even without a dedicated marketing and communications staff and now that we’ve added "theKENDOG" to the mix we think you’ll find that we’re better able to maintain a more interactive relationship with our growing audience.
Kenny says, "I love all aspects of weather and it (the network of websites) is a perfect field for me as it goes hand in hand with my favorite activity…SNOWBOARDING! I have only been boarding for about four or five years now but in that time I have become completely addicted to it and am hooked for life."
Kenny shared that he used to be a total beach bum and even lived on Wrightsville Beach for a few years before visiting the High Country for the first time. He shared this all-too-familiar sentiment, "Now, I can’t get enough of the mountains. I am excited to be up here now and can’t wait to explore all that the region has to offer."
"I discovered this website a few years back and visited it on a daily basis. I lurked on the messageboard for a while before becoming actively involved and have met some very cool people because of it. Needless to say, I am VERY stoked to be a part of the team and I think I have a unique insight into what people want from the site as I used to be on the outside looking in.
I’m sure some people who are reading this have seen me on the mountain before. I am frequently at Beech Mountain and it’s not hard to spot me, as I usually have a camera on my head. I love to document my days on snow and have posted some videos on the messageboard before. If you ever see me out there, feel free to say hey!
Kenny joined our staff to take over the daily snow reporting and FirsTrax column as well as handling the communications with the ski resort management and marketing people. He’s also our resident weather guru plugging content into HighCountryWeather.com and is also handling the day to day operations of HighCountryWebCams.com. He’s obviously excited about being an integral part of our future growth and we look forward to the next years with him as a part of our staff.