** Please note: Sessions, times, and speakers are subject to change.**
Saturday, May 6, 2017
10:00 am - 11:15 am
Mud, Barbed Wire, & Color: The Big Attraction of Non-Traditional Events
Jeff Suffolk, Chief Executive Officer, Human Movement
Events are multi-headed animals requiring areas to carefully assess the risks and rewards and the revenues and expenses. With areas hosting a wider variety of events year-round than ever before, it’s important to understand the complexity of offering events, whether area-owned or promoter-driven. Digging into the details, this session will explore the impacts on revenues, overhead, and operating expenses for non-traditional events.
From Tragedy to Silver Linings: How Two Families Are Influencing Positive Change for the Sport
Moderated by Tim Hendrickson, Senior Vice President, MountainGuard
Dr. Helen Chew & Dr. Mark Henderson
Kelli & Chauncy Johnson
Nicole Lieberman, Executive Director of Administrative Services, Sugar Bowl Resort | Royal Gorge
When tragedy strikes, people work through their grief in many different ways. Two families, each impacted by heartbreaking losses while skiing, have chosen to turn their efforts towards working collaboratively with local areas and NSAA to help other families avoid suffering similar incidents. Kelli and Chauncy Johnson have partnered with NSAA to develop the new #RideAnotherDay campaign, in honor of their daughter Elise. After losing their son John, Mark Henderson and Helen Chew have teamed up with Sugar Bowl in California to develop innovative safety initiatives focused on increasing chairlift safety awareness. Each family will share its story and how, working in concert with Sugar Bowl and the industry, they are striving towards a safer experience on the slopes for all.
From Data to Decisions: Using the Data from NSAA’s Beginner Conversion Study
Moderated by Rob Linde, Director of Business Development, RRC Associates
Tyler Fairbank, Chief Executive Officer, The Fairbank Group, MA
Nick Herrin, Chief Executive Officer, Professional Ski Instructors of America – American Association of Snowboard Instructors
Gates Lloyd, Snowsports Director, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, CO
Mike Solimano, President & GM, Killington Resort, VT
The NSAA Beginner Conversion Study is validating area best practices and revealing new information about beginner skier and rider behavior. For years the Model for Growth served as the definitive template for driving conversion. With its 10 best practices clearly outlined, many areas embraced these to great success. Our panel of area leaders will speak to what they are learning through their participation in the study and how they are changing their businesses to take advantage of this new information. Looking for new ideas to increase your conversion and retention? Be sure to attend this session.
Shifting the Risk: Protecting Yourself in an Era Of 3rd Parties & Releases
Thomas Aicher, Principal, Cleary Shahi & Aicher
Ron Cohen, Chief Administrative Officer/General Counsel, Mammoth Mountain, CA
Michael Greear, Director Risk Control, Aon Risk Solutions, Inc.
For every area, there is a struggle to provide the amenities and events that keep guests happy and coming back. At the same time, not every area has the resources to do everything they want. Enter the third-party, the people and businesses that provide the service or put on the event that you can't by yourself. However, it's more complicated than a simple handshake, and the law gets tricky quickly. This legal and financial-focused session will dig into the details you need to know to protect yourself and your business when something goes wrong.
1:45 pm - 3:00 pm
The National Winter Activity Center: Inspiring Future Generations
Schone Malliet, Chief Executive Officer, National Winter Activity Center, NJ
Dave Hunter, Snow Grooming Sales Director, PRINOTH Ltd.
Charles Santry, President, HKD Snowmakers
Tom Wells, President & CEO, Royal Trail Works, Inc.
The National Winter Activity Center is like no other ski area. Imagine an area whose only purpose is to teach kids to ski and ride, develop life skills, and foster a love for winter sports. The mission is compelling: Improve the lives, health, and fitness of youth throughout the nation by providing access to winter sports activities. Simply put, this mission drives Schone Malliet, CEO of the NWAC, every single day. To fulfill this lofty mission, Malliet and the industry partners he assembled not only found and rejuvenated a defunct ski area, they have also created a new model to introduce kids to skiing and snowboarding, all with the ultimate goal of growing participation. Join Malliet as he tells the compelling story of the NWAC, its core purpose, and how you can get involved.
