A presentation of the ‘mountain news’ for winter 2014/15
A great many people still prize an active lifestyle packed with outdoor experiences such as skiing holidays in the mountains. Research* highlights the numerous positively charge values that are linked with skiing holidays: pleasure, enjoyment, freedom and camaraderie, for example. Skiing holidays are also viewed as revitalising events. Moreover, time is considered an ever-more precious commodity today, which places even higher demands on the product delivered. With this in mind, SkiStar is gearing up for a ‘news-heavy’ winter and presenting comprehensive investments in the skiing areas, backed by major focus on e-commerce in the form of the fully integrated skistarshop.com website and the new business area entitled SkiStar Business. In addition, it has been confirmed that Åre will be organising the Alpine World Championships in 2019. This demands a range of investments from which guests will start to benefit from as early as this winter.
For SkiStar, the outdoors has always been in. Skiing is both excellent training and wonderful relaxation. At the same time, it is great fun and something that people of all ages can enjoy together with family, friends and colleagues. One of the big initiatives this year is the introduction of SkiStar Business, a new business area in which SkiStar is focusing heavily on the group and conference market. Through the application of sharp skills and innovative solutions, the objective is to provide the best conferences in Scandinavia – i.e. events that really generate value. Indications suggest that the desire to link physical activity to conferences is on the rise. The aim of SkiStar Business is to provide guests with a bespoke stay, at all destinations and whichever activities they choose.
“More and more companies are beginning to understand that employee well-being is crucial to their ability to reach goals and generate results. Skiing and the creative mountain environment we provide at our destinations have a wonderfully de-stressing effect on people,” relates Mathias Lindström, Sales & Marketing Director at SkiStar AB.
In order to optimise conferences even further, SkiStar Business is launching the Value Creation in Motion product, which makes travel to and from the destination effective and a fully integrated part of the meeting. Working while travelling also frees up time for development and relaxation at the destination – which generates greater value for the company.
SkiStar is also going all in online and focusing heavily on e-commerce in the context of mountain sports. In October 2014, the new SkiStarshop site will be going live with the hottest brands in the industry and full integration with bookings at skistar.com. An advantageous loyalty concept will also be introduced with a bonus system linked to MySkiStar. Every online purchase will generate bonus points, which can then be used to book your next skiing holiday on skistar.com or to buy a new jacket from skistarshop.com.
Not only does the company possess in-depth and expert knowledge in the area of mountain sports, but it has already compiled a relevant customer database. This, combined with the high visit figures at skistar.com, means that SkiStar has every chance to become a heavyweight player on the market within a short time frame.
“We’re taking one stop shopping to the next level by providing visitors who are using the site to book their holiday with the opportunity to link directly to relevant products that they may need during their stay in the mountains,” explains Mats Årjes, CEO of SkiStar AB.
As a part of its multi-channel strategy, SkiStar is also opening a Flagship Store on Sälfjällstorget square in Sälen. This will serve as a supplement to the shops that SkiStar currently operates at its destinations in Sweden and Norway. Moreover, the initiative comprises the relaunch of several sports shops under the name of Skistarshop Concept Store. These shops stock a wider range of clothing than other sports shops. They are also the place to go to pick up orders placed via skistarshop.com, and for professional help with adjusting bindings, for example. Of course, you can also have your orders delivered to your accommodation in the mountains or to your home address.
“MySkiStar is a hugely popular supplement to skiing, and builds on the most important foundations in the field of gamification. We now want to reward our loyal guests even further, which is why we are adding the bonus system whereby customers receive bonuses on every purchase they make in our online store. All you need to do is to join MySkiStar – which is naturally free of charge,” says Mathias Lindström, Sales & Marketing Director at SkiStar AB.
MySkiStar currently has more than 200,000 registered users, and many skiers now find it indispensable on the slopes. Joining MySkiStar directly on a mobile phone or via the web provides access to a host of benefits and fun functions:
- Bonus points on all online purchases
- Special offers and discounts
- Personal skiing statistics
- Family challenges and pins
- Positioning, and the opportunity to see where family and friends are
- Training tips and calorie consumption statistics
- Free Wi-Fi
The SkiStar skiing areas in Sälen, Åre, Vemdalen, Hemsedal and Trysil maintain a consistently high standard of quality. SkiStar is continuing to improve and develop the skiing available for the benefit of the guests. Once again this winter, a range of new initiatives in the skiing areas at the different destinations will be presented.
