Seminar Schedule – Subject to change. Check TV screens in event hallway for updates.


9:00am  Opening Keynote with NSAA CEO, Kelly Pawlak in the Grand Ballroom/Trade Show Hall Stage

10:15 – 11:30am

FES – Ketchum Room

The Urgency of Lift Safety and Unseated Passengers

From every social media platform, the risk to guests—and to ski area exposures—from unseated passengers is unprecedented. Working with NSAA’s Mike Lane and Dave Byrd, and MountainGuard’s Ryan Lavoie, we will analyze this growing challenge facing all ski areas, from large to small resorts.  In addition to better ensuring guest safety, several recent (and expensive) lawsuits underscore the need for such an emphasis on creating and implementing a truly comprehensive unseated passenger plan—and training multiple departments on how the plan is executed.  Waivers and releases may not protect ski areas from claims involving unseated passengers, making this issue even more important.  We will explore the pending changes to ANSI on this issue, as well as low-cost tools for areas to embrace to mitigate against perhaps one of the largest exposures facing ski areas today.  This session will also launch NSAA’s Lift Safety Bootcamp, with in-depth sessions later in the MSAA conference to further educate resorts on key lift operations issues.

Lift Safety Boot Camp – River Room

Lift Operations – Setting Your Guests up for Success: Maze Design, Load and Unload Ramp Setup

This session will discuss methods of setting up Mazes, Ramps and Signage to most effectively impact the success of your guests. Essential concepts to be covered will include calculating the appropriate maze length needed before the load board, and correct placement of unload signs. Bring your questions and ideas.

MarComm – Whittier Room

Crisis Communications – After a completely crazy year, what have we learned.  From the ever changing landscape of Covid to the confusing restrictions that vary from state to state and resort to resort, we will discuss how best to work with the media and to get the word out about your specific situation.  With Skip King from Reputation Strategies.

General – Simonds Room

The Path to Sustainability and how you can capitalize on the expansion of community solar around the country with USource. In this session, Usource’s renewable energy experts, Tom Dyer, Sr. Director of Procurement and Analysis and Camden Holland, Director of Renewable Energy Consulting, discuss how renewables and sustainability planning can not only reduce costs, create long-term budget certainty, and offset your resort’s carbon footprint for even greater business value. 

Operations – Grafton Room

Snowmaking System Evaluation – From the Pond to the Plume with Ian Jarrett, HKD

This session will offer strategies for evaluating, sizing and maintaining your current (or proposed) snowmaking system.  The objective is to provide the practical information and tools necessary to make informed decisions that best address the constantly evolving demands of your resort and its customers.

10:30am – 1:00pm
National Ski Patrol Directors Forum – for invited NSP members in the Ski Check Room

1:30pm – 2:45pm

 FES – Ketchum Room

National Roundup of Claims, and Key Operational Take-Aways

While chairlifts incidents remain the industry’s leading challenge, we still have the day-to-day claims that impact our risk management operations—and our insurance.  In this session, we will look at some regional and national issues through the lens of claims that arose both pre-COVID and during COVID.  We’ll discuss those COVID protocols which ski areas may continue after the pandemic, but also look at a variety of claims across the industry, with the help of our New England Association of Ski Defense Attorneys (ASDA).  This includes updates on release and waiver laws, summer activities claims, and the usual roundup of winter claims—with an emphasis on areas for improvement and operational take-aways.

Lift Safety Boot Camp – River Room

The What, Why, and How of Creating Unseated Passenger Plans

Unseated passenger plans are critical tools to help areas and their employees respond quickly, effectively, and safely. If you don’t have plans already, or are in the process of updating yours, this is a session you won’t want to miss. This session will cover recommendations for what to include and, using an actual lift scenario, go through the process of creating a plan for that lift. You will then be able to walk through those same steps at your area to create or update your own plans.

MarComm – Whittier Room

Understanding Communications at the National Level with Adrienne Isaac from NSAA  Ski Well, Be Well became the National strategy for last ski season.  Will we need it again this year.  Learn how NSAA communicated with the national media and how NSAA coordinated with resorts around the country to communicate how ski resorts planned on operating safely in a challenging and changing environment.  Yes, there were some nightmare scenarios.  We’ll talk about that too.

