CCSAA posts archives from its regional meetings and the Annual Convention to benefit those who attend as well as all our members. Attending the CCSAA Annual Convention is a valuable professional development opportunity and information presented or shared can have measurable benefits to your business. Click on the meeting below whose archives you wish to view.
Annual Conference 2023 – West Yellowstone, MT
CCSAA held their first in person Annual Conference this past Spring in snowy West Yellowstone, Montana. The Conference was presented by Yellowstone Track Systems with event days sponsored by Prinoth and HKD Snowmaking.
This year’s Conference was extended one day to include a snowmaking and grooming workshop in addition to the regular two days of sessions. Over 60 attendees from the US and Canada enjoyed educational seminars, discussions, social events, amazing skiing and biathlon, and time to chat and form relationships.
Mike Hussey, formerly of HKD Snowmaking and current General Manager of Rikert Outdoor Center in Vermont, shared a presentation on getting started with snowmaking, what do you need for resources, what are the questions to ask, who to call. That presentation is listed in the ‘available files’ section.
The Grooming Workshop took the format of panel discussion and began with a tricks of the trade session. There was great conversation around various modifications that were made mostly to snowmobiles and side by sides. PistenBully and Prinoth both agreed that good suggestions from the field are continuously integrated into the latest models requiring no additional modifications.
The workshop also discussed grooming times and internal and external communications. The most notable insight came when discussing internal communications and how to keep groomers and snow reporters constantly updated. Aspen had been using SLACK for several years and discussed how it works for them.
The day concluded with a group dinner at the local Chop House where attendees were able to continue the discussions from the day.
Conference Day 1
One of the driving factors in choosing to attend the Conferences is time to enjoy the trails and local area. Mornings always include time for skiing and this year the snow did not disappoint. There was a ton of it. Not only was there great skiing, but 23 people participated in a Biathlon Experience, great fun.
Other morning activities included grooming demos, visits to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and coffee at retailer/host Freeheel and Wheel.
Following lunch, the Conference opened with a Keynote Presentation on how climate change is changing Yellowstone and the rest of the world. A shortened version of that presentation is included in the ‘available files’ section.
Following the keynote, there were two round tables, the first on Trail Reporting Techniques followed by Summer Trail Prep and Low Snow grooming.
The day concluded with the Founders Award Dinner with the presentation of the Founders Award to trail Designer John Morton, and the Fireside Chat where attendees could spend time with the group in an informal setting.
Conference Day 2
The second morning had similar programming as the first, but also included a skate and classic group ski – no drop – tour from locals and Freeheel and Wheel owners Melissa Alder and Kelly Hart.
The educational session for day two began with a presentation by Nathan Nicolas of CCSAA insurance provider Nicholas Hill Group. Discussed was how this custom program was created and the benefits to the CCSAA Membership. This has been a great collaboration between CCSAA and Nicholas Hill and provides important insurance products to our many different member types.
Other programing that afternoon included a discussion about season pass products vs memberships, use of events and other programming to better engage your guests and the day wrapped up with a discussion on the retail experience. It’s interesting to note that several ski areas were saying that retail accounts for about 25% of their revenue.
The day concluded with a Live Auction and closing of the Silent Auction. Total raised there was $2,705. Special thanks to those that donated including a two page advertising spread in Best Nordic Ski Great Escapes.
Dinner was followed by the final Fireside Chat and goodbyes until next year. The 2024 CCSAA Conference will likely be held in Utah.
Fall Conference 2022 – Pineland Farms
CCSAA held its first in person conference this past November since COVID began in 2020. The conference was hosted by Pineland Farms, ME. The conference spanned a 2 day format with a grooming workshop on day 1 followed by the presentation piece on day 2. The conference was attended by 106 attendees over the 2 days.
Day 1 – The Grooming workshop began with a tour of the nearby PistenBully facility followed by the workshop presentation by the grooming staff of Pineland Farms and an equipment expo. Handouts from that presentation may be found in the sidebar to the right.
The day finished with the observation of a NOAA weather balloon release from the Gray, ME Weather Station and a rousing game of candlepin bowling from the Pineland Outdoor Center inhouse bowling alley.
Day 2 – The second day of the Conference begin with the presentation of the 2020 Founder award to John Frado. John’s wife Chris Frado, previous executive director of CCSAA was there to accept the award.
The first presentation was on climate by Derek Chroater of the NOAA weather station in Grey, ME. That presentation may be found in the right sidebar. That presentation was followed by two roundtables discussing best practices in managing the growth the industry is experiencing and managing the customer experience. Both sessions had a small panel sparking lots of conversation and great audience participation.
Following lunch sponsored by Prinoth, the roundtables continued with discussions on how ski areas handle many different areas of operation, an update on current CCSAA projects, and a snowmaking roundtable.
The day concluded with the Continuation of the groomer expo.
Special thanks to Matt Sabasteanski and his team for hosting a great event. Thanks also to the event sponsors including PistenBully, Prinoth and Pineland Farms.
Special thanks to our sponsors of this event!!
Annual Conference 2022 – Zoom Call
This year’s Annual Zoom Conference had two sessions spread over two days. Sessions included discussions, presentations and breakout rooms, a change from presentations alone. Below are details and recordings of each session:
Session 1 – Trends and Current Events Affecting the Cross Country Ski Industry
This data rich presentation began with a review of industry research leading up to this year followed by a discussion of the new customer and how consumer behavior has changed. Attendees will answer a one question poll before heading to regional breakout rooms to share details about trends that you are seeing on the ground.
