COLORADO SKI COUNTRY USA
40TH ANNUAL SNOWMAKING AND SLOPE MAINTENANCE CONFERENCE & TRADE SHOW
SNOW CONFERENCE AWARD NOMINATIONS:
Nominees from the 2019-2020 season will automatically be entered as nominations for the 2020-2021 Snow Conference if they are eligible.
DOUBLE DIAMOND AWARDS CEREMONY:
Snow Conference Award finalists, announced at the Snow Conference, fall into the Double Diamond Awards that recognize outstanding individuals in their field during the June Colorado Ski Country USA Annual Meeting (read all about the Double Diamond Awards here). In addition to Groomer, Snowmaker, and Terrain Master, award winners also are named for their excellence in patrol, instruction, operations, guest services and Food & Beverage.
Additional details on the Double Diamond Awards can be found HERE.
2021 Groomer of the Year Nominees
Scott Alder, Steamboat
Scott started working at Steamboat 26 years ago. He started out as a lift op in the winter and trail crew in the summer. In the winter of '99 Scott started grooming in the winter and still did trail crew in the summer. Currently, Scott works up here year-round, grooming in the winter and operating equipment in the summer mostly building bike trails. Scott has been nominated for numerous awards and this is the third time he has been nominated as groomer of the year, so he better win this time! He has also been the employee of the month twice in Steamboat and has been given multiple on the spot awards. In 2018 he participated in Prinoth's "test the best" program. As you can see, he has been exceeding expectations in the industry for a very long time and truly deserves this award!
Scott is truly an outstanding employee and an amazing winch cat operator. He is quiet, humble and respectful but lets his work speak for itself. He takes so much pride in the quality of his grooming and it has become near perfection. He has figured out the perfect pattern for every run to never leave a cable rub or bad pass. The same goes for when he is operating in the summer building bike trails. In our industry, we are looking for an operator who isn't just efficient but someone who cares about quality and providing the best experience for the guest. This is the perfect description of Scott! He takes so much pride in his work! He doesn't just provide perfection in his operating skills but also his attitude. Everyone loves being around him and working with him. He is always positive and happy.
Corey Peterson, Slope Maintenance Director, Steamboat
Mark Gresset, Snowmass
Mark Gressett, 42 years as a groomer at Snowmass, deserves to be recognized as Groomer of the Year. From steel and rubber tracked Tuckers to Thiokol and DMC, LMC, Prinoth and Bombardier 275s, 350s, Bisons and Beasts, he's seen and driven all of them. He won the inaugural Phat Cat competition in Snowbird years ago and has received the Silver Leaf Award from Aspen Skiing Company for his efforts helping other departments. He puts his heart and soul into everything he does, taking things personally when it's not as perfect as he would like it to be. Mark has a story for everything and if he gets on a roll telling jokes, there's no stopping him. His bark is bigger than his bite because he simply wants everyone to have as much pride and passion in grooming as he does. He loves what he does and it shows by the product he leaves and the effort he puts into making Snowmass a leader in grooming.
After 42 years, Mark is still going strong. He managed the department for many years and is back as an operator and I am psyched to have him here. He knows the mountain in and out, can tell you where to find a pocket of snow, will overhaul a trail better than anyone else and loves working the snow in double diamond terrain, all to provide the best product for our guests. He puts in endless hours preseason to ensure we are ready for opening, operates the winch cat as needed, overhauls trails, builds the tubing arena, has spent time on World Cup, Grand Prix and USSA courses. Ask him to do something and you know he'll give 100% and get it right the first time. He is passionate about what he does. Although he doesn't share all his secrets with the crew, he's training newer operators in hopes to instill some passion in them as well. He's still the first one out of the shop, is willing to cover for sups as needed and sets a good example for us. I'm proud to nominate Mark for Groomer of the Year.
Susan Cross, Snowmass General Manager, Aspen Skiing Company
Jonathan Morse, Arapahoe Basin
It is a privilege to nominate Jonathan Morse as 2019-2020 Groomer of the Year. This is Jonathan's second year at Arapahoe Basin but he brings 20+ years to the table in Mountain Operation positions from Ski Patrol, Trail Crew, Snowmaking and 18 years as Groomer.
In 1985 at the age of 13, Jonathan started his career as a Ski School Instructor at Attitash Ski Area in New Hampshire and in 1995 as Ski Patroller. In 1996 he heard the call to "head west young man" and moved to Summit County where he worked as Snowmaker and then a Ski Patroller at Keystone. He then moved on to Breckenridge as a Snowmaker and into the Winter Trails Department as a Groomer after snowmaking ended. Jonathan has always been an Arapahoe Basin "local" and when a grooming position opened up he immediately applied for it... so his years as an operator and ski area experience were put to the test...
