New Ideas For X-C Skiing With New Director.

New CCSAA Exec Director Reese Brown brings energy. Credit: Roger Kohl
New CCSAA Exec Director Reese Brown brings energy.
Credit: Roger Lohr

Reese Brown is taking over the reins at the Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA) as Executive Director after a long run by former leader, Chris Frado. CCSAA is a nonprofit organization founded in 1977 with about 350 ski area members in North America and is dedicated to promoting growth and improving the quality of the cross country (XC) ski area operations.

The XC ski area members of CCSAA include businesses including resorts and inns, and public facilities such as parks and club-run trail systems that offer skiers groomed trail XC skiing, instruction, ski clinics, lessons and programs, and so much more. The organization coordinates conferences and member services such as a website directory, snow conditions reporting, and educational support.

As the new executive director, Reese Brown is charged by the organization board of directors with reinvigorating the group and increasing the value of membership with tangible benefits. Additionally, Reese serves as the Nordic Director of Snowsports Industries America, the trade association of product suppliers recently moved to Park City, UT.  He is involved with a US Ski Team committee and runs the Winter Trails introductory program. He’s a personal interlocking directorate for cross country skiing.

XCSkiResorts.com asked Brown about his perspectives on CCSAA and XC skiing on a number of issues. He wants to help XC ski areas raise their game, and he intends to increase the educational benefits for ski area members.

Regarding older skiers, who represent 12.4% of the XC ski population, he said, “cross country skiing and snowshoeing are the perfect forms of recreation for seniors because they are low impact activities that can be done into the later ages. With cross country skiing and snowshoeing, seniors can go at their own pace, get some exercise, join with like-minded people, and just enjoy the scenery.” He points out that senior skiers and snowshoers can socialize with friends or a group of people at the Nordic ski areas on midweek days when there are no crowds. Many cross-country ski areas coordinate specific senior programs with a short outing on the trails, a snack, coffee or hot chocolate and some company to enjoy it with on the same day each week.

After decades under the same CCSAA leadership, the new executive director and CCSAA’s rejuvenated working board is taking ownership of the organization’s efforts to revamp. For example, at the CCSAA spring conference Brown and some Board members orchestrated educational programs on grooming, snowmaking, and website effectiveness. These programs were parlayed with one-on-one sessions that were tailored to attending individual ski areas. These tailored sessions were scalable to the different ski areas so a small area could apply specific information at a lower level of commitment be it for a snowmaking investment or enhancing a website.

Brown is working on educational programs such as effective snow condition reporting, dealing with fat bikes on the trails, making rental equipment inventories more productive, and financing. “We intend to up the level of cross country ski providers’ games, which will benefit the skiers.”

When meeting with XCSkiResorts.com, the energetic Reese Brown reported that he had recently met with a company to work on an Internet-based ski trail ticket program.  Then, he was on his way to a snow gun company in the area to discuss biathlon ideas. This level of adrenaline at the association can only help the cross country ski areas and in turn provide better service to cross country skiers.

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