People vs. Dollars

People vs. Dollars

As I have aged and maybe gained some wisdom, I am amazed how much more my thinking has become more people oriented than dollar oriented. The reality is that both resources are critical to any organizations success, for-profit or non-profit.
If the ski industry invested as much effort in managing its people as it does it managing the money stream, I believe there would be a whole lot more cash to manage. I have never forgotten a comment made during a discussion I was in with a fellow staff member in the early days of my ski industry experience. We were discussing people leaving the resort and from where the replacements would come This person said it was great, these people, who were seasonal staff who had come back year after year and did their jobs very well, were leaving. I was sort of dumbfounded, saying we were losing experience, knowledge and those who know the system, he said it did not matter; we’d be able to hire people at a much lower cost to the company, and that was a more important point than losing valuable staff. Subsequently, I have heard that message repeated. Admittedly not so much in the current labor market, but I might contend that this is still a thought that exists today.
I strongly contend that the ski industry could shift many of its seasonal and management issues by managing our people more effectively and professionally. Not to overburden you with outside input, I ask you to read the following: What-if-companies-managed-people-as-carefully-as-they-manage-money. A recent article from the Harvard Business Review.
Don’t get me wrong; there are ski resorts that get it and have made considerable changes in a relatively short time span to address how they manage human resource capital. As you all know this is a resource that is becoming scarcer by the day. So, making the best of what you have is the sensible step to take.

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.