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Session HighlightsOn-Hill Workshops, Demos, and Off-Site Opportunities, Glamping Tent Giveaway, Why and Who Should Attend.                                      

Summer Ops Camp 2023, “What is the Ideal Summer Experience?”

We have spent the past few years reacting to the world around us. It's time to plan ahead to ensure you see a return on investment and customer interest in the summer. How do you get there? What are the key factors to consider? What are the business drivers and forces working against you? Are you starting from scratch, looking to improve on your current foundation, or working towards a sustainable business goal? At Summer Ops Camp we will explore it all and each participant will walk away with a map to their own successful summer operation.

The success of Summer Ops Camp is in being able to dive deep into the topic of summer operations with experts and colleagues. Together, we will play, discover, and explore at the newly reimagined, always iconic Steamboat Resort, and wrap our heads around the question “What is the ideal summer experience?”


Hands-on education through workshops, a summer vendor pavilion, and experiential play will stimulate thinking and collaboration. Thought leaders and experts will facilitate discussions on key topics. Some of the topics we will dive into are below, or view the schedule-at-a-glance.


What Defines Success?

Just as the menu of summer activities, programs, and events varies between operations, so do the goals and metrics that measure success. Being profitable is an important metric, but it creates complexities. For example, do you want to be more sustainable (build green; reuse water for water features; offer low environmental impact activities)? Increase length of stay and average spend in the summer? Maximize your facility as an events venue (weddings; concerts)? Or, perhaps you're considering adding more activities and on-mountain experiences to grow summer visitation (glamping; aerial adventures; mountain biking; e-biking; coasters), or want to retain staff year-round to compete in a tight job market? There's a lot to explore, and we’ll work together to identify and flesh out goals for the next five+ years. 

Claire Humber, SE Group and Nick Thompson, CLIMB Works

Designing Your Ideal Summer Guest Experience

It's likely that your resort offers a greater variety of summer activities vs. winter. With options galore, how do you curate the right adventure for summer guests? What should happen when they arrive? How are they greeted, and where are they directed? In the winter, the journey ultimately leads them to the slopes. But what about their expectations for summer, and what's your definition of success? Honing in on the guest journey from the moment of arrival (or pre-arrival) can add clarity and direction for your team so they can choreograph the right experience for each guest. By designing this journey with an eye toward adding value at every stage and reducing friction where possible, you can unlock your resort’s true potential to deliver an unforgettable non-winter adventure in the mountains. In this interactive session, resort teams will be led through SNOW’s Idealized Design process to map out the ideal summer guest journey at their respective resorts. 

Eric Lipton, Snow Operating

Capturing the Market

Selling summer is different from selling winter. In the winter, you are often the only game in town. In the summer, you may be one of many. That’s why it's vital to help your summer guests understand what you offer and make it easy for them to book the right activities. Here, we’ll look at how you can package offerings to guide guests to the wellness, adrenaline, outdoor, or culinary experiences they are seeking, as well as make sure you show up in the right channels to drive summer business. 

 MJ Legault, Origin Outside; Hugh Reynolds, Snow Partners;  Katie Brown, Steamboat; Max Key, Tripadvisor. Moderated by Olivia Rowan, SAM

Changing Mountain Communities

Mountain communities changed dramatically during the pandemic and are continuing to evolve. That’s why it is important to understand your role within the community and tourism trends impacting your business. Are you there for tourists, residents, or both? How do you balance community and commercial needs so that all ships rise in your region during the warmer months? And how can you partner with local businesses to build success across the whole community? Our panel of experts will help answer these questions and share new tools and metrics currently in development to help mountain communities respond to changing economic conditions and forces.

Ralf Garrison and Barb Taylor Carpender,  Insights Collective; Jon Stavney, Northwest Colorado Council of Governments; Sarah Jones, Steamboat

Summer Construction

Growing your summer business can be challenging when summer just happens to be the only window for maintenance and major capital improvements at your resort. How do you plan for summer construction and maintenance while remaining a thriving business? We’ll talk with operators about balancing demands, planning, and protecting the summer experience amid ongoing development projects. 

Dave Hunter, Steamboat; Steve Hoxie, Taos; Jennifer Shea, Steamboat

Risk Mitigation in the Summer

Summertime at mountain resorts presents a unique risk exposure from zips to mountain biking to scenic lift rides, special events, and even weddings. Hear from a panel of experts about incident trends, strategies to mitigate exposure, and where duty of care differs from winter activities.

Dave Byrd, NSAA and Tim Bruce, Safehold Special Risks


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On-Hill Workshops, Demos, and Off-Site Opportunities:

  • Take a tour of Greenhorn Ranch with Nelson Wingard, Steamboat and Eric Lipton, Snow Operating to get a first-hand look at this world-class learning area and learn how Steamboat will be developing it as a year-round activity hub.

  • Explore Burgess Creek with its builders and designers (Wenk Associates and Corey Peterson, Steamboat) to learn how you can turn the stormwater you work hard to divert in the winter into a beautiful summer water feature and main attraction that customers come from afar to enjoy.

  • Demo INTENSE mountain bikes and e-bikes on the mountain bikes tours, or try a laid-back e-bike excursion around the reimagined base area on retro-styled e-bikes provided by Wildsyde.

