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    Sessions - West      

Please note: sessions listed below are subject to change



















NSAA's Beginner Conversion Study  

Surveying participants from across the US, the NSAA Beginner Conversion Study provides the most accurate picture of industry-wide retention ever. Now in its second season, the Beginner Conversion Study is delivering results from new participants and those in their second year of skiing or riding. Are they loyal to the area where they learned? Are they buying equipment? Are they still skiing or riding? And, how often? This session will provide analysis and recommendations for actions you can take to positively influence your beginners.

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Conversion Best Practices: Rental Shop Setup 

From the very beginning, the NSAA Model for Growth identified the rental shop as a critical link in the conversion cycle. Regardless of whether the guest is coming to your area for the first time or coming back for a second or sixth time, it's imperative to create a great rental experience every time. This panel of area managers will discuss (and show) how they have re-imagined their rental shops and the rental process to help convert first timers to committed skiers and riders.

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Conversion Best Practices: Marketing Messages that Attract First-Timers

All those images and videos of powder shots and big air might be great to tell the already converted how steep or cool your area is, but what are you doing to directly attract new skiers and riders? When was the last time you really looked at your area's marketing plan and could say it specifically targeted to first-timers? Where do I park? Where should I go when I get there? What should I wear? These are only a few of the many questions new skiers and riders have. Communicating the right message in the right way is crucial to growing our participant base by attracting new people to the sport, regardless of where they are from and what language they speak. Our featured panel of resort leaders will discuss their intentional efforts to market to the first-timer and capture this critical guest. 

 

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Hit the Ground Running with the New Forest Service Water Clause 

The Forest Service has released a new water rights clause for resorts operating on public land. This session will provide what you need to know including an overview of the major components of the new water clause and information about how it will affect ski areas’ day-to-day and long-term management of water assets. Given the complexity of the issue and the importance of this resource, NSAA has lined up a panel of experts to help resorts understand the mechanics of the clause and how to plan for its implementation: Sean Wetterberg, manager of the Forest Service Winter Sports Program; Geraldine Link, NSAA director of public policy; and Fritz Holleman, water attorney. These experts will provide insights on “original” versus “acquired” water rights; the new successor’s right-to-purchase provision; water inventories; restricted water rights; and how to meet water “sufficiency” tests under the new clause. Mountain operations, planning, and legal staff will benefit from attending this timely and informative session.

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Employment Law Update: What is Important to Know Now 

Recent changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act are going to impact areas across the country significantly from an operational as well as financial standpoint, and it is essential that they fully understand the ramifications. Increases in federal and state minimum wages are putting areas under pressure to evaluate and update their compensation policies. Our panel of human resources experts will discuss not only what you need to know to comply with the new rulings but also to remain competitive.  

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Key Learnings from the NSAA Downhill Bike Park Summit    

This past June NSAA held its first-ever Downhill Bike Park Summit—by all accounts a resounding success.  Bringing together the industry leaders in downhill bike parks, the Summit focused on risk management and operational considerations critical to successful bike parks. Resorts and other industry experts shared their best practices—from park design to bike patrol, and from bike schools to rentals. This session will provide a synopsis of the key takeaways and considerations for areas that are considering starting bike operations or expanding their current programs. 

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Best Practices in Tubing Park Operations

Tubing can be a lucrative addition to any area, driving increases in revenue and guest visits. While there are many different ways to design, construct, and operate a tubing area, certain best practices have been identified over many years of trial and error. Important design aspects include staging, lane design, and design of the runout. Operational considerations include staffing, signage, and risk management. Industry experts and area personnel will share what's working for them and how it has helped their tubing operation be more successful.

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Explosives Meeting & Avalanche Blasting Resource Guide Update (CLOSED SESSION—Ski area personnel and invited participants only)  

This session will combine NSAA’s traditional Winter Explosives Meeting with an in-depth look at NSAA’s newly released Avalanche Blasting Resource Guide (2015). NSAA Explosives Committee Chairman Peter Schory of Snowbird and Dan (“Howie”) Howlett from Alta Ski Area and RECCO will cover emerging topics in the explosives arena, new avalauncher recommendations, explosives requirements from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and how to maximize staff training with the new Avalanche Blasting Resource Guide. Snow safety, patrol, and mountain operations personnel are ideally suited for this educational presentation.  

