COLORADO SKI COUNTRY USA
38TH ANNUAL SNOWMAKING AND SLOPE MAINTENANCE CONFERENCE & TRADE SHOW
April 3rd - 5th, 2018
Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction, CO
Trade Show: Tuesday, April 3, 2018 from 5 - 7 p.m.
SNOW CONFERENCE AWARD NOMINATIONS:
Nominations for 2018 Snowmaker of the Year, Groomer of the Year and Terrain Master of the Year are now open.
Click here to download the 2017-18 Nomination & Evaluation Form. Nominations must be submitted by March 7, 2018.
Snow Conference Award winners are honored each year in June at CSCUSA’s Annual Meeting and Double Diamond Awards in Denver, CO, where individuals who made significant contributions to the industry are recognized for their excellence in competition, patrol, instruction, operations, and ski area management.
Additional details on the Double Diamond Awards can be found HERE.
2018 Terrain Master of the Year Nominees
Chase Davis’ career is dedicated to terrain parks. He’s built parks at Steamboat and Keystone and has spent the past few years working his way to the top at Copper Mountain. Chase helped pull off a number of large events at Copper, including two Olympic qualifiers, the USASA Nationals Grand Prix and last year’s Super Park. He does a great job leading his team and has the respect of his peers. He’s helped bring Copper’s parks to a higher level, taken part in some of the largest events and builds in the industry and improved the quality of those around him. Chase has a “do what it takes” attitude to make sure everything he does is a success for the resort. He has not only contributed to the on-hill success of the resort, but also the financial success of the department and growth of future builders for the industry. Chase is hard working, passionate and skilled.
Leif Eggert has been part of the Winter Park Resort terrain park team for three years. Over the years, his tireless effort and dedication to the parks has been remarkable. He always looks for ways to push his knowledge and understanding of the park, including the nuances of construction and maintenance. In only his second year, Leif learned pipe build-out and took on construction and nightly cutting responsibilities. Over the past three years, Leif has developed into an outstanding terrain park operator. Leif’s dedication to the program and desire to learn matches the quality of product he produces each night. He is very deserving of the Terrain Master award and represents the future of terrain park operators in the industry. This year Leif has been a critical part of our new risk management documentation process to better track, and provide accountability for, Winter Park’s nightly park operations. Leif’s understanding of the importance of the risk management, and desire to take an active role in managing it for the parks, sets him apart from his peers.
Alec Parker was originally hired as a day crew differ. After showing drive and initiative, he was moved into a cat. Picking it up quickly, he rose to lead builder in only two seasons. He is now Steamboat’s go-to builder/groomer for any task. This season he built our 18-foot pipe himself. He is also a great metal fabricator. Overall, he is well-versed in all aspects of park building winter or summer.
2018 Snowmaker of the Year Nominees
Andrew Alhburg started working for Breckenridge snowmaking in 2015 at the ground level. Breckenridge quickly found out he was going to be a great snowmaker. He came to Colorado from Minnesota with a plan to work at the mountain and ski hard. Now at an advanced position, Andrew sets the pace for his crew and has been developing his leadership skills to help train a fairly young and inexperienced crew. Andrew is the guy who stays out all day working on side projects in between checking guns. He has an outstanding work ethic and leads his crew by setting a great example. When we need to make a difficult gun set or need someone to ski into a tight spot, Andrew is our guy, and he seems to love the challenges this job brings. We are really looking forward to having Andrew back at Breck for many more years.
Although Dave Cingo has been at Winter Park Resort for only one year, we are lucky to have had Dave choose Winter Park. He has been in the ski industry for decades and brings his tireless energy and enthusiasm to work daily. Dave was hired last winter and he quickly became a key member of our team, bringing his professionalism to the snowmaking team and to our snowmaking pipe replacement project over the summer. As a result of his leadership, we quickly promoted him to Snowmaking Controller for this past winter.
Chris Donaldson has worked for Steamboat snowmaking for eight years, serving as a foreman for the past four years. This is the second time he has been nominated for Snowmaker of the Year. He has also been nominated for employee of the month and has received numerous other awards within the organization. He is definitely the hardest worker on the crew and has one of the best attitudes to go with it. He is always thinking about safety and constantly giving his crew advice on the radio as if he is standing right next to them. He has earned the utmost respect of even our most experienced snowmakers. He consistently comes up with new ideas to improve the department and cool ways of doing things that no one has thought of. He is most well known for his epic gun setups, especially on land guns. When a pile forms in front of say, a Ratnik, he would never just fan the gun. Instead, he gets it on top of the pile to give it more loft and room for the next guy to fan.
