** Please note: Sessions, times, and speakers are subject to change.**
Thursday, May 19, 2016
10:00 am - 11:15 am
The New World of Food and Beverage Expectations
Claire Humber, Director of Planning and Design, SE Group
John Ashworth, Principal, Bull Stockwell Allen
Shade grown; hand-stirred; responsibly raised; artisanal. Just as food trucks and boutique restaurants are capturing the attention of foodies and Millennials, ski areas are pressed to meet the culinary expectations of guests looking for more sophisticated fare than just a “burger and fries.” By offering a variety of quality menu options and upscale dining spaces, areas are changing the typical ski area F&B experience. Learn how these resorts are earning their guests’ loyalty through their stomachs.
Data Mining and Customer Communication – Increasing Your Effectiveness
Corey Ryan, Principal, Ryan Solutions
Jamie Ippolito, Partner, Dirigo Design & Development
Anna Olson, Brand Director, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY
Areas across the country have long recognized the need to collect information about their guests. This data comes from a variety of sources such as lesson or rental forms, retail and season pass purchases, lodging reservations, and even lift scans. With all these facts and figures available to you, are you using the data in the most effective way? Join our panel of experts to learn how they’ve leveraged their customer database to customize their communications, bring their guests back, and drive revenues.
The Changing Landscape of Releases: Legally and Operationally
Moderated by Jimmy Lawrence, Vice President Loss Control, MountainGuard
Ron Cohen, In-House Counsel, Mammoth Mountain, CA
Mistica Walker, Specialty Claims Adjuster, Safehold Special Risk
Mary Jo Zweig, Cheroutes Zweig, PC Attorneys at Law
Release and waiver law is constantly evolving, especially in the myriad contexts where ski areas use them. And with tremendous advances in technology, ski areas are making strides in the ways they obtain, store, and retrieve releases and waivers. With the explosion of multiple resort pass products, electronic releases, group sales, bi-furcated ticket options, third-party vendors for events, spouses buying family passes at home--not to mention all manner of competitions--there are even more opportunities for mistakes. Our diverse panel of legal and insurance experts will explore the latest strategies that cutting-edge resorts are embracing with their release operations. In addition, there are recent profound changes in how courts analyze releases, including minor releases and waivers for competitions, which we will explore in depth.
1:45 pm - 3:00 pm
Next Generation Leadership - A Discussion of What's Next for the Industry
Moderated by Bill Rock, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Park City, UT
Tyler Fairbank, Chief Executive Officer, The Fairbank Group, MA
Amy Ohran, President & General Manager, Boreal Mountain Resort, Woodward Tahoe, Soda Springs, CA
Nick Sargent, President, SnowSports Industries America
Join our panel of next generation CEOs and GMs as they share their thoughts and views on the future of the industry. This group of resort leaders represents the home-grown talent within the industry. From the changes in their markets to evolving the resort experience, the discussion will focus on what our panelists have seen and learned in their journeys to senior leadership roles, and how they are preparing for the future.
ADA Website Accessibility: The Looming Litigation Threat and the Technology Involved
Greg Hurley, Partner, Sheppard Mullin, CA
In just the past few months, a handful of ski areas (as well as dozens of other companies) have been targeted by plaintiffs’ law firms alleging that their websites, e-commerce platforms, and mobile applications are inaccessible for the visually and hearing impaired, arguably in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We have invited Greg Hurley, one of the leading ADA website legal defense experts, to put the law—and the technology—into context for us, and help ski areas understand their liability exposure, and what they can do now to prevent them from becoming a target. Hurley will address the current status of this litigation, third party web development contracts, insurance coverage, and compliance and remediation of websites and mobile apps. This critical issue needs to be on the radar of every marketing director, CFO, and GM.
The New World of Public Relations – How to Put Earned Media to Work for You
Caroline Andrew, Senior Vice President, Missy Farren & Associates, Ltd.
A good PR campaign is like free money—it can put earned media to work for you, generating systemic buzz and exponential publicity for your resort. Led by Caroline Andrew of MFA, this session will examine how smart marketers augment traditional marketing tactics with carefully planned PR efforts. By getting others to promote your area, you can attract new types of customers, increasing your reach and your revenue.
Digital Health – The Next Frontier in Employee Wellness
Saralyn Crock, Area Vice President, Business Development, Arthur J Gallagher
Rebecca Kruske, Wellbeing & Engagement Practice Leader, Western Region, Total Health Strategies, Arthur J Gallagher
Technology has become a part of virtually every aspect of our working and personal lives. Now, its influence is being felt in the employee health arena. Digital health is the next frontier in how companies are empowering employees to take ownership of their healthcare and wellness. Join Saralyn Crock and from Arthur J Gallagher as she discusses new trends in healthcare including digital health/wellbeing tools to help impact your ski area’s bottom line, employee attraction and retention best practices and benchmarking, how to engage your population based on your employee demographics, and how to find and leverage existing technology and resources to the fullest extent.
