Strategy is Effective, not Expensive

Strategy is Effective, not Expensive

The title above comes from Claire Humber’s article I mentioned in this month’s Bob’s Bits.  I know many of you think of strategy as terrain expansion, snowmaking upgrades, lift replacements, additions or upgrades, and new lodges or facilities. Yes, these are legitimate expensive things that play into what might be your strategy.  However, as Claire states, a lot of things were done during COVID that were not expensive and yet improved the guest experience.

My point is  The previous articles in this month’s and last month’s  Steep Newsletters speak to potential strategies that are at no cost or minimal cost and yet can fully support strategies of employee retention and engagement, a strategy of building skills in your technical departments, and a strategy of the finest guest service.

Imagine a strategy for Ski Area X wanting to have – All seasonal staff leaving at the end of the season saying that they either want to return or that it was a great year, and they would recommend anyone to come and spend the winter with Ski Area X.  Don’t laugh, this is totally doable. Operating strategies take the same amount of effort as do say installing a new lift. The same amount of planning detail has to go into the operating strategy as the new lift.  Yes, the new lift is sexier and more fun, but the operating strategy can be as rewarding as the new lift, financially and experience-wise for the guest and staff.

In the USA about 65% of corporate CEOs lose their jobs because they fail to implement their company’s strategies.  The point is that strategies are a lot easier to create than implement.  However, the past two ski seasons have shown that the ski industry can create and implement new less capital intense strategies that in many cases improved the experience.

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.