Posted by: martinelizotte | April 13, 2008

Back home with lots of homeworks in my backpack!

I came back yesterday on a direct flight with Air Canada from Denver to Montréal. The airport is 2 hours from Vail and we were lucky that the road was not too bad after the storm. It had been closed for 9 hours the night before leaving people waiting in their car the whole time…

Ms Marianne was at the airport to welcome me. Of course, wherever I go, snowstorms follow me and although we’re mid-April, snowflakes were on schedule waiting for me!

MTS was really fun but now, all the work begins… over 50 meetings with Tour Operators and Ski Clubs/Councils means lots of opportunities and let’s hope, many ski visitors to Québec in the next years. Everyone that experiences want to come back for more.

I overheard a conversation while in Vail by two Club managers. The first was telling the other how she and her group had enjoyed a recent Club trip to Québec. That they had experienced great skiing but also other activities and ambiance never experienced elsewhere in North America.   Great: just what we are trying to get through to everyone. Québec = skiing + great food, cultural diversity, ambiance, other activities, shopping, après-ski and more. With the French language being the official way to communicate (most people also speak english), this is like being in Europe but not having to travel as far.

Next step, finalise the Québec ski offer brochure and send it to all…

But for now, I need to unpack my huge luggage!!!

For all the pictures from my trip to MTS in Vail follow this link to Flickr.

Posted by: martinelizotte | April 9, 2008

Skiing at MTS…

There is much more (skiing) than meets the eye (in Vail). Although my first impression (from the parking lot) was deceptive, this resorts offers lots of terrain for skiing. The conditions were not excellent (thick snow) but skiing after 2 full days of meeting is sure fun. Do I need to write anything more? The pictures, again, speak for themselves! Enjoy!

Want more? Here’s a quick video of some pow wow play in Vail :

Posted by: martinelizotte | April 9, 2008

Tough choice…at MTS

Although the presentations are interesting, a tough choice come up for this afternoon:

Learning (more presentations) vs. skiing Vail…

Ok, ok, the next lines are being written to take out the guilt off the obvious choice I will make. Although I’m here 7 days in total, the MTS schedule is so packed, no time for skiing….

Being in the ski industry, skiing is part of the learning don’t you think?!?! Nowadays, benchmarking is central to decision making and marketing strategies, thus the need to spend some time on the slopes and feel the mountain and ambiance don’t you think? Actually, isn’t the opportunity to test and research what I’ve learned in the first sessions? For example, does Vail ‘over promise’ and most importantly do they ‘over deliver’? What is the brand (one word) Vail tries to put into my mind and they want me to associate with the experience I get playing on the mountain? Are you convinced of the importance of this very important ski session? And you know what, maybe I’ll meet some Tour Operators on the slope and have time to talk more about the skiing in Québec… 😉

Well if you are not convinced, I am !!! Got to go, I’m off to the mountain. Don’t worry, I’m taking the camera with me!

Posted by: martinelizotte | April 9, 2008

Over Promise, Over Deliver.

They’ve lived up to the expectations! I would even say that MTS staff, with the symposium part of the event, the presentations, proved they didn’t need to attend this morning’s first presentation ‘Over Promise, Over Deliver’ by Rick Barrera! The presentations and speakers line up is great and the delivery… perfect! Actually, just the setting is really good. My second recent conference in the US in the past 6 months (last one was the PhoCusRight conference in Orlando, November 2007), make me realise that Americains produce event like they would for a rock star tour. Very theatrical, lots of music during introductions, presenters have the superstar confidence… they’re really lifting it up to new levels (well for me anyways)!  By the way, although I am a beginner at exchange session, I’ve participated in many, many symposiums, conferences and presentations in the past 10 year.   

Posted by: martinelizotte | April 8, 2008

Oh what a night!

If you had asked me, I wouldn’t thought it would end up on the dance floor! But really, who can resist the Shakira song? Well, I, and the Québec girls (OK Sébastien too!!), can’t!

Since a picture is worth a thousand words… here they are!


Posted by: martinelizotte | April 7, 2008

MTS Initiation…

Yeah! I am now officially initiated. I passed the test (well I think), although I was late for my first ever ever meeting, I think, in general, I did OK. 

How can you be late for a first meeting? The problem is that Richard, whom I had met in the Expérience Ski Québec Fam Tour last month in Tremblant (see my post and video) was not at the Ski The Americas stand as I thought but at Snoventure. Super Richard has many hats and represents differents companies… (Snoventures, Samsara Expeditions, Ski the Americas and 365 skiing). Guess this was a beginner’s error, I will learn. Nevertheless, I am still faster than him on the slopes 😉

Others meetings went well and there should be many opportunities to see more of Québec ski resorts and hotels in Tour Operators packages in the relatively near future. That is if I do all the follow up work that comes with all the meetings (I finally have 25 between today and tomorrow).

