I thought it would be fun to give you an insider's look at the biggest professional development experience for our country's ski instructors. So here we go.....

The PSIA Teams were leaving our tail-end of summer and flying toward southern tail-end of winter for a rare quadrennial event hosted by the world's southernmost city, Ushuaia, Argentina. Interski 2015 made its austral debut after being held some 15 times by northern hemispheric countries like Austria, Korea, Switzerland, Norway, Japan, USA and others.

In the US, we are unique in that we have different supporting non-profits for ski and board instructors, patrollers, racing/coaching, and guiding. These functions may reside under one roof in other nations, one the one hand creating many more opportunities for cross-pollination, and on the other, hobbling nimble experi mental endeavors with a burdensome bureaucracy, and likely, neglect of the 'little guy,' whether that's Cross Country, or outlying regions.

One of the best aspects of an international event like Interski is that you end up with a much greater appreciation for our country. We witnessed first hand what it was to have a national Cross Country educational team led by an international caliber racer, and coached by a former world cup coach (ITA). On the Tele side, the Swiss also have the 2014 World Cup Champion, Bastien Dayer on their team, lending credence to message, but especially to their carving demos. In the US, we are at a different, but positive and hopeful place regarding collaboration with USSA XC and US Telemark.

Perhaps one of the clearest impressions is where we (PSIA/USA) are with regard to teaching philosophy. For 40 years, we've been taking a message of 'Student-Centered Teaching' to Interski. In contrast, one Interski delegate asked me, "What is your country's progression?" ...which was revealing to me, in that it hadn't crossed my mind that a country could have a progression that 'worked' for every student.  We're so used to tailoring the lesson to the learner's wants, needs, abilities and desires that a one-progression nation was literally a foreign concept.
Beyond rolling out our own new XC Skills Model (featured in our new PSIA XC Technical Manual due out in December), Italy was a clear leader for XC at Interski, as their team came with more ITA/Ushuaia/Interski flags and schwag than any other nation. A centerpiece of their skill development system is a Bronze, Silver, and Gold level breakdown of skills, very similar in concept to the Skills matrix we use here in the US to certify instructors. The major difference is that their three levels are used for recreational and racing skiers of all types and ages - for the skiing public - instead of just instructors. They also had great video and technology to support their their level system.

Exposed to other nations' teaching and technology ideas, we return renewed and inspired, both by what we learned, but also by what we believe. Learning about ski instruction in other nations opened our minds, and let us look in the mirror a bit too. I'm proud of where we are as a skiing and teaching nation. Our ties with the other disciplines and associations have and will make us stronger. We're forward-thinking and forward-looking as an instructor association, and are proud of the new manual that should have just hit the shelves. If digging into some of the ideas and presentations from Interski piques your interest, there are scads of videos and instructor resources available just for the looking. 
Scott McGee, PSIA Nordic Team Coach
Former CCSAA BoD Chair
Snow King Mountain Sports School Director
Jackson, WY

P.S. from Chris

We continue working to improve the services and benefits available from CCSAA for our members. By month's end we'll be launching an improved website thanks to the expertise of   Grey Suit Retail. Among the improvements and upgrades you as a user will appreciate are: a better functioning shopping cart; ability to reset your login; simplified conference registration; and the start of our online ticket portal. There are many more behind-the-scenes improvements that the webmaster and I are so looking forward to. Grey Suit Retail is also available to assist members improve and relaunch their own sites. I encourage you to look into their services if this is of interest for your business. See their advertisement in the sidebar of this newsletter and click for your free 30-minute website design assessment consul tation. And, I'm happy to report that the majority of our accounting software issues (do I dare say QuickBooks out loud) are behind us now although record-keeping catch-up is ongoing.

Many of you will be receiving a late notice on your annual dues for the season. Please put that check in the mail or enjoy the online experience with the new shopping cart. We appreciate you taking care of this financial commitment to the Association. Your timely payments help keep us able to continue holding the dues at the current rate. Remarkably it's been 9 seasons since the dues were increased!

Speaking of money, I want to share a story that exemplifies one of the many joys of being your Executive Director. During the month of November we experienced a breakdown of communication between the online gateway for credit  card processing and the bank. All appeared normal. Orders were being placed online. Confirmations issued. Trail signs shipped and meeting registrations secured. However no money was being exchanged. No credit cards charged. No money deposited to the CCSAA bank. Not good. By the time it was discovered and the system interface repaired, 24 orders had made it through the store without taking any payment. Without exception all it has taken is a simple email to each customer (ski resorts and trail systems across the nation) to collect the payment. It has consistently been my experience in 29 years of working for Cross Country Ski Areas Association that the individuals who make up the nordic industry are honest, genuine, wonderful people. It is indeed an honor and pleasure to work for you and be the face of CCSAA to the industry. Thank you for being you!

