** Please note: Sessions, times, and speakers are subject to change.**
Monday, May 4, 2015
10:00 am - 11:15 am
Got Water? Planning for Shortage, Conservation, and Re-use
Judy Dorsey, President, Brendle Group, CO
Water and water management are issues for resorts across the U.S. Resorts are constantly challenged with being as efficient as they can with their use of water in all aspects of their operations. Conservation and re-use in the face of shortages and volatile weather are at the core of the new and innovative water treatment options available, and with the increasing efficiency of snowmaking systems. Featuring Judy Dorsey, president of the Brendle Group, and other industry water experts, this session will cover what areas need to know about water – it’s conservation, use, re-use, and water policies that may be on the horizon.
Understanding the New Market – NSAA's Millennial Study
Nate Fristoe, Managing Director, RRC Associates, CO
The Millennial generation is a critical demographic for our industry, and NSAA has commissioned research to identify what attracts this elusive guest. Nate Fristoe, managing director for RRC, will provide analysis and insights from this research along with tangible and actionable ideas for new products, marketing efforts, and other resort offerings. Understanding this demographic will help you identify how to give these multi-faceted guests what they are looking for, and how to position your area as an accessible gateway to get them on snow.
Pursuing Diversity – Bringing a New Customer to Your Area
Moderated by Joe Hession, President, Snow Operating
Tim Cohee, Owner/General Manager, China Peak
Schone Malliet, CEO/Chairman, National Winter Sports Education Foundation
John McColly, Marketing Director, Mountain High, CA
Carolyn Crowley Stimpson, VP Mountain Services, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, MA
The faces of the American population are changing rapidly and requiring areas to approach their marketing differently. With ethnic diversity increasing in all regions of the U.S., resorts are increasing their marketing outreach to attract non-traditional participants to their slopes. The areas that are succeeding are seeking to understand who these audiences are and how to best reach them through various mediums and by featuring more diversity in their promotional materials. Featuring marketing directors from across the country, this session will give you insights into how to attract a more diverse group of participants to your area.
The Wireless Ski Area – How Technology and Connectivity are Impacting Guest Experience
Dave Amirault, Marketing Director, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort, CA
Guests of all ages now expect to be connected 24/7 to their social networks, news feeds, and WhatsApp. All of this demand for data and access is forcing areas to explore new and different ways to provide wall-to-wall coverage not only in the base area but also on the hill, whether through cellular or Wi-Fi networks. Digi-Dave Amirault, marketing director for Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort will discuss how he’s increasing the connectivity at Sierra and how this is increasing his ability to connect with their guests.
1:45 pm - 3:00 pm
NSAA's Beginner Conversion Dashboard – Analysis and Results
Rob Linde, Director of Development, RRC Associates, CO
Scott Buelter, President, AscentCRM, CO
After the first season of the NSAA Beginner Conversion Study, NSAA and RRC are ready to release the findings of this ground-breaking research. Looking at first-timers from resorts across the county, we are now able to track whether they continue to ski or ride, and why. Through analysis of the responses given by those first-time skiers and riders, we will be able to truly identify those strategies that drive trial and conversion—along with those that don’t.
Programmatic Advertising – Leveraging Technology to Increase Your Reach
Saloni Shah, Principal, Account Director, BravoEcho, Inc.
Technology is changing virtually every aspect of resort business operations, including marketing. Not only do you need to pay attention to what your message is and how you present it (i.e., video, blog, print), you also need to advertise in the right place. With so many choices, how do know where to place your message, or even when space is available? Programmatic advertising helps to ease some of this pain, with automated purchasing and placement of your advertising. Marketing expert Saloni Shah will cover the basics of programmatic advertising and how you can take advantage of this technology to increase your resort’s reach.