When the longtime front man of the Copper weekday day crew accepted a new position mid-season, the crew unanimously signed a petition for Trent Keis’ promotion. He is the ideal snowmaker. For example, I saw Trent the other day and he opened his coat to show me he was wearing a weight vest – “to stay in snowmaking condition.” He has a willingness to work, not just show up for the job. As a foreman, he leads by example. Trent takes the other crew members under his wing and really trains them. With a leader like Trent showing people the ropes, it is guaranteed that a new crop of motivated and highly effective snowmakers will be rising through the ranks. Trent is more than just the hardest of workers; he thrives on adversity and welcomes challenges. Having him in charge, and knowing he is passing these traits to the next generation, allows those above him to sleep a little easier. Snowmaking is in good hands.
Sean Mase does a top notch job of getting trails open on or before schedule. He deserves much of the credit for making Arapahoe Basin the first ski area to open in Colorado. Mr. Mase started at Arapahoe Basin in 2015 and brought a wealth of snowmaking experience from Copper Mountain. This year was a challenge due to unseasonably warm temperatures. Like all ski areas, Sean and his team took advantage of every possible moment. He followed various weather models and could anticipate when to fire up. On many occasions I would get messages from Sean telling me, “we got a good window tonight.” On those mornings I would come in to record the daily water usage and all I could say was “holy @#*!” This season, Sean adjusted his schedule to overlap with both shifts, which was a win for the department. He also coaches Summit High Football - showing dedication to our town and community.
Corbin Weyand started making snow at Hidden Valley, PA just after high school where he worked for three seasons. Corbin has been with Eldora for three seasons. This year, Corbin took the reins as lead night supervisor. His dedication and outstanding leadership moved our operation forward, even when the weather wasn’t cooperating. Corbin is always out on the hill, constantly pushing himself and his teammates to make the most of any condition. He stresses safety with the crew and conducts meaningful safety meetings on a daily basis, which directly contributed to an injury-free snowmaking season. Corbin has great passion for the snowmaking process and an incredible ability to motivate his team in a positive manner.
Michelle Vona’s first season in snowmaking was the snowmaking and grooming grave shift. Michelle’s passion for snowmaking is an inspiration to her fellow crew members. She is always open to learning and embraces change. She was promoted to grave shift lead snowmaker during the 2016-17 season. Her crew highly respects her leadership. She has an extreme passion for snowmaking. If she could, she would make snow year round. Her passion is infectious on her crew. She is always ready to make snow at a moments notice, and she makes sure that snow qualities are properly set for the right conditions, whether it is for race snow or for our skiing public.
2018 Groomer of the Year Nominees
Sterling Bommarito was born on this mountain. Purgatory has been his home from the very beginning and he has, quite literally, grown up here. Sterling’s first job was in snow removal in 2006 at the ripe old age of 15. Since then, he worked in ski school and lift operations before finally finding his home with our grooming department. This is Sterling’s first winter in the supervisor role and he is crushed it.
Because he has skied at Purgatory his whole life, Sterling’s passion and respect for this mountain are unparalleled. This is obvious in the care and thought he puts into not only his grooming, but the supervising of his team.
Scott Buell has dutifully shaped Arapahoe Basin since 1985, ensuring pristine corduroy for the public. Relying on over 30 years of experience, he knows how to balance attention to detail with crew management skills, resulting in an efficient night shift. He presents creative solutions to difficult problems, and maintains a positive attitude, even when his bosses pester him with questions at the end of a shift. He is always happy to help train the younger operators, and was instrumental in developing the winch techniques for ski patrol’s new snow compactor. Scotty is the definition of a team player. For years, we’ve counted on Scott to open and close our mountain. While some groomers might gripe about a season that pushes nine months, Scotty does what needs to be done in order to ensure the lengthy season The Basin is known for.
Scott continues to impress by helping with our terrain expansion. When presented with the challenge of pioneering new winch routes in the Beavers, Scotty volunteered to adjust his schedule to work alongside management. We now have a workable winch plan well in advance of the lift installation, ensuring a great skiing experience for all of our guests.
Addison Choquett has progressed through his years at Aspen Highlands. He can do any project that is required of him and is now learning the winch cat, progressing rapidly. Addison has the ability to maintain and rebuild runs as needed. He cares deeply about the finished product that is provided to our guests each day. Addison is very passionate about his job and plans to be with us for many seasons to come.
