President and CEO, Canadian ski council
Although only a recent arrival to the Canadian Ski Council in the role of President and CEO, Paul has spent a career dedicated to snowsports and sees the industry through a lens that includes retail, manufacturer and resort based experience. A keen advocate for customer centric strategies, Paul comes to the CSC after a 14 year engagement with Blue Mountain Resort, ultimately serving as VP, Marketing as the resort grew into a four season destination. At MTS, Paul will be a part of the Growth Through Innovation panel alongside five other industry leaders. They will all give their thoughts on how to move the needle to make skiing and snowboarding cool again.
In his Speaker Spotlight, Paul shares a few initiatives the Canadian Ski Council has to get people skiing again, his biggest opportunities and challenges, and what he hopes attendees will take away from his session.
The Canadian Ski Council’s (CSC) mandate is to grow the sport of alpine skiing, Snowboarding and Cross Country in Canada. They are funded by Canada’s 236 resorts and have a focus on encouraging trial of the sport.
The key efforts that the CSC has in Canada are the Grade 4&5 SnowPass and Never Ever Days. Each program is unique and has a particular focus. The Snow Pass is focused on getting kids and their families into the sport.
“Each year we introduce 36,000 kids to the program. 71% of those are new to the sport. 22% of those kids bring new family members with them. Our resorts love it.”
Never Ever Days, is CSC’s newest program. This program is specifically designed to introduce new Canadians and millennials into the sport as a one day “experience” that finishes with pre-programmed return offers.
“At this point, we are happy with the numbers as 44% of participants are visible minorities (2x the rate of incidence in the general pop.) 70% are women and 57% are in the millennial age group.”
For CSC, they have seen many wins, but their challenges lie with running programs on a national basis in two languages. Paul shares that keeping the resorts both informed and engaged is another one of the challenges they have been working on. One of their long-term challenges is centered around data and being able to follow these new skiers through the life cycle to verify that their efforts are working.
During his session at MTS, Paul hopes to convey a message to the audience that the time for study has passed.
“We as an industry need to work together to create new opportunities to reach those new participants. Here in Canada we have adopted an action oriented approach where we try, learn and evaluate (and maybe move on) with each program. I liken our philosophy to the often celebrated software startup mentality of try, fail quick, and learn.”