November 2019 Newsletter

November 19, 2019 Newsletter

Spring Conference is April 28-30, 2020!

Join us in Whistler for the 52nd annual Spring Conference & Trade Show.  

Group rates are now available at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, starting at $166 ($151 +$15 service charge) based on single occupancy includes, self park and regular wifi.  There is a limited inventory of rooms at this rate. Book your room HERE.

Over the next month more information about the Spring Conference, including draft schedule and pricing, will be distributed.  Please note the following important dates:

  • Awards nominations – deadline is January 9.  Watch for applications coming later this month.
  • Small Areas Grants – deadline is January 9.  See policy for details.
  • Sponsorship – commitments required by January 17 for trade show booking priority.  Watch for the sponsorship package within the next week.
  • Conference Registration – opens January 28. Early bird deadline is February 29.

Important Trade show information:

  • Setup: April 28
  • Trade show reception: April 28
  • Trade show breakfast & lunch: April 29
  • Tear down: April 29 early afternoon.

Lift Maintenance Courses

Table Lift Course

Lift maintenance education reached new heights over the past year.  New remote courses were delivered at Fernie BC, Snow Valley Alberta, and Table Mountain Saskatchewan, and the increased field work content at Spring Conference was rated high by participants.

Thanks to Technical Safety BC, AEDARSA, Alberta Safety Codes and Selkirk College for their partnership in this initiative.  CWSAA and the participants appreciated the expertise and commitment of Dave Looney and Bob Bell to deliver the courses.

The course committee is debriefing the new format this month and making initial plans for 2020.  Industry education is a strategic directive for CWSAA as identified by the CWSAA Board of Directors.

Saskatchewan Ski Area Operators Association

Over 60 delegates from ski areas in each of the 3 prairie provinces attended the annual SSAOA conference at Table Mountain in late October. Thanks to Table Mountain for being wonderful hosts, Gougeon and HUB Insurance, CWSAA Chair Andre Quenneville, Bob Bell, heads of the CSC, CASI, CSIA and many others for presentations. Next year SSAOA will be held at Falcon Lake in Manitoba.

Photo right: Andre Quenneville, Gougeon’s Brad Buck and Mission Ridge’s Owen Smith checking out Table Mountain’s snowgun nozzles at the SSAOA meeting.

Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass

CWSAA has now distributed brochures to schools in each western province, and marketing for this program has now begun.

Please note, there are some changes to the pass this year!  Visits at each participating ski area have changed from 3 to 2. However, customers from last year who still have active SnowPass cards are still valid for 3 visits. The software has been updated, so you don’t need to do anything on your end.  Also note, the pass is now $29.99 (was previously $29.95).

Ski area restrictions have moved back to three options:

    • Full-paying adult required
    • Adult on-site required
    • No adult on-site required

National blackout dates are in effect for December 27-29, 2019 and February 17, 2020.

Please ensure if you have any of your own marketing referring to the pass, that you update the price and number of days!  New resources, including logos, posters, digital ads, and social posts, can be accessed HERE.

It’s not too late to add your ski area to the program.  For more details on the Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass program, please contact Michele McGann at [email protected]

NEW Safety Talks

go2HR has published three (3) new Safety Talks on the Ski Area Resources page.  The latest pieces include Manual lifting, Fit for Duty, and Working at Heights.  CWSAA has also developed a Safety Talk for Lift Operators – that Safety Talk is only available through CWSAA’s Member’s Only section.

Be sure to review each of these pieces and regularly incorporate Safety Talks into your pre-shift meetings.

Never Ever Days

NEW this year, there will be a Never Ever Day option specifically for 6-8 year olds. Please keep this in mind when you’re inputting your inventory for the 2019-20 season.

The CSC has made improvements to the software’s booking management tool, making it easier for ski areas to:

    • Redeem a customer’s ticket
    • Redeem multiple customer’s tickets at the same time
    • Transfer a customer’s lesson to a different date
    • Track comeback offers

The NED software is in the final stages, and should be ready to launch this week.  There will be a webinar on how to add your lesson inventory and ski area details very soon, so be on the lookout for an email from the Canadian Ski Council!  For more information on Never Ever Days, please contact Michele McGann at [email protected]

Industry Advocacy

Shawn Balog (CWSAA Director and Snow Valley’s GM) and Christopher Nicolson presented and introduced the ski industry to Tanya Fir (Alberta’s new Minister of Economic Development, Trade, and Tourism) in October.  The Minister was keenly interested in the economic and social contributions of our sector, and policy adjustments that can help grow the visitor economy.

NEW Tourism Industry Association of Alberta (TIAA)

CWSAA is pleased to support the new Tourism Industry Association of Alberta.  The association was announced at the Travel Alberta conference in October.

Special thanks to Robin Locke, VP Strategy & Corporate Development of Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Darren Reeder of the Banff Lake Louise Hospitality Association for their vision and were two of the five founding members the initiative.

TIAA is a not-for-profit, tourism association that advocates on behalf of all segments of Alberta’s tourism economy for a competitive and sustainable business environment that generates substantial economic value for the province. TIAA’s mission is to unleash the potential of Alberta’s tourism economy.

