able to continue working while furthering your education is
pretty unique and cool.”
Britz did move back to the U.P. to complete the degree, and
his off-campus job as a snowmaker at Marquette Mountain
paid off professionally. As Midwest sales manager for Techno-
Alpin, Britz says one of his biggest successes of 2019 was the
ski area’s purchase of a new pump station from his company.
“I knew Marquette Mountain struggled with clogged filters
on the snow guns because of all the particulate in the Carp
River,” Britz said. “They made some adjustments after I left,
but the water was still fairly dirty and the system was anti-quated.
Our solution utilizes a filtration system. It results in
cleaner water and significant increases in flow and pressure,
so they’ll be able to make more snow faster. It’s also fully au-tomated.
With the click of a mouse, they can start moving
1,800 gallons of water per minute at about 400 psi. Aside from
the design of the station, I was told my personal connection
to the mountain and passion for it were big selling points.”
Students who begin their academic studies in Ironwood
receive technical, hands-on training at GCC’s Mt. Zion before
embarking on a five-month internship at one of the country’s
major ski resorts. After receiving an associate degree, they
can transfer 100 percent of their credits to Northern to com-plete
a bachelor’s through campus-based or online business
courses. The NMU portion covers such areas as accounting,
finance, management, marketing and computer information
systems. Individuals who hold ski area management, ski and
snowboard business, ski area operations or a similar Associ-ate
of Applied Science degree from an accredited institution
can apply for transfer admission.
“By getting a bachelor’s degree in this program, students
have a larger opportunity to move up in management at a
resort or a vendor company that supplies products to the in-dustry,”
said Brian Zinser of NMU’s College of Business. “The
business skills, in addition to the hands-on experience, really
give students a leg up to get those opportunities.”
To finish the program in a timely manner, students can se-lect
one of two options. They can attend GCC for two years,
complete an associate degree in ski area management, then
transfer to NMU or NMU’s Global Campus to complete the
bachelor’s degree. Or they can attend NMU for one year,
transfer to GCC for two years, then transfer to NMU or NMU’s
Global Campus. Those pursuing the online pathway to a
bachelor’s are required to complete a one-week course on
campus; the rest can be completed remotely.
The hands-on experiential learning activities and great in-ternship
opportunities made available through this collab-orative
program prepare graduates for careers including ski
operations manager, business operations manager, service
and retail managers and lift operations supervisor.
As the U.P. boasts an abundance of both annual snowfall
and ski areas, it is appropriate that one of few such special-ized
programs in the country originates here.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSH LECLAIR, ’09 BFA
PJ Britz, graduate of Northern Michigan University’s
ski area business management program
42 April 2020 | snowopsmag.com