Steamboat Springs For the second time in 2 years, the marketing consortium for Colorado's ski areas has hired an executive away from Intrawest.
Rob Perlman, 32, will become the new president of Colorado Ski Country USA at the end of August. He has been the executive director of sales and marketing at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., for four years.
Intrawest is the owner of Whistler/Blackcomb ski resort in British Columbia, Mammoth and Copper Mountain among others. For much of the late 1990s, Blackcomb was the resort to catch up to in North America. And in August 2000, Colorado Ski Country hired David Perry away from that resort to spearhead a new emphasis on marketing to the youth culture. Perry announced this spring that he would leave the post to take a job at Aspen.
Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Chris Diamond said it is coincidence that Colorado Ski Country has hired two consecutive leaders away from Intrawest, but he also says it's not a bad thing.
"It's good for us," Diamond said. "(Perlman) is an Evergreen native and was in marketing at Vail for years. He also understands Intrawest's core strategies and has a deep understanding of how the competition thinks."
Diamond served on the executive committee that sought to replace Perry. Ironically, a scheduling conflict prevented him from participating in Perlman's interview. He said he wholeheartedly endorses the choice.
Diamond noted that Perry's hiring marked a major shift at Colorado Ski Country, away from a public policy organization and toward a marketing organization.
Previously, the top executive at Colorado Ski Country was always a well-connected attorney, Diamond said. Perlman will become the eighth president of Colorado Ski Country in its 39 years.
Perlman's mission will be to reestablish Colorado as the number one winter sports destination in the minds of skiers and riders in their teens and twenties, Diamond said.
That was Perlman's claim to fame at Mammoth.
The large California resort had been complacent about the shifting demographics of skiing and snowboarding and consequently lost market share. Perlman reversed that trend.
Perlman said this week that reinvigorating Mammoth required a balancing act between building appeal among young vacationers while holding onto aging baby boomers.
Young skiers and riders are drawn to challenging and diverse ski trails, he said.
"First and foremost, they want vast terrain and a resort experience that caters to their interests," Perlman said. Terrain parks and high-speed quad chairlifts score points.
Perry quickly made his mark by convincing Colorado resorts, including Steamboat, to host live rock concerts at the base of their lifts something that was successful at Blackcomb and did not seem to alienate aging Baby Boomers.
Perlman said he has no intention of working to increase in-state skier days in his new role.
"I'm not going to duplicate the efforts the resorts are currently making," Perlman said. "I want to complement rather than duplicate. I'll be focused on attracting more skiers from outside Colorado."
Diamond said that Perlman wouldn't be able to depend upon an advertising campaign to accomplish that goal. Instead, he'll have to rely on carefully crafted public relations and communication efforts.
Perlman said he thinks it's critical to match his message to what skiers and riders will actually encounter when they arrive at resorts in the Colorado Rockies.
"There has to be a strong connection between what we decide to promote and the experiences guests have at our member resorts," Perlman said.
He wants to reinforce Steamboat's stature as the "nation's capital of skiing."
"The way we'll go after that is by sending different messages to different segments of the market. I'll continue the direction set by David Perry."