By: Marie-Piere Belisle-Kennedy

Event organizer and SAM publisher Olivia Rowan summed up the need for better summer ops marketing, “In the winter, the imagery and the story you come up with to tell your story are pretty straightforward: you’ve got the snow and going downhill, and people know what they need to do.” The challenge, she adds, is in the summer, resorts have a bigger job to do; they have more competition to make the list of Top 10 attractions or things to do in the area. It’s a completely different sell. People driving by or visiting must really understand what you offer in terms of experience.

The good news is, coming out of the pandemic is an overwhelming desire to be in nature, to create lasting memories with friends and family, and to play outside. Who can deliver on these better than Canadian ski areas in the green season? There are also many newcomers showing up to the mountains and demographics not seen before. Summer activities have broadened the lens and made Canadian resorts more accessible to all. It’s not just about gravity and snow sports anymore; for some newcomers to Canada and ski areas in general, just being on the hill is an experience, even if it’s covered in grass, not snow.

“It’s not just the actual activities that matter anymore; you have to present programs and an enticing event calendar, like Tremblant does here,” explained Claire Humber of SE Group. The trends and influences are there to attract the crowds year-round and create more full-time jobs instead of just seasonal staff. But the math must work for resorts to make profits in the green season and sustain the added costs.

A vast array of summer operations has been offered for many years across Canada at resorts like Blue Mountain, Big White, and more. Mountain biking, golfing, zip lining, aerial parks, water parks, via ferrata, mountain coasters, chairlift/gondola rides, hiking tours, and more have attracted the masses during green season.

Day 2 of SAM ops delivered presentations from Nicolas Joly of Treetop Walks, one of the few 100% accessible hikes of its kind, built with wheelchair and stroller-friendly gentle sloping wood. Joly confirms ‘Access equals Success’ for this family and perfect group activity. Attendees were treated to a tour of a scenic treetop tower, followed by dinner at the onsite restaurant. Other wellness concepts presented included Scandinave Spa with ex NHL star Vincent Damphousse, one of the founders and co-owners of the nature spas located in Tremblant, Old-Montreal, Blue Mountain, and Whistler – noting the main attraction at these spas being silence – where adults can take a digital break and where men feel as welcome as women with their age-old heat-cold-relax approach in a natural setting along the river. Shawn Beaudoin of Gravity Logic confirmed that the growth realized in mountain biking and parks is not just experts and boasts a booming e-bike rental business.

Some of the other standouts worth exploring for spring and summer 2023:

Jean-Francois Couture, of the Trekking Group, presented a unique offering: a giant outdoor two-storey trampoline suitable for kids and adults. In addition to the unique attraction, this concept has delivered ROI in just a few months for clients and has been a hit among adventure-seeking guests. Johnatan St-Onge, of Moments Factory, proudly toured SAM ops attendees through the Tonga Lumina evening walk – an illuminated forest walk with interactive storytelling about the creatures within the mountains – an experience unlike a typical daytime hike. Moments Factory have also designed unique concepts in western Canada, Europe,