Ski Area Management Program Launched at Concord
Athens, W.Va. - Will Hash was hooked on skiing at Winterplace at 12, so it made sense for him to major in travel industry management. He graduated from Shady Spring High School in 1996, and from Concord in 2000.
“Winterplace promoted education,” stated Hash. “I was a full time employee and a full time student at Concord at the same time. When I graduated from Concord, they did not have a program in ski area management. Now that this new program is in place, their travel industry management program is better than ever!”
The tourism industry supported 83,000 jobs in West Virginia in 2001. Many of these jobs require very specific skills and experience that have not been offered by higher education institutions in West Virginia. The Governor’s Tourism Working Group identified priorities that include retaining high school students pursuing tourism careers within the state, and building bridges between higher education and the tourism industry. Concord College’s new program, ski area management, will meet those needs. Concord has developed the program by working very closely with Winterplace Ski Resort in Ghent, which is about 20 minutes from the campus in Athens on I-77.
The College hosted a luncheon, Wednesday, October 23, 2002, to thank Winterplace for their support of this new academic program.
“We are unique,” stated Roy Ramthun, associate professor of travel industry management at Concord. “The next closest program is in Vermont, with a cost much higher than Concord’s. There are ski areas in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. We want to be the ‘come to’ place for this major. Will was one of the people who pushed the concept for this program, and I want to give him due credit.”
One of the reasons for the successful launch of this program is a close-knit relationship with Winterplace.
Winterplace Ski Resort caps the summit of Flat Top Mountain in the Appalachian Mountains and is one of the most accessible resorts in the South. Winterplace features 27 ski trails, a 16-lane snow tubing park, a snowboarding park, immediate access to I-77, restaurants, clubs, and conference facilities, and slope-side condominiums.
“We have been working with Concord on an informal basis since 1994,” stated Terry Pfeiffer, president of the ski resort. “We are happy to see the program in place, and I want to credit Roy and Will for their hard work. This program will benefit the entire tourism industry in West Virginia.
“Our rental shop is one of our largest departments, with 150 employees, and Will is the manager. It is one of the largest rental shops under one roof in the eastern United States. Will and his crew spend the summer getting ready for the ski season,” Pfeiffer said.
“I plan to see that Winterplace Ski Resort and Glade Springs Resort both work more closely with different colleges as well as with the West Virginia Hospitality Education and Training Program,” said Bill Bright, a member of the Tourism Commission in an interview in Views & Visions. His company, Bright Enterprises, owns two resorts. “I would expect that by doing this, it will help us hire quality interns and college graduates for our management team.”
“We have three faculty members in this program and we have added new classes,” stated Concord President Jerry Beasley. “Our students will have expanded opportunities through work experience at Winterplace.”
Instructors in the travel industry management program include Dr. Rodney Blackman, Susan Martin, and Dr. Roy H. Ramthun.
Ski area management is available as a minor in Concord’s recreation and tourism management program.
For information on attending Concord call 1-888-384-5249 or 1-304-384-5248 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Dr. Rodney Blackman, Susan Martin, Will Hash, Dr. Roy Ramthun, Terry Pfeiffer, Jerry Beasley