The Next 50 Years
By Martin Griff
NASJA President

At midnight, Phil Johnson and I did a virtual tagging out / tagging into the NASJA presidency. I've got some pretty big ski boots to fill.

Martin Griff ponders NASJA’s future at Mammoth Mountain
Martin Griff ponders NASJA’s future at Mammoth Mountain

Phil served two non-consecutive terms as president, making him the Grover Cleveland of NASJA.

We are fortunate to have had his wisdom and leadership skills guiding the organization. I have Phil's phone number on speed dial and I look forward to sharing many more chair lift rides with him while debating the issues facing NASJA. NASJA had a wonderful 50th anniversary celebration last month at Mammoth Mountain, but it is no secret that traditional media has been struggling in the internet age and that is reflected in our membership numbers.

As a traditional media dinosaur with over 30 years plugging away at the same newspaper and witnessing several downsizings, I should be leading NASJA's doom and gloom brigade. To the contrary, I'm excited to be a part of NASJA as it begins the next 50 years. The internet has opened the door to more people than ever communicating about snowsports. NASJA needs to take advantage of those numbers and play a key role in assisting those journalists with networking opportunities and professional development.

The most exciting part of NASJA's next 50 years kickoff is the incoming vice presidential lineup. For the first time in memory, we have three vice presidents who have not been regional or NASJA officers. All three are relatively new to the organization, but are hugely successful and talented, and willing to put those talents to work for the betterment of NASJA.

Taking over as vice president of communications is Kristen Lummis of Grand Junction, Colo., Photo by Peter Hines Martin Griff ponders NASJA’s future at Mammoth Mountain. Page 6 who is the brains behind braveskimom. com. I did not know much about Kristen when I first recruited her, except that everyone I talked to raved about her. After countless phone calls, emails and a bit of face to face time at Mammoth, I know we have the right person to guide the communications process for an organization that is all about communicating.

Washington State's Kim Kircher is the new vice president of awards. She is also a ski patroller, book author, blogger and internet radio show host. I first met Kim at a lunch during NASJA's 2011 annual meeting at Alyeska. Within minutes, I realized I was sitting with the potential future of NASJA, but with her busy life, I thought there was no way she would commit to a leadership position. Kim gave me the yes to being a vice president while I was at the interim board meeting last January. When I told the board, the room broke into smiles, especially the NASJA West delegates who had first hand knowledge of Kim's abilities.

I wooed Jersey guy David Cronheim to be meetings vice president while on a chair lift during an ESWA meeting last January at Waterville Valley in New Hampshire. David is an attorney who writes a fascinating blog about legal issues in the ski industry. He serves as North American general counsel and editor for the, the largest snowsports website in the United Kingdom and is the chief legal correspondent to First Tracks Online Ski Magazine, chief legal analyst for the Ski Channel, and contributor to Skiing Business magazine. Also, David is under 30 year old!

My instructions to the three vice presidents are to question everything about our organization and if the best answer is "that's the way we've always done it," and they have better ideas, we need to move forward with those ideas.

Rafters in Mammoth Lakes will never be the same after a visit from Mary Gayle and David Sartwell during NASJA’s 50th anniversary conference.

Kristen Lummis David Cronheim Kim Kircher. My role in all of this is to stay out of the way and watch the magic happen.

The new board has already been discussing ways to recruit new members. It's a work in progress and I'll have more details to report and hopefully some success stories in an upcoming communication.

I understand that many of our members value NASJA's traditions and will be concerned when they read about so many rookies in the leadership lineup.

Note that past president Bob Cox will be staying on the board as acting immediate past president. I've also asked past president John Naye to stay on the board as financial advisor, and longtime NASJA member Ed Blumstein to continue as counsel to the board. Both John and Ed will have a voice but not a vote. And speaking of votes, the regional delegates control about 90 percent of the votes, so while we are open to, and need change to stay relevant and grow during the next 50 years, any change will be responsible change.

Another thing we have going for us is our executive secretary-treasurer Vicki Andersen. You will not find a more dedicated, hardworking knowledgeable person than Vicki. The M*A*S*H television show had a character named Radar O'Reilly who would anticipate and have a job competed as the work was requested. Vicki is our Radar O'Reilly.

I don't want to go on too much longer here; I've got two years to bore you, but I do need to acknowledge how happy I am that Peter Hines will be staying on as webmaster (working with Kristen to build upon what he and outgoing commutations vp Dave Fonda created) and Jenn Boyd will continue as corporate liaison to the board.

Killington marketing director Rob Megnin talks about next year’s annual meeting during the NASJA’s 50th anniversary conference.

I'm also thrilled that Killington will be the host of our next annual meeting in March 24-28, 2014. Killington marketing director Rob Megnin, communications manager Sarah Thorson and their team are putting together a program that you won't want to miss. Rob is a long time friend of NASJA and has stated that his objective for the meeting is as much about growing NASJA as it is about promoting his resort. Ski Vermont is also on board to organize pre and post trips.

I realize it will be hard to convince our western members to fly over their magnificent mountain ranges to ski and ride on the East Coast, but Killington and the resorts of Vermont are what Photo by Martin Griff Killington communications manager Sarah Thorson and Jenn Boyd of South Lake Tahoe-based Weidinger Public Relations chat during the NASJA’s 50th anniversary conference. Page 8 many of us who live in the population centers of the East Coast think of when we think about the ski experience. There are a lot of us and we are your potential readers and customers. You need to understand us. And as a bonus, the skiing/riding at Killington and their fellow Vermont resorts can be pretty darn good.


Keep those tips up, pay your membership dues early (it makes Vicki happy) and enjoy the summer.


© NASJA 2013