CWSAA fully endorses TIAA and encourages all ski and tourism businesses to join.

ISSW 2020

The International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW) is a gathering for people who love snow. This week-long conference is held every two years in a location that alternates between the US, Canada, and Europe. The next ISSW will be held in Fernie, BC, October 4 – 9, 2020, which means it’s a great opportunity for those of us in western Canada who work—and play—in the snow to attend.

Participating in an ISSW is always a great experience, both intellectually and socially. Check out and keep an eye on that site over the winter as more events and opportunities are posted. If you’ve attended an ISSSW before, you’ll know what a great experience it is. And if you’ve never attended, Fernie 2020 is going to be a great place to start.

CASI Snowboard Instructors Update

Congratulations to CASI on celebrating 25 years!   CASI has developed a number of new resources for Snow Schools and instructors including multi-week program guides, member sessions, posters and more.  For the latest, check out their pre-season newsletter HERE.

go2HR – Safety Basics Assessment

go2HR has developed the Safety Basics Assessment so that you can perform a free online health and safety check of your organization. Work through this assessment tool to identify gaps and access handy resources to enhance your existing program. If you are starting out, use the tool to prioritize what you need to do to develop a basic program.  When you are ready, follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Take 15 minutes to answer some simple questions.
  2. Review the practical tips and resources provided, based on your responses.
  3. Implement the recommendations at your own pace and reap the benefits of an effective health and safety program.

Alberta OHS – Working in Winter

Alberta OHS has created a fact sheet about working in winter – that provides employers and employees information about working in winter.

View the fact sheet HERE.

EmpowerHer: November 27

5:30 – 8:30pm @ Rocky Mountaineer Station, Vancouver

For an evening bringing together women in recreation, tourism and hospitality.


Timber Ridge is in search of youth helmets.  Please contact Timber Ridge or CWSAA if you have some to donate or sell at low rate.

Places & Faces

Congratulations to Sunshine Village for winning the TAIC Alto Award – best Tourism Event, for the Slush Cup.   The award was presented to Sunshine during the Travel Alberta Industry Conference in Banff in October.

John Shea (3rd from the right in this photo) is the President and COO of Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.  He leads RCR’s management team from the Calgary office and is a great supporter of RCR’s leadership within CWSAA.  For example, Andy Cohen serves as BCY Division Chair, Tom Rosner is the BC Marketing Chair, and others contribute to committees and industry initiatives.

CWSAA visited Whistler this month to welcome Geoff Buchheister, Whistler Blackcomb’s new Chief Operating Officer.  Recently arrived from Keystone, Geoff brings with him a wealth of knowledge and lifelong passion for the sport.  CWSAA also caught up with WB’s Mike Dean, Dave McPhee, and Bob Dufour (pictured right).  Bob has recently moved into a senior advisor role as CWSAA Director Doug McFarlane accepted the VP Operations role at Whistler Blackcomb.  Congratulations to Doug, Bob, & Geoff.

CWSAA’s Cynthia Thomas joined eight Alberta Ski Areas at last months Travel Alberta Industry Conference.   The ski areas in attendance gathered together for lunch and heard updates on Travel Alberta’s 10 year strategy as well as attended tourism marketing sessions.

Timber Ridge in Big River Saskatchewan recently renovated and expanded its daylodge, and fresh gravel was delivered to keep the road in top shape. Thanks to the expansion of the daylodge, Manager Arlene Gilbert noted that the facilities are used for weddings, yoga retreats, music events, and other gatherings for summer revenue.

Pretty cool story at the Innisfail ski hill (Alberta). The single rope tow community ski area was incorporated on October 27, 1952 and relocated to it’s current location in 1962. Long time volunteers Brent and Bernie both grew up here. Brent’s mum was a founding Board member. The volunteer club relies on natural snow and expects to open around Christmas. Thanks to Sunshine Village for their support with rental equipment at Innisfail.

Sasquatch Mountain (BC) is reporting that construction is moving along well on the installation of the new Blue Quad Chair.  The driver station was installed late September, towers were installed in October.  A contest is now underway to name it!

Thank you to the Canadian Ski Patrol Edmonton Zone for their donation of radios to Gwynne Valley.  Gwynne Valley recently had several radios stolen during a break in and CSP stepped up to support the small ski area with 3 radios.

Upcoming Events

  • April 21-24, 2020 – PNSAA, Wenatchee Washington
  • April 22-24, 2020 – Mountain Planet, Grenoble Alps France
  • April 28-30, 2020 – CWSAA Spring Conference, Whistler BC
  • May 4-7, 2020 – NSAA, Amelia Island Florida
  • May 11-14, 2020 – RMLA, Grand Junction, CO
  • May 25-28, 2020 – Eastern Canada Ski Conference (OSRA, ASSQ, Atlantic), Mont Ste.Anne
  • October 4-9, 2020 – International Snow Science Workshop, Fernie BC
  • April 27-29, 2021 – CWSAA Spring Conference, Lake Louise Alberta

Check out the Industry Events Calendar HERE for more details.