2013 NSAA National Trade Show Wrap-Up & SAMMY Awards

From April 30 to May 3, 2013, the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) held its annual trade show and convention in Palm Springs, Calif. The mood was upbeat, especially given the 11-percent increase in skier and snowboarder visits over last season, allowing all 900 attendees to breathe a sigh of relief. SAM's annual SAMMY Awards were also given out to four deserving recipients: Ryan Bell, Ross Boisvert, Rob McSkimming and Justin Rowland.

This year's convention focused on growth, from keynote speaker Robert Tucker to initiatives that bring more newcomers to skiing and riding. One telling sign: the opening workshop, "Forging a Positive Future," overflowed its meeting room and was hastily reconvened in the main auditorium, where NSAA president Michael Berry and RRC's Nate Fristoe forcefully reminded resorts of the need to step up learn-to and conversion efforts. Learn-to lessons have been decreasing at a -3.3 percent yearly rate; growth will require a 6 percent increase in trial, and a continued improvement in the conversion rate, to perhaps 20 percent. While some in the audience termed those goals nearly impossible, the convention showcased several areas that are handily beating both those goals. Two seminars focused on these issues as well.

In addition to the usual collection of seminars on the season in review, risk management, and government affairs, social media was the other hot topic. Final-day keynoter Leonard Brody made the case that social media is changing the way the world communicates. And in media, as in growing the sport and business generally, the prescription was simple: innovate, or perish.

Check out the pictures from the trade show and convention, as well as the SAMMY Awards below...