Conversion Cup Challenge

Conversion Cup Logo

NSAA is calling on all member ski areas to convert, convert, convert! What is conversion? Conversion is simply the process of turning beginner skiers and riders into repeat customers, and ultimately lifelong enthusiasts of the sport. With this, NSAA has developed the Conversion Cup Challenge, a friendly competition among member ski areas that closely aligns with the industry's overall goals to grow the sport.

As NSAA's Growth Model outlines, conversion is not a short-term process but rather a long-term transformation. Yet the current demographics make it clear: Time is not on the industry's side. The Baby Boom generation continues to age and will ultimately hang up their ski and snowboard gear for good. Research shows that if we do not improve our efforts to introduce new participants to the sport -- and convert them to lifelong enthusiasts - overall ski and snowboard visitation figures could decrease by 2.5 percent per season. NSAA's Conversion Cup Challenge is designed as a fun way to pique competition among member ski areas and recognize those who make significant efforts to boost skier and snowboarder conversion rates.

As part of the competition, applicants must provide a detailed overview of their program designed specifically to increase skier and rider conversion rates. Some parameters judges look for when making their selections:

    • Increase in Level 1 lesson volumes;
    • Level 1 lesson volumes in relation to total skier and snowboarder visits;
    • Quantifiable success of multi-lesson packages;
    • Season-to-date sales data on specific learn-to packages designed to drive repeat visitation;
    • Overall data collection capabilities and sophistication;
    • Marketing ingenuity, creativity, use of new media, etc.

The Conversion Cup is a traveling award. The winning resort will claim the Cup for a period of one year, until the next Conversion Cup winner is again crowned at the NSAA National Convention. Winners will receive a Conversion Cup plaque to keep on display at their ski area.

Conversion Cup Challenge Application

Please join us in congratulating the
2014/15 Conversion Cup winner - Killington Resort in Killington, Vermont.

Killington Resort in Killington, Vt., is the winner of the 2015 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Conversion Cup Challenge. This annual award recognizes resorts across the country that have developed outstanding programs to convert new skiers and snowboarders into lifelong enthusiasts. The Challenge is sponsored by HEAD Wintersports.

NSAA launched the initiative in 2010 as a way to pique competition among member ski areas and recognize those who make significant strides in boosting conversion rates. The winner of the Conversion Cup is chosen based upon proven results, creative ideas, consistent execution, and long-term commitment to the conversion effort. Several key conversion metrics are used in the judging process including beginner lesson volumes; quantifiable success of beginner lesson packages; season-to-date sales and repeat sales data collection; and marketing ingenuity and use of new media. Killington was selected among a strong field of ski areas from across the U.S. The other two finalists were Bromley in Peru, Vt., and Hunter Mountain in Hunter, N.Y.

Killington pioneered a new "learn-to" initiative in 2013-14 season—the 4-Day Elan Discovery Program—which offered a unique incentive to the first 400 students to complete the four-day series: their own pair of skis, free of charge. Working closely with Elan Skis and Burton Snowboards, Killington expanded the program for the 2014-15 season to include 500 adult ski packages, 200 snowboard packages, and 200 Burton youth ski packages. In addition to launching this innovative approach to incentivizing new skiers and riders to stick with the learning process, Killington also embraced Terrain Based LearningTM (TBL), offering a ¾-mile stretch of TBL features across three locations.

The success of the Discovery Program and the overall results of Killington’s conversion efforts are impressive. A total of 98 percent of participants have completed the program so far, and 96 percent say they are likely to continue to ski or ride. Some 71 percent of participants have returned for additional days, and 94 percent purchased equipment, clothing, or accessories.

Equally impressive is Killington’s commitment to tracking and measuring the success of these programs and following up with the participants. With the resort’s systems, they are able to track their graduates as they move into other ticket products and lesson programs. Killington has seen the number of participants in its beginner programs and the return percentage increase for six years in a row.

All of these efforts take resources. Rob Megnin, Killington’s director of sales, reservations, and marketing, puts it well: "The commitment from Killington’s management in support of these major programs and the introduction of Terrain Based LearningTM has been game changing for our first timers. We are offering an unprecedented learn-to experience that is truly building lifelong skiers and riders."

Past Conversion Cup winners:

2015 Killington Resort, Vermont
2014 Camelback Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania
2013 Mountain Creek, New Jersey
2012 Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
2011 Snow Time, Inc.