The Kottke Report: A Preliminary View of the Season
Dave Belin, Director of Consulting Services, RRC Associates
Every season is a little different from the last. Whether it’s patterns of snowfall, demographic changes in key ski markets that impact visits, the economy’s effect on capital spending, or the growing revenues from summer, these differences can have dramatic consequences in both the short-term and for the long-term. The Kottke National End of Season Survey provides in-depth breakdowns of these drivers of the ski industry and highlights developing trends. Dave Belin, RRC’s director of consulting services, will put this year’s preliminary results of the 2016-17 season into context, nationally and regionally, giving you a broader understanding of the overall industry and identifying opportunities for the coming season.
Workers’ Compensation: Calculating the Risks
William J. Curtis, Senior Vice President, National Sales, Resort, & Recreation, Safehold Special Risk
Ryan Lavoie, Risk Manager, Peak Resorts, MO
Scott W. Romberger, President, Snow Time, Inc., PA
Workers’ compensation is a complicated issue with many factors involved, including incident rates, types of incidents, costs, and employee behavior. These and other metrics are used in the sometimes arcane calculations to determine your actual experience modification rate and your corresponding premiums. Our panel of experts and area personnel will discuss how your rates are calculated and what you can do to positively influence your modification rates and costs.
3:15 pm - 4:30 pm
Outreach Programs: Bringing the Slopes to the Kids
Moderated by Nick Herrin, Chief Executive Officer, Professional Ski Instructors of America –American Association of Snowboard Instructors
Constance Beverley, Chief Executive Officer, National Winter Sports Education Foundation
Jeff Boliba, Vice President of Global Resorts, Burton Snowboards
Raelene Davis, COO & Vice President of Marketing, Ski Utah
Jay Scambio, Director, Mountain Sports Development/Mountain Operations, Boyne Resorts, MI
Many areas have long been known as learn-to meccas, embracing new skiers and riders as the future of their business and the industry. Yet, these first timers had to first get to the area before being introduced to skiing and riding. For many, access to the slopes is the biggest hurdle. Now, innovative programs and tools are available to remove this barrier and bring the skiing/riding experience to schools and into communities. By meeting them in these environments, areas can provide a taste of skiing/riding that inspires more people to take the next step and come to the snow, when they might not have otherwise. Our panel will share their successes and challenges in reaching out and putting programs in place that take the slopes to the people.
Anatomy of a Crisis: Analyzing Ski Area Response In Extraordinary Times
Jerry Blann, President, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY
Andy Wirth, President & Chief Executive Officer, Squaw Valley|Alpine Meadows, CA
For most areas, a loss of power is normally a temporary inconvenience. When a significant storm took the power out at Jackson Hole on Feb. 8, it was much more than inconvenient; it closed down the resort for five full days, forcing evacuations from eight hotels and hundreds of homes. Get an inside look from Jerry Blann, president of Jackson Hole Resort, at how the men and women of Jackson managed this crisis, bringing the area back online and fully operational with a skeleton crew. Not one storm but several storms have also caused havoc in the West, with Squaw Valley, it seems, taking the brunt of it. Find out how this resilient resort and its team worked and executed on their emergency communication and operation plans, keeping the world informed and the area safe.
The ROI of a Terrain Park
Moderated by John Rice, Vice President & General Manager, Sierra at Tahoe, CA
Jesse Boyd, Senior Vice President, Peak Resorts, MO
Chris Gunnarson, President & Owner, Snow Park Technologies
Brent Tregaskis, President & GM, Eldora Mountain Resort, CO
Terrain parks require tremendous resources and should be a draw to your area, but do you know how to accurately measure the variety of returns on your park? From incremental revenue to media reach and exposure, a quality terrain park can be a valuable amenity that delivers in many ways. Digging deeper into this, our panel of experts will discuss how they define success related to their park operations and where their investments are really paying dividends.
