Push to The Latest: No

Compared to last year, the tone was decidedly different among operators and suppliers at this year's NSAA Eastern Conference and Tradeshow, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at Mount Snow, Vt. Normal snowfall and strong visitation had the robust group of attendees singing a more positive tune than a year ago.

The weather in southern Vermont aided in the vibe. Crisp temps and bluebird skies kicked off day one, and snow gun manufacturers flexed the muscles of their latest equipment during the morning-long snowmaking demonstration. Prinoth and PistenBully both welcomed attendees to get behind the controls of their newest machines.

Inside, educational sessions covered the gamut through Wednesday afternoon. Subjects included ADA compliance, incident investigation, terrain parks, how to attain funding through federal grants, and more.

Following last winter's lean snowfall—and the media's interest in how climate change is affecting ski areas—the heads of Ski Vermont, Ski Maine, and SkiNH presented best practices for communicating about climate change. Since each trade association represents several different ski areas, and those areas' leadership all have different views on climate change, the approach is to tout “mitigation, adaptation, and advocacy.” No longer can any ski area communicator answer “no comment” to the climate change issue.

Mary Jo Tarrallo led a well-attended “LSSM Bootcamp,” which schooled attendees on the functions of the program's new website and detailed opportunities that exist for participating ski areas. One recurring takeaway: there are many free and easy opportunities to gain exposure through LSSM, Bring a Friend, and Worlds Largest Lesson—but not enough ski areas take advantage of them.

The tradeshow was lively both days, with dozens of suppliers engaging the many ski area decision makers in attendance.

“First tracks” on Wednesday morning was sweet. More than three inches of fluffy powder greeted early-risers, and the snow kept falling through the morning. Snow pants and ski/snowboard boots were the style of the day in many morning sessions as attendees came in for some knowledge in between snowy turns.

Here's at looks at shots from the show: