Mountain Travel Symposium Presents Thought Leadership to Advance Industry

Mountain Travel Symposium Presents Thought Leadership to Advance Industry


April 8, 2019


For more information:
Contact: Catherine Shaw, Marketing Manager 
Northstar Travel Group

Secaucus, NJ - Mountain Travel Symposium (MTS), took place in Whistler, BC, Canada from March 31 - April 6, 2019 with over 1,000 mountain travel professionals gathering for a week of networking, business meetings and thought-provoking content. 

The annual event is the largest gathering of domestic and international tour operators, resort representatives and destination marketing organizations in the mountain tourism industry. Professionals represented countries from around the globe. 

Back again after a successful launch in 2018 was the Young Leaders Summit, an initiative investing in the upcoming generation of industry leaders. Programming included leadership exercises, communication skill development, focused talks with industry leaders, and peer-to-peer networking. 

“I didn’t know what to expect going in but was really impressed,” said Josh Pelczar, National Sales Manager, Big Sky Resort. “Getting together with the future of the industry in an intimate setting was such a unique experience. We can be the innovators, have new ideas, and now we’re connected so we can talk to each other all year long. This gave me a sounding board within my peer group.”

“This group of young professionals was incredibly engaged with the speakers and the ideas being presented,” said Michael Pierson, Managing Director, MTS. “It’s inspiring to see the passion in this next generation.”

The two-day Forum at MTS focused on the theme of Growth Through Innovation. This topic came to a head with a panel comprised of industry leaders, Nick Herrin, CEO, Professional Ski Instructors of America, American Association of Snowboard Instructors; Joe Hession, President & CEO, SNOW Operating; Xavier Mufraggi, Chief Executive Officer, Club Med North America and the Caribbean; Kelly Pawlak, President/CEO, National Ski Areas Association (NSAA); Paul Pinchbeck, President and CEO, Canadian Ski Council; Karl Kapuscinski, President/CEO, Mountain High Resort. Panelists then lead a discussion-based workshop to further the conversation.

“The Forum helps move our industry forward because we’re talking about issues,” said Kelly Pawlak, President/CEO, NSAA. “If you don’t talk about something, nothing ever happens. MTS is a place where you can reach hundreds of people, who will then go out and reach hundreds and thousands of people. That’s how movements happen and in order to see growth in the industry, we need a movement.”

New at the Forum was specialized workshop track VacationRentals@MTS, produced in partnership with Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA), with content designed specifically for vacation rental property management companies.
Another Forum highpoint was a conversation between two pioneers: Jonny Moseley and Mike Douglas, responsible for making skiing cool again with the introduction of twin tip skis (Mike Douglas) and the adaptation of snowboarding-type tricks on skis (Jonny Moseley). 

“Northstar is dedicated to helping the mountain travel industry prosper,” said Alicia Evanko, Senior Vice President, Events, Northstar Travel Group. “The Forum’s content is built to spark ideas, encourage innovation and to present tools for advancement.”

Attendees return to MTS year after year to build relationships with new colleagues and connect with existing business partners. A highlight for event participants is MTS’ on-hill networking day where attendees can conduct business on the slopes. Networking is then continued throughout the week through receptions, themed parties and meal functions. 

Other key components of the event are the Trade Exchange and the Group Exchange. comprised of one-on-one appointments between buyers and sellers of mountain travel products and services. The Trade Exchange included nearly 340 companies and over 475 participants. And the Group Exchange, with Group Leaders representing 120 ski clubs and councils from across the country, saw over 3500 appointments scheduled.
Mountain Travel Symposium moves to Squaw Valley, CA - North Lake Tahoe, March 29 - April 4. For more information about the event, visit
About Northstar Travel Group (
Northstar is the owner of well-known brands including Travel WeeklyTravelAge WestBusiness Travel NewsSuccessful MeetingsMeetings & ConventionsTravel Weekly ChinaIncentive,M&C ChinaWeb in Travel and the events that comprise the Burba Hotel Network. The company produces more than 84 face-to-face events in 11 countries in retail travel, hospitality and hotel investment, corporate travel, travel technology, sports travel, and the meetings and incentives industry. In addition, Northstar owns Phocuswright, the leading research, business intelligence, and event producer serving the fastest growing segment of the travel industry, online travel distribution. Northstar is also the majority shareholder in Inntopia, the leading SaaS e-commerce software, CRM database marketing and predictive analytics business serving the mountain destination, activities, and specialty destination travel markets. Based in Secaucus, NJ, the company has offices in New York, NY; Stowe, VT; Denver, CO; Edwards, CO; Los Angeles, CA; Costa Mesa, CA; Lombard, IL; and global offices in Singapore, Beijing, and Shanghai. Northstar Travel Group is owned by funds managed by EagleTree Capital.