Getting Snowed with a Ski Resort Management Degree

Winter resort management requires an understanding of ski area operations. Obtaining this type of knowledge is best compels students to choose schools within close proximity to ski areas. Here, valuable hands-on training is available. Also, many entry-level management ski resorts positions are routinely filled by professionals holding general lodging and hospitality degrees. Graduates with the more targeted ski resort management associate’s or bachelor’s degrees have the advantage possessing specific technical training unique to ski areas.

Associate of Science in Ski Resort Management

People who enjoy skiing are attracted to mountain living. They possess an appreciation for the dynamic atmosphere of ski resorts. And, if interested in career choices in this environment, individuals should consider an associate’s degree in ski resort management. This high-pressure job – where long hours are the norm during short revenue-generating seasons – has broad applications and can lead to resort employment in some of the most beautiful areas of the world. Employees with ski industry skills are better equipped to manage unique technical aspects of the ski industry, particularly if they obtain their education and training in or near a ski resort.

Education Prerequisites
Admission to most community colleges requires a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED. Although SAT or ACT scores are generally required for admission to 4-year colleges and universities, this is sometimes not necessary at the community college level. For some ski area related courses, certain physical standards must be met.

Program Coursework
Usually, associate’s degree programs in ski resort management require an internship or independent study with established ski companies and resorts. Advantages of enrolling in or near a ski resort town are the unique partnerships formed between schools and working experts.
Classes might include hospitality supervision, cost control or restaurant accounting. Other topics cover:
• Housekeeping management
• Hospitality law
• Mountain operations
• Ski area risk management
• Ski area planning

Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is anticipated that employment for lodging managers in general will increase five percent from 2008 to 2018. Salaries fluctuate greatly.

Continuing Education Information
A certificate of completion in ski resort management is also available at institutions offering an associate’s ski resort management degree. Internships are often a vital component of the certificate program. And for students pursuing a general two-year hospitality or business degree, a certificate in ski resort management is regarded as a useful complement when entering this field.

Bachelor of Science in Ski Resort Management
Upper-level studies equip prospective ski resort managers for a wide range of responsibilities, though not all ski resort managers are involved in every aspect of running a large resort. Some aspects focus on mountain operations, others on real estate development, while a great many work in those areas where money is exchanged on a daily basis like restaurants, nightly lodging and lift ticket purchases. Many managers in this field aren’t required to possess a bachelor’s degree in ski resort management per se, though it certainly helps. A bachelor’s degree in hospitality or resort management may qualify the applicant for entry-level positions without the need for targeted ski resort management knowledge.

Education Prerequisites

People interested in obtaining a bachelor’s degree in ski resort business management are often required to obtain an associate’s degree in ski resort management before being admitted to the upper-division program. Consequently, the joint program might require five years to complete due to scheduling conflicts. Admission requirements to a ski area management program vary depending on the school, but as with most undergraduate programs, a high school diploma or the equivalent is required, plus an acceptable grade point average in addition to SAT or ACT scores, though not always.

Program Coursework
Students in the program usually take courses dealing with the management of ski schools, alpine and Nordic races, restaurants, drinking establishments and the full spectrum of nightly resort lodging. They should develop an understanding of daily and seasonal lift ticket pricing and sales, ski rental and repair facilities, and retail shopping outlets. Managing staff is often an important aspect of a ski resort manager’s duties. Other coursework extends to mountain operations like artificial snow making, the ski patrol, lift operations, lift maintenance, snow removal and grooming.

Real estate development is a significant revenue generator and requires working knowledge of:
• Subdivision planning
• Hotel and lodge design
• Condominium construction
• Golf course development

Sales and marketing are likewise essential to a resort’s long term viability. This might entail classes in:
• Advertising
• Budgeting
• Strategic planning
• Public relations
• Career Information

From 2008 to 2018, employment for lodging managers in general is expected to increase five percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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