With 46 years of experience in the ski industry, Chip Carey has held positions at many ski resorts across the country. Carey worked at Sugarloaf for 26 years, filling roles in sales, marketing and public relations. He also took on a position at The Canyons resort in Utah, where he was responsible for the NBC Today Show live coverage for 14 days of the Salt Lake Olympics in 2002. For four years, Carey worked across a network of eight resorts as senior VP of marketing for the American Skiing Company using his wide range of skills to build brands and revenues.
From his experience building Sugarloaf as a skiing destination, despite the mountain’s remote location, to the launching of new brands, Carey has been involved in many aspects of ski resort operation. His experience made him a stand-out candidate for his most recent position as the chief marketing officer at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Throughout his career, Carey has placed an emphasis on staying up to date with technology and trends to best reach customers and customize experiences.
In the episode:
2:53–Chip shares that his career started after college when he went skiing and how his love of photography led him to PR.
6:43– Nancy recalls how Chip taught her how to get photos and videos from Sugarloaf down to the Weather Channel.
7:32–Chip and Nancy talk about the relationships they have built with Bill Green and how they continue their relationships with reporters and journalists.
9:29–Chip explains the database he used to use to keep track of personal information about people he met in order to build a relationship with them.
14:15–Nancy brings up Chip’s lesson of making a story visual, making the story more attractive for television and newspapers.
16:31–Chip explains how he doesn’t think social media should fall under PR.
21:34–Nancy askes Chip to talk about his time at Sugarloaf since he was so instrumental in building the brand.
23:51–Chip shares how Jackson Hole was different from his work at Sugarloaf.
24:57–Chip talks about trying to “blue” Jackson Hole or make it more accessible for intermediate level skiers.
30:28–Chip and Nancy recall the battles Sugarloaf and Sunday River had when competing for skiers.
32:29–Nancy shares how they would count cars and look at the license plates at Sunday River to see how many people there were and where they were coming from.
33:54–After Sunday River claimed to be much closer to Boston, Chip shares how he took it into his own hands to figure out how much farther away Sugarloaf really was.
40:43–Nancy and Chip talk about Paul Schipper, who skied every day after being forced to retire from American Airlines as a pilot following a crash that resulted in the strut collapsing his heart.
46:27–Chip shares how he gave Paul permission to stop skiing with his own story of swimming every day for 14 years.
50:30–Chip and Nancy talk about parties they attended or hosted to attract writers.
51:35–Chip shares the importance of events in attracting media attention.
55:24– Nancy and Chip wrap up by talking about the first or last cup of tea theory.
57:45–Chip talks about how his whole family is involved in skiing.
Hometown newspapers always want to know the stories of hometown people.
It's all about building relationships. You can’t just start sending reporters content you want them to write about, you need to build the relationship first. You need to communicate on a regular basis, not just when you need something done.
You need to know your customer, just like the old saying of needing to know your enemy. The more you know about your customer, the better you can communicate with them. You're wasting so much money if you don't know your customer and if you're not targeting very specifically to their interests.
Do favors for others, like taking photographs for a writer, and they will treat you well.
Tell a visual story or make the story visual so it is easier for television and newspapers to pick it up and so it is more attractive to their audience.
Stay on top of technology to enable and improve communications and public relations.
Timing is essential. News outlets want the information when it happens, not a day or two later.
Don’t be afraid to change how your brand is perceived. Carving out too small a niche can be a downside. Finding the right balance can drastically improve business, which was the case for Jackson Hole when they introduced intermediate-level skiing.
Hold your ground and stay on top of your competitors.
Produce something that aligns with people’s interests and dreams, like Paul Schipper did.
Exercise is important for mental and physical health and helps you do your job better.
Special events are a great way to bring people together and attract media attention.
"You have to be a student of the game.” — Chip Carey, Chief Marketing Officer at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort