The Eastern Canada Ski Areas (ECSA) Conference and Trade Show May 31-June 2 drew resort operators from Ontario, Quebec, and the maritime provinces to Bromont, Quebec. The bi-lingual, quadrennial event addressed the state of the ski industry in eastern Canada and put an eye toward what the Canadian ski industry will look like in 2020. More than 450 attendees representing the Association des Stations de Ski du Quebec (ASSQ), Ontario Ski Resorts Association, and Atlantic Ski Areas Association attended.
How to increase participation was a strong theme. Following a tough winter, Canadian Ski Council president Paul Pinchback outlined both short and long term goals for the CSC to improve beginner participation and participation by Canadian nationals. The conference also featured seminars and informal discussions on the difficulties in attracting millennials to ski areas, addressing customer expectations of service, and utilizing data in marketing to develop new programs and ideas.
Members of the Ouranos, a consortium on regional climatology, gave a stirring presentation on climate change predictions for eastern Canada, and adapting a business strategy to address the changing environment.
While attendees were looking forward, the conference was also a chance to look back on previous seasons. Lift maintenance and chairlift incidents were the topic of several seminars, highlighting changes in bulletin communication, legislation, and the need for more experienced lift maintenance mechanics as the country's lift system ages.
The trade show was a hotspot of activity, with suppliers from across North America meeting with resort operators to discuss their latest products.
The final dinner was an opportunity to appreciate members of the industry. Among those honored:
> Lise Bissonnette was honored for her 25 years of service to ASSQ
> Prix Real Boulanger for Service to the Ski Industry: Charles Desourdy of Ski Bromont.
> ASSQ Prix D'Excelence New Skier Development Program (>100,000 Skier Visits): Mont Saint-Saveur
> ASSQ Prix D'Excelence New Skier Development Program (<100,000 Skier Visits): Valle du Parc
> ASSQ Young Manager Award: Patrice Boire of Ski Saint Bruno
> Dragons du Ski: Val Saint-Come
> OSRA Supplier Appreciation Award: Ken Comrie of Prinoth
> OSRA Snow Industry Dedication Award: Rob Sheridan of Blue Mountain Resort