Sunday, May 7, 2017
10:45 am - 12:00 pm
It's a New Frontier: How the Trump Administration Is Impacting the Ski Industry
Dave Byrd, Director of Risk & Regulatory Affairs, National Ski Areas Association
Geraldine Link, Director Government Affairs, National Ski Areas Association
Brendan McGuire, Director of Government Relations, Vail Resorts Management Company
Melanie Mills, President, Colorado Ski Country USA
As with any transition in administration, change is to be expected. From dismantling the Affordable Care Act to immigration policy and rolling back environmental regulations, the Trump administration is working to fulfill its campaign promises. The administration will also select more than 1,000 appointees for key posts in executive branch agencies. These significant shifts in policy and people will undoubtedly affect your business—for better or for worse. Geraldine Link and Dave Byrd, NSAA’s government affairs and regulatory experts, will sift through executive orders, political assignments and nominations, and legislative wrangling to give you actionable insight into what you can expect from Washington DC over the next four years.
Industry Metrics: Their Value & Use
Nate Fristoe, Managing Director, RRC Associates
Steve Rice, Sr. Managing Director, CNL Financial Group
Each year, NSAA and RRC produce several reports containing a wealth of valuable data and information that can be vital to understanding your business—locally, regionally, and nationally. The Demographic Study, the Kottke Study, the Economic Analysis, the Wage & Salary Survey, and the Beginner Conversion Study all provide insights into specific aspects of area operations and industry data. The panel session will not only discuss the critical industry metrics important to know and understand, but it will also provide examples of how to use the data to make smarter, more informed decisions about your area.
From Pedals to Powder: What the Ski & Ride Industry Can Learn From Biking
Elysa Walk, General Manager, Burton Snowboards
Elysa Walk, GM for the Americas for Burton Snowboards, brings a unique perspective to the snowsports industry. Coming from the biking industry with more than 66 million participants to one with approximately 8.4 million, there are drastic differences. Join Walk as she talks about her transition into this industry, shares the lessons she's learned as a female leader in male-dominated industries, and provides a glimpse into her vision for bringing more women and girls into snowboarding.
Giving Them What They Want: Meeting the Expectations of a New Guest
Dave Amirault, Marketing Director, Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, UT
Meeting the expectations of your guests is fundamental to delivering on your brand and marketing promises. But how do you know those guests are getting what they want? Dave Amirault, marketing director for Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, will dig into the products and services that are capturing the attention and wallets of younger generations. From Wi-Fi to electric vehicle charging stations and from kale chips to craft beer, the amenities that our current customers want—and those we want to be our customers—are evolving. Bring your pen and paper to capture new and different ideas that just might make the difference in why someone chooses your area over another.
1:45 pm - 3:00 pm
Content Overload: Are We Force-Feeding Our Customers?
M-J Legault, Partner/Strategic Planning Director, Origin Design + Communications Danielle Kristmanson, Partner/Creative Director, Origin Design + Communications
Every minute, 2.78 million videos are viewed on YouTube, 39,000 images are posted to Instagram, and 537,000 photos are shared on Snapchat. Content used to be the way for brands to cut through the clutter, but now content is the clutter. Content marketing has turned areas not only into media producers but also curators of others' content. Guests face an ever-increasing challenge in deciding what’s truly important or relevant and what’s just more noise. Join Marie-Josee Legault and Danielle Kristmanson from Origin Designs as they explore how to stand out from everyone else by creating useful, trusted content that resonates with your target audience, new and old.
A Year in Review: A Closer Look at the Current Legal Environment (CLOSED SESSION: Resort Personnel Only)
Moderated by Thomas Aicher, Principal, Cleary Shahi & Aicher
John Fagan, Partner, Duane Morris LLP
Ruth Nielsen, Shareholder, Keating, Bucklin & McCormack
Kimberly A. Viergiver, Rietz Law Firm
Mistica Walker, Specialty Claims Adjuster, Safehold Special Risk
Each year brings new and different incidents and litigation. Our panel of legal experts will break down the current crop of cases, exploring the nuances that make each significant. With issues ranging from terrain parks to negligence, the details will reveal what you can do to prepare to protect yourself if similar incidents occur at your area. Considering the complex and ever-changing legal environment areas face across the country, your attorneys and risk managers will not want to miss this session.
