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The 2017 MSAA Summer Meetings & Trade Show, held Aug. 20-23 at Devil’s Head, Wis., was memorable for several reasons. For one, this was the final convention attended by retiring NSAA head Michael Berry. His keynote speech touched on familiar themes of growth, succession planning, and environmental action. It was followed by a second brilliant keynote the next day, in which SNOW Operating chief Joe Hession implored resorts to seek and find new ways to fuel growth. Throughout, the program focused on these themes, as well as the practical issues of running successful resorts.

Oh, and there was a solar eclipse during the middle of the conference. MSAA provided viewing glasses for everyone, and this was the one event seen by all. Surely, the eclipse was an omen of good things to come.

In all, nearly 400 people attended the show, including more than 250 resort representatives. Beyond the issues of growth and attracting newcomers to skiing and riding, lift maintenance, and lift safety, received great emphasis; these were the main agenda items on Sunday and Monday. Risk management was close behind. Employee development and teambuilding also got attention, as did terrain park building.

Summer business was also a topic of conversation, with Rossignol introducing a new line of rental mountain bikes—that is, a series of bikes with clear benefits for rental, such as ease of adjustment and sturdy components.

Speaking of celestial movements, MSAA recognized the longtime contributions of two key players with the Jim VanderKelen Lifetime Achievement Award: Berry and former MSAA executive director Chris Stoddard. The duo have done a great deal to elevate the role and position of Midwestern areas within the U.S. winter sports industry, and their retirements mark a changing of the guard.

Then, too, the trade show represented the current state of industry support companies. The show included a new snow-depth-measurement company, RDO Integrated Controls, and new management software systems. The ever-changing roster of exhibitors reflects the evolving nature of the industry, just as the keynotes did.

In the end, it’s all about the people who comprise the business. Here’s a look at them.

2017 MSAA Show