2020 NSAA Award Winners

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) presented awards in sustainability, safety, growth and marketing to members with the most innovative and successful programs in each category. The awards were presented at the association’s virtual awards ceremony on June 3.

2020 Industry Impact & Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Watch the virtual ceremony

2020 NSAA Award Winners

Golden Eagle Awards for Sustainability

Sponsored by TechnoAlpin

Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence
Bridger Bowl Ski Area, Montana

When it comes to climate change solutions, Bridger Bowl has not only adopted many of them, but done so in a big way. The ski area’s on-site, 50 kWh solar array at mid-mountain will offset 3% of its annual energy usage, including powering the beginner lift and snowmaking in that area. It is also increasing landfill diversion rates through composting and reducing reliance on single-use items. For its multi-faceted approach to sustainability and leadership in the state, NSAA named Bridger Bowl Ski Area the winner of the Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence.

Innovation in Sustainability
Crystal Mountain Resort, Washington

The team at Crystal Mountain Resort is actively shaping the next generation of sustainability heroes. The High School Climate Keepers program provides experiential education focusing on the climate crisis to 22 students at a local school. Congratulations to Crystal Mountain Resort for engaging high schoolers on climate change, developing the next generation of climate stewards and positively enriching its local community.

Climate Change Impact Award
SilverStar Mountain Resort, British Columbia, Canada

SilverStar Mountain Resort’s comprehensive sustainability program includes lifts run on hydroelectric energy, mountain ops fleets updated to the latest low- or no-emission technologies, ride share program, EV charging stations and resource reduction campaigns in its lodging properties.

Hero of Sustainability
Matt Robinson, Sun Valley Resort, Idaho

Matt Robinson, the manager of Konditorei restaurant at Sun Valley Resort, has incorporated sustainability into every aspect of his operation, achieving both environmental and economic success as well as a 3-Star Certification by the Green Restaurant Association—the first in the ski industry—for the restaurant.


NSAA Safety Awards

Sponsored by Safehold Special Risk

Best Employee Safety Program
Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana

The Whitefish “5 Why” Learning Program critically examined root causes of safety incidents by asking a series of “why” questions, which identified learning opportunities and directed managers to identify due dates for mitigation. The results, 20 concrete action items, included a fleet-wide door pin inspection, identification of tools and utensils needing replacement, and the implementation of a ski and ride assessment for lift staff./p>

Best Guest Safety Program
Sugarbush Resort, Vermont

The Sugarbush team hosted an action-packed safety month, with “Real Powder Hounds Know the Code” cards for kids, sweeps with patrol, breakfast with the patrol team, “Shrediquette” for terrain park features, and Know the Code posters. By the end of January, over 500 stamp cards, 110 Powder Hound T-shirts and 500 Know the Code buttons had been given away.

Best #RideAnotherDay Program
Snowbasin Resort, Utah

Snowbasin’s #RideAnotherDay program involved an expanded “Family Zone,” encompassing 777 feet of trails in a high traffic family and beginner area, as well as placing friendly Safety Ambassadors around the mountain. Two-year resort data shows that while ski visitations increased 27%, incidents decreased by 25%, and within the “Family Zone,” 17 total incidents accounted for only 6.46% of all resort incidents.

Safety Champion
Cindy Dady, Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), New York

Cindy Dady, whose motto is, “Make it personal, make it safe, make it home,” spearheaded the “Know the Zone” safety campaign across all three ORDA ski venues and personally presents staff safety trainings. She encourages employees to take ownership of guest safety and actively empowers them to take action when presented with a safety issue.

Best Overall Safety Program (large ski area)
Snowbasin Resort, Utah

Snowbasin developed the #SAFERmtn brand, and employees and guests received messaging related to these tenants: Smart, Alert, Focused, Educated, Respectful. The program featured avalanche dog demonstrations, beacon park training and sign garden discussions, with more than 600 visitors stopping by the #SAFERmtn Base Camp during its opening weekend, over 600 branded buffs and 500 lip balms handed out, and more than 21,000 views across email, earned media, video and social media outreach.

Best Overall Safety Program (small ski area)
Gore Mountain, New York

Gore Mountain invested in new lift catch nets, children’s vests with safety handles, an interactive safety kiosk, RFID ticketing, and infused marketing communications with safety tips and reminders. Employees received expanded CPR and defensive driving training, mandatory ski and board inspections, and a new safety products vending machine—with yearly data that shows more than 1,000 items were dispensed and total workers compensation claims were down by 64%.