Anyways, I think these meetings are really fun because I get to meet new people. It is different than introducing yourself to a stranger in a mixer or reception, you are meeting a stranger (in my case since I am a beginner at this) on whom you have done research on. 

Anyways, that’s it for now! Oups, I forgot to say that it snowed ALL day here and that it is a bit frustrating not to be on the slopes… But I know I’ll be rewarded someday, somehow…like being snowed-in a chalet, somewhere like in the Eastern Townships and having to ski Sutton or Owl’s Head for a whole week!  🙂

Here are a couple of souvenir pictures of todays’ trading + SNOW !

Posted by: martinelizotte | April 7, 2008

First day of meetings

6: 20 Wake up call

7: 00 out the door for a first day of meetings

I need to arrive early to make sure I can schedule new and last minute appointments. I have 14* for the moment on 2 days and hope to get a total of approx 30. Translation: no time for skiing today nor tomorrow… Guess I need to see this as an investment. If I do a good job, maybe lost of groups and Tour Operators will decide to come to Québec to ski and… maybe I’ll HAVE to go ski with them, greet them and show them around? Wishful thinking you’ll say? Maybe… only time will tell! 🙂

Got to go for now, wish me good luck! ( I am a bit nervous since it’s my first time).

* Tourico Holidays, Orbitz, Viviana Viajes,, Receptour Canada. Alpine Adventure, Expedia, etc…

Posted by: martinelizotte | April 7, 2008

Canada night

My first event at MTS is the Canadian reception organised by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) in partnership with ‘ski provinces’ in Canada (Québec, British Columbia and Alberta) and their partners. An ‘ice’ bar just like the ones we often see in Québec City during the Carnaval, great food (the lamb chops were quite something!), La Maudite beer (brewed in Québec) and others but mostly, great company.  Also, to top off the event, there was a Wii station. Tour operators and suppliers competed in a tennis tournament or bowling. That was such a good idea!

On my side, I made new friends: Kristine, Meredith, Daniela, Dominic, John, Chloe, Wendy, Robert and Christophe.

 Here are a couple of pictures to remember the evening…

Chloe and Dominic from Know Snow in Australia Canada nightQuébec Team (missing Pascale Boivin and Élaine Moreau)Canada night decoration


Posted by: martinelizotte | April 7, 2008

Arriving in Vail…

Me voilà in Vail, Colorado!

I arrived in Vail, after a night in Denver-by-the-airport (quite nice and efficient airport). I took the Mountain Express Shuttle  with Diane Roy from Mont-Sainte-Anne/Stoneham. We had time to talk a little and she taught me lots about the ‘dating game’ I am about to play. 

Denver AirportArriving in Vail was a bit surprising…. I was expecting… lets say… a bit more. For some reason, I was expecting glaciers and rockies like all we see in the surroundings. I am told that there is more than meets the eye. Also, the village is quite large, I mean wide. We have to take the bus to go from one ‘village’ to the other, it’s not all concentrated as it would be in Tremblant village for example. Well, I gess this is all part of the orientation process. Had lunch with Diane Roy and Pascale Boivin (picture with me) from Château Mont-Sainte-Anne.

I’m off to the Cascade Village now for my MTS registration and, CANADA night! A party where all the ‘ski’ provinces (Québec, Alberta and British Columbia ) and their partners picht-in to host a party for Tour Operators…

See you later!

Martine (me!) and Pascal Boivin (Château Mont-Sainte-Anne) in Vail village.

Posted by: martinelizotte | April 4, 2008

Expérience Ski Québec at Vail/Colorado for MTS

Wow! I cannot believe my luck!  I am the ‘chosen one’ to represent Expérience Ski Québec and Tourisme Québec at the Mountain Travel Symposium 2008 (MTS) in Vail, Colorado! This will be my first ‘experience’ at MTS and actually, to tell you the truth, my first ever real trade exchange (with meeting sessions planned). They call it ‘trade exchange’ I call it professionnal ‘speed dating’!

I am leaving Montréal tomorrow (Saturday April 5) afternoon and returning home next Saturday. One whole week of ‘no shores, no cooking, no washing’ for a family mom is certainly positive but comes with sadness to leave Ms Marianne (4 1/2 years old) at home. Thanks to Skype, we’ll see and speak to each other through the computer.

I am very excited about this trip and will be with good friends and meet much more. Some of Québec ski resorts representatives are: Diane Roy – Mont-Sainte-Anne/Stoneham, Robert Dubois and Benoit Deshaies – Tremblant and Hélène Moreau – Le Massif

My role: represent Tourisme Québec as well as Expérience Ski Québec (10 ski resorts in 4 regions + 30 hotels).

I will try to keep this blog up to date and add pictures of my experience… Got to go for now, I have to pack my suitcase!

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