Class descriptions

We have 4 tracks to focus on for this year’s convention classes:

  1. Mountain Operations Core Classes

  2. Resort Development

  3. Alternative Resort Activities

  4. Lift Maintenance

Descriptions of all classes listed below:


Mtn Operations core classes-

General Meeting/Roll call:

Annual Welcome to ISAA Conference with financial Review, Roll Call through all attending resorts and vendors.

Litigation & risk management update:

Presenters: Mary Bozack, Tim Hendrickson, Jason Kartchner – MountainGuard. Rob Andrews – Safehold Special Risk. Adam Strachan – Strachan, Strachan and Simon.

Closed Session – Ski Area Personnel Only. ISAA’s Annual Legal and loss control update highlights the latest in litigation, liability trends and operational issues in the ski industry, with focus on recent cases, emerging issues and lessons learned. The panel of industry leading insurance companies ski defense attorneys and risk managers will lead the always well attended and important session. In addition to the update we will discuss managing alternative devices, digital waivers, drone usage and non-core operations and the growing threat of claims.

OSHA Deep Dive: Analyzing Three Unique Employee Lift Safety Injuries:

Presenter: Dave Byrd, NSAA

Last season, ski areas experienced a number of employee injuries and resulting OSHA inspections. This will session will take a deep dive into three unusual lift-related incidents involving ski area employees—all significant injuries or fatalities—and analyzing the facts behind each incident, and how these ski areas and OSHA individually responded. The issues of employee misconduct, resort policies and procedures, OSHA compliance standards, drugs, even the media responses will be addressed—and how the resorts prepared for OSHA investigations—will provide a great exploration of what can happen with serious employee injuries, their prevention, appropriate workplace safety procedures, and the best approaches to minimizing serious OSHA fines and citations—not to mention future employee injuries.

Avalanche and Snow Immersion: Update and Lessons Learned:

Presenter: Mary Bozack, Steve Lawlor – MountainGuard. Rob Andrews – Safehold. Adam Strachan – Strachan, Strachan and Simon.

There have been several in-bounds avalanches injuries and fatalities over the past dozen years. Several of these have involved litigation. This session will review those cases and the lessons learned to help resorts manage and Snow Immersion (SIS) is one the leading causes of fatalities in Western North America. Update on Snow Immersion statistics, trends and education efforts to alert the guests and employees of these risks.

Small Resort Roundtable:

Led by Avery Gold- Showdown Montana

Join us for a roundtable discussion on challenges facing small ski areas. Share best practices and solutions that have worked for you.

National forest update:

Presenter: David Whittekiend- USFS.

Come join us for an update from the USFS.  The session will cover topics related to the current political climate, funding, projects,  the legislative agenda and much more.  Questions, comments and concerns are certainly welcomed

resort development-

parking and transportation: Over Population:

Moderated by: Tim Hendrickson – MountainGuard. Hillary Arens - Snowbird. Bob Petitt – Bridger Bowl. Susan Saad – Bogus Basin. Gareth Lloyd - Interstate Parking.

Ski Areas are seeing traffic overwhelming current capacity on high volume days. This crowding both in the parking lots and on the roads to the ski area are creating at times a high level of frustration for the guests. Join our panel of area experts as they share their experiences with this issue and the ways in which they’re addressing the transportation challenges.

Local Environmental/Sustainability Programs:

Panel: Hilary Arens: Director of Sustainability & Water Resources-Snowbird, Victoria Schlaepfer: Senior Event/ Promotions Coordinator-Deer Valley, Tom Bradley: Regional Environmental Manager-Park City Mountain, Maura Olivos: Environmental Center Director & Ecologist-Alta.

Panelists from Deer Valley, Park City, Alta and Snowbird will discuss topics such as energy efficiency, waste management, collaboration with outside entities and goal setting in their environmental/sustainability programs. What they are doing and what you can do from the low hanging fruit to the bigger projects.

Snowmaking efficiency & repairs:

Lead by Steve Fellman (SMI)

Open discussion of issues and success stories of snowmaking systems, PM scheduling, pipe replacement, hiring the right people, equipment selection.  The roundtable aspect encourages people to speak and listen and learn from other resorts.

Environmental Permitting: Notes from the Field:

Presenter: Neal Artz.

Cirrus has worked with the Forest Service and most ISAA member resorts over the past 18 years. Based on that experience, they have kept abreast of changes in the environmental permitting arena. They will discuss some recent developments of interest to ski area operators, including:

·        NEPA streamlining.

·        Ski areas as historic landscapes.

·        Relisting of the grizzly bear.

·        Changes in the Corps of Engineers definition of wetlands and other waters of the US.

