On the road with CTA: Day 3

From Copper Mountain to Frisco

On the road with the Colorado Technology Association for the first-ever cross-Colorado Tech Tour, a small team of mostly Denver and Boulderites hopped back on the bus for day three of the statewide circuit to explore examples of technology infiltrating a diverse range of industry and communities throughout Summit and Eagle counties.

The crew cruised to Copper Mountain to spend the afternoon with the resort’s Director of Marketing Dwight Eppinger to discuss tech’s on-mountain impression. Two seasons down and in-development on updates for winter number three, Copper Mountain launched its app, Sherpa, to creatively communicate with guests.

“I approached Made [a digital agency based in Boulder] and they came back to us with an audio-based app that fits right in line with Copper’s brand,” Eppinger says, referring to the resort’s laid-back attitude and nimble approach to marketing and tech integration.

After downloading the free Sherpa Copper Mountain app, users go into “Sherpa Mode,”connect their headphones and receive an on-mountain audio guide. With 183 official Copper audibles spread across the resort, visitors, staff and locals can also leave customized markers for others to hear. Sherpa provides alerts, updates, insiders offers, and more. For instance, Sherpa users are first to know when the ropes are lifted from new powder runs.

“Employees ask, 'Why would I want to tell someone about my secret stash?'” Eppinger says. “But if you’re in the ski industry, a new way to communicate with guests like this…. can make guests lifetime skiers.”

Though Copper presently owns the intellectual property for the app, Eppinger shared his intention to expand to other mountains. Before his present role with the Colorado resort, he worked in video game programming and expressed that he learned to harness big ideas and realistic execution.

From mountain towns to urban centers, as the function of marketing professionals becomes more tech-reliant, the topic of an organization’s relationship between its chief information officer and chief marketing officer has been heating up . According to a 2013 Accenture report, only one in 10 marketing and IT executives believe collaboration between CIOs and CMOs is at the right level.

Sherpa provides a case study for this relationship.

“For projects like [Sherpa] we’ve had so many ideas, but we have to make compromises,” Eppinger says.

As the app continues to evolve, new features and functions emerge. Though the Copper team did not initially include guest tracking as a component of the technology, Eppinger explained it increased user-engagement 10-fold. Still, the same humor and personality remain characteristic of the technology – for instance, pick-up lines are prevalent on chairlift rides, along with other information and messaging along the way. Photo and visual pieces are in front and center n Eppinger’s mind to fold into the app and help skiers and boarders better tell and share their stories.

The Tech Tour team traveled to Frisco for an evening listening and learning session at Elevate coSPACE in Frisco. On deck for day four, the bus will roll along to southern Colorado.

Categories: Tech