Key Lecture

Growing snowsports in a changing market

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In this session Joe will explore the current state of skiing and snowboarding worldwide, the changing consumer market, what drives their motivations and preferences, and how this will effect our abilities to stay healthy, relevant and vibrant as a global industry.

The purpose of any business is to create and retain new customers.  For the ski resort industry snow sports schools are on the frontline of this battle daily.  Unfortunately, recent participation numbers tell us that we may not be winning in this battle.  The market and our customer base are changing rapidly.

As an industry we must adapt and change with them if we hope to stay relevant and attractive to today’s consumers.  This will require a wholesale shift in the way we message and position our sports, structure and sell our products, and approach our lesson business and teaching progressions to truly put the guests’ need first. By focusing on the guests’ needs first we can connect them with the fun that is inherent in our sports and hopefully connect them to a lifetime of winter fun.

Joe Hession – CEO, SNOW Operating

Joe Hession is the founder and CEO of SNOW Operating and a recognized leader in the field of winter resort operations. He operates the Terrain Based Learning™ Program at over 32 partner resorts across North America.

Hession is a true resort operator with over 20 years experience. He has held leadership roles in nearly all resort operating departments including taking the helm as VP, General Manager at Mountain Creek Resort prior to founding SNOW Operating. During his time at Mountain Creek, Hession found a true passion for experiential design with the intent of forming emotional connections with resort guests.

SNOW Operating’s mission is to help increase the industry conversion rate through its acclaimed Terrain Based Learning Program. Terrain Based Learning is a proven methodology and comprehensive process redesign that increases conversion rates of the first-­‐time winter resort guest. The Terrain Based Learning Program is designed to guarantee a successful implementation and sustained results season after season.

Hession, through his work at SNOW Operating, has been featured in the New York Times, ABC News, Huffington Post and Outside Magazine. He is also a contributor
to the NSAA Journal, 32 Degrees and is regularly featured in SAM Magazine. Hession speaks frequently at resort industry trade shows hosting education topics including: Management Theory, Operations Efficiency, Process Improvement, Terrain Based Learning, Progression Planning and Construction.

The National Ski Areas Association awarded the Conversion Cup to Mountain Creek Resort, Camelback Mountain Resort and Killington Resort -­‐ each of which are SNOW Operating partner resorts – each for their outstanding increase in first-time conversion rates.