Ski Areas Form Mountain Playground Group

Five independent community ski areas have banded together to form the Mountain Playground Group, a new consortium created by the Mountain Rider’s Alliance to cultivate a viable niche market in small resort skiing by promoting “the authenticity and uniqueness of soulful ski areas,” according to a press release.

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The five ski areas are: Elk Ridge, Ariz.; Bald Mountain, Idaho; Mt. Abram, Maine; Hurricane Ridge, Wash.; and Beartooth Basin, Wyo. All of which offer “an authentic skiing and riding experience not found at corporate ski resorts,” according to the Mountain Playground Group website.

The group hopes to share business tips on regular conference calls and benefit from insight into their collective successes. They also stand to gain from Mountain Rider’s Alliance’s expertise in uplifting community hills.

“Our organization has been studying the challenges facing smaller ski areas since 2010,” said Jamie Schectman, Mountain Rider’s Alliance CEO and co-founder. “The Mountain Playground Group is a solutions-based approach for standalone ski areas to work together and ensure a better chance of survival, as well as provide a layer of sophistication not commonly found at the smaller ski area level.”

The association has started selling the Mountain Playground Card for $29. Cardholders will receive exclusive discounts to all participating ski areas as well as benefits on items such as ski and snowboard equipment, retail goods, vacation rentals, tours, and more. Fifteen percent of the proceeds from card sales will benefit SheJumps—a non-profit devoted to increasing the presence of women in outdoor sports.

“Much like the craft beer industry has done a great job of bringing awareness to a niche market, the Mountain Playground Card will showcase community and independent ski areas, which also appeal to a distinct crowd,” said Schectman.