General – Simonds room

A Panel Discussion to discuss the Seasonal Staffing Challenge: The issues, solutions, and best practices to meet your ski area’s needs Staffing is one of, if not the biggest issues for New England’s ski areas.  This panel discussion will feature representatives from New England ski areas to lay out and discuss solutions to this massive problem.

Moderated by Keith Pabian of Seasonal Connect and Pabian Law, the panel will delve into the staffing struggles that ski areas are experiencing, discuss strategies for addressing these challenges, and share best practices that your organization can employ.  These topics, and more, will be discussed with an eye toward understanding key trends and leveraging these in coming up with solutions to your organization’s biggest staffing and operational struggles.  With ski areas across New England facing staffing challenges, this session is not to be missed.

Operations – Grafton Room

Prinoth: Grooming for the Future – Mark Palmateer, Prinoth LLC

Learn about the latest and greatest technology from PRINOTH.  This presentation will include an overview and walk around of the Bison Stage V, an online parts demonstration, and information on their e-learning program Prinoth Academy

2:45pm – 4:15pm

FES – Ketchum Room

Update on Ski Industry Employment and Labor Issues

With the ever-evolving issues related to workplace COVID-19 regulations, and a completely new administration in Washington, D.C., there are a lot of labor and employment challenges for the ski industry.  From marijuana legalization, unions, minimum wage, and volunteers, to OSHA, employee handbooks, and new EEOC compliance, there is plenty to keep on your radar in terms of regulatory compliance and risk mitigation.  As a group, we’ll share best practices and considerations amongst our peer resorts.

Lift Safety Boot Camp – River Room

Root Cause Analysis & the Five Why’s

Incidents and near misses rarely ‘just’ happen. And, trends in incidents don’t appear overnight. Using thoughtful analysis and well-defined tools, you can identify the core (root) reason (cause) why something happened. Which then allows you to develop solutions to address that cause. Join this class to learn or brush up on how to conduct a root cause and trend analysis using example lift incidents. And, of course, we will also identify potential solutions so that you can work with your area team to address issues you are facing at your area.

MarComm – Whittier Room

Digital Inclusion & ADA Compliance

As part of initiatives to grow the industry and encourage diversity, one important step is to consider how we welcome people with disabilities. Because, disability is not an if. It’s a when. For all of us. And that time is now for many of our Boomers and even GenXers as we naturally age. Unless a website is specifically designed to be ADA compliant and digitally inclusive, it simply isn’t. Period. And no plugin or overlay widget will fix it.

In this session Dave Gibson, President of Propeller Media Works / Accessibility.Works, will demonstrate how people with disabilities use assistive technologies to use websites, and then share best practices to avoid litigation and ensure your website is digitally inclusive… plus what to avoid.

General – Grafton  Room

General Managers Rountable – What did we learn from the Pandemic, an open discussion led by Kelly Pawlak from NSAA – For General Managers and Senior Management.

General – Simonds Room

A Season Like No Other: Looking Back and Lessons Learned from the 2020-21 Season
This past winter season presented previously unheard of challenges for every U.S. ski area. Despite these challenges, most ski area indicated that the season exceeded their expectations, according to the Kottke and Demographic Study. The preparation, determination and resilience of ski areas led to record-setting visitation in some markets. Dave Belin, Director of Consulting Services for RRC Associates, will break down the data from last season, including skier visits, season passes, lessons, and Covid-related adjustments. The detailed results of this season’s performance will be presented, along with a look ahead to the coming winter.


8:30am – 9:45am

FES – Ketchum Room

Return-On-Investment of 3rd Party Activities—Is it Worth the Risk?

As an industry, we continue to examine ways to generate revenue outside of our core business of skiing/riding.  With the benefits of resort infrastructure, lodging opportunities, and the desire of our guests to explore the mountains and our mountain communities, our ski areas can be a great location to host third-party events and offer third-party amenities.  In this session we will explore these opportunities and showcase ways that your resort can insulate itself from the pitfalls of having a third-party on-site.  Using risk-analysis techniques, understanding past issues, and leveraging risk transfer practices—especially through the smart use of contracts—can help you decide if this new offering is “worth the risk”.

