Outdoor graphics are designed to hold up against the elements—rain, wind, UV rays, and snow; but sometimes these elements can be extreme, say at an elevation of 3,344 feet. That’s the type of weather that trail maps; routed and digitally printed wayfinding signage; and specialized wraps for pipes, rails, and other obstacles found in terrain parks endure at Okemo Mountain Resort, located in Ludlow, VT.
Signage for a ski resort needs to be bold and clear, directing guests to the right trail. Ink that withstands extreme weather can’t fade or chip away. To fill this requirement at Okemo, the management turns to its in-house sign and graphics shop.
When Tim and Diane Mueller purchased the resort in 1982, they noticed the need for signage. Starting at the base, and working upwards, hand carved and vinyl lettered signs were created to notify visitors of trail difficulties and direct them to resort buildings. This led to small print runs for other departments on the mountain. As the business grew to include Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, NH, Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Crested Butte, CO, a real estate office, country club, and golf course; the sign shop’s services extended.
“Tim and I have always supported having an in-house sign and graphics service. It enables us to quickly fulfill the needs of our 45 other departments. The staff does an excellent job of helping maintain the brand look at all three of our mountains,” says Diane Mueller, co-owner, Okemo.
The shop is located in the resort’s service support building with three full-time employees spread out over 1,200 square feet. Tim Morton, sign shop manager, Okemo, explains that in addition to working for the mountain and its collective entities, they service the Ludlow, VT area, Southern VT, and occasionally NH and CO.
Morton agrees with Mueller that the biggest advantage of an in-house sign shop is control of the brand. He says that it is invaluable to have the ability “24 hours a day, seven days a week, to address a situation that requires a printed solution to provide a guest with a better or safer experience.”
For example, before Christmas 2010, the sign shop provided last minute tweaks to signage for the ski resort’s newest attraction, the Timber Ripper—a mountain coaster. Some of the inaugural guests assisted Morton and his team to determine proper signage verbiage and colors to ensure instructions regarding loading and unloading from the ride were clear.