Powdr

Headless Drupal 8 for gnarly flexibility

ski lifts with mountains in background

We partnered with Hoorooh Digital to launch a fully decoupled Drupal 8 website for the Powdr corporation. One of the first of its kind, the innovative "headless Drupal" strategy would allow Powdr to spin up new sites with front-end flexibility while leveraging Drupal's robust back end. 

Visit the Site

This network of ski resorts' goals is always to get skiers to the mountain quicker, and respond to changing conditions, on and off the mountain. A headless Drupal approach allowed the design of 17 resort Drupal websites to remain flexible, with different architecture and visual designs while remaining unified under the hood. 

We were selected by Hoorooh Digital for our Drupal developers' expertise and eagerness to work on a headless Drupal project—one of the first of its kind for Drupal 8. 

Decoupling Drupal 8

We worked with Hoorooh Digital on the development of the Drupal websites. Decoupling the theme and presentation layer allowed the team to retain the structure and great admin experience provided by Drupal 8, while using a modern javascript framework for the front end. One of the first sites, Boreal, was chosen to be the first site to put the new strategy to the test. 

Hosting was a critical part of the Drupal development process. The flexibility of the Acquia platform matched perfectly with Boreal’s decoupled website. For this reason, Acquia was selected as a hosting and support partner for this project. With Acquia’s backing, we were able to build the resort’s site faster and with fewer roadblocks.   

mobil ui of boreal website

Why headless Drupal?

weather ui, video and skier

We went through a very thorough cost, benefit ratio analysis to choose a CMS that fit the customer and business as a whole. Drupal was an easy choice.

Chris Cruz, Co-Founder of Hoorooh Digital

In the simplest terms, on a headless Drupal site, the user is not actually interacting with Drupal, but with a front-end framework. This solution left Boreal’s options wide open on the front-end while providing an extremely stable CMS solution on the back-end. Development and design for each subsequent site were, in turn, much faster.

A headless Drupal solution offered a powerful and flexible solution that allowed for websites to be spun-up quickly, something Drupal 8 is capable of alone. But in this case, a headless allowed more customization for the client. Boreal Mountain Resort is part of a large system of 17 ski areas. By going headless we will be able to develop an unlimited number of sites under the framework, using the same codebase on the frontend.

Prior to this project, Powdr Resorts was suffering for their disparate systems and an inability to quickly update the many sites connected to the brand. We wanted the resort owners to focus on their business, not site updates. Ultimately, headless Drupal saved us time and our client money.

Sicky Drupal 8 Web Development

A successfully decoupled build requires a solid back-end foundation. Drupal 8 is perfectly suited to provide this foundation as its content architecture can be adapted to serve limitless opportunities on the front-end.

With this in mind, our back-end Drupal developers embraced a componentized site build. This approach is based around building small, focused elements that can be combined in different ways to create reusable pieces of content.

Components are multi-purpose within the website. Unlike some development methods, we are not limited by page templates and don’t spend time rebuilding the same elements on several pages. Our developers create components that can be easily compiled to form an endless amount of page configurations.

Using components provides a consistent and reliable codebase. Page elements are simply adapted from pre-existing components, allowing massive gains in efficiency and reliability.

Hoorooh’s headless front-end design

The flexibility of the Acquia platform matched perfectly with Boreal’s decoupled website. For this reason, Acquia was selected as a hosting and support partner for this project. With Acquia’s backing, we were able to build the resort’s site faster and with fewer roadblocks.   

Powdr UIs side by side

Built for expansion

Headless Drupal gives Powdr with even more room for scalability going forward. New updates like weather reports and conditions will be quick to add and configure within the decoupled system so that as the websites mature, they retain a dynamism and liveliness that will help bring the mountain even closer to eager adventurers.

To learn more about this project, check out the story we produced with Acquia and Hoorooh Digital.