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Same Old Song? The Latest Hits from D.C.

Featuring: Jack Ferguson, President, Jack Ferguson & Associates, D.C.;
Andy Spielman, Partner, Hogan Lovells, CO

The 2012 elections appeared to bring little change to Washington. President Obama stayed in the White House for a second term, Republicans continue to control the House, and Democrats continue to control the Senate. What does this power structure in Washington hold in store going forward? Two top-notch DC insiders, Jack Ferguson of Jack Ferguson & Associates and Andy Spielman of Hogan Lovells, will share their insights on what the ski industry can expect over the next four years from both the Administration and Congress. This behind the scenes look at energy and climate policy, natural resources, immigration, taxes, healthcare implementation and other pressing legislative and regulatory topics will greatly benefit ski area management in attendance.

Branded Social Video: The Snowsports Marketers' Newest Tool


John Ashworth, Moderator, Principal, Bull Stockwell Allen, CA;
Benny Abruzzo, President, Ski Santa Fe, NM;
Danielle Kristmanson, Partner/Creative Director, Origin Design + Communication, Canada;
Marie Josée (M.J.) Legault, Partner/Strategic Planning Director, Origin Design + Communication, Canada

As online marketing matures, ski area marketers are constantly looking for ways to amp up their social channels and use content to engage their customers more effectively. Video has emerged as the tool of choice, and how marketers are using it is evolving quickly. Its use on websites has been trumped by its use in pre-roll and rich media advertising and now the exciting opportunities for social video are giving ski areas new ways to expand their reach and relevancy, as well as connect with the customers in even better ways. Join Origin Design + Communications principals Danielle Kristmanson and M.J. Legault as they present the evolution and opportunities of social video and present some exciting case studies from the outdoor industry.

The session will explore these key questions:

  • How is social video changing the marketing landscape?
  • How is it used to amplify existing marketing messages through social sharing?
  • How, where, and when to use and seed it?
  • How can ski areas make it a part of their own marketing mix – even with limited budgets?

Punching Social Media in the Face

Featuring: George Mitchell, Co-Founder & CTO, Circos Brand Karma, CA

If embracing social media is the last thing that you’re excited about, this session will allow you to go on the offensive. Maybe you’re skeptical about the ROI, maybe you’ve gotten your feet wet but are still looking for a comprehensive strategy, or maybe you’re too overwhelmed and want to know where to get started. Arm yourself with the answers to the following questions:

  • Who is successfully leveraging social marketing and how are they doing it?
  • What KPIs are most relevant and meaningful to measure and prove success for social initiatives?
  • Why is the ski industry a perfect match for social?
  • Where can I go to find tools, services and technologies to help me embrace social?
  • When is too late to get started? 

“Brand” New: Brand Optimization through Best-In-Class Resort Facilities and Service

Featuring: Claire Humber, Resort Planning & Design Director, SE Group, VT

Your marketing departments work hard to create a niche – your “brand” – within your competitive marketplace, allowing your customers to make decisions based on their perceived experience at your resort. Expectations are established long before they come to your resort, but do we deliver? The guest experience is a sum of your resort’s parts – recreation, scenic beauty, attractive buildings and landscape, restaurants, and the service we provide – unified and made unique by the consistent reinforcement of your brand. Using innovative examples from across the country, this panel will present “best in class” facilities and practices which deliver superior service and a unique experience, and ultimately, a more competitive brand for resorts.

The U.S, Population is Changing! Can Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month/Bring a Friend Help Preserve our Base and Also Attract a More Diverse Audience?

Featuring: Rick Kahl, Moderator, Editor, Ski Area Management, CO;
Judy Gray, Producer, Ski Dazzle, LA;
Heidi Ettlinger, PSIA Team Member and Heavenly Ski School, CA;
Tom Meyers, Director of Marketing, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, MA;
Talia L. Freeman, Director of Marketing and Sales, Beech Mountain Resort, NC;
Jon Rucker, Vice President  Winter Sports,  HEAD USA

How is an evolving U.S. population going to challenge the U.S. snow sports industry? The percentage of Caucasians is shrinking while the population of Hispanics, Asians, and African-Americans is expanding and the physically challenged are looking for more ways to recreate. Find out what some colleagues are doing to attract evolving demographics and how can Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month/Bring a Friend play a role in harnessing a population (and a generation) that has no idea what a yodel is – but they do know about Twitter. Join us for this provocative conversation!

