conversion cup logo

Conversion is the process of turning first-time skiers and riders into repeat customers, and ultimately lifelong enthusiasts of the sport. NSAA's Conversion Cup Challenge is a friendly competition among member ski areas that closely aligns with the industry's goal to grow the sport. The Conversion Cup recognizes those who make significant efforts to boost skier and snowboarder conversion rates. Award finalists will be recognized and the winners announced at NSAA's 2024 National Convention & Tradeshow on May 23. 

Application Considerations

The NSAA Conversion Cup Award recognizes the best ski area programs aimed at bringing in first-time guests and converting them into lifelong participants. While there is no single recipe that works for every ski area, the common denominator for success is demonstrating a dedication to getting these new participants excited about snowsports, so much so that they come back time and again. Other parameters judges look for when making their selections include:

  • 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 graciously sponsored by:  

2024 Conversion Cup Winner and Finalists

Congratulations to the 2024 Conversion Cup finalists and winner (bolded)! Read more about their programs here.

Ski Saint-Bruno, Quebec

In the southern part of Quebec, aspiring snowsports enthusiasts can find one of North America’s most thorough couch-to-blue learning programs at Ski Saint-Bruno. The result of a nine-year effort to overhaul the ski area’s Initiation Program, Ski Saint-Bruno’s Evolution Program guides participants through six steps covering everything from skiing and snowboarding basics to tactics and techniques for approaching that first steep blue run. An impressive 84% of participants in this program were retained in the 2023–24 season, leading to an 8% increase in sales attributable to new skiers/riders over the prior season. 

What stands out about Ski Saint-Bruno’s programming for new skiers and riders is its appeal and accessibility to individuals of various schedules and budgets. For low commitment and cost, one can explore skiing and snowboarding through a largely self-guided experience at the ski area’s dedicated “self-learner” areas, featuring signage, linked videos and roving ambassador-instructors to provide individuals extra assistance as needed. For those looking for an instructor-led experience, the Evolution Program package includes three 90-minute lessons, a three-hour lift ticket and a three-hour equipment rental for under $200 CAD. “On-demand” Evolution lessons are also available for those not looking for the commitment of the full program. Retention rates for the various options ranged from a high of 91% to a low of 48%. 

Rounding out the strength of Ski Saint-Bruno’s programming is a holistic approach to ensuring newcomers to the ski area can easily access the slopes. The lesson booking experience is streamlined and digitized, resulting in a 26% increase in pre-sales of Evolution packages. Dedicated customer service agents now personalize Ski Saint-Bruno’s outreach to beginners, and those first arriving to ski and snowboard there will find a new centralization of steps that increased the efficiency of rental services by 158%. Put together, the broad revitalization of Ski Saint-Bruno’s learning programming for snowsports newcomers both embodied the spirit of the Conversion Cup, and detailed the quantifiable data to back up its success. 

Nub's Nob Ski Area, MI

NASA suits, space worms and astronaut food: What comes to mind? These are all things one might expect to find on a trip to Dune. But at a small ski area on the upper end of Michigan’s lower peninsula, adventurous souls can also experience all this and more during their first exposure to snowsports, thanks to the creative programming of Nub’s Nob. This year, Nub’s Nob doubled down on encouraging first timers to take to the slopes with a fun learn to ski program titled 2024: A Ski Odyssey. 

In a broad field of Conversion Cup applicants, what stood out about this program was the fun brought to the marketing through a consistent space theme, inspired by the name of the new covered surface lift in Nub’s learning area. Beyond their marketing work, the measures that Nub's Nob took to address affordability are clear in the pricing and opportunities boasted in their Winter Sports School program. Upon entering the bargain program ($50 group lesson package, including rentals and a lift ticket), participants received a space-themed buff, freeze dried space snacks, and a report card that was out of this world.

Daring participants were attracted from across the Midwest, with a median travel distance of 217 miles. With the advent of this program, first-time lesson visits at Nub’s jumped 23% year over year. Upon completion of the program, participants were offered a $100 season pass for the following year and $100 toward a new ski package. Nearly one-quarter of participants graduated the program, and 23% of graduates purchased season passes for the 2024–25 season, showing true conversion of first-time guests into committed participants.

Winter4Kids, NJ

Think back to when you started sliding on snow. Who helped you along the way? Were you able to try all the various winter sports you wanted, or was one picked for you (or not) because of its accessibility (or lack thereof)? At Winter4Kids’ First Tracks program, youth participants get access and instruction to try alpine skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing, then get to choose the sport that best fits with their interest and desires. Barriers like clothing, equipment and meals are also alleviated, making the First Tracks program the most approachable means for youth participation in skiing and snowboarding among this year’s Conversion Cup applicants.

The success of Winter4Kids’ programming can be readily seen in the testimony of previous participants. Like many of us, their faces light up with the recollection of their on-snow experiences, and enthusiasm for chasing that next great day on snow shines through. First Tracks is a multi-year program open to participants aged 6–18, offered in partnership with schools and other youth-serving organizations. 

In the 2023–24 season, 80% of participants in the First Tracks program were never-evers. If previous season trends continue, Winter4Kids can expect all the Level 1 participants to be rising intermediates next season, and to have completed 18 two-hour lessons (14 in their chosen sport) by their third year. Further, the benefits of participation extend outside the on-snow experience, with 83% of school/group administrators believing the program has had a positive influence on their students’ overall character, attitudes and behaviors. Kudos to Winter4Kids for creating a new cohort of enthusiastic snowsport participants in the Northeast.

Past Conversion Cup Winners

2022-23 Big SNOW American Dream, NJ
2021-22 Snowbasin Resort, Utah 
2020-21 Sky Tavern, Nevada
2019-20 Blue Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania
2018-19 Les Sommets, Canada
2017-18 Snowbasin, Utah
2016-17 Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort, Washington
2015-16 Wachusett Mountain, Massachusetts
2014-15 Killington Resort, Vermont
2013-14 Camelback Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania
2012-13 Mountain Creek, New Jersey
2011-12 Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
2010-11 Snow Time, Inc.