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Cybersecurity: Protecting Your Company & Your Guests  

Cybersecurity is in the news almost every day. While it may seem like it will always happen to someone else, ski areas are at risk as much as larger, more visible targets. Cyber security expert Anne de Vries from Safehold Special Risk will discuss the very real threatsand strategies to mitigate those risks. Representatives from areas that have been hacked will share their experiences and lessons they have learned from dealing with this potential business nightmare. 

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Incident Investigation: Updates & New Tools  

A quality incident investigation requires a thorough and thoughtful approach to ensure all the information is gathered and documented accurately. Having the right tools and team in place can make all the difference. This session will focus on the best practices for setting up and training your team, updates to the NSAA Incident Investigation Resource Guide, and provide insight and recommendations into the investigation process. 

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Tubing Risk Management: Tubing Incident Review

Despite the perception of being a low impact and low risk activity, tubing incidents still happen—and litigation often follows. In this session we’ll explore the current cases out there and recent decisions related to tubing incidents, and our panel of ASDA attorneys and area representatives will share their learnings and insights from these cases. Senior leaders as well as tubing managers and supervisors will find this session invaluable as you evaluate your area for exposure.

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Legal Update (CLOSED SESSION—Ski area personnel and invited participants only)

Each season brings a plethora of new cases, judgments, and decisions. In this session we’ll discuss, in-depth, the most recent and relevant cases that will impact areas across the country, directly or indirectly. From releases in Oregon to avalanches in Colorado, each particular case provides a wealth of lessons to be learned. Open to all area personnel, this session will give you critical insights that will impact how you look at your area and operation going forward. 

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Terrain Park Design: Building a Park for Your Guests, Not Your Staff

Designing and building a terrain park is part science and part artistic endeavor. One of the most critical scientific elements is understanding who your guests are—namely, who is using your parks, their ages, their ability levels, and what features they like. The challenge comes when areas build parks and individual features for a very narrow user profile and don't account for guests that aren't in your park every day. Thoughtful park design needs to be based on a full guest profile and that accommodates a wide range of ability levels. Find out from our panel of area park managers what works for them, why it works, and how they know it's working.

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Terrain Park: What Gets Measured Gets Done              

“What gets measured gets done” is a long-standing axiom in business. Yet parks and park operations are often treated like a different animal compared to other departments—revenue-generating or otherwise. Terrain park management is entering a new era with increased access to data that can inform all aspects of park management, not just the park design and build technique. There's no reason why you can't treat this like any other business venture—developing a deep understanding of your market, creating specific goals, tracking meaningful measures, and creating accountability for results. Join our panel of industry experts and park managers as they discuss what data they are tracking and how sophisticated analysis is revealing ways to maximize their park investment.

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OSHA Regulations: A Review and Refresher

Workplace safety is a top priority, yet incidents still happen. Being diligent and understanding the regulations helps areas create a safer workplace and also are invaluable tools in the case of an OSHA inspection. This session will give you insights about what you (or a new supervisor) need to know about the inspection process. Industry experts and area leaders will provide specific strategies to help you ensure compliance, prepare for inspection, and address any issues that may arise.

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Lift Safety  (CLOSED SESSION—Ski area personnel and invited participants only)

Lift safety is one our industry's highest priorities. Recommended for risk managers, ski patrollers, ski school staff, and lift operations workers, this session will bring you up to date on the latest information regarding ANSI B.77, current and past lift incidents, area lift safety programs, and the industry's lift safety education efforts. Our panel will feature ASDA attorney Thomas Aicher, industry experts, and area personnel providing valuable insights and takeaways for your area.

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 Web Trends: Entice, Engage, & Convert More Guests Online

Dave Gibson, Propeller Media Works, Inc.

Your website is your number one tool for marketing, customer service and direct sales. The challenge is keeping up with the evolution of technology, design, and consumer expectations. The opportunity is to entice, engage, and convert more web visitors into long-term guests. Join Dave Gibson of Propeller Media Works as he reviews the evolving trends, tools, and techniques that resorts and other successful brands are using to compete aggressively and move the needle.

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