Ski school: Business edition | SierraSun.com

Ski school: Business edition

Nick CruitSierra Sun

Nick Cruit / Sierra SunJohn Rice lectures students about leadership in the ski industry. Known as a force behind the modern terrain park, Rice explains the importance of being able to adapt in an ever-changing market.

TAHOE CITY John Rice, the General Manager for Sierra-At-Tahoe Ski Resort, asked Who wants to be a leader in the ski industry? as he stood before students of Sierra Nevada Colleges Ski Business andamp; Resort Management program guest lecturing on leadership this week.This winter, students will be able to put that question to the test as the program has partnered with area resorts to place qualified students in internships and independent study programs around Lake Tahoe.At Sky Tavern Ski Area, what Program Director Tim Cohee calls the students working lab, 14 interns have taken over the mountains marketing responsibilities.A small learn-to-ski area near Mount Rose, Sky Tavern has formed a unique relationship with the Ski Business program. Students involved have been responsible for writing Sky Taverns press releases, redesigning their new logo, and creating their new website which launched Friday.We needed help with marketing, said Sky Tavern Executive Director Bill Henderson. Were a nonprofit whose employees are mostly parents.Along with Henderson, Cohee and company are working to extend Sky Taverns weekend operating hours to include Thursdays and Fridays. If approved, students will have an opportunity to run all of the mountains operation, not just marketing.Students work a certain number of weeks at one job and then move around to different positions, said Cohee. They then come away with a good understanding for how a ski resort operates.Cohees Ski Business program focuses on all facets of the resort industry including operations, general management, profit centers, marketing and sales, real estate development and resort master planning.

Guest speakers like Rice offer students an inside look at the resort business from the perspective of industry veterans and managers.By the time students leave they have been exposed to 50 guest speakers who are industry leaders, said Cohee.Having connections with local resorts is a big advantage to the program, according Cohee. While students are given an opportunity to learn from industry professionals, resorts have an opportunity to recruit employees and interns trained in ski business and resort management.Theyre not just sitting at a desk; theyre actually getting real world experience, said Deanna Gescheider, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Alpine Meadows and one of the class guest speakers.Gescheider views the program as a win for both sides. While resorts get the help of interns who are educated and enthusiastic about the industry, students leave with real life experience.Students make a little money while theyre working and walk out with a resume, not just an education, said Gescheider, adding, It also gives us a competitive advantage because the program is local.As one of the few programs in the nation that offer specific training in ski resort business and management, Cohees main focus is giving students an edge in the industry.Our goal is to provide the top ski business and resort management four year degree in the nation, while at the same time giving our graduates a huge head start in competing for resort entry level management positions, said Cohee.