Finding Opportunity in Designing for the Future

Summer Mountain Resort Development

At Select Contracts we believe that the fundamental human need for leisure is always evolving. For this reason, mountain resort offerings must evolve as well. More and more we see ski resorts struggling with visitation due to ageing demographics and diminished conditions due to climate change and now coupled with the global pandemic. Many resorts around the world have closed their doors while others scramble to find ways to attract new guests. Yet we have seen an increase in year-round resort operations at once winter-only resorts in an effort to diversify and become more resilient in the current climate.

Four-season resorts, whether an existing ski resort, adapted to meet changing market demands or a purpose-built facility, offer guests attractions that they can participate in year-round. These attractions can include mountain biking, hiking, adventure parks, ziplines and many other indoor and outdoor facilities centered around active participation. The key to success for any four-season resort is identifying and understanding the market – especially now the domestic market – and providing attractions that are long term, sustainable options.

Zipline Mountain Biking

Ziplining & Mountain Biking at Christchurch Adventure Park, New Zealand

Identifying the market opportunities

One of the biggest barriers to success for ski resorts is the apparent aging demographic of participants with far fewer young people entering the sport. By understanding the characteristics, motivations and preferences of the broader market, resort operators are able to make informed decisions about the scale and variety of attractions that they provide.

We believe in the importance of a strong leisure and recreational attraction offering that works with existing attractions for a more sustainable outcome for the community, local businesses and the ties within that network. When conducting market research for any project we have a strong focus on understanding the local market so that we can find solutions that will meet their needs. The local market is typically going to be the core demographic for any project which makes building and maintaining a healthy relationship with the community vitally important.

Domestic and international tourists can make up a large portion of a resort’s visitation, however, understanding these markets and their experiential interests is key to long-term sustainability for mountain resorts.

“Without mountain environments there will be no mountain resorts.”

Designing for the future

It’s fairly obvious to any winter-only resort operator that a transition to year-round operations is essential. What may not be so obvious, is selecting the right activity, product and amenities mix. What works for one resort, may not work for another – and that’s where our expertise comes in.

Once market opportunities are identified and suitable attractions have been chosen, masterplanning is the next step in creating a successful four-seasons resort. Functional layouts are vital, as are providing adequate facilities such as parking. For existing resorts looking to transition to year-round operations, by identifying issues of the past, we can help to design better solutions for the future.

It is no secret that mountain resorts have felt the impacts of climate change – and more recently, the impacts of the global pandemic. Our focus is geared to how we can develop facilities and operations to achieve long term success while keeping guests safe and protecting the incredible environments that provide us with these outdoor adventure opportunities. Without mountain environments there will be no mountain resorts.

We understand that many businesses often can’t achieve sustainability goals in the short term but through careful planning and phased approaches these goals can be achieved in the long term as they become financially viable and as technology and availability of resources progress.

Four-Season Chairlift

Christchurch Adventure Park, New Zealand

Have questions about four-season resorts or a project you’d like to discuss? Contact us, we’d love to hear from you!