Chris signature
Chris Frado, CCSAA Executive Director

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Nordic Network newsletter : JANUARY 2016 : editor/contributor ROGER LOHR
Snow Reporting

Cross country ski trails in the mountains of Norway.
Decades ago, ski area snow reports were issued one day late by newspapers, the same day on radio, or through dedicated snow phones that rang at resorts. "Roxy" Rothafel was a famous eastern radio ski conditions reporter, who started in 1964 promising to "tell it like it is." Rothafel passed away in 1994 and now ski areas themselves have stepped up on this important way to get noticed.
Getting the ski conditions announced might include:
*posting on the ski area website
* posting on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media
* read into a 24-hour snow phone
* feeding reports to SnoCountry.com (4,200 media outlets including 640 radio stations) via email, and/or,
* faxing or emailing to local hotels and ski shops.
Snow reports have become candid and resort marketers need to be upbeat while completing their responsibility to help skiers prepare for the day. Snow report accuracy is key and honesty is appreciated. Today's reports are transparent, accurate and dynamic. Ski area reporters realize that the online community may very well be looking over their shoulder and that they will likely be called out for inaccurate reporting.
Information that XC ski areas report include the snow conditions (packed powder, wet granular, etc.), distance and/or number of trails that are groomed and tracked for classic or skate skiing, the amount of new snow, etc.
If high winds are expected, suggestions can be given about trails that can be enjoyed out of the wind. If rain is in the forecast, recommend how to dress. Nowadays, frozen granular or icy trail conditions are just what the doctor ordered for fat biking. Humor or a lighter attitude can help encourage people (think of the funny announcements by airline attendants on Southwest Airlines) such as "our 18 trails got some sweet loving from the groomers this morning." Maybe you can use famous lines from music or movies. Perhaps a specific tour, a location for downhill fun in the trees, recent animal sightings and tracks, or a food specialty can be highlighted. Links to the ski area webcam make that tool more useful beyond the ski area website.

Snow reporting is something that should be taken advantage of as "free marketing." Snow reporting can be delegated to a staff person as an important aspect of the operation. For very little effort, our snow reporters can help skiers plan the perfect day and at the same time get people thinking about cross country skiing.

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.

SIA Snow Show January 28-31
& Nordic Demo February 1-2 

The snowsports industry meets for the 2016 SIA Snow Show at the Denver Colorado Convention Center on Jan 28-31 and the 2-day On-Snow Nordic Demo (Feb. 1-2) at Copper Mountain, Colorado. The XC ski brands will have 2016-17 models of skis, boots, poles, and accessories for buyers and media to compare side-by-side on the snow. Hit the trails, test gear, be with friends on-snow after the 2016 SIA Snow Show. For more info click here

Capital Watch

T he December issue of the NSAA Capital Watch has info about the outcome of the Paris Climate Change meetings. Click December Capital Watch
The January issue of the NSAA Capital Watch has info about water, minimum wages, H-2b regulations on visas, ADA compliance related to websites and drones. Click January Capital Watch

Insurance Intelligence 

First reports of Injury
Last weekend I was instructing a beginner classic ski lesson when a woman fell practicing in track. She had fallen before and laughed each time. This time she wasn't laughing. She said she "heard" something give in her ankle.
The ski patrol was right on the spot, took her into a private area, applied ice and completed an accident report.
The accident report took about 10 minutes to complete but during the process the ski patrol Auroraler and the resort owner both made the woman feel comfortable. She kept repeating how clumsy she was, it was all her fault, etc., etc. By the time the process was over she was laughing and joking with all of us.
The accident report form was filed away and will probably not be referred to again. But if it  is needed, all of the actions of the ski patrol as well as the woman's reaction to their efforts, is recorded in writing and contains her signature. In the event of any future legal action brought against the ski center there is ample documentation to attest to the non-negligence of the ski center.
Accident report forms are available through CCSAA. They are free for Aurora Insurance clients. Non-clients can purchase them.   

