Feature Article - May 2008
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Always in Season

Transforming Single-Season Swimming Into Year-Round Fun

By Kate Bongiovanni

Swim and Ski Family Fun

For Boyne Resorts, opening Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, connected to the Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa at Boyne Mountain in Michigan, just made sense.

"The real competitive advantage is many of these indoor waterparks are built in isolated areas and that's what you do," said Jon Gerstenschlager, marketing director for Mountain Grand Lodge and Avanlanche Bay. "The unique part of Avalanche Bay, and being a part of Boyne Resort, is it has all the amenities and all the accommodations and all the charm of the entire resort. As an example, a family can go to Boyne Mountain and be entertained at Avalanche Bay, but they can also ski on the ski hill that is 50 yards away."

Gerstenschlager explains that the resort updated its packaging to incorporate the waterpark fun with the skiing and golfing available in northern Michigan, and guests need not stay on the property.

"Based on where it's located and the interest in vacationing up north, Avalanche Bay is a little bit different than other spots," he said. "We certainly want and cater to packaged guests that want to be on property, but we also offer daily admission to the park for people who are staying at other hotels or own other property up north or have a cabin. There are a lot of those people and it would be foolish for us not to allow them to enjoy Avalanche Bay as well, and that's not the norm of the indoor waterpark industry."

The park's opening in 2005 transformed the resort primarily successful with the winter ski crowd and summer golf crowd to four-season status.

"It was just a natural fit for us," Gerstenschlager said. "Boyne Resorts needed an amenity that helped them in the shoulder season, which is the spring and the fall when northern Michigan may not be the best." Not only does the waterpark help to keep crowds coming year-round for the Austrian ski village themed attractions, but it can prevent the cancellation of travel plans due to inclement weather or a snow season gone bust.