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March 2006


Paul MacArthur

The irony is Alta was one of the first places that allowed snowboarding back when Dimitrije Milovich was testing his Wintersticks.

The other three major mountains that don't allow snowboarding are Deer Valley, Taos, and Mad River Glen. You can read about MRG if you click the link.


i have a query.sticking to skiers may have been a great stratergy for Alta cuz its worked for them,but is this always the best approach.In another situation it may be percieved as missing a new trend in the market an thus losing an oportunity to dispropotionately increase revenues.
As an example say Coke launches a new health drink,to which Pepsi responds by saying that we target only the cola market(which they don't i know...hypothetically).This new health drink becomes the new big thing and Pepsi further loses market share.Aren't the two cases simillar?

Tim Whelan

Now I agree that positioning can be a great tool, but not always, and when you create an enemy or go the opposite direction to distinguish your brand it may backfire and alienate you from the very market you’re trying to attract. Yes, you made a name for yourself, but it left a negative impression.

(the rest of the above comment)

Alta didn't take this approach although they ended up in their current market position. They were more interested in the user than positioning themselves opposite of the trend.

Thanks for the great post however. It did make me stop and think this through and as one avid skier to another Alta is the best.

Tim Whelan

Not bad Laura and it does leave something to think about. However, I wonder about a couple of things that you seem to have over looked.

Positioning isn't always as important as the customer experience. The Brand offers the promise or at the very least hope, but if not delivered it alienates the market (customer). The customer needs to be the prime focus in the success formula.

Alta new this, they kept getting more and more ski enthusiast from other slopes and were smart enough to realize that for that market segment others (competing slopes) were alienating their market. Alta was astute enough to capitalize on the trend and focus on their core competency (key) and that was concentrating on and delivering a superior product to their particular segment of the market, the skiing enthusiast.

By the way they had considered snow boarding and had made a decision to open up one of their runs to the boarding public. In doing so they also lost most of their cross over market. Thank goodness they didn't follow the trend. Purest need the real thing and they new this.

This market segment is large enough for now, but upward market pressure may still eventually force a change. Pure skiers are a dying breed and as they mature and move out of the market a younger more board centered user will move them back into the mainstream. They will survive at the top regardless because they put the customer ahead of the brand.

Alta's positioning strategy wasn't their main concern, but delivering on the brand promise and continuing to provide a great customer experience was.

Now I agree that positioning can be a great tool, but not always, and when you create an enemy or go the opposite direction to distinguish your brand it may backfire and alienate



A great post.

It's like the first rule of targeting through your ad copy. The law of Magnetism states that attraction is tied to repulsion. Further, inclusion is tied to exclusion. Before you know who you want to target, you have to know who you don't want to target.

I love it.

Scott Miller

Great entry, Laura. Had to quote you in my blog update today:
www.gamematters.com, "Forrest Gump'ed." Hope you approve!

Mack Collier

Now I have realized the only think I don't like about this blog....you don't post enough! ;) Keep up the great work Laura!


As usual, a great post!

This simply shows that making things simpler for your company by having a clear-cut strategy and sticking to it...forever...helps you build a strong brand.

Laura, I wonder how your concepts can be applied in the fashion world?
Since you have to evolve almost every season and actually change the product. What do you focus on instead? Any real-world examples of these?

Just wondering.

Ey! I sure hope to attend Al's brand marketing conference here in Manila this coming June! Why aren't you coming?

All the best :-)

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