PHILIPSBURG — One Montana's remaining family-owned resorts is using strategic marketing to make this weekend one of the busiest of the entire season.
Thousands head outdoors for fun during the winter in Montana but businesses like Discovery Ski Area find Super Bowl Sunday disappointing for business.
"It was always a big challenge. And my father had the idea, 'what if we just make it a little cheaper and try to promote people coming up on this day when nobody else is coming skiing'?" said owner Ciche Pitcher
Pitcher and his family decided to take on the challenge, using online marketing, newsletters, discounts and some traditional advertising to turn the tide.
"It felt like it took a really long time to get any traction. But before we knew it evolved into one of our busiest ski days,” said Pitcher. “It's been kind of incredible."
Pitcher tells MTN News that the game almost always starts after they close. So they TV on and let people watch some of the pre-game program.
“For the most part everyone is excited to get out on the mountain and get some exercise and be outside. And then we see the crowd tend to leave a little bit earlier than usual. Because they have their families and parties they want to spend the evening with," said Pitcher.
Pitcher said the promotions have proven to be so popular they're now able to shift some of the proceeds to local nonprofits. This year they will be donating $12 from each lift ticket to Trout Unlimited, to help them do some of the stream conservation work that they do in Western Montana.
"One of the things my dad has always said,” Pitcher recalled. “Is that your favorite place to ski always tends to be the place where you learn how to ski regardless of what that mountain is. And we want to be that place for a lot of people."
Pitcher says they're expecting a big crowd this Sunday, with plenty of snow and all the runs open despite the mild conditions in the valleys.