2014 NSAA Winter Conference - Steamboat, CO
From January 21-23, almost 800 people gathered at Steamboat, Colorado, for the National Ski Areas Association Western Conference and Trade Show. With 84 ski areas on hand, the 147 exhibiting companies had no shortage of potential customers. And ski area attendees had a wide variety of educational sessions to choose from as presenters tackled everything from marijuana use at ski areas to wildfire management. Of note was a presentation by Nate Fristoe of RRC Associates who predicted that the 2013-14 skier visit numbers will struggle to reach 53 million thanks to poor snow on the West Coast. He also cautioned that the 18- to 24-year-old market is dropping off and needs to be addressed. Despite the cautionary numbers, ski areas in attendance were optimistic about their numbers (except those from California, Nevada and the Pacific Northwest). Steamboat itself had abundant snow, which many attendees took full advantage of, even under their new night lights on Wednesday night.