Top of Page

Sessions - East

Please note: sessions listed below are subject to change




















The Beginner Conversion Dashboard

Nate Fristoe, RRC Associates, CO

As an industry, we've been holding our ground based upon the premise of increasing frequency from our existing participants and relying on the conversion of new skiers and riders to become core participants. Now, by tracking new skiers and riders over time, the Beginner Conversion Dashboard will be able to truly tell us what works and doesn't work in our conversion efforts. And, just as important, why these efforts are effective. A cooperative initiative between NSAA and RRC Associates, the dashboard will provide benchmarks for conversion, frequency, migration patterns and feedback from real first-time skiers and riders. This session will discuss the details of this program, early insights into the data and effectiveness of area programs.  

Top of Page


Who Owns the First Timer?

The industry remains focused on creating great experiences that inspire guests to come back time and again. Conversion takes much more than the ability to make a perfect turn and the responsibility for conversion goes well beyond just the ski and snowboard school. From your website, to the parking lot, to the rental shop, to the chairlift, to the follow up – all of your resort staff shares in the responsibility for helping new skiers and riders (and new visitors to your resort) feel like they are welcome and want to come back, time and again. This session will highlight ways resorts are creating cultures of conversion to focus their entire ski area on bringing guests back.  

Top of Page


Business Continuity Plans, Part 1 – What’s really involved 

Chances are you have a plan for a lift breakdown and fire evacuation plans in the case of a building fire. But do you have a plan in the case of a mudslide, or catastrophic storm that knocks out power and internet for days. How about for a major data breach or even forest fire? Beyond simply dealing with the immediate emergency, a crisis management plan should also be considered a business continuity plan. Rather than waiting until after the crisis is over to figure out how you are going to run your business, taking the time to create a comprehensive plan now will save you and your guests a lot of heartburn later.

Top of Page


Business Continuity Plans, Part 2 – What’s really involved

Moving from a crisis management plan to business continuity plan takes foresight and commitment. This session will give you the tools to make the transition and develop your own comprehensive plan. From evacuations to communications, from development to testing, from cooperation to coordination, your plan will give you peace of mind that your business will still be able to operate. 

Top of Page


Conversion Best Practices    

The NSAA Conversion Cookbook provides 10 strategies to convert new skiers and riders into long-term participants. This session will focus on best practices from successful areas using these strategies to increase the retention and conversion of first-time skiers and riders. Learn what other areas are doing—beyond just showing people how to ski and ride—to get their newly minted skiers and riders to come back, bring their friends, and help increase ski area revenues. 

 

Top of Page


Electronic Incident Reporting – The Future is Here          

Technology has infused the entire resort operation, including the capture and tracking of information related to incidents. Areas across the US are using tablets and smartphones to record data in their incident investigations and in the patrol room. There are tremendous advantages to this including consistency, accuracy, and legibility. And, there are possible downsides such as discoverability. This session will focus on the plusses and minuses that you should consider as you bring technology into your risk management operation.

Top of Page


Freestyle Terrain Resources Update – indoor session

NSAA’s freestyle terrain resources have recently been updated with new materials. Get the inside scoop on the new content and how to implement these into your daily park operations. With a new jump measurement tool, this session will give an overview of the new material and guidance on the measurement and tracking of your park features over the season. This session will lead into a second session that will give participants on-snow practice utilizing the jump measurement tool and discussion regarding the jump design considerations.

Top of Page


Freestyle Terrain Resources Update – on-snow session               

Taking the information shared in the indoor session, participants will go on-snow to practice using the new jump measurement tool, and discuss its application over the season and in accident investigations. Additionally, the jump design considerations will be discussed using the park features as examples.

Top of Page


The New Minimum Wage: Understanding The Key Exemptions For Ski Areas

Whether on US Forest Service land, or private land, ski areas need  to understand the key exemptions that protect ski areas from federal minimum wage regulations.  This session will focus on how ski areas can use two key exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and discuss operational changes areas may consider to minimize applicability of the executive order.  Our expert panel will speak to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new rules on this higher minimum wage, and how the US Forest Service will be interpreting these exemptions.