3:15 pm - 4:30 pm
The Evolving Image of Skiing and Riding – Broadening Your Base Without Losing Your Soul
Moderated by Greg Ditrinco, Editor, SKI Magazine
Jeff Boliba, Vice President Global Resorts, Burton Snowboards
Nate Fristoe, Director of Operations, RRC Associates, CO
Adam Sutner, Chief Marketing Officer, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY
Steve Wright, Chief Marketing Officer, Jay Peak Resort, VT
Ski and snowboard marketers have long hung their hats on extreme imagery intended to stoke the fires of those that who are already skiers and riders. There’s no doubt watching someone go 20 feet out of the pipe or riding the gnarliest (or deepest) lines can be truly impressive. But what if you aren’t part of “the club?” If the images a new skier or rider sees is one of a dangerous, extreme, over-the-top luxury experience, could all those pictures and videos do more harm than good? And, how about the impact of a dry or low-snow year? Join our panel of industry experts as they discuss the current market, media, and expectations of those looking to get into skiing and riding to find out how you might change your marketing to attract more of them rather than drive them away.
How to Find and Keep the Top Talent in Your Organization
Kathleen Johnston, Vice President of Human Resources, Powdr Corp.
Finding the right person for the job is never easy. The skills required to lead an organization have changed as the business environment and generations have evolved. Kathleen Johnston, Vice President of Human Resources at Powdr Corp, will share the hiring and retention strategies that have proven successful over the many years she’s spent developing leaders in mid to large-sized, publicly-traded service industry companies. Sharing her experiences from outside the industry (and within), Johnston will share specific insights into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to finding and holding onto top talent—home-grown or otherwise.
The Hidden Economy of VRBO
Scott Clarkson, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO
Air BnB and other VRBO services are impacting your business, whether you know it or not. Lodging revenues, ticket sales, rental inventory, and rental rates are just a few of the areas that are affected. Resorts and their surrounding communities are coming to grips with this growing trend with a variety of tactics. Scott Clarkson, VP of Sales and Marketing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, is working on these very issues and will share the lessons Crested Butte is learning as it works through the ramifications of the sharing economy.
A Spotlight on Your General Liability Policy
Moderated by Mark Petrozzi, Principal, AlpenRisk Safety Advisors
Thomas Aicher, Principal, Cleary Shahi & Aicher
Tim Barnhorst, Assistant Vice President, MountainGuard
Tony Hirsch, Risk Control Manager, Safehold Special Risk
Karen Sanford, Chief General Counsel | Senior Vice President, Intrawest
General liability policies are often considered a mundane yet necessary part of doing business. But do you really know what’s in your GL policy? What you don’t know can hurt you. Whether you are concerned about drones, punitive damages, coverage limits, gross negligence, ADA claims, or volunteers, you’ll want to attend this session to learn about common gaps in area policies. From active shooters to weather events and from terrorism to cybersecurity, understanding what is (and what isn’t) covered will allow you to bolster your coverage and protect your area. Our expert panel will discuss the ins and outs of general liability policies and give you tools to assess your own policy.
Friday, May 20, 2015
10:45 am - 12:00 pm
By The Numbers – End of Season Results of the Kottke Study
Dave Belin, Director of Consulting Services, RRC Associates
The annual Kottke End-of-Season Survey contains the intelligence that allows areas to benchmark their performance against resorts of similar size and in the same region. The Kottke also provides key metrics—such as ski and snowboard visits, industry capital expenditures, international visitation, snowfall, season pass, and lesson trends—that are critical to understand and use to manage your business each year. Dave Belin, director of consulting services for RRC Associates, will dive into the Kottke, discussing the results and notable highlights for the 2015-16 season.
The New Marketing Funnel – Moving from Conversion to Advocacy
Moderated by M-J Legault, Partner/Strategic Planning Director, Origin Design + Communications, Canada
Christian Knapp, Vice President of Marketing, Aspen Skiing Company, CO
Michael van Eyck, Assistant General Manager of Bromley Mountain Resort; Director of Marketing Bromley & Jiminy Peak
Modern marketing demands a longer-term view and focus on developing a relationship with your customers. Where the traditional marketing funnel ended at the sale, the new marketing funnel now aims to create advocates out of your guests. Through careful investment at different points along the funnel, your area can help move people from simply purchasing to being engaged actively with your area and promoting your brand for you. Your biggest fans could be the biggest drivers of new business. Join resort marketing experts to learn how they are strategically allocating their marketing dollars along the funnel to build advocates and bring new people to their area.
How to Talk About Climate Change – The Nuts and Bolts of Communicating Confidently and Effectively with Key Audiences
Geraldine Link, Director of Public Policy, NSAA
Judy Dorsey, President, Brendle Group
David Perry, Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Aspen Skiing Company, CO
The media is heavily focused on the topic of climate change and its impact on the future of the ski industry. Climate change is also on the minds of resort guests, community leaders, elected officials, and lenders, to name a few. Is your management prepared to successfully communicate on this topic? How about your front line employees? Resorts need a consistent, proactive, and solution-oriented message on climate change, and this session will provide you a roadmap for forming it. NSAA’s Geraldine Link will provide the “dos and don’ts” of handling media inquiries using real world examples. David Perry will share the results of Aspen Skiing Co.’s inaugural season of engaging resort guests on climate by including Protect Our Winters (POW) patches on all employee uniforms, and the front line employee training used to prepare for it. Judy Dorsey, of Brendle Group, will address how to talk about climate solutions and adaptation in positive and meaningful terms. Together, the panelists will get the industry on the same page and boost confidence and comfort levels with communicating on this critical topic.