Eric Potter started at Winter Park Resort in 1996. Eric brought the experience he gained at Berthoud Pass Ski Area and put it to work at Winter Park. Eric was one of the original lead operators of the terrain park system at the resort and, since then, has established himself as a key part of the slope maintenance, snowmaking, grooming and park team. Potter, as he is known by his peers, has proven his ability to undertake any grooming project and complete it with high quality and special attention to detail.
Brandon Potts began his career at Copper Mountain as a base operations equipment operator in 2000. In 2003, Brandon moved into the slope maintenance department as a snowmaker and snowcat operator. Brandon was a quick study of the intricacies of slope operations and advanced into a lead role as a snowmaker and groomer. In 2008, Brandon became a full time snowcat operator and accepted the position of grooming foreman. During this time, Brandon has developed into one of Copper’s top snowcat operators. Brandon can be counted on to handle any task; that coupled with his calm and approachable demeanor make him a natural leader and trainer. Brandon is one of the most easy-going and well-respected people we have ever met and he always puts others’ needs ahead of his own.
Dave Shankey has spent the last 30+ years investing his professional time and energy in the snow industry, while also fueling his personal passion for the outdoor life. His career was ignited by the 1986 snowmaking season. The years and experiences since then have created and shaped Dave’s exceptional skill set and knowledge of the snow industry. Dave has made, groomed, and managed at mountains in the East Coast, Utah, Colorado, California, Alaska, Arizona and New Zealand. Experience as a snowmaker, groomer, winch cat operator and snowmaking manager allow Dave the insight needed to be a reliable leader.
Sean Scanlon has been an operator for seven seasons here in Telluride. From the beginning as a graveyard free-groomer, Sean would go above and beyond the normal call of duty. Sean hails from a hard-working farm background and his strong work ethic is immediately apparent to his crew. Sean is very outgoing and always enthused. His attitude, pride in his work and desire to improve is contagious. After a few seasons free-grooming, Sean moved up to winch operations, and he is quickly becoming a strong hand in maintaining our steep pitches.
2017 Snow Conference Award Winners
Chris Blanchard, Telluride Ski Resort - Groomer of the Year
Chris Blanchard has dedicated his career to Telluride Ski Resort. He has excelled in ski school, snowmaking, summer trails, and grooming. An outstanding leader, Chris remains calm all the time, communicates very well with everyone on the mountain, has never-ending patience and has impeccable integrity. His lengthy tenure on the mountain has enabled him to have experience with all facets of summer and winter mountain operations work. He can be trusted to go anywhere and complete any project safely and correctly. Chris does not take chances with safety by cutting corners. Every operation and laborer trusts Chris and looks to him for advice or know-how. He has a deep passion for his work and it shows. He is here because he loves Telluride and his job. Chris will continue to operate here for many years to come. In a snowcat, Chris can complete any task given to him - building runs, clearing runs, winching, special projects, dangerous projects and one of the trickier projects: rolling.
Drew Warren, Aspen Snowmass - Snowmaker of the Year
Drew Warren has worked for Snowmass for five years, quickly becoming an integral part of the snowmaking team. His cool under fire demeanor and unparalleled attention to detail make him an exceptional Snowmaking Controller, dedicated to learning and mastery of the craft. He prides himself on being a team player, supporting his team members in tough situations, communicating effectively with the rest of the resort staff and keeping a positive attitude at all times. He’s dedicated to a career in the Colorado ski industry, working tirelessly seven days a week to ensure the quality of products for Aspen Snowmass’ guests.
Andrew Roy, Eldora - Terrain Master of the Year
Andrew Roy began his ski industry experience working in the terrain parks of Waterville Valley. After a few years of competitive snowboarding, he made the transition to snowmaking operations and eventually park manager at Wachussett Mountain. This season Eldora went from a small park program to a Woodward terrain park, in what felt like an overnight build. We have been building new features non-stop from October till now and Andrew has been a key player from the welding shop to the snowcat. He has been a huge help with the success of our new park program. We couldn’t have done it without him.
For more information about the event, or to sign up as a trade show participant or sponsor, please contact Katherine Rainbolt at email@example.com or 303.866.9728.
Written material may be mailed to:
Attn: Snow Conference
Colorado Ski Country USA
3773 Cherry Creek North Drive
Denver, CO 80209