Jonathan has taken on the role of framing and complete grooming of the Zuma Bowl. He has a great eye for detail when it comes to the grooming quality each night. He spends hours covering the many rock fields and working the step challenging terrain so our guest can enjoy top-notch corduroy the next day. Jonathan's work ethic and commitment clearly show in the quality of his product by the extremely positive guest comments. Jonathan has also taken on the task of building and maintaining the Terrain Parks. The Terrain Park Team communicates their plan and Jonathan can push and build the features perfectly. Arapahoe Basin feels very fortunate to Johnathan as an instrumental part of the Grooming Team.
Bill LeClair, Snowmaking/Vehicle Maintenance Manager, Arapahoe Basin
Dave Stidger, Telluride
Dave helped to teach me how to groom. He came from a very high-paced, high-end Chef background. In my fledgling years, Dave passed on to me the necessity for very keen attention to detail, a very strong work ethic, and also the necessity to consciously enjoy the challenge and the beauty involved with operating snowcats.
Dave's work-ethic is second to none. He leads by example, all night long. He takes very good care of his crew. The graveyard groomers run a very tight ship and maintain the highest of standards because of Dave's leadership. Dave tirelessly, and patiently, strives to better each member of his team throughout every shift and during ski sessions testing the product. His decade-and-a-half of grooming in Telluride has led to Dave possessing a very intimate knowledge of our ski hill. He not only takes care of the dozens of side-projects every night, but more importantly, teaches each member of his team all of the minute, necessary work involved with maintaining our mountain.
More important than a strong work ethic and excellent leadership is Dave's integrity. Dave's word is trusted implicitly. I don't think anything better can be said about a person.
Dave is our very best trainer in Telluride. We have consistently perfect pistes because Dave instills his work ethic and strong standards on each of our operators. His passion and joy for the job is passed on to our operators, as well.
Dave carries an immense amount of weight on our hill. He knows our mountain exceptionally well and tirelessly executes the hundreds of 'side jobs' that are required to keep the hill in its very-best shape, the public safe, and his team safe. He knows what needs to be done and makes certain his team does it all, and then some, without requiring being asked. There is not a doubt in any of our teams' minds that losing Dave with be a catastrophic blow to our ski hill. Dave's character is strong, he is an outstanding leader, he is an outstanding teacher, he is a very talented cat operator (being proficient in free-, park-, and winch-cats of all Prinoth and Pisten Bully models), and he has acquired a very-attentive and high-paced 15 years of operating experience on our mountain. He is Strong. And, as it is also important, Dave is well-liked and respected by the crew, and by the leaders and members of all departments on the mountain. Doggone it, people like him. We are very lucky to have Dave as a leader, and I strive to find men and women who possess his qualities and who show the potential to become as all-around Outstanding as he is.
Joe Stiles, Grooming & Trails Manager, Telluride Ski Resort
Josh Zeigler, Eldora
Sixteen years ago, Josh Zeigler came to Eldora with an impressive resume. His work experience in the ski industry at that time included Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Crested Butte. However, his professional growth in his skill set, experience and leadership during his time with Eldora has exceeded the already high expectations. I count on him for special projects that require precision and perseverance. I have seen Josh develop his skills and continue to further his education in the ski industry over the years. Josh started at Eldora Mountain Resort in trail maintenance, moved on to snowmaking, and has been operating a cat since 2005. He was promoted to snowmaking manager several years ago, but that role did not diminish his involvement in grooming in any way. Josh is an integral part of why the grooming is exceptional at Eldora. His attention to weather, snow conditions and forecasts, and knowledge of the slopes and machines result in the best snow surface possible. Josh is depended upon to prepare runs appropriately for the Eldora ski racecourses. He can groom the extensive trails in our Nordic Center. He skillfully operates the winch cat and has groomed the terrain parks. He successfully navigates and grooms the trails in some of the most difficult whiteout conditions. Josh has demonstrated his focus on safety by making decisions that are best for his safety and the safety of newer groomers and crew on the mountain. He is an all-around proficient and versatile groomer. Josh’s love of skiing and the time he spends scouting runs advance his ability to understand the conditions, the results of the nights grooming, and how to improve in the future. His dedication to Eldora and commitment to the ski industry is commendable.
