Founder, Mountaintop media
co-Founder, camp 9600
Amy was one of the first early adopters of social media in the ski industry, seeking out smart, innovative people who aren't afraid to try new approaches and who shake up the status quo. She currently runs Camp 9600 in Breckenridge and gives insight on the high-energy, interactive three-day camp. She shares her inspiration for the event and the top 6 points that makes the event extremely unique.
Amy Kemp, Founder of Mountaintop Media, Founder of ELEVATE, and Co-Founder of Camp 9600 will be presenting an on-hill session on how to think like an entrepreneur. Her session will give insight on how to become more innovative and strategic in your approach to sales and marketing to deliver better returns and results.
You were an early adopter of social media in the ski industry. How did that get started?
I’ve always loved to experiment and tinker with new technologies and platforms. I tend to seek out smart, innovative people who aren’t afraid to try new approaches and who shake up the status quo.
It was through these interactions that I was lucky enough to learn from some of the true pioneers in digital and social media, as well as to attend some of the first travel blogger conferences (TBEX) and social media gatherings and events (like Mashable’s first few conferences, Snocial, Social Media week in NYC, etc).
I’ve learned that it’s important to be open minded, curious and not be afraid to experiment or try new things. It’s also critical to be strategic, to listen and learn first - especially on new platforms or social networks - and to always seek to provide value and to have a “give first” mentality.
These days I focus more of my attention and time on creating relationships in person at our co-working spaces (Elevate in Breck and Frisco) and with events like Startup Weekend, Camp 9600, COILSx (Colorado Outdoor Industry Leadership Summit), but can still be found on social at @skiergrrl.
You run Camp 9600 up in Breckenridge, a very cool experimental event, give us some insight on that.
Camp 9600 was inspired by the energy that happens when you gather around a campfire after spending a day challenging yourself, learning and being in the fresh air. You share stories, you take the time to reflect on your day, maybe even your life, you appreciate the wonder of nature, you gaze at the crackling fire lost in thought, you have real, deep conversations about things that matter and you ponder the possibilities and dream big.
That was the goal for Camp 9600 - to create that spark that happens around a campfire. I worked with the Breckenridge Tourism Office to launch Camp 9600 in 2015 as an immersive marketing and storytelling camp in Breck. It’s designed to be a high-energy, interactive three-day camp where you make new friends, reconnect with old ones and don’t want to miss a single session or mountain bike ride.
There are a few things that make this event unique:
- The size. We keep the event small and intimate.
- The people. We invite some of the most innovative, creative and strategic thinkers and do’ers. (The event is open to the public)
- The venues. We host the sessions in some of our favorite coffee shops, bars, historic buildings, theaters, artist studios and parks in downtown Breckenridge.
- The content. We ban boring PowerPoint presentations and challenge our presenters to guide attendees through a lively discussion vs. just to lecture at them, which is why we refer to our presenters as “guides” or “camp counselors.” By creating breakout sessions that feel more natural - at local coffee shops or restaurants, we try to break down the barriers and create the space for real, meaningful conversations to happen.
- There’s no need to play hooky. We encourage “campers” to get outside during the conference by scheduling time for mountain bike rides or hikes or yoga classes.
- The campfire. Yes, there is a campfire with s’mores, Breck Bourbon (or beer, wine or non-alcoholic drinks) and plenty of stories.
When MTS decided to start offering workshops on the mountain, you put together the program. How was that experience? Did the attendees just want to get out and ski or did they really dig in and participate and learn with each other?
We’re all in the ski and snowboard industry, so, of course, we love to get out and take some turns.
Too often, though, we spend more time away from the slopes - in meetings, in front of our computers, dealing with the crisis of the day - than we do paying attention to the reason we’re all here. We forget about why our guests spend their time and money to ski and snowboard. And what the experience is really like for them - what the pain points are, what could be better and what motivates them. The on-mountain session last year allowed MTS attendees to reconnect with our guests and to experience a fresh perspective. Many of us have the luxury of skiing/riding our home mountain where we know the system, have our routines and can successfully navigate our ski day from start to finish “like a local.” Having a beginner’s mindset and empathizing with our guests is critical. Not to mention, being outdoors allowed the attendees to gain new skills in the field and connect and learn from each other in a much deeper, meaningful way.
Tell us about your plans for your session this year? What should attendees expect to learn by joining your session?
If you want to think like an entrepreneur and learn how to be more innovative and strategic in your approach to sales and marketing to deliver better returns and results, this is the session for you. Too often, we rely on how the industry has always done business. This session will give you the inspiration - and, more importantly - the tools to be strategic and to bring a new idea to life or to optimize a current program.
We’ll start with a session focused on your target audience and your value propositions and then break into groups to help validate ideas and proposed programs on the slopes. We’ll end the day back in the conference center to share the results and next steps.
It has been great to have you join us at the MTS Forum the past few years, how has the experience been for you?
MTS has been an incredible opportunity to learn more about our industry from the leaders - as well as the emerging leaders. The Ignite sessions have been tremendously valuable in giving voice to new perspectives and shining the spotlight on new trends. Plus, I love the high-energy format.