Lift Safety Boot Camp – River Room

Breaking the Cycle: A Lift Operations Roundtable

“But we’ve always done it that way!” Sound familiar? Or, maybe you have felt the need to use that phrase? Change is hard and often difficult. This facilitated roundtable is intended to bring out and bring up the barriers and challenges you face making changes at your area. Maybe it’s terrain, snow, staffing, or culture – bring the challenges you face and we will discuss strategies to address those barriers, the takeaways from the other Boot Camp sessions, and help you move your lift operation forward.

MarComm – Whittier Room

Cybersecurity is Harder than Snowmaking.  Are you Prepared?     Stew Jensen, nxtConcepts.

To make snow you need water, pumps, power, software, staff and most importantly the cooperation of the weather.  It’s expensive and needs a lot of maintenance. To sell tickets, manage staffing, do accounting and even communicate with guests, we need computers, routers, servers, databases, backups, IP addresses, firewalls, websites, POS systems, smart phones, connectivity and of course humans. What’s the main difference in these systems?  Snow making systems are not under constant attack from phishing scams and extortion.  The year 2020 broke all records when it came to data loss in breaches and sheer numbers of cyber-attacks on companies, government and individuals. Protecting your Ski Area from attack is a difficult, messy problem.  In this session we will review ways to help prevent an attack that could cost you millions in lost revenue, lost time, lost staff, destroyed equipment and guest lawsuits.

General – Simonds Room

AirFlare is revolutionizing outdoor safety by enabling the smartphone that nearly everyone carries to be a uniquely powerful rescue tool. AirFlare’s innovative technology leverages the modern phone’s hardware turning it into a rescue solution that has powerful in-cell-service and out-of-cell service capabilities. AirFlare reduces search time, improves outcomes, and keeps guests and personnel safer in the process.  During this session, an AirFlare co-founder will provide a demo of AirFlare features and functionality, discuss how AirFlare is used at mountain resorts to support winter and summer operations, and answer questions about the technology and its application.

Operations – Grafton Room

Operator Training Solutions and Fleet Management – Pisten Bully

Learn about ProAcademy training for operators and service technicians designed for both new and seasoned employees from Pisten Bully’s online options.  We will also discuss how you can streamline your fleet management all in one program with SNOWsat Maintain.  This session will wrap up with an overview of the emissions friendly Pisten Bully 600E+ and 100E.

10am – 11:15am

Lift Safety Boot Camp – River Room

Work Carriers: What Everyone Needs to Know

Work carriers are an important tool for every Lift Maintenance Technician. Newer OSHA rules regarding work baskets that came into effect in 2017 are being addressed in the ANSI B77.1 – Passenger Ropeway Standards. The next revision of the standard – currently scheduled to be released in the spring of 2022 – may have significant impact to many work carriers in use today, mostly with old carriers. This class will explain what is changing, how to assess your carriers, and steps that many areas need to take to meet these new requirements, including the possibility of purchasing a new one. We will also briefly touch on a few other important changes coming your way in B77.1.

MarComm – Whittier Room

Passport Programs.  We all have them, What do we do with them.  An open discussion about the future of these programs.  School age passport programs have been around since the mid-90’s.  What do we know about their effectiveness and can do we have any data on conversion.  We’ll discuss the New England Passport programs and get a national perspective from NSAA’s Adrienne Issac.  Dirk Gouwens – Ski Maine, Jessyca Keeler, Ski NH, Molly Mahar, Ski Vermont.

General – Simonds Room

Opportunities and Challenges, from Staffing to Customers

Many macro-economic trends are important for ski resorts to keep in mind. Staffing, customer demographics, technology, interest in outdoor recreation, climate change, and competition from other recreational industries were always factors, but the Covid pandemic accelerated many of these trends. What are customers looking for in a getaway, whether for a day or for a long weekend? Join Dave Belin from RRC Associates to learn more about these opportunities and challenges for the resort industry.

Operations – Grafton RoomConveyor lifts – This class will talk about working safely around a conveyor, electrical and mechanical troubleshooting and an open discussion on what issues you are seeing out in the field.  Please bring your questions and ideas to the class. Connor Rowan , Star Lifts, USA