Josh consistently demonstrates his passion for his job by leaving the best product possible, modeling to the rest of the crew to do the same, and being relied upon to successfully take on and complete challenging tasks. I nominate Josh Zeigler for Groomer of the Year because of his grooming expertise, leadership skills, and commitment to bettering the ski industry.
Brandon Ziller, Copper Mountain
Brandon has been a key contributor to Copper's Slope Maintenance department since 2014. Brandon came to Copper from the CMC SAO program and got his start as a snowmaker and moved into grooming in that same season after showing his passion and leadership for the slope maintenance department. From the very start of Brandon's time at Copper, he stood out as a guy that could be counted on to accomplish any task asked of him. Brandon has spent the offseason traveling to Australia to continue his growth and passion for grooming working at Hotham mountain. This has greatly accelerated his development as an operator allowing Brandon to become one of Copper's lead winch cat operators.
Brandon should be this year's Slope groomer of the year because he has exemplified all of the qualities of this nomination on a daily basis throughout this winter. Brandon's work ethic, passion and commitment to creating the best snow surface has been demonstrated through stepping in and making snow when the snowmaking crew was short-handed then working additional shifts and hours in a cat preparing the slopes. Brandon additionally is always willing to share his knowledge training other operators. When Brandon is not working he is on the mountain checking out the condition of the trails looking for ways to improve the guest experience.
Jeremy Caves, Slope Maintenance Supervisor, Copper Mountain
2021 Snowmaker of the Year Nominees
Brian Bell, Eldora
Brian Bell is no stranger to the mountains. Growing up in Northern Wyoming, skiing and being in the mountains was a central part of his upbringing. He is also no stranger to the desert, having spent 6 years with the Marine Corps in various parts of the world. During his four years with us at Eldora, Brian has demonstrated a unique determination and commitment as a snowmaker. Now a night shift supervisor, Brian plays an integral role in the success of our operation. And when the hard work is done, Brian grabs his skis and gets after it.
Brian Bell is an extraordinary snowmaker. He came to us in 2016 at a job fair, just looking to get hired on in some capacity at the resort. Snowmaking has proven to be a very good fit. This year we promoted him to night shift supervisor, which I think was a bit overwhelming at first. Brian is definitely the one out there in the heat of the battle. Epic night and a 12-hour gun run? He loves it. Wrestling K-guns? He lives for it. But taking an intimidated new hire with zero snowmaking knowledge and trying to make a snowmaker out of them, that was new for Brian. The energy which he brings to snowmaking and the focus he has on the mission allows him to instill a sense of urgency in the new hires. We had great confidence in his ability, I think he just needed to prove it to himself. And he didn't disappoint. We had a bit of a lean crew again this year, which puts additional strain in an otherwise difficult job. But Brian was able to keep his crew motivated and on track, showing up, getting the job done and done well. I feel Brian has really developed as a leader in our department and has demonstrated that he has a solid foundation of snowmaking skills and knowledge. He makes good decisions based on the given set of conditions and really leads his team to a successful outcome. Which, of course, is the quality snow surface that our guests expect. On top of that, he's an outstanding individual with a real passion for the sport. I think Brian Bell is an exceptional candidate for this year's CSCUSA Snowmaker of the Year award.
Josh Zeigler, Snowmaking Manager, Eldora Mountain Resort
Chad Elder, Steamboat
Chad has worked at Steamboat resort in the snowmaking department as a gunrunner for the past five seasons. Over the past five years, Chad has done an exceptional job learning our system and using that knowledge to become one of our most proactive snowmakers. He has been a great team player and always has a great attitude while working. His attitude has been a key component in helping his crew to keep high morale during the season.
In the past five years, Chad has proven to be one of our most competent and reliable gunrunners. He always has a smile on his face, never complains about his assignments, and is never unwilling to help out, ensuring his crew is successful every shift. He possesses the rare first out last in mentality we look for in a gunrunner and that attitude unintentionally inspires his crew to do better. His superior knowledge of the system allows him to make the right call in most situations, at the same time he is humble enough to ask for direction when he encounters something he is unsure of. Possibly the best thing about Chad is that he is so unassuming while being an excellent employee. He has excellent suggestions on how we can do better without being condescending and fixes problems without seeking approval. All in all, Chad is one of our best employees and Steamboat is better off with him on board.