Tom Lawrence

SIA Snow Show & Nordic Center

The snowsports industry meets for the 2016 SIA Snow Show at the Denver Colorado Convention Center on Jan 27-31 and the 2-day On-Snow Nordic Demo (Feb. 1-2) at Copper Mountain, Colorado. The SIA Nordic Center exhibit at the SIA Snow Show will be created to give Nordic buyers and those new to the category an exclusive preview of apparel, equipment, accessories and technologies specific for the cross country and snowshoe experience while learning how to market, merchandise and sell the sports. The Nordic Center is presented by the Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA) and media partners, Cross Country Skier, Ski Post, SkiTrax, Snowshoe Magazine, and XCSkiResorts.com.
Chris McCullough of Madshus said, "Any opportunity for the Nordic community to come together with a shared focus for growing the sport and raising awareness for the full breadth of Nordic ski participation is a huge plus for us all. We're all really supportive of the return of this Nordic Center exhibit.
Participating product suppliers in the Nordic Center included Alpina Sports Corp., Atomic USA, Inc., Crescent Moon Snowshoes, Endurance Enterprises, Fisher Skis US, Madshus, One Way Sport USA, Rossignol, Salomon USA, Swix Sport USA, Inc. and TOKO.
"I'm so thrilled to see SIA bringing Nordic gear together in this exhibit to give buyers an overview of what's available," said Penelope Gleason, Marketing Director at Paragon Outfitters and Boot Doctors in Telluride CO. "The category is growing so much. We've seen a huge boom in popularity in our store, and I love getting to see what's new and being able to ask questions in a relaxed environment."
Reese Brown, SIA Nordic Director commented "Our goal is to create some unity and tie the cross country specific companies together.  We began this three years ago, strengthened it last year and moved it forward with a cross country section on the SIA Show floor.
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.  
Sustainability Upgrades 

Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center and the Mt. Washington Auto Road in Gorham, NH reported adding a fourth SnowCoach to its fleet and all of th em were converted to run on propane fuel. This will reduce tailpipe emissions and increase the eng 
ine life of the vehicle, which climbs up to the 4,000 foot elevation on Mt. Washington carrying sightseers.  A wood pellet burning boiler system for heat and hot water was installed in the Great Glen lodge. a 20,000 square-foot facilty. It will displace 6,000 gallons of fuel oil with 50 tons of wood pellets that are produced locally. An old micro-hydro system was upgraded to supply about 80% of electric needs at Great Glen and an electric vehicle charging station was also installed.

MLK Weekend Wrap

One of the important 3-day winter weekends is the Martin Luther King holiday and this year there were many good reports about business on MLK.

Royal Gorge in Tahoe, CA area has had 9 feet of snow this year. MLK weather was tough for drivers to get to the mountains but people were enthusiastic.
Bear Valley Nordic in CA had a very strong MLK weekend and Sunday was their best day of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas were great, too!
The Methow Trails in the eastern side of Washington's Cascade Mountains reported robust activity and that the MLK weekend broke records for skier visits.
At Breckenridge Nordic Center in CO they commented that MLK was the busiest weekend of the year and that they ran out of rental snowshoes by noon. With record guest numbers for snowshoeing and skiing, folks were able to get both sets of equipment for one low price so people were on all the trails and enjoying the destination huts. There were also free sledding hills and it was a true winter wonderland holiday ski weekend.
Enchanted Forest in NM has the best snow in years. Both days on the weekend were busier than normal.
Outside of Flagstaff, AZ, the Flagstaff Nordic Center reported huge crowds on Saturday and Sunday after a Friday night storm brought six new inches of snow.
Lapland Lake in Northville, NY had a pretty good weekend with Sunday being the best day for traffic. Skiers were coming from the south where there has not been as much snow yet. "We don't have the base depth that we'd like at this time but it has been decent conditions."
NH's Dexter's Inn had their best weekend of the year with 5 km of open groomed trails with new snow. Skiers were mostly guests, folks from town, and from the Mt. Sunapee Resort. They're hoping to make up cancellations that happened during the Christmas week.
Carter's Cross Country in Bethel, ME was inundated with skiers at the area. They were busy and had beautiful skiing with powder on the upper trails. They're looking forward to Valentine's Day and a special Wounded Warrier Weekend, which is planned for March.
Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, MI reported 15-17 inches of snow in the woods and great trail conditions.
Maplelag Resort in Callaway, MN had a good MLK crowd despite cold temperatures. It was sunny and the snow was excellent for the Northstar Ski Touring Club that has been going to Maplelag on this weekend for nearly 40 years.
So there's a snapshot of ski areas across the land on Martin Luther King's holiday. Looks like we're free at last to enjoy the snow everywhere!
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.