With absurdly-named obstacles such as “balls to the walls,” “walk the plank,” “arctic enema,” and “fire in your hole,” Tough Mudder promises extreme difficulty for participants and some entertaining viewing for those who merely want to watch others break a sweat. For the competitors, it will be the challenge of completing the difficult, 10-plus mile course. For the spectators, the fun will be in cheering on the participants and encouraging them to rise to the challenge and complete the course.
Of course, Tough Mudder is more than just a weekend of determined men and women traversing an obstacle course. It’s a fund-raiser for the Wounded Warrior project, and the money raised will help give veterans who have been injured in the line of duty a boost as they try to put their lives back together.
One could say the Tough Mudder is a fun weekend with a serious mission.
For businesses around the valley, Tough Mudder means thousands of people will be traveling up and down Route 100 and across Route 9. An event the scale of Tough Mudder brings people to Vermont, brings people to the valley, and brings people to local businesses.
So why is it that many business people seem indifferent about Tough Mudder being here this weekend? Honestly, we’re a surprised at that attitude. We’ve heard some grumblings from businesses that events like Tough Mudder only benefit Mount Snow, that there isn’t much trickle down to businesses down through the valley. No doubt there’s some truth to that. We understand not every business will benefit from every event, but sometimes the bigger picture needs to be seen.
There are a number of reasons to support the event, even if it doesn’t directly impact a given business.
It’s important that people care about events like Tough Mudder, even if they don’t necessarily see the benefit. Large events like Tough Mudder have a cumulative effect. The more people who come to the valley, even if just for a day or two, the more opportunity, or at least the potential, for business. There is also the opportunity for return visits and traffic from positive word-of-mouth to friends and family from participants.
So why do businesses grumble about no business? There could be any number of reasons. Part of it is just the age-old business practice of worrying more about what a neighbor is doing that minding one’s own store. We encourage business owners and managers find a reason to get people to walk through the door. Take some time, get out from behind the counter and find out what it is potential customers are looking for, and try to give it to them. A good place to start would be on the slopes of Mount Snow this weekend. There will be thousands of people lining the trails or congregating in the base area, and all of them are here to have fun and enjoy themselves in the valley. Ask a few questions, find out what they’re looking for, and see if those things make sense for a particular business.
Yes, there may not be something for everyone, at least in the business community, when these types of events come to the valley. But the alternative, not having any events, seems even more unpalatable. For those who make a living in the tourist economy, and most folks around here do on one level or another, events like Tough Mudder are a big part of the fuel for the local economic engine.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the tough mudders take to the course, it’s a sight not to be missed. The event, in our opinion, is unique and like nothing else the region has ever seen. And we want to keep on seeing it, for many years to come.