Posts Tagged: Golf Courses



What Golf Courses and Ski Hills Have In Common

Are ski hills like this? Image by flickr user Colleen Lane.

I was recently chatting with a client about an urban cable car project we’re working on (which non-disclosure agreements prohibit me from speaking on further). He’s a very successful entrepreneur and real estate developer with his hands in more than a few industries.

He’s also owned a couple of ski resorts and had an insight I’d never heard before.

His basic thesis around ski resorts was this: Ski hills are like golf courses. You’re never going to make money off of the hills themselves. You make your money off of the real estate around them.

That sounds very much like the Freemium Public Transit model we’ve discussed in the past. It also speaks to the reasons why lifts are typically designed to the lowest needed capabilities possible. If this gentleman’s theory is correct, then a lift is nothing more than a loss-leader in the overall ski resort market. Those lifts must therefore be as cheap as possible to maximize profits.

Which in turn helps explain why the industry has yet to truly exploit the capabilities of the technology. As this industry matures and systems move away from being pure loss-leaders, technological advances are almost guaranteed.

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