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To The Editor:
Re: Mad River looks at manmade snow to extend season
As Mad River Glen explores solutions to dwindling visits, it's worth remarking that we just had glorious late winter and spring conditions. The skiing was quintessential Mad River Glen goodness, but few were there to enjoy it! Day in and day out I saw the same handful of smiling faces and a mostly empty Single Chair. It's easy to attribute down years to weather. It's tougher to reflect upon and easier to solve ineffectual marketing plans.
Since 10th Mountain Division veterans pioneered the mountain in the late 1940s, Mad River Glen has been defined by hard-charging, youthful vitality. "Ski It If You Can" was a maxim evoking swagger and unmatched cultural fervor. Today the bumper stickers are becoming anachronisms. Mad River Glen's skier population is aging (gracefully) and dwindling without being replenished. Our legendary mountain is off the radar for most young skiers.
Modern resort, ski and action sports marketing is sophisticated, gorgeous and ambitious. Mad River Glen's marketing is none of those things. The Mad River Glen Cooperative hasn't protected or articulated its brand very well and is struggling with the modern means of storytelling that could bring passionate skiers to the mountain in droves.
This is a golden age for skiing, driven by freeride, freeskiing, side-country and big mountain disciplines. Mad River Glen is perfectly positioned to be the proving ground for every up-and-coming freeride skier on the East Coast. It should be on the bucket list of every skier in North America looking to push their limits. It has the uniqueness, terrain and iconic potential to be mentioned alongside the mountains that define the sport globally.
There is a generation or two of skiers of all abilities waiting to fall in love with Mad River Glen. Capturing their imaginations and their loyalty is going to take investment, energy and improved execution. Get stoked and get to work. It's easier than finding a place to dig a snowmaking pond up there.
Neil Madsen Ryan