Vemdalen’s successful focus on express lifts continues. This winter, a new 6-chair lift will be opening on the western side of Skalspasset. In addition to the West Express lift SkiStar will be opening five new descents – one black, three red and one green piste – in the West area. The old T-bar lift will be shortened, and will run parallel to the West Express lift. In connection with the work on the lifts, we will also be establishing a new snow system that can cover the entire area with snow within 150 hours when running at maximum output. Total investments amount to SEK 63 million: SEK 45 million for the express lift and SEK 18 million on descents and the snow system.
“West Express is sure to make Vemdalen even more attractive. The new lift and the associated descents represent a complete make-over for the West section of Vemdalsskalet and almost doubles the skiing area there,” relates Torgny Svensson, Head of SkiStar Vemdalen.
In Hemsedal, the new, 4-km-long Sentrumsløypa descent will be ready to open around the start of the season. Sentrumsløypa starts next to the Fjellheisen lift and takes skiers all the way from Hemsedal Ski Centre to the heart of Hemsedal itself. In addition to excellent skiing, the new descent will provide guests with quick and easy access to the shops, restaurants and bars in the centre of Hemsedal.
In Trysil, phase 1 of a new woodland skiing area in Högegga is launching . The woods will be thinned out to make room for easy-to-access woodland skiing. A completely new, groomed descent will also be established in the heart of the woodland skiing area.
On 5 June, it was announced that Åre will be hosting its third high-profile international alpine event – namely the 2019 Alpine World Championships. As soon as the World Championship decision was made known, work began to develop the arena and the rest of the skiing system, and a range of investments will be planned and implemented in time for the coming winter season.
Duved will be the official training arena before and during the World Championships. It will also host the qualification competitions in slalom and giant slalom. The band of woods between SkiStarbacken and Linbanegatan will be removed, opening up a completely new, broad descent – ideal for modern alpine skiing – all the way down to Hamrebacken. Moreover, the wider descent project will allow extra skiing space for guests while training and competitions are taking place in the area. SkiStar Åre is also investing in a whole new snow system comprising more than 70 new snow cannon in the area around Duveds Linbana.
To allow training and qualification competitions to continue even when daylight fades, a new night-time lighting installation is being established from Linbanan valley station all the way up to the mountain station. The minimum illumination level will be 140 Lux, which is on a par with the floodlighting in the Gästrappet area.
Another project involves extending the ski tunnel in the centre of Åre, which runs beneath Störtloppet and Gästrappet. The reason for this is to ensure that the ladies’ downhill can be held without having to divert other skiing guests. The extension to the tunnel will also entail broadening Gästrappet at what is currently its narrowest point.
“We are absolutely delighted that Åre will have the opportunity to host a third Alpine World Championships in 2019. Our previous experience and burning commitment to the sport put us in a position to deliver a truly extraordinary event. Our aim is to transform ‘Good’ into ‘Great’. The investments that are being made in the skiing system following on from the World Championship decision will bring significant improvements, and are sure to boost the skiing experience, not only for training teams, but also for ordinary guests,” says Niclas Sjögren Berg, Destination Manager for SkiStar Åre/Vemdalen.
Hammarbybacken is SkiStar’s city hill, providing urban skiing for all ages and skill levels with a truly magnificent view out over Stockholm. It provides easy access to skiing for citizens of Stockholm, who can thus enjoy the numerous health benefits of skiing both before and after their skiing holidays. It is also here that many people try skiing for the very first time.
SkiStar is working actively to encourage even more people to discover how wonderful skiing is. With this in mind, free outdoor days were held on Hammarbybacken last year for young people in school years 1–9 in the Municipalities of Nacka and Stockholm. The event was a huge success, attracting around 2,000 pupils – many of whom had never tried skiing or snowboarding before. The free outdoor days will be repeated this season.
“The whole of last season was soon fully booked, and we have already received a lot of enquiries about the coming winter. The free outdoor days are a great way for us to reach the young people who live locally, and to spread the joy of skiing. What’s really great about the arrangement is that it gives so many people the chance to try skiing for the very first time,” says Jonas Bauer, Destination Manager for SkiStar Sälen/Hammarbybacken.
