Colorado Ski Country USA had our 46th Annual Meeting last week and one of the highlights, aside from keynote speaker Dana Perino or the final skier visit announcement, was the unveiling of this year's industry awards.
This year we had a special guest help us with the awards. Since we were at the University of Colorado, the school's mascot Chip was on hand to do what he does best and cheer for the winners.
The Colorado Ski Country USA Annual Industry Awards recognized the 2008-09 ski season's most outstanding industry participants, who range from industry veterans to up-and-coming winter athletes. Awards were given in the categories of: Slope Groomer, Snowmaker, Terrain Master, Ski Patroller, Instructor, Male All-Star Athlete, and Female All-Star Athlete. CSCUSA also gave out the organizations annual Chairman's Award and President's Award.
Unlike other awards, these folks are not just randomly picked. Each year, coaches, resort supervisors and managers nominate one outstanding candidate from each category from their resort. The Colorado Ski Country USA committee of judges, comprised of industry peers, chooses award finalists based on an application letter and an interview. Final judging criteria include professionalism, dedication, contribution, leadership and attitude.
This year's awards went to:
Geoff Bostwick from Echo Mountain won the Terrain Master award. Bostwick has been the head park builder and groomer at Echo Mountain for the past four years. Since Echo focuses on parks and terrain features, Bostwick's job is particularly important to that mountain. Geoff brought his expertise to Echo after years of building parks for Fogelfonna Summer Camp in Norway, Eldora Mountain in Colorado, and Dombai Ski Resort in Russia. Chris Harris, Echo Mountain's grooming director, said that Geoff's knowledge and expertise made him an ideal candidate for the award.
Cheri Sanders picked up the Slope Groomer award at the 46th Annual Meeting. Sanders has been at her Winter Park post for more than 30 years and is responsible for training new workers in that mountain's slope grooming operations. About her receiving the award this year, Ron Richards, Winter Park's slope supervisor, said, Simply put, when Cheri speaks, you listen. She has the rare ability to command respect without being loud or forceful. Since slope grooming requires a team of workers to function together efficiently, these qualities are essential to successful slope grooming.
The last snow professional award at this year's Meeting was for Snowmaker of the Year. The art and science of snowmaking requires hard work, often in the middle of the night, and an intimate knowledge of a mountain's terrain. This year's snowmaker prize went to Scott Livingston, who is the snowmaking controller at Steamboat. He had been nominated four times previously throughout his long career as snowmaker at that mountain, but he finally clinched the award at this year's Annual Meeting.
CSCUSA also recognized several young athletes for their commitment to the sports of skiing and snowboarding. These rising stars include:
Female All-Start Athlete of the Year
Mikaela Matthews won the Female All-Star Athlete of the Year prize this year. She hails from Frisco, Colorado and has been an impressive leader on her ski team Mikaela has committed herself to the sport of mogul skiing. She finished 2nd overall on the NorAm tour this season and became the newest member of the US Freestyle Team. She is on snow more than 120 days every year, plus summer camps, and water ramping. Graduating a year-and-a-half early from high school allowed Mikaela to more fully pursue her dream of being an Olympic Gold Medalist.
Male All-Star Athlete of the Year
Walter Wood won this years Male All-Star Athlete of the Year award. He is a seventeen-year-old skier and freeride competitor from Evergreen, Colorado. He only skis on the weekends and holidays from school. Because of his limited time on the slopes, he appreciates every moment on snow and makes each one count. His excitement affects everyone around him positively. He was in Winter X-Games 2009, placing 12th in the halfpipe competition. He also competed in the televised ski tour Mountain Dew Series 2009, placing 9th. Walter was invited to another landmark event this February at Park City, Utah, the first ever FIS Freestyle World Cup for Halfpipe on North American soil. Walter placed third at this event just behind X-Games winner Xavier Bertoni. Walter also performed his own signature trick at this event, The Tootsie Roll. He qualified as the top American heading into the FIS Freestyle World Championships at Inawashiro, Japan. He also took the silver medal in the US Freestyle Nationals Championship at Squaw Valley, California.
The instructor and ski patroller awards went to:
Instructor of the Year
Winter Park's Julie Pierce won this year's "Instructor of the Year" award. In the three years that Pierce has been employed as a full time instructor, she achieved her PSIA Level 3 Certification, Trainers Accreditation in alpine skiing and AASI Level 1 Certification in Snowboarding. Julie had a very successful Jr. USSA/FIS Ski Racing Career for 10 years prior to coaching, placing in the top five in the Jr. Nationals many times. As a result of her experience ski racing successfully at such a high level, Julie has many well-developed skills that she translates into her career as an instructor and trainer.
Ski Patroller of the Year
Jason Rogers, the Ski Patrol Manager at Telluride Ski Area, won this year's "Ski Patroller of the Year" award. Rogers started his ski-patrolling career at Telluride Ski Area in 1996. His strong skiing credentials and ability to make sound decisions during crises have caused his rapid advancement in the organization. Rogers became a supervisor in his fifth year. He is a first-aid instructor and was in charge of organizing the Outdoor Emergency Care refresher courses at the beginning of each season from 1999-2004.
The last two awards given at the 46th Annual Meeting were the Chairman's Award and the President's Award.
Tom Jankovsky, General Manager at Sunlight Resort and outgoing CSCUSA board chair, presented this year's CSCUSA Chairman's Award to Garrett Mitchell, Bob Knous, John Lay, Doug Cogswell, John Frew, David Perry, and Rob Perlman, who together make up the entire living group of past CSCUSA presidents. All of these former CSCUSA presidents, with the exception of David Perry, participated in a panel discussion at the Annual Meeting and gave context to current issues in the ski industry.
The President's Award was given posthumously to Brian Mahon, who was the general manager at Eldora Mountain Resort. Mahon served as general manager at the resort for five years prior to his tragic death at the end of December, 2008. He served as mountain manager for 12 years before his time as general manager. His family accepted the award on his behalf.