Fall Education Seminars offer topics related to risk management and safety. Topics cover the range from summer operations to winter operations - all meant to give you tools and ideas you can bring back to your area. 

Industry Overview: Rulings & Releases, Cases & Claims, and their Impacts on Ski Areas

There has been a surprising amount of key legal rulings this past year in the ski industry. The opening session of the NSAA Fall Education Seminars will look at some of the of the high profile rulings from around the country. With the assistance of ASDA attorneys (Association of Ski Defense Attorneys), we’ll analyze how recent rulings affect the future of release and waiver issues, for both winter and summer activities in your region. We will also analyze some key contractual issues impacting resort operations, and how to avoid the same mistakes. From competition events and pond skims, to new educational grant opportunities for smaller ski areas, this session is an excellent preview of broader operational challenges to be addressed in later sessions.

Mountain Operations Part 1: A Deep Dive into Recent Mountain Ops Issues Impacting Your Risk Exposure

Recent incidents have shown a number of unique “on mountain” challenges that have been highlighted in recent claims, lawsuits, and guest safety. In this session, we’ll dive deep into these mountain operations challenges, using some current trials to emphasize the need for re-examining your mountain ops departments—grooming, snowmaking, ski school, lift operations, and patrol. We’ll examine some take-aways from two avalanche trial victories in the industry that apply to all ski areas. We will address the need for significant improvements in how you close trails, parts of trails, or other areas of your facilities—including terrain parks and tubing venues—and marking and correcting hazards. Recent trials and near-misses highlight the constant need to stress more—and better—inter-departmental communications.

Mountain Operations Part 2: How Technology is Evolving Mountain Ops

It was a surprising year in unique challenges involving mountain operations, so we continue our deep dive into mountain ops. As part of this focus on area management—punctuated with unique claim and lawsuit examples—we will address additional considerations involving chairlift operations—a number of big ski states are currently pursuing formal regulatory changes involving lift safety, with the potential to spill over into all states. From a claims and regulation perspective, we will analyze some recent--and significant—lift incidents across the industry. And technology is rapidly changing overall resort management, especially in mountain operations—we will highlight some unique technological innovations that can be embraced by both small and large operators—and improve both guest and employee safety, while also mitigating exposures and protecting deductibles.

Elevating Ski Patrol: Legal Exposures, Volunteers, Insurance, and Incident Investigations

This important session will dive deep into the use of volunteer and professional ski patrol, analyzing everything from liability insurance coverage, the legal use of volunteers, contractual protections under state and federal laws. We will address how ski areas can limit their exposures from employment and labor law issues, and manage worker compensation challenges with volunteers—as well as the interplay with state Good Samaritan laws. In addition to underscoring the critical relationship and communications between volunteers and management, we will also examine the importance of effective procedures for improved and complete patrol investigations, highlighting some good, bad, and ugly examples of recent incident investigations, and the critical importance of elevating how ski areas manage investigations.