brings so much to us and yet we have no control over when, where, and how often we're going to get a chance to enjoy everything it brings to our lives. As you know, it has been a challenging winter for our colleagues in various parts of the country and world. It appears that weather may be changing soon for these areas and while the snow and cold temperatures have been late getting to some, we still have lots of winter ahead of us.

These are exciting times for the association. At the 2015 CCSAA annual conference we identified several objectives to help ensure that as the association grows it remains compelling to its members while working to grow participation in cross country skiing.

One of these objectives is to study the organizational structure of CCSA  A. Our intent is to look at the organization from all angles in order to secure the continued success of everyone involved. As CCSAA grows it's critical we understand the various day-to-day operations required to run the association. It's equally important that we understand where the association is today, and where it will be 3-to-5 years from now.

Our first project has been working with Chris to develop an updated job description for the role of Executive Director. This allows us to redefine the role of the Executive Director to better suit the needs of the association today and will allow Chris to focus on the more critical elements of this role. Once this is completed we will have a better understanding of other staffing needs, if any, as well as the expertise needed. A secondary project will begin soon which will involve evaluating the structure of the board and the creation of committees within it. With this restructuring, the board will be in a better position to work with the Executive Director; and the Executive Director will in a better position to work for the greater good of the association as a whole.

While we are still in the middle of the season, spring is right around the corner and so is the CCSAA annual conference. The annual SnowSports Industries America (SIA) trade show just wrapped up in Denver followed by two days of on-snow testing at Copper Mountain. At the on-snow event I was able to do some ski "testing" with Bill from Snow Mountain Ranch, host of the 2016 CCSAA annual conference. Bill and the team are really looking forward to hosting us in April. The CCSAA annual conference is a great event to catch up with long time and soon-to-be new friends in the industry, share, learn and ski, and the conference committee has been busy putting together a great agenda focused around sharing best practices.There is no shortage of snow in this part of the world so if you're a little short on your "testing" days, please be sure to join us in April.
Ryan Green
Nordic Division Manager,
Group Rossignol North America
CCSAA Board of Directors 

P.S. from Chris

We are just 5 weeks away from the CCSAA Annual Conference being  held at Snow Mountain Ranch, Co lorado. Our agenda is heavily focused on trail grooming and hospitality. A new format of concurrent sessions is planned. For those registering prior to March 21, a FREE website analysis is offered from Grey Suit Retail as well as the opportunity to meet privately with several of our vendors and presenters. Here's the link for the Conference details. Hoping to see you in Colorado!

Chris signature
Chris Frado, CCSAA Executive Director

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Nordic Network newsletter : FEBRUARY 2016 : content contributor ROGER LOHR
Strengthen Relations With Ski School

Cross country ski trails in the mountains of Norway.
In a recent article in the NSAA Journal, the relationship between ski area management and ski school is explored. One can not be without the other, but there may be a disconnect based on different objectives, motivations, people to please, and interpretations of success.
Owners and managers often must focus on the bottom line while ski school should be looking at whether guests are getting the undivided attention and TLC that they deserve. These are pertinent issues related to conversion rates - that is, transforming a person who is taking a lesson into a regular or loyal customer.
When you consider ski area departments such as guest services, rentals, ski school, marketing, grooming and so on, it is relevant that there may be cultural differences between the groups. Resorts that run the most smoothly and successfully have instilled the perfect balance of the employee experience, the guest experience, and the owner experience.
Ski school should be a strong revenue department and it may not be aligned with management whereby the ski school wants to provide the best guest experience while owners are mostly profit-driven. Instructors are inherently focused on people and while it is probably not true that they care less about the ski area's bottom line, they just care MORE about the people that they are trying to teach. Bringing in revenue is probably not the instructors' prime and immediate focus even though the student helps to pay their salary. There may very well be a sales-based payment bonus or commission plan in place, but that is not the focus of this article.
Instructors share their love of skiing with each client. Each skier pays in advance for their less. The instructors depend on the number of people assigned to them, the amount of time they have with each learner, and the expectations from ski area managers. They do not think about how an extra person in their group represents extra revenue, they are focused on how they can give everyone the best possible learning experience and succeeding in creating someone who learns to love XC skiing.
Owners and managers cares about the guest experience but their primary and immediate motivation is to keep the area running as safely and efficiently as possible. They're juggling many things at the same time and they don't often zero in on any one function. They are trying to provide an experience for hundreds of guests and employees at the same time - in short there is different lens between instructors and owners/managers.
Breaking down departmental silos just requires a shift in thinking, an honest respectful communication, and a willingness to compromise when necessary so that everyone feels heard and appreciated for what they bring to the table. Owners and managers should set the tone but the positive intention needs to go both ways. Departmental heads needs to be mindful of the different stressors and priorities not only for management but also for other departments and convey that awareness to the people they supervise.
Ski areas with the best "conversion" rates regard everyone's role as essential - with every single person working together as a team to deliver the best guest experience possible. Each department has to make sure that each guest is carefully attended to. The silo effect is reduced when every employee within the process has a common goal to provide a great guest-focused experience.
When people are caught up in their own role, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that this is all about the guest experience. The guest does not care about the hierarchy of staff at the ski resort and is not aware of the ski area as a collection of different departments. Each and every department is critical to providing great guest experiences. That should inform the way every single person working at the ski area or hotel listens to each other, thinks about each other and relates to each other, regardless of whether they are teaching a skier to glide, setting up someone in rental equipment, taking money in food and beverage or sitting at a desk for some other function.

