David Lynn has traded fruit for snow. The former president and chief executive officer of Sun-Rype Products Ltd. recently took the reins of Canada West Ski Areas Association from long-time president Jimmy Spencer. It's a good fit for the senior business executive - he brings 22 years of experience to the job, along with degrees in commerce and finance from UBC.
Growing up in Vancouver, Lynn was part of the Point Grey High School ski program as a teen, but had his eureka moment in his 30s when he finally succeeded in skiing a mogul run on Whistler with a reasonable degree of success. Now based in Kelowna, where he lives with his young family, Lynn is still an avid all round athlete. He's completed 21 marathons, plays squash and racquetball and holds a black belt in karate. He's also been skiing the mountains of British Columbia for 30 years and has a thorough understanding of what the ski industry is all about.
Pique: What's the most important role you'll be playing in your new job?
Lynn: CWSAA is an association that represents the interests of the ski areas in western Canada. Thus, some of our core areas of focus are government relations, safety, education and sharing of best practices through various conferences and meetings. Personally, I am passionate about increasing participation in skiing and boarding and working with other stakeholders to increase skier visits in western Canada.
Pique: How does one measure the success of the industry as a whole - is it strictly economic or are other factors considered?
Lynn: Certainly, one can measure the success of the industry in terms of both economic and non-economic factors. Economically, the industry provides employment for many people, drives economic activity and contributes significantly to government revenues. However, we also provide significant societal benefits from both a health and quality of life perspective.
Pique: What does the ski industry give to the public?
Lynn: First and foremost, the opportunity to participate in a variety of healthy, fun and social winter sports, in a natural and beautiful environment. The ski industry also provides significant economic benefits in terms of employment, economic activity and tourism.
Pique: The Western Canadian ski industry is vulnerable to economic trends, what efforts are being made, or should be made, to protect it?
Lynn: Yes, we are certainly impacted by economic factors such as the Canada - U.S. exchange rates. However, many skiers and boarders are very passionate about their sport; thus, our industry suffered less than many others during the recent economic downturn.