Managers – Establishing Legitimacy

Another Harvard Business Review article I thought had meaningful relevancy to the ski industry.  I have taken the liberty to make the article more ski area manager meaningful. Front-line ski area managers are given the authority to lead by the rules of ski area governance, documented or implied via practices or verbal communication governance. They […]

Today’s Answer for Better Maintenance

If you want better maintenance for your ski lifts, check out the brief video in this post. It is easy and simple to use, MountainOffice. Yes, MountainOffice has been around for 23 years in the ski area maintenance arena. But that doesn’t mean that the program that was created in 1998 is the same that […]

Are Waivers the Best Basis for Choosing an Incident Management Program?

Many of the ski areas currently using a digital incident management system made their decision to select the system because the incident management system could connect to a waiver database.  There is nothing wrong with connecting to a waiver database to attach a waiver to the incident. Unquestionably, having a waiver attached is of significant […]

Bob’s Bits for May 2023

What a beautiful stretch of weather we have had in Vermont this past week.  Even had three ski areas offering skiing the first weekend in May; two are the result of snowmaking and the third could stretch the natural snow phenomenon but snowmaking played a role. In the West on the other hand mother nature […]

Strategy and Staff Alignment

Hopefully, the title doesn’t give the impression that this is a high-brow conversation and not something that is relevant to you. Admittedly the article that generated this is from the Harvard Business Review and is not directly about ski area management. The topic strategy and staff alignment are very much about ski area management. As […]

SmartMountain – where it all comes together

One of the many things I have learned in my Steep Management experience is that mountain operation management, VP to front-line managers, wants a way of tying all the various functions together. I fully understand and agree with the want to have a live visual display of what is happening on the hill whether it […]

Bob’s Bits for March- April 2023

This might be Mammoth in August In the previous Steep newsletter, I commented on winter weather being split between the East and West, but now the East has a winter and the West, especially California, and Utah, is getting an overload of storms.  It is easy to blame climate change and the warming of the […]

Utilizing spatial technology such as SmartMountain

What is spatial technology? Otherwise known as applied geography, spatial science uses technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing (RS), satellite imagery, and augmented reality. These technologies are used to visualize, manipulate, analyze, display, and record spatial data. “Spatial Computing adds knowledge of the relative location and allows machines to […]

MountainOffice LITE

All ski areas are basically alike, or are they? If you compare a mid-size ski and a large ski area, they are much alike except for the number of assets and skier days. Their organizational structure is similar just with fewer staff. A small ski area say with 2-3 lifts is much different. Its organizational structure is typically a homogenous group that does everything from lift maintenance, grooming, lift operations, and building maintenance. Being small with various people working in different areas, how do small ski areas keep track of what needs to be done, what has been done, and who did it? The question does not even address the insurance or tramway board inspector who wants to see what work was done on each lift and the detail supporting what was done.
There is now an easy-to-use answer for small ski areas, MountainOffice LITE. MountainOffice LITE would allow a small ski area for $561 per year to have basically the same CMMS system as a larger ski area that would be using MountainOffice Expert. There would be no contract and you can add users, so you have a bit more flexibility.
One of the great advantages of MountainOffice is that the system allows for sharing of user logins allowing say all lift operators to log in with the same user credentials. Don’t worry the system provides for staff to input their name from the staff database and record their time and for lift operators their station on a lift. The small ski area can have multiple mobile devices with folks logging on with a generic user, doing their work, record what they have done, their time, and the materials used. This small ski area which previously had to chase paper files or files on multiple computers now has all the information relating to what has happened, what needs to be done, and important information about a lift. Groomer, a pump, or a compressor all in one place for as little as $561/year/user.
How do we define a small ski area? A great question and one we struggled with for some time. There were discussions about the number of skier days, the number of lifts, and the number of lifts and groomers. The metric that is in place is 17 million Vertical feet/hour total for the ski area. That sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. This is the same metric RRC Associates uses in their work for NSAA in breaking down ski areas by size. Vertical feet/hour is an easy calculation thanks to Peter Landsman and his database in the LiftBlog.
MountainOffice Lite is very easy, you log on to a URL that MountainOffice provides, and you are now connected to your own space on a server out in the Ethernet, save, secure, and with back up regularly and no IT involved on the ski resorts end.
MountainOffice LITE offers a great opportunity for small ski areas to make a big step at a very reasonable cost. Call (802) 279-3081 now for a free demo.

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.).


Please click on the images to learn more

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.

Please click on the images to learn more.

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. 

Please click on the images to learn more.


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.

Please click on the images to learn more.


  • 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.