Smartphone Use
The Pew Research Center conducted a survey about Smartphone Activities to show some distinct trends and differences among age groups.
Of those who use the smartphone to get recommendations or directions: 95% of those aged 18-29; 94% of those aged 30-49; and 82% for those 50 and older.
With regard to purchasing products online such as books, music, toys or clothing: 73% of the 18-29 group purchase on smartphones; 67% of the 30-49 group; and 44% of the group that is 50 and older. Those smartphone users who watched movies or TV through a paid subscription service (on smartphones?) included 52% of the youngest group; 36% of the middle age group; and only 13% of the older group.
The level of smartphone use among those under 30 is really not news to most of us but it is interesting to see the drop off of smartphone use when looking at some activities among age groups. It might be useful for ski area operators to see the percentage of smartphone users to willingly order trail tickets in advance. Clearly, catering to smartphone users as a significant market segment will continue to grow as younger people become the majority of the customer base.
CCSAA Conference  April 5-6

The CCSAA Annual Conference will be held at Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado on April 5-6 , 2016. This meeting will provide a great opportunity for networking with your peers in the business and professional development for your ski area staff on grooming and snowmaking with clinics, workshops, and on-snow opportunities. There will also be a presentation about the CCSAA Strategic Plan and speakers from the US Ski Team. For more info and to register click here

Northeast Fat Bike Summit

This event scheduled on March 4 10 AM - 4 PM is geared for land managers, resort administrators, trail managers as well as Fatbike Advocates.

Presented by Quality Bicycle Products and Hosted by Kingdom Trails and The Vermont Mountain Bike Association.
Location: Lyndon State College, Lyndonville, VT   Moore Banquet Room
Cost $25, includes Coffee & Continental Breakfast & Lunch 

This is one of 5 regional Fat Bike summits scheduled this year. Remaining are Ogden, UT on Feb 26 and Chugach, AK on Mar 18. For more info about the eastern regional summit, click Northeast Fat Bike Summit.
Capital Watch

T he February issue of the NSAA Capital Watch has info about the American Disabilities Act website accessibility lawsuits and the Supreme Court ruling to thwart the EPA Clean Power Plant rules. For areas interested in mountain biking, there is a Downhill Bike Park Summit that NSAA will host on June 7-9 at Windham Mountain Resort in NY. Click
Insurance Intelligence 

More Non-admitted Insurance Companies with "Insurance for Ski Areas"
Aurora If your insurance agent or broker adds any taxes or fees onto your insurance premium you are probably putting you r insurance with a non-admitted insurance carrier. A non-admitted insurance carrier is not licensed to do business in your state. Do you really want t o do business with an insurer that your state won't license?
Chances are the premium will be lower through a non-admitted insurer. These companies do not report their financial condition to your state authorities. How do you know you will be covered in the event of a claim? How about a lawsuit?
Stick with the licensed insurers. Your state insurance department is required to regulate them. Financials are reported on an annual basis and underwriting practices are monitored. In the event of a claim or a suit is brought against you, you will be happy you did
Tom Lawrence

Winter Trails

The Winter Trails program in 2016 was changed to be conducted as a month-long or a single day program. Results are being tallied.    
There will be a presentation at the upcoming CCSAA Conference presented by SIA on the state of affairs in cross country skiing that will include recent participation numbers, market trends, sales info and consumer trends.  
Kids Under 17 Ski Free  

Methow Trails in Winthrop, WA developed the Kids Under 17 Ski Free concept. They estimate that 25% of the skiers on the trails are kids 17 and under skiing for free. The number of people who pay to use the trails has increased by 12% per year since implementing the 17 and under free program 5 years ago.  Their observation is that families go there more because they've removed the kid ski pass obstacle. 
The Methow Trails organization is highly motivated because they are a nonprofit that aims to improve economic vitality for the region.  Everyone wins.  The kids ski free program benefits other businesses hugely, but as it turns out has improved Methow Valley's bottom line, too.  It also took away the need for "Family" pass, as families are difficult to define these days and the ski area does not want to be the gatekeeper of what it means to be a family.  Now it is simple.  Kid are free, adults pay, regardless of family structure. 
One more thing from Methow Trails, as a non-profit they can accept donations.  They have an endowment, and have received some significant donations that the donors comment are related to the decision to make kids skiing free.  Danica Ready of Methow Trails says, "it is a no brainer to offer passes for free. I wish the whole industry would do it. This is our next generation of skiers, and the investment in them is not costing us anything, but 20 years from now, we'll be glad we brought them into the sport when they are bringing their own kids back tour trails."
2015-16 Season CCSAA snowflake
  1. Office Efficiency 
  2. Online Portal
  3. Leveraged Buying
  4. Educational Resources
  5. Grooming & Hospitality Certification
  6. 1K Website Visits
1993 Pisten Bully Grooming Cat 

Selling our 1993 PB-150 with dual track setters. This machine has been well maintained will regular service by Kassbohrer in Grand Junction, CO. The machine has 6,000 hours total but less than 1,500 hours on a factory rebuilt engine installed in 2010. All equipment is in working condition and the cat is being used daily. A new tiller and track belts were installed in 2012. All hydraulic hoses have been replaced since we purchased the cat in 2007. 
Cat will be available for delivery mid February, 2016. Asking $25,000.  Call Bill de Alva, Telluride Nordic Association, (970) 728-3670.
Cross Country Ski Areas Association is a non-profit organization representing member ski service providers. The Association's purpose is to promote the growth and improve the quality of cross country ski operations in North America.