SAM Magazine—Killington, Vt., Feb. 7, 2020—Following a strong western meeting in Squaw Valley, the 2020 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Eastern Winter Conference and Trade Show was held at Killington Resort, Feb. 4 and 5. A big crowd of 677 ski area operators, suppliers, and speakers gathered for informative sessions, great skiing and riding, and a lively tradeshow floor.
The programming highlighted similar themes to the western show as did the discussion among attendees: resort consolidation and its impacts on the greater industry. Sessions expanded on staffing, engaging core skiers, communication, technology, learning programs, and a slew of risk management topics, from contracts to communication in times of crisis.
Among the sessions unique to the Eastern event:
- The Chinese Market. Epoch Media Group out of New York City shared information on changing Chinese demographics in the United States and how to reach the sought after Chinese international market through Chinese Americans in the country.
- Fit for Snow: Integrating Employee Wellness with Safety. Fit for Snow president Delia Roberts presented with Sugarbush’s Amber Broadaway, and Peter Koch from Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC) on the benefits of the specific fitness and nutrition program in use at New England resorts.
- What Ski Areas Need to Know About Legal Issues Related to Volunteers: The sticky issue of how volunteers can be used.
The tradeshow floor had a continuous flow of attendees exploring new and established brands—from up-and-coming video technology to core mountain operation suppliers—during both the Tuesday dinner reception and Wednesday lunch. Overall, the attendees felt cautiously optimistic about the season, as much needed winter weather looked to be just around the corner.