·        Increasing regulatory attention to abandoned mines.

·        Status of e-bikes.

Alternative resort activities-

Summer Ops- The good, the bad, and the ugly:

Presenter: Andrew Barfield - Dir. Of Base Area Activities - Snowbasin

This session is a high level overview of Summer Ops in the Resort Industry. The goal for this session is to be collaborative and create a dialogue to examine Summer Operations through these three lenses (good, bad, ugly).

Mountain Biking:

Presenter: Chris Erkkila- Deer Valley. Bob Radke- Basin Recreation. Charlie Sturgis- Mountain Trails Foundation.

We will discuss the development of mountain bike trails from the perspectives of both private and community stakeholders. We will discuss the origins of each of the local operations, the process of the build outs, future plans, and pitfalls to avoid along the way

Manufactured Terrain: Terrain based learning:

Presenter: Chris Ingham- Park City Mountain Terrain Parks Manager.

Terrain Based Teaching and Freestyle Terrain Discussion, build practices, demographics to focus on, summer operation, value of high quality mgmt in this space

Learn to ski and ride program:

Presenter: Raelene Davis – Ski Utah

 Bringing in new skiers to the sport of skiing and snowboarding has never been more important as baby boomers age out and the younger generation is distracted with so many other interests.  Skiing and Snowboarding are exhilarating lifetime sports and this session will go over ideas to capture skiers and highlight the Learning to Ski and Snowboard campaign that has much success over the years.   The ski industry needs to stay dedicated on spreading the joy of skiing, snowboarding and winter sports for all. January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, when resorts across the country offer special deals for beginners along with The Bring a Friend program encourages skiers and snowboarders to introduce someone new to the sport.

Lift Maintenance Classes-

NDT Certification ($875): Greg FLoor, Wasatch NDT

Location at Maintenance Shop: 2 Steins Way, PC, UT 84060

Teacher: Greg W. Floor - ASNT NDT Level III

The 20 hour NDT course covers the Level I and II fundamentals of MT theory and practical application necessary for MT inspectors of chairlift parts and components. Each student will receive a textbook and lesson study guide which they will keep. Hands on training exercises using MT inspection equipment and materials on common ski industry parts will coincide with MT theory modules. A general, specific and practical examination will be administered at the end of the course. A vision exam will also be administered. Students are required to provide a minimum of the past two years NDT related work experience which should be a chronological documentation signed off by their supervisor. Classroom training is the first step on the road to becoming certified as an NDT Level I and II MT inspector. A more detailed description of the entire certification process is available to all Resorts interested in sending mechanics to the MT course. It is recommended to contact the course instructor prior registration.

Wasatch NDT LLC - 3791 E. Adonis Drive. Salt Lake City, Utah 84124. 801-273-1807 office. 801-608-7473 cell. -

ANSI Update/ Lift Maintenance roundtable:

Presenter: Rich Taxwood, Director of Tram and Lift Maintenance at Snowbird

The year in review! A discussion with help from insurance companies, industry authorities, manufacturers, and area personnel. Operations and maintenance items and trends that have been noted on rope ways will be highlighted.

Ropeway Safety- UDOT Tramboard Meeting:

The Passenger Ropeway Safety Committee was created in 1969 to protect citizens and visitors from unnecessary mechanical hazards in the design, construction, and operation of passenger ropeways. The Ropeway Committee establishes standards for the design, construction, and operation of ropeways in Utah. Each ropeway is licensed every year and is inspected prior to opening as well as during the operating season.

The Ropeway Committee welcomes the participation of anyone interested in the safety of our lifts

Low voltage electrical:

Presenter: Mark Murray (Skytrac)

Understanding the basics of Low Voltage Systems, how Relays function. Wiring Lab will teach how to wire from an Electrical Schematic to Buttons and Relays, with trouble shooting tips along the way. Bring some wire strippers and a tweeker screw driver if possible. Class is designed for non-electrical type students.

hydraulic systems:

Presenter: Will Hartman (Skytrac)

Understanding the basics of hydraulic systems. The basic course will explain how pressure switches function in conjunction with tension control systems. Hydraulic troubleshooting scenarios will be addressed and expanded upon. Focused on will be those components that are actuated hydraulically and electrically controlled. Hydraulics simulator lab will teach how to troubleshoot hydraulic problems using hydraulic schematic drawings. Class is designed for entry level to midlevel technicians.

Fixed grip terminal Alignment:

Presenter: Alex McCann (Skytrac)

What to Expect from your Lift Inspection / Maintenance Documentation:

Presenter: Jason Zakotnik (Above & Beyond, Inc)