Jeremy Swanson

NASJA Past Events 2019

Events from 2020

Ski group at Trapp's

Ski Vermont Media Day

On a recent media tour hosted by Ski Vermont and the National Snowsports Journalists Association, a group of 16 media visited Bolton Valley Resort and Trapp Family Lodge in northwestern Vermont.

Here’s a behind-the-curtain look at how some ski resorts promote themselves using the age-old “media fam tour.”

The first day of the media tour was dedicated to backcountry skiing at Bolton Valley where there is a growing program on thousands of acres of backcountry terrain with trails and powder laden gladed mountainsides. Adam and Lindsay DesLauriers, who are the children of Ralph DesLauriers, the original developer of Bolton Valley, are now in charge of the resort operation, and they led the group on the tour.

Bolton had about two feet of fresh snow on the ground despite the fact that this year the snowstorms

 Bolton Valley Resort’s backcountry trails and acreage
Bolton Valley Resort’s backcountry trails and acreage

that have been consistently mixed with rain. When it comes to snow the 2,000 foot elevation at the base of Bolton Valley is an advantage that the resort has over other destinations in New England. Some of the media folks were experienced backcountry aficionados so they set off on an alpine touring trek while other media were equipped with backcountry gear and given an introductory clinic.

Later in the afternoon, some of the media folks hit the lifts and enjoyed the slopes at Bolton Valley and afterward the group met in the lodge and talked about their backcountry skiing experience. A reception was held and the media listened to representatives from Bolton Valley and a few other ski areas who talked about their respective resorts.

The following day, some of the hardier members of the media group set out at 6:30 in the morning with guides to ski the backcountry trek from Bolton to Stowe. The rest of the media met at Trapp Family Lodge to gear up for a tour of the trails guided by Sam and Kristina von Trapp, who are the grandchildren of Maria and Captain von Trapp (featured in the movie The Sound of Music). Sam and Kristina run the Trapp Family Lodge operation, which features the lodge, villas, the Outdoor Center and the von Trapp Brewery.

The cross country ski tour at Trapp’s started at the Outdoor Center as the group was led up to the

Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT
Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT

Slayton Pasture Cabin, which is a destination on the upper trails at the ski area. This rustic and cozy log cabin is the perfect rendezvous spot for lunch with family and friends to enjoy a seat by the fireplace or savor homemade soups, snacks, and sandwiches.

On the way back from the cabin (mostly downhill, which was a bit challenging for some of the media skiers), the group made its way to the Bierhall where everyone was treated to a selection of von Trapp beers and lunch. Johannes von Trapp, (Sam and Kristina’s father), who is the last remaining child of Maria and the Captain (they had three additional children after they escaped Europe with the original seven kids) stopped by the Brewery to meet and chat with the media.

It was a busy and tiring two days in Vermont but the fresh snow and camaraderie were well worth the visit to Bolton Valley and Trapp Family Lodge to collect story ideas and memories.

Clips from Ski Vermont Media Day

Snowsports Media Visit Bolton Valley And Trapp Family Lodge by Roger LohrTopnotch At Stowe: Ski, Relax, Recharge by Tamsin Venn
What you Need to Know About Trying Backcountry Skiing by Nicole Feliciano
Alpine Backcountry Touring Primer In Bolton Valley by Tamsin Venn
Trapp Family Lodge: Some Favorite Nordic Things by Tamsin Venn
Meeting Video by Don Burch

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NASJA Meet & Greet During Outdoor Retailer Snow Show

NASJA members and their guests meet for libations at the Denver Press Club on the closing day of the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show in late January. Founded in 1867, the DPC is the oldest press club in the U.S. and displays autographed photos from almost every president since then, along with historic front pages and vintage typewriters. The organization’s fundraising banquets have honored such Fourth Estate legends as Tom Brokaw, Ted Turner, and George Will.