Case Study: Key Operational Takeaways Following the Mountain High Trial
Mistica Walker, Claims Adjuster, Safehold Special Risk, CO
Steve Parminter, Partner, Wilson Elser, CA
Pat Kelly, Partner, Wilson Elser, CA
A woman was catastrophically injured after she sped down a green trail and flew over a staging area feature overlooking a terrain park. Not surprisingly, she sued the resort. After years of litigation the trial resulted in a recent and surprising jury verdict. Distilling down the critical operational takeaway’s and important, broader “lessons learned”, this session will delve into issues like signage, inter-departmental communications, trail designations, and recommended changes in resort operations. From the trail map to speed considerations, the unique layout of the resort to the guest education efforts and perceptions – virtually all aspects of the resort operation were challenged, creating unanticipated demands and impacts on resort staff. Digging into the details, Safehold’s Mistica Walker and the two ASDA attorneys who devoted months to the trial, will provide an in-depth case study of the litigation, including the fascinating facts and unique allegations at issue.
Building for our Future: The Evolution of Children's Facilities
Moderated by Claire Humber, ASLA, PLA, Director of Resort Planning & Design, SE Group
John Ashworth, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, Principal, bull stockwell allen, CA
Dave Corbin, VP Planning/Development, Aspen Skiing Co., CO
Alan Henceroth, COO/Vice President, Arapahoe Basin, CO
Dave Merriam, Mountain Recreation Director, Stowe Mountain Resort, VT
A children’s center is so much more than just a place for your kids programs. These facilities often become multi-use resource centers that are utilized all year long – used to house and feed kids in daily and multi-week programs, provide precious space for staff meetings and training, and even serve as conference facilities at times. Join our panel of resort and planning experts as they discuss the issues around planning, designing, and building a children’s center.
3:15 pm - 4:30 pm
The Results of Revenue Management – How Areas Are Driving Revenue Growth
Joel Simkins, Director of Gaming, Lodging, and Leisure for Credit Suisse
Bill Benneyan, President, Mountain Creek, NJ
David Crowley, Sr., General Manager/COO, Wachusett, MA
Evan Reece, Co-Founder, Liftopia, CA
Dynamic pricing and yield management strategies are now being utilized with great success at ski areas and resorts across the country. No longer are these strategies only being applied to lodging properties. Resorts are implementing dynamic pricing into ticket sales and other areas of the resort operation. Join moderator Joel Simkins, director of gaming, lodging, and leisure for Credit Suisse, along with resort representatives to learn how resorts are increasing their revenues through effective revenue management strategies.
The Alarming Costs of Comp: Why Resort leaders Should Focus on Work Comp and Workplace Safety
Bill Curtis, Safehold Special Risk
Rob Andrews, Vice President, Safehold Special Risk
Intended as a long overdue wake-up call for senior resort leadership, this session will unveil new ski industry worker’s compensation data and place into perspective the sizeable challenges of managing rising costs while attacking the underlying causes of injury through a robust and holistic workplace safety program. We will frame the growing impacts of workplace safety – healthcare costs, medical costs, lost productivity, an aging workforce, employee morale – and recommend strategies and practices to begin an in-depth and long term focus on the industry’s workplace safety issues.
Kottke Study – Final Season Data
Dave Belin, Director of Consulting Services, RRC Associates, CO
The perennial Kottke Study, commissioned by NSAA, always provides interesting insights into the past season’s results. Dave Belin, director of consulting services for RRC Associates, will provide analysis and key findings from the 2014-15 season. This analysis provides critical information as you assess your resort’s performance relative to the industry and to your region.
