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Sessions - West
Please note: sessions listed below are subject to change
The Beginner Conversion Dashboard
Nate Fristoe, RRC Associates, Boulder, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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) to shield them from the higher minimum wage imposed by President Obama’s executive order, and discuss how ski areas may consider changes to their operations to minimize applicability of the executive order. This panel will also focus on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new rules on this higher minimum wage, and how the US Forest Service will be interpreting these exemptions and applying the new DOL wage clause in special use permits.
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.
Cracking The Millennial Code – Insights and Strategies For The Next Generation
Nate Fristoe, Managing Director, RRC Associates
With the millennial generation surpassing the Boomers as the largest generation, we know this group is already critical to our industry. RRC Associates has embarked on a national survey to gather data from millennials located in important markets across the U.S. Utilizing focus groups and one-on-one interviews, this research project will provide real insight into what areas can do to attract, engage, and retain this generation. Nate Fristoe, Managing Director for RRC Associates, will reveal early findings and initial strategies for areas to consider as they seek to attract this all-important age group.
Operational Considerations of Terrain-Based Learning
Joe Hession, Snow Operating
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.
Process Cycle Efficiency – The Secret Sauce to Increase Value
Joe Hession, Snow Operating
The secret to increasing 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.
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 for Human Resource Management experts to learn about the key components of a thorough succession plan that starts from the ground up.
Summer 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.
Taking Up the Climate Challenge
Featuring: Judy Dorsey, Brendle Group, CO
Climate change regulation is not likely to be a priority for the 114th Congress. Without waiting for government action, the thirty resorts in the Climate Challenge are taking proactive measures in their operations to reduce their carbon footprint now. This session will be a workshop for current Climate Challenge resorts to compare notes on progress, benefits realized and lessons learned. Potential Challengers are encouraged to attend to learn more about how the Climate Challenge actually works, ask questions and learn about the issues participating areas are facing, and the results those areas are achieving.
Understanding and Leveraging the Customer Engagement Cycle
Deb Collins, C Squared Company
When customers or would-be customers consider any product or service, there are seven specific phases that influence their likelihood to choose one company over another. Deb Collins, Principle with C Squared, will share with you details about the Customer Engagement Cycle and how you can leverage the different touchpoints at each phase to improve your marketing results.
Total Workplace Safety: Mount Hood Meadows’ Model Program
Corinna Kupelwieser, Workplace Safety Manager, Mt. Hood Meadows
Mt. Hood Meadows began a soup-to-nuts overhaul of its workplace safety efforts a few years ago, resulting in remarkable reductions in worker comp claims and overall cost savings. It is now a model for the industry. Corinna Kupelwieser will present an analytical case-study on their successes, including their emphasis on root-cause analyses, minimizing skier collisions and injuries while assisting guests, mandatory “near-miss” reporting on unsafe conditions and behaviors, and their focus on return-to-work efforts – as well as the resort’s innovative Leadership Safety University program that develops management and supervisor buy-in for these initiatives. The results were demonstrable: the resort lowered its NAICS injury rating from 22.4 to 5.1, far below the ski industry’s 11.8 NAICS average – not to mention zero slip and falls last season!
Every Drop Matters: Water in the Ski Industry
Becky Fedak, Brendle Group, CO
Water is a scarce commodity in the west and getting scarcer every day. Yet it’s also essential to ski area operations, including snowmaking, lodging, and other operational uses – so essential that ski areas must take a hard look at the risks to adequate future water supply and opportunities to manage water wisely. Becky Fedak, Water Practice Leader for Brendle Group, will share the latest trends and best practices in water planning and climate-proofing as they relate to ski areas, including conservation activities, climate change mitigation and adaptation planning, watershed services and improvements, and the new Net Zero Water initiative.
Your Risks 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.
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.