Things got a little shaky at the National Ski Areas Association Convention and Trade Show in Palm Springs when attendees were awakened early Sunday morning, May 7, by a 5.0 earthquake. But it takes more than a little tremor to scare this group of hardy mountain men and women accustomed to dealing with avalanches, blizzards, and white-outs.

Luckily none of the 171 exhibitors experienced any damage to the booths or displays set up for the 1,500 people attending the show held May 5¿8. Considering the products on display were targeted for harsh winter climates, a little shaky ground was hardly a durability test of the new chairlifts, gondolas, snowmaking and grooming equipment, snow cats, and the giant halfpipe-building Pipe Dragon located in the Palm Springs Convention Center.

In addition to the exhibit area, attendees also had a choice of twenty seminars to sit in on with topics ranging from marketing your resort on the Internet, sexism in the workplace, employee housing problems at resorts, to resort insurance. There were also the usual opening and closing keynote addresses, cocktail receptions, gala dinners, volleyball and golf tournaments, and awards luncheons that kept things moving through the four-day program.

Of the approximately 250 ski-area members in the NSAA, 174 ski areas attended the show this year¿a fourteen-percent increase over last year. A total of 640 ski-area personnel visited this year’s show, an increase of 25 percent.

While the trade-show floor and seminars remained crowded, pool, volleyball, and golf-tournament attendance showed that people enjoyed the relaxed desert atmosphere almost as much as they like their winter life. But many people said they’d rather deal with heavy snow than shaking ground, and were glad to head back to the high ground after the convention.

The 1996 NSAA National Convention will be held May 15¿18, in Charleston, South Carolina. For more information, contact them at: (303) 987-1111.

¿John Stouffer