Bob’s Bits for June 2024

Bob’s Bits for June 2024

As I pen this under a heat dome, I remember summer’s diverse experiences. Just yesterday, I was surprised to learn that several inches of snow had fallen in northern Montana and Idaho. Weather, a topic we all can relate to, is a constant source of conversation, even if we can’t control it.

This spring has been a real pleasure for me because I have attended two conferences, the CWSAA 2024 Spring Conference in Jasper, AB, and LMOE 2024 in Lake Tahoe, and both have been rewarding surprises. The sense of community was palpable, with attendees engaging and showing real interest in bettering themselves and the ski industry. Maybe it was the location or time of year, but I have never felt as inspired as I did at the end of these events.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that there was keen interest in the presentations I gave and the follow-up of leads that were generated.

In this issue of the Steep Newsletter, I’m thrilled to share an insightful article/podcast from McKinsey about leadership, one of the sessions I presented at LMOE. The session, titled ‘What is Real Leadership’, was a risk I took, as it was a topic I had never explored in the ski world. The results were beyond my expectations. The audience was engaging and asked thought-provoking questions that elevated the entire dialogue to an inspiring level.  This McKinsey article /podcast ties in nicely as a follow-up to that session and can stand alone. I encourage you to take the time to listen; I believe that no matter what your position in the hierarchy of your ski area, you will find it beneficial for your professional growth.

I have also included different perspectives on the ARENA Slope Management system that Steep represents here in North Americ. My goal was to share how ARENA impacts the groomer drivers, the snowmakers, and those who manage the ski area. As you read this, whatever your position, whether groomer driver, snowmaker, snow surface manager, director of mountain ops, or VP of mountain operations, I hope you realize that innovation and effort have provided a tool that can make your world better, even if you are using existing snow height measurement tools.

Having previously posted about the need for lift maintenance training, I am sharing a link to a YouTube clip on the CMC/Alterra program. I know people have worked hard to bring this program together, as have the NSAA and OSU. I hope these organizations and others can collaborate to expand the breadth and availability of training in this field. As the clip says, it is imperative that the knowledge exit from this field across the country has been significant in the last few years and will continue as our skilled lift mechanicians and electricians age out. Collaboration and standardization are the solutions for the future.

I know capital budgets are set, but don’t hesitate to contact Steep about using smart technology in your mountain operations area.  It can make a difference in so many ways. Not just the bottom line.

Enjoy the summer.

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.