Corey Peterson, Slope Maintenance Director, Steamboat
Madeline Pierce, Copper Mountain
Madeline came to us from the Ski Area Operations program at Colorado Mountain College. She has worked in snowmaking, grooming, trail crew, and logging as a Copper employee. Last summer she worked with Leitner-POMA on the installation crew for our new chairlift. This past snowmaking season we were short one controller. Maddy stepped up and offered to fill the position saying: "How can you ever be in charge if you don't know how to run the system?" As she has with every job she has held with us, she truly excelled as a controller - raising the bar for what is expected of those in the position. Maddy has the ability to see the big picture while focusing on the details. This is something that, through repetition and experience, can certainly be taught, but just comes naturally to her. It is inspiring to see someone throw herself so completely into their job and care so much about what they are doing.
Maddy is the definition of an ambitious hard worker - far beyond driven. As a snowmaker, she is a natural leader, elevating her co-workers to a higher level. Not the kind of employee who needs to be told anything twice, she is eager to learn and retains information and instruction. Her work ethic is astonishing. She meets challenges head-on, never straying from safe practice or protocol. Maddy maintains steady control of the system...her crew's outstanding performance is directly attributed to her guidance. Working on her own or with our mechanics, she has been a quick study in the repair and maintenance of compressors, pumps, valves, etc. She excelled in her welding classes, and we look forward to having her on our pipeline repair crew. There can be no doubt Maddy will be in charge someday - she operates calmly and with confident urgency, truly inspiring those around her. We are honored to nominate her for Snowmaker of the Year.
Ned Sims, Snowmaking Supervisor, Copper Mountain
Corey Shaw, Buttermilk
Corey has had a long history with buttermilk. He has worked a wide variety of jobs including snowmaking, Cat driver, summer trails and lifts. In all these jobs he has proven to be a reliable hard working employee that can be trusted to do what is asked and go above and beyond. He is respected by his fellow employees and is committed to helping Buttermilk be a success each season.
I believe Corey is eligible for this nomination for many reasons. He brings honesty, hard work, promptness and the willingness to do more than the minimum to his position. As a snowmaking controller, he has the respect of his crew and a thorough grasp of the system he is managing. I now that when Corey is in charge of a shift he will be able to take care of whatever might come up, leaving me to focus on other responsibilities. He strives to deliver a product that will enable Buttermilk to give to its clients the absolute best experience possible.
Robert Durham, Snowmaking Manager, Buttermilk
2021 Terrain Master of the Year Nominees
Matthew Cordts, Buttermilk
Matt started in 2012 at the Leadville College for a Ski Area Management degree. After one year of classes, he decided to take a year off and to take his own experience to the real world of the ski industries. Matt joined the Terrain Park Crew at the Elk Mountain for a year. But his vision and his desire for Terrain Park was bigger. He moved to Summit County and work and manage a few rental shops for some years. He joined Aspen Skiing Company four years ago for a summer helping to build a new roller coaster and then he began to work with the Terrain Park Day Crew at Snowmass for two years. He then moved to graveyard grooming in his third year. He joined the Bike & Hike Trails Crew for the last two summers and Operate Mini X. Matt's hard work and determination paid off this year, he was promoted to Buttermilk Terrain Supervisor, become a new dad and got engaged.
From the beginning, Matt always works hard and listens to my advice to fill his ambition to advance his career. New to the cat operating last year and having a child on his way, Matt took all the work he can and challenge himself in order to improve his skills. This season he built his first bank slalom, which turned out great. This year, my second as year as the Terrain Park Director for Aspen Skiing Company, my first goal was to make Buttermilk Terrain Park great again. Last year I did not have a Supervisor at Buttermilk to lead the Crew and the lack of leadership showed in the product. This year Matt took a new role as the Supervisor at Buttermilk and has been a huge help in bringing Buttermilk Terrain Park back to its status as a world-class destination for a Terrain Park. Matt's understanding of the overall goals for the Buttermilk Terrain Park, his dedication to the Terrain Park Crew-working with Day Crew and helping with grooming and feature set up at night-and his expectation of high standard should not be ignored as a nominee for Colorado Ski County Terrain Park Master for the 2019-2020 Winter Season.
Yannick Rioux, Terrain Park Director, Aspen Skiing Company
Chris Cracraft, Copper Mountain
Chris has worked here at copper for 6+ years during which he has moved his way up the ladder to being a leader for the team. He has earned his associate's in ski area management and is currently working on his bachelor's. Chris has earned a number of different "Playmaker" awards here at Copper and has been a great example of what others on the team should strive to be.
Chris has been a leader in parks since he started. Always helping others and pushing the progression of the sport. His positive attitude and ability to adapt to any situation has been vital to a growing and ever-changing program. Chris has been a key part of the planning, design, and execution of a number of large events, photoshoots and innovative changes to our park. He has been a great part of our team and is well-deserving of Terrain Master of the year.
