Push to The Latest: No

Shanty Creek Resort and Hotel in Bellaire, Mich., became a vibrant scene of excitement for the winter season ahead during the annual Midwest Ski Areas Association Summer Meeting and Tradeshow Aug. 21-24, 2022. The event drew nearly 300 members for educational sessions, networking opportunities, and a tradeshow with 57 exhibitors.

The conference kicked off on Sunday evening with the product preview party, a casual meet-and-greet session where suppliers gave their best quick pitch on their latest ideas, technologies, and products for resort operators. There were 42 sessions throughout the conference, the bulk of which were held on Monday and Tuesday before a recreation break on Tuesday afternoon. Sessions resumed Wednesday morning. 


Those presenting included a slew of talented Midwest industry legends, topic experts, and suppliers. 

Safety was, as it often is, a major topic of discussion. Zander Kestly, owner and principal of Camber Risk and Safety, led the session, “What!? Safety Can Drive the Bottom Line…” He began by addressing the enduring industry challenge—“How do you impact safety in a sport where there is inherent risk?” This question spurred a fruitful discussion about changing the culture of safety at your resort and how it can affect your bottom line.

The discussion evolved into a workshop where attendees were asked to identify guest and employee safety opportunities that resorts regularly face, and to come up with a safety plan that would outline employee involvement, impacts, measurable actions, and who is responsible. By the end of the session, attendees left with tools and best practices for creating a culture of safety that will benefit employees, guests, and resorts as a whole.

At Monday night's dinner and awards ceremony the Jim VanderKelen Achievement Award was presented to Bruce Firestone, a long-time Midwest resort builder and operator with an impressive list of achievements. Firestone currently oversees the operations of six ski resorts in the Midwest and California: Mount Holly (Mich.), Bittersweet (Mich.), Pine Knob (Mich.), Alpine Valley Resort (Wis.), Searchmont (Calif.), and Alpine Valley (Mich.).

After the Tuesday morning sessions, conference attendees split off for an afternoon of fun with plenty of networking taking place. Some played in a 9-hole scramble golf tournament at one of Shanty Creek’s three golf courses, while others sipped libations from Michigan’s craft beer scene. The evening culminated with a barbecue while the sun set over Torch Lake.

The 2023 conference is slated for Aug. 13-16 at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis.