The Science of Terrain Jumping Features
Featuring: Jeff Burga, Mechanical Engineer, Burton Snowboards, VT Elia Hamilton, Freestyle Terrain Manager, Peak Resorts, VT
Closed Session: Ski Area Personnel Only. There is on-going debate over what role science plays in the construction and design of terrain park jumping features. Jeff Burga, a mechanical engineer with Burton Snowboards, and Elia Hamilton, the Terrain Parks Manager for all nine ski areas of Peak Resorts, have recently conducted research on a number of these issues. They have studied the interaction between various aspects of terrain park jumps, including feature placement, human trajectories, velocity, jump length and height, transition curvature, and - most importantly - the role of the skier/rider. This session will also analyze jump measurement procedures, skier/rider feedback, and the limitations of science while working with a highly malleable and ever-changing snow surface conditions.
MTN.XML: Standardizing Snow Report Data to Save Your Resort Time, Money and Confusion
Featuring: Tom Horrocks, Marketing Communications Manager, SnoCountry, NH
Every resort updates their snow report across multiple reporting channels daily, consuming valuable time. But what happens to that information after you submit it? How is it being used across your resort and multiple other platforms? And, are you providing your customer a clear and consistent message across all channels? MTN.XML was established by resorts and industry partners to help standardize resort reporting data. Saving mountains time and money and headaches, while also enhancing the guest's experience. Imagine if the information you submitted into your website CMS could power everything from your resort website, to SnoCountry, to thousands of industry and news related websites, Mobile Apps, on-campus digital signage and more! We'll show you why and how to implement MTN.XML as well as talk about how to build a better MTN.XML in the future.
Increasing Performance and Revenue through Data-Driven Marketing
Featuring: Ben Wilcox, General Manger, Cranmore Mountain Resort, NH; Dave Gibson, Owner, Propeller Media Works, LLC, VT; Scott Hannah, President, Guest Research, Inc.; Corey Ryan, Principal, Ryan Solutions; moderator Tom Horrocks, Marketing Communications Manager, SnoCountry, NH
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.
Crisis Communications: Tips for Managing Your Message on Social Channels
Presented by David Meeker, Communications Director, Mount Snow; Ethan Austin, Communications Manager, Sugarloaf; Jennifer Butson, Director of Communications, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.
By now we’ve all witnessed first-hand the power of social media and its viral-like ability to usurp candidacies, companies, and even countries. Many of the fundamental rules of crisis communications can be applied across all media channels, but exceptions to the rules exist within social media. Within this new media frontier, the rules of engagement are still being written. Don’t miss this session as we review and analyze real-world applications with tips for managing your message on social media channels during a crisis situation.
The Human Factor: The Psychology and Engineering underlying Mountain Signage and Safety
Featuring: Dr. Russ Hunt, Dean and Professor of Industrial Engineering, Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, Georgia
The increasingly important field of human factors engineering looks at the interplay between psychology and engineering to determine how the public consumes, interprets, understands, and reacts to safety and warning information systems. NSAA has arranged to bring one of the nation's pre-eminent experts on human factors engineering, Dr. Russ Hunt, to analyze how the ski industry is utilizing safety information from marketing materials to mountain signage to inform and warn the skiing and riding public - and the effectiveness of the overall "message." Dr. Hunt has served as an expert witness defending ski resorts as well as many companies outside the industry on failure to warn claims raised in plaintiffs lawsuits. From wording, style, color, placement, shape, readability, the medium of delivery - particularly how emerging media will impact how our younger, tech-savvy demographic consumes information - this fascinating session will be critical for risk managers, marketing, patrol, and mountain operations.
Health Care Reform & Human Resources - Strategies and Compliance for the Ski Industry
With the recent - and very promising - guidance from Washington on seasonal workers and health care reform, many questions unique and specific to the ski industry remain. How should resorts structure their "look back" and "measurement" periods? What employment-law related issues will change in lieu of health care reform? How are COBRA and workers compensation laws impacted by health care reform? How will resorts restructure their end-of-season layoffs and terminations to comply with health care reform? What about employees held over summer activities? Structured in a square-table format, so that our ski areas can discuss their approaches to these issues, we will have health care reform and employment law experts on hand to guide and moderate this critical topic.
Weekend Warriors: Management Considerations for Extreme Obstacle Events at Ski Areas
From Muddy Buddy to Tough Mudder, extreme obstacles events have exploded in popularity, and ski areas are the obvious choice to host such high-volume summer competitions. We have invited executives from some of these events to share their insights on issues of resort relations, course design and construction challenges, revenue expectations, risk management, and safety, and we pair them with ski area managers who have experience hosting such events - for perspectives and insights from both sides of the equation. Whether a resort stages their own events, or contracts with an outside vendor who hosts these events around the country, this session is a great opportunity for mountain managers, marketing folks, patrol, and event organizers to get a better feel for the challenges of hosting such large events at your resort.
Cream or Sugar: How Terrain-Based Learning Adds Flavor to the Beginner Experience
Featuring: Joe Hession, VP & Experience Manager , Hession Design, LLC, CO Elia Hamilton, Freestyle Terrain Manager, Peak Resorts, VT Chris Hargrave, Director of Operations at Woodward Tahoe, CA
At a time when bringing new skiers and snowboarders into the sport has never been more critical, some within the industry might argue that at many areas, the overall learning experience has gotten rather bland. When was the last time you sampled the proverbial coffee? In this session, we explore new approaches to teaching first-time participants. Here we will provide examples of specific terrain enhancements that, through their innovative design, make learning much easier and can even make a 'fall-free" lesson a reality. We will also review the operational aspects of building these features, and offer tips on how to gain buy-in within the learning center and among upper management.
