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.
From Vision to Execution: Process and Planning for Summer Activities
Featuring: Ron Cohen, General Counsel, Mammoth Mountain, CA; Moderator Blaise Carrig, Co-President, Vail Resorts, CO; Scott Fitzwilliams, White River National Forest Supervisor, CO; Kent Sharp, Principal, SE Group, Seattle, WA
With summer legislation done and new regulations and policy on the way, resorts are embarking on the process of master planning for summer and year round activities, and our diverse panel will share their insights from both the resort and U.S. Forest Service perspectives. Our panelists will assess their recent experiences seeking U.S.F.S. summer activities approvals, while sharing lessons learned from the planning and review process, stakeholder involvement, private versus public land considerations, the selection of recreational opportunities, and how these issues play into their broader business models.
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: Dave Gibson, Propeller Media Works, LLC, VT; Scott Hannah, President, Guest Research, Inc., CO, Gregg Blanchard, Director of Communications, Ryan Solutions / Slopefillers, Tom Horrocks (moderator), Marketing Communications Director, SnoCountry; Anna Olson, Marketing Director, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY
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.
The New Communications Plan: Strategies for Managing Your Message on Social Channels
Featuring: Jason Dyer, Marketing Manager, Snowbasin Resort, UT Krista Parry, Marketing Director, Park City Mountain Resort, UT
Between pure-digital disasters such as rogue tweets and offline PR scenarios that might not become water cooler conversation if not for Facebook or YouTube, it’s easy to see why communicators hit the panic button when it comes to devising a plan for addressing a digital crisis. How can you help your company be prepared for a situation like this? In this session, panelists will share real-life examples of crisis situations and how they were handled so you can be ready when it happens to you. They'll help you build the "new" crisis communcations plan.
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.
In-Bounds Avalanche Safety Considerations: Mitigating Your Risk Exposure
Featuring: Adam Strachan, Strachan, Strachan & Simon, Park City, UT; Maryjo Falcone, Rietz Law Firm, Dillon, CO; Jake Elkins, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY; Jim Kennedy, Snow Safety Director, Alyeska, AK; Doug Abromeit, Consultant, US Forest Service
Closed Session: Ski Area Personnel Only. With ever-changing weather events, and the continual expansion of resort terrain,in-bounds avalanches and slides remain a serious challenge for mountain management. While the risk of avalanches in-bounds are indeed an inherent risk of the sport, efforts to educate and inform guests remains paramount. In addition to established snow science protocols, resorts have a number of tools to mitigate their exposure, including signage, boundary management, documentation - and more documentation - as well as resort-specific guidelines for making terrain closure decisions. A sensitive but important topic, this panel includes ASDA attorneys managing avalanche litigation and some of the industry's foremost avalanche experts.
Health Care Reform & Human Resources - Strategies and Compliance for the Ski Industry
Featuring: Rusty Quarles, Denman Consulting, CO; Jim Breitbach, Denman Consulting, CO; Dave Byrd, NSAA, CO
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 Obstacles Events at Ski Areas
Featuring: John Collins, Risk Manager, Snowbird, UT; Rob Andrews, Wells Fargo Special Risk; Steve Zweig, Partner, Damon Morey, NY; Dave Byrd, NSAA, CO
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 Western Snow 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 western resort visitation levels over the next ten years. This discussion will touch on snowboarding's stall, the relatively favorable demographics of the west, and the evolving destination visitor profile. 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.
Four More Years: Employment and Labor Law Practices and Updates after Obama's Re-Election
Featuring: Rima Schafer, Chief Privacy Counsel, Intrawest, CO; Elizabeth Blattner-Thompson, Partner, Ballard Spahr, UT
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.
Legal and Compliance Considerations for using Volunteers at Ski Areas
Featuring: Todd Fredrickson, Partner, Fisher & Phillips, LLC.; Helen Richards, Wells Fargo Special Risks, CO; Mary Ann Wood, partner, Wood Balmforth, LLC, UT
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? Mid-Season Review and Situation Outlook
Tom Foley, Operations Director, 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: Pete Woods, Marketing Director, Copper Mountain Resort, CO; Hillary Sherman, Experience Snowboarding Manager, Burton, VT; Eric Rolls, Ski and Snowboard School Training Manager, Canyons Resort and AASI National Team Member; 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.
LSSM Meeting: Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and Bring a Friend - How Can We Build on Our Success?
This meeting is for stakeholders interested in developing new skiers and snowboarders. There is no better time than the Snowbird conference to gauge preliminary results for LSSM 2013/Bring a Friend and to start the planning progress for 2013-14. This brainstorming session is the first of several and will set the stage for the evolution of these initiatives dedicated to growing participation. Plan to attend! Be among the first to craft the path for future success.