Everyone loves going on skiing holidays, and fully 90 per cent** of families with children think that skiing holidays produce shared memories to cherish. Generating positive memories is something that is becoming increasingly important in our stressful everyday lives, as you can continue to draw on them together long after the skiing holiday itself.
SkiStar are particularly committed to keeping the youngest guests satisfied, because you all know that happy children mean both satisfied parents and new skiers. Last year’s new initiative – the children’s concept headed up by Valle the Snowman – was welcomed with open arms by children and parents alike. SkiStar is now building on last year’s success, introducing a host of new Valle events that are sure to generate wonderful memories for our youngest skiers and their parents.
“We are delighted by the warm reception that Valle received. A huge amount of work went into our children’s concept, which is built on pedagogical foundations where music and movement are key ingredients for learning and joy. Everything we do is built on Valle’s Values, i.e. the right children have to enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle, along with a love of snow and skiing,” relates Linda Morell, Nordic Advertising & PR Manager at SkiStar AB.
The lovable children’s favourite will be releasing new songs this winter and encouraging children to join in the music on site in Valle’s World.Music also plays a key role in Valle’s app, which registered more than 20,000 downloads last year. And Valle naturally has his own playlist on Spotify as well …
In Åre, Vemdalen and Hemsedal, Valle is taking on a new role as a DJ and inviting everyone inside his very own recording studio, built in unique ‘Vallmoge’ style. At the studio, children can give free rein to their creativity, make music and play with Valle’s music gadgets. Several times a week, Valle and his friends will be on site to tell magical and fascinating Valle stories, and to sing and dance to Valle’s own songs. And, of course, it all ends up with a giant group hug.
In Trysil and Sälen, Valle continues to work with his incredibly popular theatre, where he and a troupe of professional actors gave more than 500 performances last winter.
To be able to keep up with all the ski games and Valle fun, it is essential to fill up with the right kind of energy. Good, nutritious and well-prepared meals are part of any holiday in the mountains and go hand in hand with the healthy lifestyle that skiing entails. To make it as simple and straightforward as possible to eat well, Valle is now opening his first restaurant at the Experium centre in Sälen. Valles Världshus (Valle’s World House) serves good, wholesome meals for skiers of all ages. In unique ‘Vallemoge’ style, with flashing lights and levers, every visit to the restaurant is an adventure in itself. And of course, Valle himself will be dropping buy several times a week.
When the day’s skiing is done, it is time to relax and think back over all the great experiences. In order to encourage more skiing and to spread snow-delight, SkiStar is publishing Valles Sagobok, a hardback book packed with newly written, modern-day Valle Fairy-tales. The book, which is all about daring to get things wrong, is perfect for cosy story-telling get-togethers in the cabin on holiday or back home once school and chores are done. It is written in verse, as researchers have proved that reading rhythm is important in developing children’s reading skills – and Valle is naturally keen to help in this area, too! The book is published in both Swedish and Norwegian, and will be on sale in SkiStarshops and Concept Stores, as well as via the skistarshop.com website.
Even more news …
In addition to all this, even more destination-specific initiatives and events from SkiStar’s destinations are presented in separate documents.
PS. The biggest Scandinavian family film this winter was shot in the Åre mountains. We are, of course, talking about the final film in the trilogy about Sune. This time, Sune is heading for the mountains accompanied by his entire crazy family … DS.
Welcome to a new winter with SkiStar in Sälen, Åre, Vemdalen, Trysil, and Hammarbybacken!
*Attitude survey with a representative selection of Swedish and Norwegian skiing enthusiasts, conducted by HUI Research in winter 2013
The SkiStar AB (publ) B shares are listed on the Nasdaq OMX Mid Cap Stockholm; the group owns and operates the ski resorts at the alpine skiing destinations Sälen, Åre and Vemdalen in Sweden together with Hemsedal and Trysil in Norway as well as Hammarbybacken in Stockholm. The market share in Sweden amounts to 49%, in Norway 28% and overall in Scandinavia 39%. The group’s core business is alpine skiing with the guests’ experience in focus. The list of other activities includes accommodation agency, ski schools and ski rentals.