Handing Over the Reins – Managing the Leadership Transition
Kathy Chan, Vice President of Human Resources, JMA Ventures LLC
Laura Moriarty, Principal, Tahoe Training Partners, CA
Change is a constant in our business—even when it comes to those employees we thought would always be around. Are you prepared if you lose a key player on your team? Ideally, your business can carry on at the same—or even higher—level of performance when the next person steps in. Effective succession planning requires more than simply promoting the next person in line. The challenge is developing deep enough bench strength in your organization to ensure you are always ready. This session will delve into the strategies and tactics behind effective succession planning programs so you can develop your bench strength and the next generation of leaders within your resort team.
1:30 pm - 2:45 pm
Women in the Industry – Viewpoints from Women Leaders
Amy Ohran, President & General Manager, Boreal Mountain Resort, Woodward Tahoe, Soda Springs, CA
Barb Green, President, Blue Mountain Resort, PA
Beth Howard, Vice President and General Manager, Northstar California Resort, CA
Kelly Pawlak, General Manager, Mount Snow Resort, VT
Some of the industry’s most accomplished female leaders will spearhead this session on professional development for women, the challenges and opportunities they face, and how resorts develop future leaders. Having risen through the ranks from different channels of ski area operations, these experts will share their unique experiences and perspectives on what it takes to succeed in the traditionally male-dominated ski industry.
Industry Legal Update: Big Cases and the Lessons Learned(CLOSED SESSION: Resort Personnel Only)
Moderated by Tom Aicher, Cleary, Shahi & Aicher, VT
John Fagan, Duane Morris, CA
Steve Zweig, Cheroutes Zweig, NY/CO
Kim Viergever, Reitz Law Firm, CO
Our panel of ski resort defense attorneys from across the country will analyze several recent significant cases and claims involving ski resorts, including several precedent-setting cases that have been handed down in the last year or so. We’ll survey cases involving on-mountain vehicles, skier-skier collisions, terrain parks, avalanches, and lift incidents—even the brave new world of untraditional summer activities with their novel risks and exposures.
Access to Capital – Real World Solutions for Expansion
Moderated by Tom Lithgow, Vice President Ski/Mountain Lifestyle, CNL Financial Group
Tim Boyd, CEO, Peak Resorts, MO
Charles Skinner, Co-President, Lutsen Mountains, MN
Greg Rosen, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley, NJ
Areas of all sizes are looking for ways to upgrade, maintain, and expand across all aspects of their operation. From building new base lodges and replacing chairlifts; to adding coasters and upgrading food and beverage outlets, there are many ways to finance these projects. Our panel of area CEO's and financial experts will discuss the wide variety of financing options available— some of which may surprise you— to get the capital needed to bring your expansion and upgrade's from idea to reality.
3:00 pm - 4:45 pm
Safer and Healthier Workforce: Getting Started with Total Worker Health®
Kellie Pierson, MS, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Our industry is seeing the Baby Boomer generation exiting not only out of skiing and riding but also out of our own workforce. At the same time, we enjoy this group as a ready source of labor that in many cases is central to our staffing in departments like ski school and patrol. But while these employees are aging, the physical demands of the work haven’t changed. That’s why employee wellness is important for many reasons—their health and well-being and your area’s ability to take care of business. Join our presenter to learn about Total Worker Health®, an integrated Approach to Safety and Overall Well-Being.
Making Each Interaction Count - Marketing in Micro-Moments
M-J Legault, Partner/Strategic Planning Director, Origin Design + Communications, Canada
Danielle Kristmanson, Partner/Creative Director, Origin Design + Communications, Canada
In purchasing a season pass or booking their vacation to your resort, your consumers are doing more and more smaller, shorter research sessions over many connected moments on mobile and desktop throughout the day. According to Google, these micro-moments are the new battlegrounds for resort marketers. These “I want-to-know”, “I want-to-go”, “I want-to-do”, and “I want-to-buy” moments offer incredible opportunities to shape the decision-making process. This session will explore how you should be evolving your content marketing to keep pace with this change.
Understanding the Beginner - Insights from the NSAA Beginner Conversion Study
Rob Linde, Director of Development, RRC Associates, CO
Now in its second year, the NSAA Beginner Conversion Study is bringing in valuable information about what drives new skiers and riders to stick with the sport and the reasons why they are exiting. Also being revealed is a clear picture of the modern first-time guest—his or her age, income, and attitudes. Rob Linde, director of business development for RRC Associates, will dig into the data and provide insights and strategies to help increase retention of this critical group and grow the sport.