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Speakout & Issues

Speak-Out :: Making it Great Again! By John Fry

In November 2016, 16,000 fans attended a World Cup alpine ski race in New England, where love of the sport has never waned. 

Last November was a transformative month. . . not only for politics, but possibly for American skiing. In politics, a neglected bunch of underemployed voters, largely unobserved and resentful of political correctness and diversity, had grown skeptical of the Establishment’s message and mission. The result was an electoral surprise.

A parallel with skiing may seem remote, but how about this? Two weeks after the election, more than 15,000 enthusiastic fans unexpectedly showed up at an alpine ski race. And as many came back the second day. Those kinds of crowds hadn’t shown up at a World Cup race in 50 years in the United States, since Jean-Claude Killy won all three races on Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire in 1967.

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SPEAK OUT :: MINIMUM WAGE WAR





As the minimum wage continues to increase in several states, and even fast-food restaurants are offering higher wages, how are winter resorts being affected—and how are they responding? SAM caught up with Richard Wren, director of guest services at Michigan’s Boyne Highlands Resort, to understand the scope of the challenge and Boyne’s reaction.

SPEAK-OUT :: THE E-COMMERCE CHALLENGE




In response to “The eCommerce Wait Problem” (SAM, March 2015), I’d like to suggest that there’s only so much we can do to simplify our product offerings and thus speed the growth of eCommerce. But it’s true that we must do what we can to make purchasing easier for our guests.

SPEAK OUT :: REMEMBERING DALE WALTERS




The man was a legend in the world of rope splicing. Dale was known by literally thousands of ski area personnel throughout the East and Midwest, but also across the entire U.S. He had been in the splicing business since 1984, and must have spliced thousands of lift lines, as well as other ropes.

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SPEAK OUT :: REMEMBERING DICK WILLIAMS



The mountain resort industry lost a great friend earlier this year—Dick Williams. In 1962, Dick and his partner, Rufus Barringer, founded Barringer and Williams (B&W)—providing the first-ever stable and committed insurance alternative for the U.S. ski resort industry. In 1975, B&W merged with Kendall Insurance, which has since morphed into today’s MountainGuard. In the late ‘70s, Dick was one of the prime movers in initiating legislation to offset the loss of the Assumption of Risk Doctrine (after the Sunday vs. Stratton verdict), as well as the formation of the Association of Ski Defense Attorneys (ASDA). Dick was a huge supporter and promoter of the NSAA and made countless contributions to the ski industry.

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