Noah Schwander, Manager of Innovative Environments and Progression, Copper Mountain
Charlton Greenburg, Steamboat
Charlie Greenburg came into our department immediately after graduating from high school. Knowing his goals and passion at such a young age helped and drove him to be the incredible builder and operator that he is today. Charlie started as one of our daytime park staff members. He immediately showed interest in every part of this department, unlike his coworkers. Charlie was in it for the long haul. he was always asking questions wanting to learn and understand more than just working the rake. He volunteered his time to ride in the snowcat just to see how it was done. Soon after Charlie became a full-time operator and builder. I would say Charlie's accomplishments could be summed up with just how quickly he has been able to learn and the absolute quality in everything he does.
Charlie has many strengths that he brings to the table. His ability to pick up new tasks and skills, as well as to adapt to any job he is given is truly incredible. He not only contributes to our success as a resort through the building and maintenance of a great terrain park, but also to his positive attitude and willingness to help other employees to learn skills such as he did, and does. He is always willing to help other departments whenever possible. Charlie is a great model for other employees and coworkers
Alec Parker, Terrain Park Manager, Steamboat
Scott Mackie, Snowmass
All of Scott's friends and co-workers know him as Mackie, and in the five seasons he's been with the Terrain Park he has made a big impact. Mackie came from a background of surfing, skateboarding and also mountain biking and moved to the mountains to add snowboarding to his list of adventure sports. Mackie moved to Snowmass Village and started his time with Aspen skiing Company in the kitchen for an on-mountain restaurant. After a season in the restaurant, he decided to join the Terrain Park Crew and make this his career. He worked two years with the Day Crew and then started to show interest in cat operating. SHowing a desire to learn and grow, moved to the grooming side of operations. After three years on the graveyard shift and as a summer operator for Bike & Hike Trails, Mackie has grown and matured and now plays a big roll in the daily operations and his knowledge of the ins and outs of the overall of the Snowmass Terrain Park make him a great asset to our team.
I choose to nominate Mackie because he has a passion for his work and constantly challenges himself to learn more as well as take the lead on many projects. Mackie will always offer his help and after a long graveyard shift, he is not afraid to get out of the cat to help the Day Crew prep for the day. Mackie also took the ownership for the smaller park Low Down, and continues to show his pride in his work by adjusting and perfecting Low Down every chance he gets. Six years ago, Mackie came to the Terrain Park Department as a young punk surfer in that time he has grown and matured to become a professional Terrain Park Builder which is why he deserves the nomination of Terrain Park Master for the 2019-2020 Winter Season.
Yannick Rioux, Terrain Park Director, Aspen Skiing Company
Kevin Sprecker, Eldora
Kevin arrived at Eldora with over 10 years of experience from time at four different resorts. He got his start in the ski industry in Minnesota his freshman year of college. This led to a life transition making a career in the ski industry his primary focus. He prides himself on the fact he has worked in every position in the terrain park, from entry level to supervisory roles. He describes this experience as giving him the opportunity to empathize with team member and help set them up for success. His love for working on the mountain makes the job a passion. He takes moments to appreciate the sunset, snowfall, and views. The creative outlet he enjoys allows him to push snow to build creations for all to enjoy. The interaction with people that thrive off snow sports invigorates his dedication to his career. Kevin is aware of the interdepartmental dynamics that is necessary for a mountain to be successful. He contributes to other departments and strives to be a team player so as a united unit the mountain looks amazing and as a team we are successful.
I believe Kevin should be named Terrain Master of the year due to his outstanding technical skill set, his professionalism, and the way he motivates the team day in and day out. Kevin's park building skills in the cat shine through in the product he creates. He built an exceptionally progressive system that incorporates all skill levels and provides opportunity for fun and challenges for every skill of skier and rider. His motivation to perform and lead his crew not only keeps them engaged, but inspires them to work hard and encourages creativity. The efforts of Kevin and his team is what keeps the park fresh, fun, and safe. Professionalism is a core trait of Kevin's work ethic. He is easy to work with has the ability to work respectfully with all levels of staff. He demonstrates respect when interacting with employees, other staff, skiers and riders, and management. Finally, Kevin's dependability is an added asset. He completes builds of events and parks in a timely manner always coming through when we need him. Kevin's skill and attitude are what pushed me to recommend him for Terrain Master and what sets him apart.
Chris Cipolletti, Snow Services Manager, Eldora
2019 Double Diamond Award Winners
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Colorado Ski Country USA
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