College Snow Bowl Unveils Revamped Website


A Middlebury skier takes a turn in some fresh gnar this last winter at the Snow Bowl. (Courtesy of Middlebury College Snow Bowl)

By Liia Koiv-Haus

This winter term, Jeff Dobronyi ’13 and Oliver Sutro ’14 lived every Middlebury student’s dream: they spent nearly every day at the Snow Bowl. These avid skiers weren’t simply there for fun, or even for work (although Dobronyi is on Ski Patrol and Sutro works at the Snow School). Both were hard at work, taking photos and compiling data for a new and improved Snow Bowl website. This website undertaking was the product of an independent project for course credit.

Dobronyi and Sutro started their respective winter term internships at the Bowl expecting to work on a new marketing campaign with one main goal: to increase revenue through ticket and season pass sales. They quickly realized, however, that any attempt at launching a new publicity campaign would be limited by the Snow Bowl website, or lack thereof.

“The old site is pretty terrible,” Sutro said bluntly. “It gives people the impression that the Bowl may not even be open to the public. There is no current media, no place to access current snow conditions except by signing up for daily emails.”

Working in conjunction with other Snow Bowl employees, Sutro and Dobronyi determined that the Snow Bowl was losing possible customers because of its poorly-designed and lackluster website. They realized that attempts to advertise would invariably be limited by the outdated website. With this in mind, Sutro and Dobronyi came to the conclusion that revamping the Snow Bowl website was the single most important step towards updating the Snow Bowl’s marketing campaign. So they decided to use their creativity and knack for photographing intense action shots of powder skiing to create a completely new website.

The new website took advantage of this winter’s heavy snowfall to highlight some of the action photographs of powder skiing at the Snow Bowl. Considering the lack of snow in the 2011-12 season, these powder shots could not have been taken last year.

With the early closure last season leading to fewer season’s pass purchases despite drastically improved ski conditions in the 2012-13 season, the Snow Bowl would have a lot to gain from this increased publicity. Tuesday’s storm  ensured that the ski season will continue for at least another week.

“The skiing last year was pretty marginal,” said Anna Breu ’15, who agrees the new website is an improvement. “The backside of the bowl wasn’t even open, and that’s where the best powder skiing has been this year.”

Though creation of the website itself did not take very long, the site only went live this month.

“The website had been ready to go for a long time, but like most student-initiated projects at Midd, there was a lot of red tape.” Sutro said.

Bill Burger, the newly instated vice president of communications at Middlebury with whom Sutro and Dobronyi worked, had just arrived at Middlebury and had a lot of additional work. But after emailing in circles, the dynamic duo was able to find the right person in charge of Middlebury’s server.

“Week three of spring term Bill finally gave us this guy’s name and said ‘go ahead to launch the site as soon as you want’,” said Sutro.

Sutro and Dobronyi contacted the server administrator, but were further delayed.  Now that the site is finally up, they are optimistic about the future of the Snow Bowl. They are convinced that once students and skiers see the photos taken over winter term, they will be persuaded that the terrain is not as limited as previously thought.

Sutro and Dobronyi’s project is just the first step toward the re-imagined public image for the Snow Bowl. With the new website, the Snow Bowl hopes to attract more students and members of the general public alike.

Sutro, Dobronyi and the rest of the Snow Bowl are excited for the new website’s potential.

“I want Midd kids to know about [the Snow Bowl],” said Sutro. “I want them to come to the bowl, shred the gnar and feel lucky to have their own mountain.”