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NASJA Western Winter Summit

The Western Winter Summit was held this year, for the first time in 25-plus years, in northern New Mexico. From Jan. 26-31, 19 lucky participants enjoyed largely sunny skies, but also a 4-6 inch powder refresher that fell on the eve of our two-day Taos Ski Valley stop, which powder hounds continued to enjoy on the last day at Angel Fire Resort overlooking the beautiful Moreno Valley.The trip began with a day at Ski Santa Fe, where participants learned the secret of New Mexico’s skiing at such southerly and largely sunny latitudes – its towering elevation. Ski Santa Fe’s parking lot is at 10,350 feet, and at Taos we topped out at 12,450 feet on the stupendous Kachina Peak Chair.NASJA members had their fill of finely groomed cruisers, gnarly bump runs like famed Al’s Run at TSV, glades, glens, hike-to steeps at Taos, and untouched powder at Angel Fire. The consistent comments included the quality of the snow, despite few storms in January, and the huge views under the almost ever-present sun. Plus, members also experienced a nice shot of New Mexico culture, history and cuisine, more distinguishing characteristics of perhaps America’s least-known ski region.We’d like to thank Ski New Mexico, Ski Santa Fe, Taos Ski Valley, Angel Fire Resort, Santa Fe Tourism, the Loretto Inn and Spa of Santa Fe, Heritage Hotels and El Monte Sagrado in Taos, Restaurant 192 in The Blake at Taos Ski Valley, and Santa Fe Valet for their generous assistance in making this memorable outing a success.

Clips from the 2020 Western Winter Summit

A New Yorker Discovers New Mexico Resorts, by Mike Roth
Meeting recap video, by Peter Hines
Exploring Willamette’s widespread wonders, by Lee Jullerat
Enchanted skiing in New Mexico, by Bob Cox
Ski Santa Fe – #SKIBEUNO, by Peter Hines
Eastern Skiing vs Western Skiing, by Mike Roth
A Magical Tour of New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle, by Dan Giesin

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Windham Mountain Resort

One could be excused for wondering what the sliding would be like for the NASJA members who gathered at Windham on Jan. 12 – or if there’d be any sliding at all when the group headed out on Monday morning, given that the preceding weekend had seen record warmth throughout the Northeast. But showing the mettle and determination that Eastern snow lovers have come to expect from the mountain op crews almost anywhere in the Northeast, the Windham team went above and beyond providing us – by the time we all clipped into our bindings on Monday morning – with not only a wide variety of runs – for all abilities – but with surface conditions that were carveable and amazingly consistent, top to bottom.The gathering got off to a good start before we even hit the slopes with a nice welcome reception at Tavern 23 at the Winwood Inn. Breakfast featured an engrossing talk by the team from Masterfit University – Jeff Rich and Steve Cohen, plus local expert Marc Stewart, lead bootfitter at Windham Mountain Sports – on the importance of having boots fitted correctly as well as having the correct footbeds.Tuesday morning’s presentation featured Windham Director of Marketing Dave Kulis who gave us all an update on improvements Windham has undertaken in the past year and a hint of things to come. Martin Griff provided advice on organizing digital images so you can easily find them again.This was a small gathering – but the quality of the participants – on both the writer side as well as the corporate side, made for a two days of good conversation and companionship.

Clips from the Windham Mountain Resort Meeting

Meeting Recap Video, by Don Burch
NASJA Winter Meeting, by Alan TecchioWindham: A Gem in the Catskills, by Joan Wallen

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NASJA Meeting in Boston

The Nov. 15 meeting during the Ski & Snowboard Expo was well attended by members from predominantly New England and Middle Atlantic states. The session included pitch tips from broadcast journalism teacher and Boston Globe sportswriter Eric Wilbur. He is also newly appointed digital editor of the New England Ski Journal.Wilbur polled several Boston area ski editors for tips on snowsports stories they are looking for. Wilbur has solid New England credentials: He grew up skiing at Black Mountain, a place that is still largely unchanged from when he learned how to ski 35 years ago. What do editors want? Eric explained:

  • Pitch out-of-the-box ideas that might have New England connections while highlighting the skiing lifestyle in other regions. Maybe there’s a New England mini-club based at Whistler, or a New England club that visits the Alps the same week every year and has fun stories to tell. Consider “where are they now?” angles, resort comeback features, debate which pass is the best, or as another example, simply why small resorts still matter.
  • Keep your pitch brief (and not suck-uppy). No editor has time to read long pitches. They should be a couple of sentences about why the story matters and why readers will care. Subject line on the email should be short and simple and clear that it’s a pitch. Indicate whether you have access to high resolution photos to accompany the story. Proofread your pitch – sloppy pitches will lead editors to believe the story might be sloppy as well.
  • Think about the headline. Editors want a piece with a headline that will grab readers’ attention, and giving editors a hint of what that headline could be up front is super-helpful.
  • Make sure the story is exclusive. Nothing is more of a turn-off than a pitch that suggests an update or a refreshing of something done previously for another publication.
  • So much coverage of the ski industry is about infrastructure, amenities, capital improvements, but the most compelling topics are people-oriented … the liftie who has seen, heard, lived it all over the course of a few winters or a few decades, or the snowcat groomer who has a perspective few others get to experience.

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