Data Breaches – No Longer Just a Problem for the IT Department
Rima E. L. Schafer, CIPP/US, Corporate Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, Intrawest
Dave Byrd, Director of Risk and Regulatory Affairs, NSAA
Almost daily it seems a new data breach is revealed. Much more than an IT issue, data breaches are impacting human resources, marketing, and financial operations every day. Despite promises of increased security, consumer and employee data often remains in peril. Using real-life examples from within the industry, our panel will discuss what happened, how it happened, and what can be done to prevent the same thing happening to your operation.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
10:45 am - 12:00 pm
The New Beginner Program – How Equipment is Making a Difference In Conversion
Moderator- Greg Ditrinco, Editor, SKI and Skiing Magazine, CO
Dave Beckwith, Director of Golf and Snowsports, Killington, VT
Tyler Fairbank, CEO, The Fairbank Group, MA
Jeff Boliba, VP Global Resorts, Burton Snowboards, VT
Bill Irwin, Sales Manager, Elan, NH
Jason Newell, Director of Marketing, Rossignol, UT
Jon Rucker, Vice President, HEAD Tyrolia Wintersports, CO
Beginner programs have always been one of those products where areas have tried new and different incentives to bring new skiers and riders to the sport. Yet, despite the low costs and creative ideas, one hurdle that has remained is the cost of a person’s own equipment. Areas and manufacturers are now working together to eliminate or minimize this hurdle through creative programs that provide equipment as incentives for completing their beginner programs. Our panel of resort and manufacturer representatives will give you the inside scoop on what makes these programs tick, and what makes them financially feasible.
Epic Mix - Celebrating 5 years
Stacey Pool, Sr. Director of Marketing, Vail Resorts, CO
Vail Resorts launched the Epic Mix program to wide acclaim across the industry. Weaving together social networking, gamification, and the all-important selfie, Epic Mix has won more than its share of fans. Now, 5 years later, what has been learned from this program? Join Stacey Pool, senior director of marketing for Vail Resorts, to learn about the thought process leading to the development of Epic Mix – and what Vail Resorts has learned through the maturation of one of the industry’s most ambitious marketing programs.
Reducing Healthcare Costs – How to Maintain Control
Jim Breitbach, Area Senior Vice President, Denman Consulting
Saralyn Crock, Area Vice President, Business Development, Denman Consulting
Spiraling healthcare costs are a challenge for resorts of all sizes. Several resorts have made it a strategic imperative to reduce costs without losing valuable employees, while increasing the health of their employees. This is no small task. Profiling successful resort initiatives, our select panel of industry experts and resort representatives will provide insights into their results. This session will give you ideas on how single- and multi-resort organizations have reduced their healthcare expenses, even as others are seeing double-digit increases in costs.
Climate Change – The Nuts and Bolts of A Market-Driven Solution
Mark Reynolds, Executive Director, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, CA
Climate change is a serious challenge, and embracing a free market-based approach to slowing CO2 emissions seems to be the only path forward in finding a bi-partisan solution. Mark Reynolds, executive director of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, will explain how a “carbon fee and dividend program” would work to reduce carbon emissions, placing the burden on the user to pay for carbon that they put in the air – but without growing the government. This revenue-neutral approach to solving climate change is gaining traction on both sides of the aisle, and is a great topic of discussion for the ski industry. Reynolds will also provide specific action plans that ski areas can use to help influence elected officials on climate change solutions.
1:30 pm - 2:45 pm
Compensation Structure – Remaining Competitive Through a Sea of Pressures
Laura Moriarty, Tahoe Training Partners, CA
Scott Smith, Senior HR and Business Development Director at Waterville Valley Resort, NH, and principal of Compass HR Designs
The federal and state minimum wage increases are impacting resorts of all sizes. Beyond simply increasing the wages of the lowest paid workers at your area, there are cascading impacts that resorts must also address. Wage compression, internal and external equity issues, defensibility, etc. all have a ripple effect throughout your organization. Through thoughtful planning and carefully crafting your compensation structure, you will be able to add needed insurance to decisions about pay, and remain competitive in your region as you seek to attract and retain valuable employees.