Beyond Skiing: The Next Generation in Area Attractions
Moderated by Parker Riehle, President, Vermont Ski Areas Association
Steven Fuller, Vice President, Bristol Mountain Resort & Roseland Adventure Attractions, NY
Jessica Milligan, VP, Chief of Product, Sales & Services, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY
Steve Wright, President & General Manager, Jay Peak Resort, VT
As areas of all sizes and in all markets have expanded beyond offering only skiing and riding, they have tried many different activities and amenities to attract customers all year round. From concerts and food and wine festivals to disc golf and mountain biking, the variety is incredible. Many of these have been adopted by virtually every area, so what can you do to separate yourself from the crowd? We’ve brought three areas together with unique offerings that are true differentiators: Jackson Hole with its European-like Via Ferrata; Bristol Mountain Resort with its wakeboard park; and Jay Peak with its hockey rink and water park.
Reclaimed Water: Making Every Drop Count
Moderated by Judy Dorsey, President, Brendle Group
Ken Hess, General Manager, Massanutten Resort, VA
JR Murray, General Manager, Arizona Snowbowl, AZ
Amy Ohran, President & General Manager, Boreal Mountain Resort, Woodward Tahoe, Soda Springs, CA
Snowmaking technology has evolved constantly as companies seek to develop more efficient guns and systems, allowing areas to make snow in a wider range of conditions than ever before. Yet the one critical element that hasn’t changed for any system since modern snowmaking began in the 1950s is water. This precious resource requires careful management and, in some cases, intricate legal maneuverings to guarantee access. In the face of scarcity, areas in the West and the East are applying new technologies to process and treat wastewater and make snow from that reclaimed water. Learn from their experiences and successes as they’ve overcome the operational, regulatory, and psychological hurdles to making snow with reclaimed water.
3:15 pm - 4:30 pm
Partnerships & Influencers: Leveraging Outside Resources To Gain New Skiers & Snowboarders
Moderated by Mary Jo Tarallo, Executive Director, Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month/Bring a Friend
Scott Brandi, President, Ski Areas of New York, Inc. - ISKINY
Raelene Davis, COO & Vice President of Marketing, Ski Utah
Jessyca Keeler, Executive Director, Ski New Hampshire
Mickey MacWilliams, Executive Director, Michigan Snowsports Industries Association
Mike Reitzell, President, California Ski Industry Association
The Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and Bring a Friend initiatives have developed tremendous resources to help areas and retailers generate interest in snowsports and drive increases in new skiers and riders. At the same time, areas around the country have developed relationships and discovered additional resources that are further increasing the effectiveness of their marketing and outreach programs. Our panel of area marketers and leaders will share how they developed these alliances and brought new partners in to grow skiing and riding.
From Front Line to Bottom Line: Every Employee Matters
Dr. Mark Gasta, Principal, FMG Leading, & Associate Professor, Masters of Tourism Management, Colorado State University
It’s no secret that employees are critical to the success of any business. Increasing employee engagement has been proven to grow revenues at companies of all sizes. For more than two decades, developing and increasing employee engagement has been the focus of Mark Gasta, former executive vice president and chief people officer for Vail Resorts. Drawing from his knowledge and understanding of organizational development, strategy, and culture, Dr. Gasta will provide proven strategies to maximize the potential of your workforce and deliver concrete results.
Attracting & Engaging Four Generations: Strategies for the Entire Family
John Ashworth, Principal, Bull Stockwell Allen
Gregg Blanchard, Director of Marketing, Inntopia
Claire Humber, Director of Resort Planning & Design, SE Group
David Tirman, Executive Vice President, JMA Ventures LLC, CA
Skiing and riding are considered family friendly, and because today there are often four generations travelling and recreating together, smart areas are embracing this opportunity with intentional design, products, and marketing to capture all of them. Bringing together panelists from areas around the country, this session will dive into how these areas have thoroughly re-considered their approach and re-positioned themselves to attract the entire family, whether they are skiers, riders, or neither.