Season Overview: Key Statistics and Trends from the Kottke Study

Featuring: Dave Belin, Director of Consulting Services, RRC Associates, CO

An overview of the 2012/13 season, the Kottke End of Season Analysis session will cover the most important topics and issues facing mountain resorts today. The seminar will include numbers on visitor demographics, visitation frequency, summer activities, lesson participation, and financial statistics. All statistics will be presented both nationally and regionally, making the results useful for snowsports managers from different parts of the country. This session will provide resort personnel with invaluable information heading in to the 2013/14 season.

Snow, Blow, Grass & Coke: Environmental Dangers in the Ski Industry

Featuring: Harry L. Haroutunian MD, Author & Physician Director, Betty Ford Center, CA

Industry veteran and nationally renowned lecturer on the disease of addiction, Dr Harry Haroutunian will take the audience on an enlightening, and sometimes frightening journey through the history of addiction and its implications. Speaking about a topic he knows well through his personal experience and current position as Physicians Director at the renowned Betty Ford Center, Dr. Harry will speak about the disease of addiction, the history of drug abuse in ski towns and the true cost of addiction to your company. This will be a fun and informative session designed to educate ski industry professionals on the current state of affairs and how we got to where we are today. Dr Harry will also offer some solutions for your staff, family or loved ones impacted by the disease of addiction.

Advances in Technology and its Expanding Role in Risk Management

Featuring: Jerri Tranquilli, Senior Vice President, Alpine Shield Resort Insurance Services;
Dave Byrd, Director of Risk Management, NSAA The technological revolution promises to be boon for risk management programs at ski areas, and the innovations run the gamut from geo-location devices, electronic incident investigations, tablets technology, drones / remote sensing, and motion-sensing video systems. We will assess their pros and cons – from both a cost and legal standpoint – and debate the changing role of technology in mountain operations and risk management.

FAQs: The Top 10 Unresolved Issues Facing our Industry on Health Care Reform

Featuring: Liliana Salazar, Employee Benefits Compliance Practice Co-Leader, Wells Fargo Insurance

We have polled the ski industry’s HR folks and CFOs about their burning, unresolved questions and quandaries related to health care reform and the 2014 deadline for the employee mandate, and compiled the most frequent issues and questions specific to our industry. Chances are, your questions are likely on this list, and if not, an issue may be raised that you had not considered. With the recent and constant release of new regulations, we will be prepared for the most up-to-date answers and strategies based on this industry survey, tailored to industry operations.

Assessing the Risk and Return on Special Events: Horror Stories and Lessons Learned

Description to be updated shortly.

Growing and Maximizing Profitability and Guest Satisfaction in your Existing Rental Operations

Featuring: Paul Mutch, Moderator, Principal, Craniologie Services, CO

Rental operations continue to provide both an important revenue stream, and guest touch point, for ski areas. Maximizing rental profitability, revenues AND guest satisfaction, however, requires understanding key rental metrics and best practices, capital considerations, competitive landscape (both online and locally) and overall resort priorities. Our panel of experts will discuss their successful efforts to improve the ROI on their existing rental operations, increasing their market share, while also focusing on aligning the rental experience with the Resort brand..

Strategies for Growth: Snowboarding’s Future

Featuring: Jeff Boliba, Moderator, VP Global Resorts, Burton Snowboards, VT;
Steve Wright, VP Marketing, Sales and Hospitality, Jay Peak Resort, VT;
Joe Hession, VP & Experience manager, Hession Design;
Kelly Davis, Director of Research, SnowSports Industries of America;
Shawn Seward, ESPN, CA

As the sport of snowboarding evolves, we have asked some of the sport’s most influential players to address how the industry can collaborate to help the sport continue to flourish. From retail and rental opportunities, progression parks, events, the learning experience and media exposure, and cultural and demographic challenges – especially women – it’s clearly in the best interest of snowsport areas to identify and adopt strategies for promoting growth in snowboarding. From resort personnel on the front lines of the sport, to the manufacturers’ perspective, and the role of the media, our panel will candidly weighs the challenges – and frankly debate the best strategies – for the growing the sport.

Capitalizing on Your Bed Base: Rent-by-Owner, and Other Forces at Play

Featuring: Ralf Garrison, Moderator, Director, MTRiP, CO;
Christine O’Donnell, President, Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association, CO

This round-table workshop will tackle the forces at play on resort bed base utilization, featuring an assessment of the rent-by-owner market, arguably a gray area in the equation, as a growing opportunity for resorts who need places for their lift tickets to sleep. Participating panelists provide views from both rent-by-owner and ski-company owned management companies, all focused on helping attendees understand how to maximize bed base utilization, activity ticket bundling, and the resulting guest experience.


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