Collaboration with Boyne Mountain Resort Enhances Learning in Ski Recreation Management Course

hospitality management
(Left to right) Katie Bittner of Reed City, a sophomore in Ferris State University’s Hospitality Management program, Public Relations senior Lee McArthur of Traverse City and Brendan Samuels of Shelby, a senior in Journalism and Technical Communications pause a moment during their Ski Recreation Management field study at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls. HSMG 302 students will make a total of six visits to the Resort on consecutive Saturdays in a collaborative course designed to expose them to the diverse elements of this industry.

A premier Midwestern sports destination is providing unique and valuable access to Ferris State University students in Ski Recreation Management. Boyne Mountain Resort welcomes the students and the Hospitality Management faculty for on-site instruction each Saturday during the peak of operations in the Spring 2020 semester.

Boyne Mountain Resort’s Vice President of Food and Beverage operations Mike Doumanian is a 2009 graduate of Ferris’ Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, who also serves on the program’s advisory board.

“It is a pleasure to welcome these students to our property, so they gain some real perspective on our many disciplines and begin to understand what it takes to succeed at a first-class ski resort,” Doumanian said. “There are a variety of revenue streams to consider, including food and beverage sales and this course is designed to expose them to operational aspects like snow-making equipment, lift ticket pricing and retail outlets on-site.”

Ski Recreation Management is a mixed delivery course for students pursuing Hospitality Management degrees, along with others who utilize this instruction to meet General Education qualifications for their particular Bachelor of Science degree.

Hospitality Management Associate Professor Karyn Kiio said HSMG 302 students made their first trek to Boyne Mountain Resort on Saturday, Jan. 25 and will complete a six-week schedule of hands-on learning.

Nic Rice
Nic Rice (red jacket, facing camera), a sophomore in Ferris State University's Hospitality Management program, works with youngsters at a SnowSports Academy session at the Boyne Mountain Resort. Rice, from Lansing, is among the Ferris students visiting the resort each Saturday, as part of their Ski Recreation Management course studies.

“Our students have the opportunity to complete coursework online and immerse themselves in experiential learning at Boyne Mountain,” Kiio said. “They work as SnowSports Academy instructors, assist with lift operations, tour the property on skis and snowboards, ride along with groomers, help with equipment rental and repair and discover the integral role that the food and beverage service plays in the guest experience. Boyne Mountain Resort management and staff model values of excellent guest service and fun, healthy lifestyles to our students in a way that builds not only relationships, but also our students’ love of the resort.”

Associate Professor of Mathematics Victor Piercey is Ferris’ General Education Director. Piercey said the course offers students an important perspective on the wide-ranging elements of a ski area resort operation and their interdependence.

“The Ski Recreation Management course brings exciting experiential learning to the collaboration and problem solving competencies in our general education program,” Piercey said. “It really raises the bar, and I hope to see more of this kind of learning in Gen Ed as the new GE program unfolds.”

Shelby Lisik, of Hemlock, is an HSMG student preparing for graduation in May who relishes the opportunity that the course offers.

“Ski Recreation Management provides me hands-on experience and the ability to place Boyne Mountain Resort on my resume,” Lisik said. “These are both incredibly valuable and provided me the opportunity to learn about the ski industry. The format and delivery of the course made me realize just how much I love ski management and spending my days on the mountain. I look forward to using what I learned in this course to pursue a career in ski management.”

The students’ Boyne Mountain Resort visits wrap up Saturday, Feb. 29 and their final projects for the course are due in late March. Doumanian said the course provides both academic achievement and professional accomplishment for those who take part.

“They will complete an important component of the Ski Resort Management Certificate by meeting the requirements of this course,” Doumanian said. “In my view, that is as important as their Boyne Mountain Resort experience and the exposure to this industry.”