As the first consulting firm to focus on the planning, design and operation of ski areas, the company evolved into an internationally recognized innovator and leader in the mountain resort industry. Since that time, we have worked on thousands of mountain resort projects—in the United Stated and across the globe.
Over the past six decades, SE Group has evolved along with our clients’ needs into a unique, multi-disciplinary planning and consulting firm, while staying true to our fundamental values and passions.
While by no means all-inclusive, the following chronological list is meant to highlight some key accomplishments, people, and notable events that have shaped our firm throughout the years.
- Motivated by a love of skiing and the alpine environment, Sel Hannah, an internationally famous ski jumper and racer, merged his ski trail design business with an existing company that was developing snowmaking and grooming equipment, creating Sno.engineering.
- Most of the big projects in the 1960s were in the northeastern United States. Bretton Woods, Mount Sutton, Loon Mountain, and the Waterville Valley are notable examples of resorts designed by Sno.engineering that remain at the forefront of the ski industry today.
- In 1965 Sel, along with Ted Farwell and Joe Cushing, opened Sno.engineering’s office at Ski Hearth Farm in Franconia, New Hampshire.
- In 1968 Jim Branch became president of Sno.engineering — leading the company for the next 23 years. Jim was a notable personality who influenced not only the growth of Sno.engineering, but the ski industry in North America.
- In 1969 Sno.engineering opened its first western office in Evergreen, Colorado.
- The 1970s were characterized by the rapid growth of destination resorts in the western United States. During this era, Sno.engineering opened up additional regional offices in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest.
- Notable resorts designed by Sno.engineering during this decade include Deer Valley, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Crested Butte, and Winter Park/Mary Jane.
- As the complexity and sophistication of resort development increased, Sno.engineering’s scope of services was expanded and diversified to include market research and economics.
- The ski industry continued to grow through the 1980s, as skier visits increased at unprecedented levels. It was during this decade that Sno.engineering expanded its services to include environmental planning and consulting.
- Ted Beeler joined the firm in 1984, and the Bellevue, Washington office opened.
- Chris Cushing joined Sno.engineering’s New Hampshire office in 1985.
- Sno.engineering begins a 10-year period of significant ski area planning work in Japan including opening an office in Tokyo in 1989.
- Detachable lift technologies, improved snowmaking systems, the explosive growth of snowboarding, and radical changes in equipment technology (e.g., shaped skis) challenged Sno.engineering and its clients to re-think how resorts plan and operate.
- As living and playing in the mountain became more attractive, Sno.engineering expanded to encompass a full range of planning and consulting services to assist resorts in understanding their development options and the resulting market/financial implications.
- Sno.engineering solidified its reputation as North America’s preeminent mountain planning firm, while expanding its international work including: Eastern Europe, South America, Japan, Korea, Scandinavia, and Turkey.
- Tim Beck became president of Sno.engineering in 1991.
- Kent Sharp joined the Frisco, Colorado office in 1996, expanding environmental services into Colorado.
- Ted Beeler became president of Sno.engineering in 1997.
- The 2000s marked the beginning of a new era. In 2001 Sno.engineering became SE Group and services were expanded to include detailed landscape architectural planning and design for mountain resorts and communities.
- SE Group expanded its environmental services to include public lands projects and permitting.
- SE Group provided planning for the 2002 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
- SE Group continued its international mountain planning presence, with substantial projects in China, Japan, Korea, Iceland, Norway, and Turkey, where our planning was used for the 2011 Universiade Winter Games.
- 2008: SE Group celebrates 50 years!
- Also in 2008, SE Group received the New England Ski Museum’s Spirit of Skiing Award. The award celebrates a personality from the sport of skiing who represents the memorable saying by Otto Schniebs that “skiing is not just a sport, it is a way of life.”
- SE Group’s core focus continues to be oriented toward places that are defined by outdoor recreation, rural lifestyles, and tourism. Within this context, diversification builds upon the company’s leadership presence in new services that are aligned with the talents and expertise of the team.
- New service offerings include: community/cooperative planning, land exchanges, and alternative energy/energy transmission analysis and entitlements.