Content Marketing - How to Know If It's Working
M-J Legault, Partner/Strategic Planning Director, Origin Design + Communications, Canada
Leveraging all of the marketing tools available to you requires a thoughtful strategy that goes well beyond simply having a website, Facebook page, and Twitter handle. Not only do you need to be generating content for these channels, you also need to be paying attention to, and listening to, what your guests and fans are posting to make sure it’s whatthey want to see and hear. From photos to videos to blogs, if you aren’t hitting the mark, the chances are they won’t choose your area to come to. M-J Legault, Partner/Strategic Planning Director, for Origin Design + Communications, will cover the 5 key steps that you need to take to answer the question: “is your content marketing really working?” We’ll review these steps in the context of the consumer decision journey and look at how to choose the right content, what KPI’s to track and what are some tools available in each of the phases.
The Economic Impact of Events
Dave Belin, Director of Consulting Services, RRC Associates, CO
From the X-Games to the Red Bull Frozen Rush, the event landscape at ski resorts has changed and is evolving every year—having far greater impact on the area, guests, and employees than ever before. Events require a significant investment in your resources, so how do you know your area is benefiting from hosting an event? How are you measuring the ROI of being involved with a particular event? Regardless of the PR and media buzz, we still often look for something to fall to the bottom line. Dave Belin, director of consulting services for RRC, will analyze the real economic impact of sample events to discover the answer to the root question- Was it worth it?
The ADA and Accessibility – Managing Access and Opportunity
Janet Zeller, National Accessibility Program Manager, U.S. Forest Service
Dan Stormer, Partner Hadsell Stormer & Renick LL , CA
Peter Axelson, MSME, ATP, RET
Director of Research & Development
Beneficial Designs, Inc., NV
Bill Bowness, Technical Director, Disabled Sports Far West, CA
The Americans with Disabilities Act and other accessibility legislation are much more than just a set of rules and regulations. Accessibility legislation ensures that people of all abilities can access and enjoy our resorts and provides guidance as our ski area environments and expectations change – and, more importantly, as the technologies and abilities of our citizens change. Our panel of experts have been involved with the drafting of ADA regulations and consulted with many areas as they have developed their base areas and adaptive programs. These experts will provide insight into how your area can provide safe access for all and be viewed as a desirable area to visit for guests of all abilities.
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
Destination Travel and the Millennial Generation
Dave Bratton, Founder & Managing Director, Destination Analysts, CA
For many years, destination areas focused their efforts on attracting an older clientele, or at least one with significant financial resources. This was because these individuals had (and have) the means to travel and visit the top areas around the country. Now, as Millennials are earning more and more, how are destinations changing their marketing to attract this new generation? Making up 24 percent of the U.S. population, Millennials not only represent a major share of the potential market, but they also prize high-quality experiences and are willing to pay for them (even if it is only to be able to humblebrag).
The Legal Landscape – Recent Litigation and Decisions
Moderated by John Fagan, Partner, Duane Morris LLP
Every year new and different cases are brought against ski areas across the country, sometimes with far-reaching impacts. Despite similarities, each case is unique. In this session John Fagan of Duane Morris LLP and our panelists of area counsels and ASDA attorneys will discuss the cases in process and recent decisions that will impact areas, covering everything from terrain park and lift incidents to collisions.
When Accidents Happen – Communication Strategies and Tactics in the Digital Age
Skip King, Founder, Reputation Strategies, ME
With a spate of chairlift incidents and other high profile events at areas this year, a bright light has been shining on the ski industry since the start of the season. Given the importance of safety in snowsports, anytime there is an incident, any incident, it is essential that your resort’s communications serve to reassure the public and your guests that lifts are safe and well maintained, that skiing and snowboarding are safe sports, and that they will be reasonably safe at the ski area and area-owned facilities. Public relations professional Skip King will analyze several examples from this past season including the sensationalist media coverage on alcohol, chairlift incidents, and even the fraternity vandalism to provide important strategies and insights you can use to manage your communications in an age when everything is captured on a phone or other mobile device—and then immediately shared with the world.