Ski area management certificate now available through CSU

Kendall Krautsack

Graduate students interested in managing ski resorts can learn the skills of the business through Colorado State University’s new online course.

The course is a 12-credit program broken down into six courses and can be completed in nine months. Students who complete the course will be certified in ski area management.

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“We have worked closely with the ski industry to ensure that this certificate will be recognized by ski areas,” said Natalie Ooi, instructor with the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and lead developer of the ski area management program.

The program is offered online, rather than in a classroom setting, to cater to those already working within the ski industry, from any part of the globe. The online program also works to accommodate those who work full time.

The online format has other benefits as well. Students are able to learn from resorts throughout North America and from a wide range of ski industry experts through video interview content, according to Ooi.

“This allows students to learn what different resorts are doing in different areas and how best management practices are being implemented,” Ooi said.

Unlike any other school in North America, CSU is the only university that offers a graduate level program that is specific to ski area.

Jake Massey, a sophomore studying health and exercise science, goes skiing often throughout the year and sees the certificate as helpful to those looking for a job in the industry.

“Students looking for a career in that area could get a certificate that could be very beneficial on a resume,” Massey said. “It’s also a great opportunity for people to be able to work in a cool setting while getting to do what they love at the same time.”

Ooi says the program is designed to aid those interested in a career or those already working in the ski industry and to differentiate themselves from their peers and advance to senior level positions.

“The idea is to build on their deep expertise that they most likely already possess within a particular area, for example, ski school, ski patrol, lift operations, retail, rentals by providing them with a broader understanding of ski area operations and the successful management skills,” Ooi said.

Troy Haas, a CSU sophomore said he goes skiing around a hundred days each year. He believes the program will be popular amongst skiers and snowboarders.

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“The biggest selling point of the major would be connections to the ski industry,” Haas said. “Also it sounds like a way to live the true ski bum life, and make a sustainable income, which is a near impossible task.”

According to the CSU Human Dimensions of Natural Resources website, in the United States, the ski industry is a $7.1 billion business that is experiencing growth.

The program was brought to CSU because employers in the ski industry is looking for informed employees, Ooi said.

“They recognize that there is a need for greater education among their employees, especially given the increased professionalism of the industry,” Ooi said.

The courses are available in the fall and spring semesters and work around peek ski season.

Collegian Reporter Kendall Krautsack can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @keni444.