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CWSAA: January 2023 Newsletter

Message from the President

Ski area lore is filled with heroic deeds and achievements, and the recent weeks have added to this vault.  Before, during, and after the Christmas holiday period, operators overcame all kinds of challenges.  Geography generally determined the many different experiences.  Appreciation goes out to the ski area teams that worked hard to create positive guest experiences on the slopes, as well as the many efforts to assist guests (and their gear) getting to and from the slopes through difficult travel conditions.

The support of our many industry suppliers has been equally critical to the start of this winter season.   Kimberley’s Ted Funston cites one example with the reopening of the Northstar Quad and the rejuvenating impact it has had on the community of Kimberley as well as the ski operation.  Whistler Blackcomb and ambassadors from Squamish and Lil’wat Nations celebrated the opening of multiple lifts, including the new 10-person gondola at Creekside.  The team at Whispering Pines Alberta pulled double duty to open their t-bar lift in time for January’s school kids.  And CWSAA wishes to welcome and congratulate Renee & Paul Warkentin on the renovation and revival in December of Holiday Mountain in La Riviere, Manitoba.

One of the challenges faced by industry is the cost and access to insurance.  Past industry presentations show that insurance trends are cyclical, and due to current global forces underwriters are applying increased scrutiny to their portfolios.  This impacts cost and access to insurance, and means ski areas more than ever need to understand the requirements of underwriters and anticipate their expectations.  We are fortunate to have knowledgeable brokers highly dedicated to our industry.  Each of them constantly pitching coverage for ski areas to underwriters and constantly working to maintain underwriter confidence.

Immediately following the early winter effort to ensure ski areas had satisfactory policy coverage to embrace ski club activity, a crisis erupted threatening the operation of a significant number of community ski areas.  Due to changing underwriter risk tolerance, coverage for ski areas through many municipal policies were not renewed at the start of ski season. Through enormous effort on the part of these mostly volunteer run ski areas, each of these areas has now secured coverage.  The support between these ski areas through the CWSAA working group was exemplary.  In this space, I would also like to thank Cynthia Thomas for her work on the CWSAA Exclusion of Liability education program for ski areas, first introduced by Robert Kennedy, which was put into full effect through this critical period.  It is a clear illustration of the continued determination that we must apply to safety and risk management practices in our operations.

One of the results from the past two years has been the increased participation to our sport, especially from new Canadian communities.  While destination guest numbers are rebuilding, local skier visits surged through this period.  This also means we need to heighten efforts to not only attract, but retain these new enthusiasts.  While at recent visits to ski areas in Edmonton and Vancouver, I was elated to see the diversity of new participants.  It was a window into the ever-evolving demography of Canada, and our future industry.  In April, the Spring Conference will include illustrations of how some ski areas are successfully welcoming and retaining new participants.  The discussion also sets the stage to explore how this opportunity must be leveraged to recruit new generations into our ranks and industry leadership.

In closing, CWSAA wants to express its appreciation to the many industry partners that have pledged their sponsorship early for the coming spring conference.  Doppelmayr, EDGEauditor, Flaik, Kubera Payment Corp, and Leitner Poma Canada have all stepped forward as Diamond sponsors.  To these five as well as all others that have committed to the conference, we greatly appreciate their contribution.  The important learning and sharing at the event would not be made possible without them.

As always, the CWSAA team is here to serve.  As so many of you do, please do not hesitate to contact us.

- Christopher Nicolson

Conference Registration Opens Soon
Registration Opens Wednesday January 25 at 9am Pacific / 10 am Mountain Time. >>>>

Awards Nomination Deadline February 7
Nominations are now being accepted for the: 
  • Jim Marshall Leadership Award
  • Lars Fossberg Excellence Award
  • Rod Chisholm Operations & Maintenance Award
  • CWSAA Peak Performance Award

Selkirk College Ski Area Courses
Register soon, courses are starting now! Risk Management, Passenger Ropeways Mechanics and Train the Trainer all currently available! >>>>

Responsible Stewardship Workshops NEW!
A series of 3 new online workshops are available FREE to CWSAA members. 
The first workshop is February 1. 

BC's New Minister of Tourism 

Ski Area SafetyTalks

Wayne Wiltse Fundraiser

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