Marketing Awards

Best Social Media Campaign
Mountain Creek Resort, New Jersey

Mountain Creek deployed an impressive mix of discipline and creativity across its social media campaign featuring a series of timely pop culture references, memes and videos that tied back to the brand and set of well-defined guidelines. The ski area has set themselves up to learn and lead with this social media game plan, with overall metrics that include 1.3 million reach and 120k engagements per month on Facebook; 145k reach and 520k impressions per week on Instagram.

Best Use of Video
Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire

Part of a larger #CannonIsMine campaign, this season’s miniseries caps off the ski area’s five-year yeti saga with a grand finale that encouraged viewers to evolve into Cannon skiers and make the mountain experience their own—reflecting the tightknit community at its core. The campaign delivered 1.33 million cross-device display retargeting impressions, 95% over-the-top video completion rate, 476k website sessions and almost 7,000 trackable visitors who were served an OTT video.

Best Lapsed Skier and Rider Campaign
Boreal Mountain Resort, California

Boreal’s commitment to this four-year Feel Good Fridays program is impressive for many reasons: the charity component, analytics and strategic approach, partner amplification, and its ability to return lapsed skiers and riders to the sport. In the process, the ski area managed to add more than 18,000 new skier profiles to its CRM.

Most Unique Campaign
Jay Peak Resort, Vermont

Jay Peak’s authenticity and ingenuity landed it a double win in the marketing department this year. Tied into its Gratitude Marketing Campaign (awarded Best Overall Marketing Campaign in the under 500k visits category), Jay Peak launched a Recruitment Campaign targeting employees. Through print, TV and radio creative, the ski area focused on employee recruitment, engagement, recognition and retention with key elements important to ski area personnel: competitive wages, benefits, staff housing and culture.

Best Overall Marketing Campaign (under 500k visits)
Jay Peak Resort, Vermont

Jay Peak gave thanks to its guests, community and employees through a thoughtful and well-executed Gratitude Marketing Campaign under the tagline “We’re us because you’re you.” Multiple facets—ranging from portraiture and an art exhibit, to TV and print placements, and even giveaways and events—radiate on-brand authenticity, and the results agree: 15% increase in lift ticket revenue, 12% increase in ski school revenue, 8% increase in total revenue.

Best Overall Marketing Campaign (over 500k visits)
Snowbird, Utah

Snowbird continues to strike the perfect balance between clever and edgy with its Assume The Risk campaign, showcasing actual warnings and disclaimers found around the mountain. Its various placements generated a 6% year-over-year increase in Google display traffic, double the average CTR on Facebook, a 17x average return on social ad spend for lift tickets and season passes Dec.–Feb., and the second highest newsletter header CTR of the year, all of which led to marked engagement improvements on the website.


Growth Award

Conversion Cup
Sponsored by HEAD
Blue Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania
Blue Mountain employs a variety of tools in its conversion efforts, and the ski area boasts the most learning terrain in the state of Pennsylvania (10 acres), Terrain Based Learning, and continuous, on-demand lessons 7 days a week. The ski area’s school-based Shreducation program is targeted to 8th graders, and in the span of a year, the number of participating schools has increased from 3 to 10, and the number of students expanded from 465 to 985. The Family & Friends program—allowing a group of varying ages, ability levels, and equipment types to be in the same lesson—has quickly become the most popular lesson product at Blue, eclipsing the standard beginner group lesson. In terms of follow-up, guests are offered another lesson on the same day for $20, an all-mountain lift ticket upgrade for $20, or a Refresh and Ride email offer for $49 (lesson, rental, all-mountain lift ticket). Combined, these efforts have generated nearly 1,000 additional lessons from returning guests. Addressing the non-lesson taking beginner, Blue Mountain has instructors roam the beginner area, looking for skiers or snowboarders struggling with the terrain. This program, Sliders Needing Assistance Program (SNAP) gives such guests a few tips on the spot and a voucher for a free beginner group lesson. As of February 2020, 59 such vouchers had been redeemed. For its innovative, creative and successful programs that address beginner customers as part of an integrated and coordinated effort to increase the total number of skiers and snowboarders, NSAA named Blue Mountain the winner of this year’s Conversion Cup.