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Success Stories from the Front: Innovating the Integration between Rental and Snow School Operations

Snowsports schools and rental operations are the foundation of numerous resort initiatives to enhance the overall guest experience and boost retention and conversion. In this session our panelists will detail what they did and what they learned about developing innovative connections between the lesson and rental experience. Hear about proven results in the areas of satisfaction, conversion, and retention—and how common denominators of success include taking a holistic approach, measuring results, and using amazing new rental fleet technology to its maximum potential.

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The Tricky Business of Attracting and Keeping New Customers

Attracting newcomers to skiing and snowboarding is tricky business and keeping them is even trickier. A key component is a strategy that includes creative internal and external communications, strong support from management, a positive attitude from staff who can identify with the needs of new customers and a tracking formula to help you monitor ROI.

Several industry partners in Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month/Bring a Friend have had enormous success with this approach. Find out what they did that worked and join in the conversation.

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Rental Boot Fitting Operations: The Most Crucial Link in the Retention Chain?

Featuring: Jack Rafferty, Pedorthist, Owner, Thotics, Inc., Masterfit University Senior Instructor, CO; Steve Cohen, CEO, Masterfit Enterprises, Inc., NY H

Who are your target customers, and how do you reach them?  How do you obtain and use the customer data that is available before, during and after their visit to your resort?  This session will focus on how resorts are using this data to become a better service and marketing organization; building relationships that lead to incremental profitability, visitation and guest loyalty.

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The Graveyard Shift: The New Best Practices for Ensuring Overnight Employee Safety

Featuring: Alexander Kestly, Health and Safety Manager, Vail Resorts, CO; Dave Byrd, Director of Risk & Regulatory Affairs, NSAA, CO 

With a recent death of a snowmaker at an Eastern resort -- and the resulting OSHA investigation -- the industry's practices for ensuring the safety of our overnight crews, including snowmakers and groomers, are under scrutiny. After an analysis of the incident and investigation, we will unveil some new best practices for resorts, designed to minimize risk and improve injury response times for our graveyard shift employees -- addressing innovative practices, PPE, and operational considerations that will, in time, reduce workers' comp costs for this critical segment of our workforce

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Strategies for Implementing Terrain-Based Learning with Generation Z

Featuring: Joe Hession, President, Snow Operating, CO

Ski and snowboard instruction needs to rapidly adapt to the realities of an entirely new demographic. As the industry embraces terrain-based learning to reinvigorate our approaches to conversion, Joe Hession – who is at the forefront of TBL movement – will analyze successful strategies that are working at resorts that are successfully using technology and terrain-based learning to connect with, and convert, the tech-obsessed, multi-tasking Generation Z, with their infamously short attention spans. This isn’t your father’s ski lesson anymore..

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The Forecast for 2013/14

Featuring: Nate Fristoe, Operations Director, RRC Associates, CO

At NSAA’s national convention in Palm Springs, we unveiled version 2.0 of the industry growth model, as we face significant challenges from the country’s demographic transition. This will be the first opportunity to revisit the Model and assess initial results from the 2013/14 season. Are the promising pre-season economic numbers playing out as hoped? But we’ll analyze where we may stand by season’s end in terms of visitation, with an emphasis on evaluating the industry’s goals regarding trial and conversion..

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Socially Rewarding: Travel + Leisure’s Digital Media Campaign Winners

Featuring: Rich Beattie, Executive Editor, Travel + Leisure Magazine, New York, NY

We have invited Travel + Leisure’s executive editor to analyze the magazine’s recent SMITTY Awards they present for the best digital and social media efforts in the travel industry. Rich Beattie, an avid skier himself, will discuss what makes for a distinguishing social media campaign that rises above the digital din within the travel and recreation industry, and what the magazine’s outside judges liked (and disliked) among the recent nominees. Innovation and creativity rule the day, with this survey of the travel industry’s most pioneering blogs, apps, twitter feeds, contests, and the freshest technology and media platforms.

