Alignment of Purpose

Alignment of Purpose

Finding the balance

I am sharing with you a podcast/article from McKinsey & Company. On the surface it seems a little heady or touchy feel for mountain operations folks, no disrespect intended. The podcast is a discussion between the moderator and two McKinsey partners. The subject matter is the purpose of work. Yes, I know it sounds a bit out there but in listening to this discussion you can see how it relates to mountain operations, dealing with millennials,  retention of staff, frontline staff, and organizational health.

A quote from the discussion, “Those employees who say that they live their purpose at work are six and a half times more likely to report higher resilience. They’re four times more likely to report better health, six times more likely to want to stay at the company, and one and a half times more likely to go above and beyond to make their company successful.” Who doesn’t want staff like this?

My question to those of you who are managers: Is individual purpose and work purpose something you discuss with your staff? The coming together of the home world and work world can be all about purpose and how it effects your staff. Ignoring it won’t make it disappear. The study discussed in this podcast indicates 70% of people define themselves through their work.

There can be alignment of organizational purpose and personal purpose. They key is the organization, ski area, defining their purpose and living by that purpose so that those who work at the ski area can decide if their purpose aligns with the ski area’s. Hypocrisy by the ski area will certainly drive off any staff who look at the stated purpose and what is real on the ground.

As we come out of Covid, the impact of individual’s purpose will be an important hiring factor. Covid has given a lot of people reason to look at their purpose and may decide to be true to their purpose. It might not just be about the check going forward.

I have felt for a long time that the ski area industry can be a better place to work for all, and often I have felt like I’m barking up a tree. However, my mind knows that the better people feel about their work the better they will perform and that is a model that can help the ski area industry perform better financially and culturally, a sound business model.

Data and Information

Database of record: Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Rapid, intuitive retrieval of current and historical data (accessible on or offsite) improves decision making at all levels of management.

Simple report generation.

Reduces risk and potential lawsuits.

Supports visualization of current and future mountain infrastructure (e.g. Gazex explosives locations, forest thinning, designing new runs, parking, etc.).


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Ski Patrol

  • Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).
  • Use of common language allows for consistent communication and information sharing.
  • Increases safety by minimizing accidents through pattern analysis of incidents.
  • Accident Investigation and Risk Management.
  • Snow Safety (Ski Patrol) Training.

The web and mobile application suite will provide editing and data collection tools for mapping incidents (wrecks, accidents) of any kind.

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Avalanche Module


Ability to document, track and analyze slope conditions with one tool.

Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).

 Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Provides detailed current and historical weather patterns for visualizing/predicting.

Saves money through more precise use of explosives. 

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The dispatch and risk module leverage Esri’s Survey 123 for ArcGIS, providing an intuitive survey-form, data-driven workflow for point feature collection and reporting. Data collected with SmartMountain Survey apps, which are available for both web browsers and native desktop and mobile apps for standard operating systems, are integrated with one or more SmartMountain modules, providing real-time or disconnected and later synchronized workflows for data collection and integration.

Each ski resort decided what they wish to display on the Dispatch Dashboard including on-hill incidents, walk-in incidents, on-hill refusals,  missing persons, work details for different departments, ski patrol rosters for the day, clearances, and sweeps.

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  • Logs for Lift Maintenance, Lift Operations, and Groomer inspections, as well as building inspections.
  • Logs can record data and signatures, can record stops, station assignments.
  • Logs are tracked by calendar.


  • Management review made easy through the use of Excel – reviewing a major grouping of assets or a single component of an asset such as a drive or a gearbox.
  • All information related to a system(asset) is in one place whether it be a lift inspection report, a manual, oil analysis, a service bulletin, or a letter from a vendor.


  • Every user has a unique dashboard.
  • Dashboards can be customized to reflect a user’s specific needs.
  • Quick access to the status of work and cost .


  • The schedule function in MountainOffice provides for detailed instructions by task, recording of data such as the temperature of a gearbox, and service bulletins.
  • All schedules can have a time or counter trigger.