After returning from the breakout rooms and discussing the regional details, the session will conclude with a discussion on current events affecting the industry going forward.
Session 2 – Maintaining Growth and Managing Customer Experience – Craig Panarisi, VP of Resort Operations, Stratton Mountain, VT
Craig Panarisi, Vice President of Resort Operations at Stratton Mountain in Vermont, shared his experiences from the Alpine side on maintaining growth and managing the customer experience. Craig has a long history in both Alpine and Nordic and was able to relate what they are seeing in alpine to cross country ski areas.
Fall Conference 2021 – Zoom Call
This year’s Fall Zoom Conference had two sessions spread over two days. Sessions included discussions, presentations and breakout rooms, a change from presentations alone. Below are details and recordings of each session:
Session 1 – State of the Industry
Much has happened over the past year and a half and this session reviewed what we have learned about the business while keeping an eye on the future. The group learned about what CCSAA is doing to help members stay apprised of current market trends and research. CCSAA’s Director of Research, Kelly Davis presented on what this analysis has taught us. The group also participate in an Instant Survey. Review the prestation, the Instant Survey results and watch the video below for the complete recap
Session 2 – Employee Retention and Aquisition
Finding and keeping employees is becoming increasingly difficult in every industry. Historically, we have relied on low paid seasonal workers to fill many jobs at ski areas. Now we must compete with McDonald’s offering $15/hour, signing bonuses and tuition reimbursement. How can the cross country ski industry remain a competitive employer in this environment? View the video of the session below:
Annual Conference 2021 – 3 Zoom Sessions
This 2021 Annual Conference utilized a three session format spread over three consecutive days. The daily format for all sessions was a 1 hour moderated panel discussion followed by questions and answers.
The sessions included the following:
Tuesday, April 13 – Customer Retention and Engagement – It’s more than just a mailing list.
The best customer retention tactics enable you to form lasting relationships with consumers who will become loyal to your brand. They might even spread the word within their own circles of influence, which can turn them into brand ambassadors.
Wednesday, April 14 – How to Better Use Technology to Gather Data and Reduce Costs.
Technology saves your time, effort and money. This session will examine what platforms are being used in our industry and learn a bit about the information gathered.
Various platforms that ski areas have used this year will be discussed as well as looking at actual data collected this year and what can be learned.
Thursday, April 15 – Supply Chain – How Will It Affect Participation?
What to expect in the buy/sell cycle for this coming year and a look into the following two years. Hear from suppliers, reps and retailers about this past year and plans for the next several years. The panel will include representatives from NPD, suppliers and reps.
- Supply Chain Audio
- Supply Chain Presentation
- Panel: Ed Wray – NPD, Robert Lazzaroni – Salomon Sports, Andrew Gerlach – Endurance Enterprises, Marci Dye – Sylvan Peak Mountain Shop, Nick Mahood – Woodstock Nordic Center.
Fall Conference 2020 – Zoom Call
The CCSAA Fall Conference took on a different format this year becoming a 3 hour Zoom Meeting. It will still be a great opportunity to hear and learn from industry experts and ski areas on best practices as we head into this unique year.
The event included 6 30-minute presentations including panel discussions. Presentations included CCSAA Updates, thoughts and trends for the coming year, supplier updates, COVID documents and round tables, new cross country ski research initiative and pre-school ski school.
Sponsors included: Yellowstone Track Systems
NE Meeting 2019 – Woodstock, VT
(Description coming soon)
Special thanks to the Woodstock Nordic Center, our sponsors and expo attendees:
Sponsors included: HKD, and The SIG Insurance Agency
Expo Attendees included: SIG Insurance Agency, Prinoth, Pisten Bully, Morton Trails, Rossignol, Yellow Stone Track Systems, Track, Inc., Cean Helmets and Mountain Grooming.
Annual Conference 2019 – Lake Placid, NY
The Cross Country Ski Areas Association wrapped up a fantastic Annual Conference in Lake Placid, NY. The event, in the heart of the NY Olympic Venues, was attended by over 55 people and included presentations on participation, research, grooming, education, and many hands-on workshops.
There were several presentations aimed at helping our member ski areas increase customer satisfaction, learn more about the industry trends, increasing grooming knowledge, learn about snowmaking fundamentals, create a search and rescue plan, and much more.
On the operations side, there was a PRO ACADEMY grooming certification that 11 attendees took advantage of and a hands on snowmaking presentation.
“I have probably solved 10 issues I have at my center through the one-on-one conversations I have had here”, commented Mike Hussey of Rikert Nordic Center, VT. “That is why it is important to attend these industry gatherings.”
Socially, in addition to some great late spring skiing, the group learned to curl and spent quality time over beers during the many happy hours and fireside chats sponsored by The SIG Agency.
CCSAA also honored John Tidd with the CCSAA Founders Award. Tidd was the founder of Tidd Tech, a grooming implement company and also instrumental in the early days of CCSAA.
Special thanks to our sponsors and expo attendees:
Sponsors included: 10 Week Winter, Prinoth, HKD, The SIG Insurance Agency, Pisten Bully
Expo Attendees included: Soucy Track, Ski Trax, Sig Insurance Agency, Cross Country Ski Magazine, Prinoth, Pisten Bully, PSIA, 10 Week Winter