Places & Faces: Nitehawk

Asset utilization and revenue diversification are the mantras at the aptly named Nitehawk Year-Round Adventure Park. General Manager, Duane Stevenson shared with CWSAA how Nitehawk weather proofs the experience, and ensures its profitability.

Energy is a great example. Currently most Alberta ski areas have rates set by their winter usage. Efforts are being made to change tariffs to allow for seasonal loads, but as it stands, most ski areas pay for power in the summer that they do not use. However, at Nitehawk they have created a 120 pad RV park with sites at the bottom, mid station, and top of the ski area, plus a large group site.  The night skiing lights even double as RV park lights. Each pad is serviced by power that is already paid for.

Johnathan Clarkson, Assistant GM, speaks of their year round events strategy to generate visitation and utilization of their facilities and revenue generating services.

Revenue is also generated from Nitehawk’s catering services at on and off-site functions, operating an off-site Par 3 golf course, chairlift and trail sponsor signage, golf tournaments, and Nitehawk even used to manage parks in the past.

Even honey is subject to Nitehawk’s innovative approach. The ski area is in the honey belt…which has a nice ring to it. But it has a practical application as the Peace region is known for exceptional honey. Nitehawk takes this to another level with a profit share agreement with a local honey producer. The producer keeps bees at the ski area, and Nitehawk promotes and markets the product for them.

The facilities at Nitehawk continue to evolve. A new day lodge is at the base of the large tube park and at the base of the 600 foot conveyor lift is a paved pad to help direct water and avoid erosion.

Nitehawk acquired a water slide from Winsport in Calgary for summer tubing. Mountain bike and running trails have been developed. Seasons passes are sold for both downhill mountain bike and running use of the trails. Hours of use by bikes and runners are also regulated and timed to complement one another to accommodate both user groups.

One of the prime motivators for all this creativity in generating year-round experiences is the ability to retain talented staff. This strategy has paid off with 30 FTEs and additional part-time staff. Congratulations Nitehawk!