Total Health Assessment of the EasternSnow Sports Market
Featuring: Nate Fristoe, Director, RRC Associates, CO
Join us for a lively and visually engaging discussion of the demographic and lifestyle trends that will influence eastern resort visitation levels over the next ten years. This discussion will touch on snowboarding's stall, the demographic challenges and opportunities in the east, and the role eastern
resorts play as significant generators of new participants. This session will feature some of the new data visualizations and GIS drill downs that form the foundation of NSAA's new Model for Growth.
Innovative Business Models for All Things Green
Featuring: Judy Dorsey, President & Principal Engineer, Brendle Group
Seth Jansen, Engineer, Brendle Group
If you think you've already picked the low hanging fruit of cost-effective sustainability, think again. Through innovative new business models, ski areas are reaping even deeper economic benefits of
sustainability that tap emerging technologies and trends such as cleantech commercialization, green supply chains, ecosystem services, and comprehensive sustainability planning. Judy Dorsey and Seth Jansen of Brendle Group will highlight these new opportunities through the lenses of NSAA's Climate Challenge and Mountain Riders Alliance mountain playgrounds. With examples from Burke Mountain, Killington, Sugarbush, and Mt. Abrams, this session will feature the latest in sustainability technologies and business approaches for strengthening your resorts economic position.
Beyond Hot Air: Sizable Energy Cost Reductions by Analyzing Snowmaking Metrics
Featuring: Jeff Cullinane, Financial Planning Analyst, Intrawest Resorts, CO Mike Leonard, Efficiency Vermont
Snowmaking, by far, is the biggest energy hog at ski areas in the East. Jeff Cullinane, a finance and efficiency expert at Intrawest Resorts, has implemented hugely successful snowmaking energy monitoring programs at Stratton and Snowshoe, resulting in reduced energy costs of more than ten percent, with savings of up to a hundred thousand dollars in just one season. By vigilantly tracking key metrics and smartly forecasting demand and consumption, Intrawest will discuss how it has achieved sizeable energy reductions in snowmaking. Jeff will tag team with experts from Efficiency Vermont, who advocate a similar Snow Energy Index system which laser-focuses on continuous energy improvements in snowmaking through tracking water, air, and kilowatt usage, and real-time adjustments designed to achieve significant energy reductions. Efficiency Vermont will also unveil results from their "Snow Maiden" test sled on a spectrum of snow guns, and highlight behavioral changes that can be implemented on-the-fly to lower energy costs.
Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and Bring a Friend: Building on Our Success. Parts I and II
Featuring: Sarah Neith, Director of Public Affairs, Ski Vermont, VT; Raelene Davis, Marketing Director, Ski Utah, UT; Tom Horrocks, Marketing Communications Manager, SnoCountry, NH; Sam Rufo, President, nxt Concepts, OH; Moderator Mary Jo Tarallo, Executive Director, Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month/BAF, D.C.
Part I of this presentation will focus on preliminary results of LSSM 2013 and the first official year of Bring a Friend. A panel of industry experts will provide highlights of creative programming that had an impact on generating new and long-term customers.
Part II features an update on planning sessions held at the NSAA Western Winter Conference and the SIA Show on the evolution of LSSM and BAF. Ample time will be available for discussion from the New England and East coast resort perspectives.
Legal and Compliance Considerations for using Volunteers at Ski Areas
Featuring: Eric Uhl, partner, Fisher & Philips, Portland, Maine; David Byrd, National Ski Areas Association
Closed Session: Ski Area Personnel Only. Ski areas have long used volunteers in a spectrum of roles on the mountain - including patrol, mountain hosts, race and club programs, even special events. A number of federal and state statutes govern the use of volunteers - including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Volunteer Protection Act, good Samaritan laws, workers compensation, and so on - with an in-depth look how compliance challenges could impact the ski industry. This session will analyze enforcement and interpretation of these laws on volunteers in positions outside the ski industry, and where ski areas may be at most risk of exposure. A surprisingly important topic, given the wide use of areas providing ski passes as consideration for volunteering at resorts.
How's Business? Mountain Travel Research Program Mid-Season Review and Situation Outlook
Featuring: Ralf Garrison, Senior Analyst, MTRiP, the Mountain Travel Research Program
We'll take a 360 degree look at Winter 2012-13, with a review of the season to date, preview of season's end, and a broader assessment of the economic situation and tourism trends upon which future business is dependent.
Snowboarding's Next Chapter
Featuring: Jeff Boliba, VP Global Resorts, Burton Snowboards, VT; Nate Fristoe, Director, RRC Associates, CO
Snow sports has benefited tremendously from snowboarding’s emergence and growth over the past twenty five years. Today as snowboarder’s mature and the sport evolves we can’t take for granted this important segment of our business. This panel presentation will examine how snowboarding’s trial and conversion numbers can be improved from three unique perspectives: instruction, equipment, and the resort experience. We’ll look at what resorts can do to more effectively open pathways for young children and their families to engage with snowboarding, how gender differences in learning styles may influence women’s likelihood to continue snowboarding, the evolution of the terrain park and half pipe, and what resorts are doing to recruit and win over a new generation of snowboarders.
Four More Years: Employment and Labor Law Practices and Updates after Obama's Re-Election
With Obama’s re-election, there will be a renewed emphasis from the federal government focusing on expanding workplace and employee regulations. A critical session for any department manager or HR director, this panel discussion will bring the audience important updates on changes in employment and labor practices over the last year, with specific emphasis on their impact on ski area operations. From employment policies, social media, OSHA, wage and hour updates, ADA, EEOC, the likelihood of immigration reform, even new marijuana legalization – this panel of employment and labor lawyers will bring you up to date on recent changes at both state and federal laws, and recent employment claims at ski areas.