Brower: Many entrepreneurs up here are like farmers
December 6, 2017
I'm almost afraid to mention anything about it in fear of jinxing our shared dilemma even more.
I refer here to the early-season lack of snow that has hit us and many other Colorado mountain resort counties in the last few weeks. I'm glad that Winter Park got a pretty good amount of snow early this week in comparison to other resorts, but … Yes, we could use some more of that white stuff. A lot more.
For most people attempting to start or expand businesses in Grand County, snow during the winter months is a critical ingredient for success. In fact, snow is an integral part of the product that people offer up here. It's part of the Trinity of Management.
How could that be? Remember that for a business to succeed, it should have the Trinity of Management in place. That is they must have a great product or service, they must have great marketing and sales and they should have great financial management. If any one of those are missing in a business, the chances of succeeding diminish quickly.
And yet for businesses who operate in our high-mountain resort market, snow is a part of their product even if they don't specifically sell skis, snowmobiles, lift tickets or dog sled rides. It's not too hard to see why.
Snow is what brings people up here in the winter. It's not the cold, per se, that gets them here — although I think an ice fisherperson would come up just so it's cold enough to freeze the lake surfaces, regardless of snow. So if there's a lack of snow, it follows that there just might be a lack of visitors, which means fewer customers. Which is a depressing thought.
It's depressing because snow ends up being an integrated part of the product for many people in business up here. And yet we have no control over the snow. Like farmers, all we can do is hope and pray that the weather patterns bring us moisture in the form of snow.
Ski areas and some water providers have been doing something that they think can bring us more snow. It's called cloud seeding. It involves shooting clouds of silver iodide into the sky when there are already clouds in an area. A company that does cloud seeing right up here in Grand and Summit counties says cloud seeding can add from 180,000 to 300,000 acre feet of moisture in the mountain region here. They say they have studies to prove it.
I know for sure that cloud seeding has been taking place in and around Grand County for many years. I remember writing stories about it more than 20 years ago. And right now I say keep up the good work and seed those clouds so we get more snow.
The problem, of course, is they need clouds and pre-existing snow storms that need enhancing in order to help create more snow. And while I love the beautiful blue-sky Colorado days, what we need right now are some Seattle-like cloudy days so that snow can start falling and clouds can be seeded.
So, even with cloud seeding, we're right back to hoping and wishing for the weather pattern to change so that we can get more snow. After all, snow is one of the most renowned products of Grand County.
So let it snow.
Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.