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The Revolution in Mountain Radio Dispatch Technology

Featuring: John Hammond, Vice President, Mountain Operations, Sugarbush, VT; Dave Byrd, Director of Risk & Regulatory Affairs, NSAA

Sugarbush Resort in Vermont and Winter Park in Colorado are on the cutting edge of new mountain radio dispatch systems and handheld radio units that will set the standard for the industry in the near future. While each resort is using separate GPS-tracking technologies, both offer amazing new benefits for mountain operations, ski patrol, risk management, and guest and employee safety. Both are anticipated to provide sizeable returns on the resorts’ investments, impacting all major departments, including patrol, snowmaking, grooming, and human resources. The efficiencies created by these new systems will dramatically expand the resorts’ abilities to analyze operational considerations, control costs, and promote both guest and employee safety

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Profiting from Sustainability: Economics, Efficiency and Investor Perspectives

Featuring: Judy Dorsey, Brendle Group, CO; Dave Belin, RRC Associates, CO

Rich with profit-driving ideas and case studies, presenters will focus on how sustainability – from the perspectives of energy and water management, waste, fleet vehicles, procurement and other topics – can help drive bottom-line savings as well as top-line growth, while also impacting balance sheets and economic indicators industry-wide. Speakers will also share investor perspectives on sustainability in the ski industry, such as integrating sustainability into overall financial performance modeling.

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The Business Case for Climate Change Action and Advocacy

Featuring: Judy Dorsey, Brendle Group, CO, Moderator; Jon Coifman, Environmental Defense Fund, NY

The NSAA Climate Change Policy has long helped guide its efforts to address climate change, calling for efforts on multiple fronts including advocacy, education, science-based solutions and partnerships. Starting from the perspective of industry-level advocacy, national experts will discuss energy and climate change legislation, the business case for climate mitigation and managing risk in the face of an already changing climate. Next, participants in NSAA’s Climate Challenge – which now includes 20 resorts – from both east and west will report out on their progress, benefits realized and lessons learned from addressing their own climate change impacts.

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Staying on Message: Sustainability in Branding and Communications

Come hear lively discussion about customer opinions on environmental sustainability and their continued recognition of high-performing resorts. Speakers will share their perspectives of the latest research on consumer preferences and sustainability - including expectations from millenials - as well as sustainability in branding and communications, social media and how to keep communications authentic in the face of external scrutiny. Next, NSAA supplier members will share how they’re putting branding and sustainability into play to resonate with savvy consumers.

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Environmental & Regulatory Compliance: Reducing the Impact on Nature and Your Resort’s Bottom Line

Featuring: Zeke Williams, Managing Director, Lewis, Bess, Williams & Weese, CO; Dave Byrd, Director of Risk & Regulatory Affairs, NSAA, CO

Facilities and mountain operators need to be well-schooled about the heightened – and costly – environmental enforcement efforts increasingly pushed by both state and federal regulators. From waste and pollution management, storm water regulations, fuel storage tanks, and air and soil contamination, the complexity of environmental regulation and the impact on our environment warrants serious attention. Zeke Williams, a ski industry attorney and expert in environmental and water regulation and litigation, will analyze recent environmental compliance issues involving ski areas, and recommend strategies for resorts to promote environmental compliance and minimize expense.

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Building For a Better Future: Continuous Energy Improvements for Ski Area Buildings

Featuring: Mike Leonard, Consultant, Vermont Efficiency Investment Corp., VT ; George Lawrence, Consultant, Vermont Efficiency Investment Corp., VT

Believe it or not, buildings and structures in the United States constitute the largest source of emissions in the atmosphere from a climate change perspective. We have invited two experts from Vermont Energy investment Corporation (VEIC), a non-profit consulting firm that administers energy efficiency and sustainable energy utilities in Vermont, Ohio, and Washington DC. This session will hone in on ways resorts can better manage energy use to continuously improve energy performance in ski resort buildings – base lodges, condos, resort restaurants and all aspects of mountain operations. There will be an emphasis on applying the proper management framework to enable your resort’ staff to set goals, identify opportunities and make changes to save energy.

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