Top of Page


Your Risk and Exposures From Technology and Social Media  

As mobile devices, GoPros, video sharing sites, and all manner of social media applications have proliferated, so too have the risks and exposures for ski resorts.  Indeed, few commercial businesses have so many different users and devices collecting daily footage as ski areas.  We will address some of the resort-specific pitfalls stemming from this technological revolution – from both employees and guests – and how resorts can minimize these risks, discuss how the social media revolution is impacting investigations, claims, and lawsuits at ski areas, and analyze what  tools and protocols ski areas can implement to reduce the risks.

Top of Page


Operational Considerations of Terrain-Based Learning  

Adopting a terrain-based approach to teaching skiing and riding requires more than tweaking your school’s progression. Utilizing snow features in your beginner area can help create a great first-time experience and improve your retention of new skiers and rider. If you have been considering including snow features into your learn-to programs, this session will help you plan and budget for the staffing, design, construction and maintenance of your new and improved beginner area. 

 Top of Page

Process Cycle Efficiency – the secret sauce to increase value    

The secret to increasing the perceived value doesn’t always lie in discounts or lower prices. Adding value at the right time can often make the difference in a guest’s perception of their experience. Process Cycle Efficiency (PCE) gives you a tangible tool that you can use to evaluate and improve your guest’s experience. Joe Hession, CEO of Snow Operating and Six Sigma Blackbelt, is also an expert in PCE and will guide you through the steps to maximize the time and value for your guests.

Top of Page


 Succession Planning 

Succession planning is a subject that is receiving a lot of attention these days as employees are retiring or finding work at other areas. Much more than just hiring a replacement, succession planning entails everything from identifying leaders and developing their talents to finding the right fit and motivating your top performers to stay. Join our Society our human resources experts to learn about the key components of a thorough succession plan that starts from the ground up.

Top of Page


Summer Lift Evacuation- It’s Just Not The Same

Summer operations come with their own unique challenges and operational issues. Lift evacuation is a critical component of your summer risk management plan. Building from the updated NSAA Lift Evacuation Manual, this session will cover the unique challenges that areas are faced with and practical solutions to address those challenges. Accessing difficult terrain and insuring the safety of your guests and staff is only the beginning. 

Top of Page


Fit for Snow:  The New Science Behind Resort Employee Injury Prevention

Dr. Delia Roberts, professor of physiology at Selkirk College in British Columbia, has been researching workplace injuries at several ski areas in British Columbia and in the U.S. for the past four seasons, working closely with WorkSafe BC – which is like OSHA, but Canadian.  From this research, Dr. Roberts developed “Fit for Snow”. Through easily implemented measures, this employee injury prevention program has been shown to reduce resort employee injuries between 40 to 90 percent, and, in turn, worker comp premiums. Dr. Roberts’ findings from her research – which may surprise some resorts – should be more than enough to convince resort management to re-invigorate their employee workplace safety efforts. 

Top of Page


Making The Switch – Leveraging the sun in the East

With energy costs constantly fluctuating, ski areas need to find ways to manage costs and provide the power needed to get open and operate. Solar power is increasingly affordable with shorter ROI periods than ever before, and of course has climate benefits as a renewable energy source. Exploring the Mt Abram and other area's solar programs as case studies, this session will give attendees insights into the decision-making process, lessons learned, and short-term results of these innovative sustainability initiatives.

Top of Page


The Search Engine: Where the path to your resort begins

68% of vacationers begin their research online and 60% rely on search engines to find their destination. That’s the bucket and the fish are hungry, so in this session we will go over current search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) fundamentals, and share tips for driving not just more, but better traffic to your site. Whether you’re doing this work internally or outsourcing, this session will cover the need-to-know aspects of search, and provide you with a better understanding of how to reach people who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.


 How Drone Technology Will Change Resort Operations 

Unmanned aerial drone technology is rapidly becoming an affordable tool with untold applications impacting all aspects of resort operations beyond just marketing. Aerial drone experts and engineers, along with ski area personnel, will discuss the technological promise (and limitations) of drones – from thermal heat imaging, gauging snow depths, infrastructure inspections, mapping, delivery systems, and even aerial avalanche transceivers. Covering the latest FAA regulations, training and certification issues, and risk management considerations, this session will also talk about where the technology is headed.

Top of Page