  • Be wowed by a drone show by Open Sky and consider this alternative to fireworks, especially important with wildfire risk increasing, while enjoying the company of Steamboat icon Billy Kidd.

  • Make some turns in Steamboat's newly reopened downhill mountain bike park. The Gravity Logic team and Steamboat bike park managers will take campers out for tours of the SB park (on the 10th and the 11th) and share insights around construction disruptions and the challenges of reopening and future plans for the park. After you register, sign up for your spot.

  • Adventure Partners Attractions, builder of via ferratas in North America, and Arapahoe Basin are sponsoring a limited number of spots to experience North America's highest Via Ferrata at A-Basin on Sunday, September 10, and Wednesday, September 13. Experience this one-of-a-kind activity and meet the builder and tour manager at the same time. Limited spots will fill up fast. Details upon registration.

“This is an exciting summer for Steamboat as we debut many components of [master plan] Full Steam Ahead and bring back our popular Steamboat Bike Park,” said Rob Perlman, president and COO of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “To share the excitement of our newest summer operations by hosting the 2023 SAM Summer Ops Camp is a thrill.  As summer operations become a more impactful part of our industry, the opportunity to connect, share, and learn from industry peers in a resort setting is a vital tool to creating meaningful programming and practices. We’re ready to welcome everyone to Steamboat, show off our progress, and engage with industry leaders.”

View the schedule-at-a-glance.




Great Glamping Giveaway

Summer Ops Camp and EJH Distribution Ltd. are excited to offer a great glamping giveaway to camp attendees.* One lucky resort will win a starter glamping set up that includes two De Waard tents—the Big Oak and the Round Holly. These can be starter tents for your future glamping business, add to your current glamping set up, a special venue for weddings and/or events, or super cool warming huts in the winter. Possibilities are endless! Enter the contest between July 10 and Sept. 1 to be considered. 


      • The winner will receive one De Waard Big Oak tent with interior walls and one De Waard Round Holly tent with interior walls, a total value of $50,000 USD. 
      • To enter, contestants must complete the form by Sept. 1, 2023.
      • Entries will be judged and a winner chosen by Sept. 11, 2023. The winner will be announced at Summer Ops Camp at Steamboat Resort, Colo., Sept. 12, 2023.
      • Tents will be delivered in Spring 2024. Taxes and some shipping costs may apply.

*Not attending Summer Ops Camp? No purchase is necessary. Please email jordyn@saminfo.com for a form link to enter. Official rules here

Why Attend Summer Ops Camp?

Campers will experience thrilling adventure activities, simple guest-experience enhancements, with insightful looks behind-the-scenes throughout. Pop-up talks, workshops, and sessions will explore a variety of topics, including the important changes that have occurred over the past fews years both in how ski areas operate and what consumers now expect. 

Who Should Attend Summer Ops Camp?

Any resort looking to expand its summer activities and leverage the recent increase in outdoor participation to attract year-round customers should attend SAM’s Summer Ops Camp. Owners, general managers, CEOs, summer operations managers, CFOs, and anyone involved in mountain planning and summer operations can and ought to attend. Bring your leadership team to experience and share in new ideas around sustainable four-season visitation and operations. 

View a list of past attendees.

Interested in being a vendor partner? Contact Sharon Walsh at sharon@saminfo.com or Sarah Wojcik at sarahw@saminfo.com.



"Every time I attend Summer Ops Camp, it is well worth it. I get inspired and motivated by other resorts' operations. In return, I get to bring back meaningful ideas to help grow my operation and a couple good stories as well. Camp gives us the opportunity to connect with each other and grow our community of summer operators. These takeaways from camp are priceless.” —Tish Lopez, Director or Tram, Lifts and Gates Operations, Snowbird 

"Learning from shared experiences with your colleagues, away from our home resort, was incredibly impactful. The program at the Tremblant Summer Ops Camp was so striking that I brought our leadership team back to the location a few months later.” —Brian Norton, President & GM, Loon Mountain, NH 

"I never miss SAM's Summer Ops Camp. It is invaluable for looking ahead and identifying the 'what's next,' and exploring all aspects of maintaining a sustainable summer operation. The camaraderie, hands-on format, and 'experience it like a guest' programming are great for capturing many 'aha!' moments. Anyone in the business of summer should go to Camp.” —Claire Humber, Director of Resort Planning, SE Group 

"The intensive time learning, sharing and trying activities with other operators was exactly what my team and I needed to understand how to improve our summer business.” —Camp Attendee 

“My team and I gained so much from this small group setting. I took something from every conversation. My third year coming...keep it up!” —Camp Attendee 

"I learned so much at this conference. The vibe, organization and hospitality was superb.” —Camp Attendee

“I like that is shakes up the typical interactions that you would expect from other tradeshows. Much more organic this way.” —Camp Partner 

"Summer Ops Camp was the perfect combination: on-point sessions about opportunities and pitfalls. On-hill workshops and demonstrations to better understand the customer experience. Valuable networking events in the evening that make it easy to connect with fellow operators about summer possibilities." — Camp Attendee




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