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Colorado Ski Country USA Announces 2014/15 Season Industry Award Winners

2014-15 Snow Conference Award Winners L-R: Patrick Torsell, Chris Branstetter, Tyler Reynolds, Emily Barker

Colorado Ski Country USA recognized the unsung heroes of the Colorado ski industry through the Snowmaker, Slope Groomer, and Terrain Master of the Year awards held Thursday, April 9 in Grand Junction, CO. Before skiers and snowboarders wake up, snowmakers, groomers, and terrain masters are hard at work delivering the consistent snow surfaces and thrilling terrain parks guests at ski areas and resorts have come to expect.

Below is a list of this years award winners.

Groomer of the Year – Patrick Torsell, Ski Cooper

Patrick started as a groomer in his first season at Ski Cooper and was promoted to Grooming and Trail Maintenance Supervisor last summer. He also serves as Ski Coopers Director of Information Technology. While at Ski Cooper,Patrick has vastly improved Coopers terrain park quality and offerings. In addition, last season Patrick introduced snowcat-built moguls for training and mogul clinics and has been instrumental in reducing the amount of nightly acreage per operator to allow greater attention to detail and higher quality snow surface.

Patrick has been a positive influence upon Coopers groomers by demonstrating his leadership qualities and improving our areas standards pursuant to his education and experience, said Tim Kerrigan, Vice-President of Mountain Operations for Ski Cooper. Patrick continually strives to improve his skills. He has helped raise the standards for fellow employees at the mountain and has had a positive influence in enhancing the quality of our guests experience. Patrick wears several hats at Cooper, but grooming excellence is his passion.

Terrain Master of the Year (Night Crew) Chris Branstetter, Snowmass

Chris Branstetter started his snow operations career when he joined the Buttermilk terrain park crew in 2008. He first worked on the day crew for five years and has five X-Games under his belt in addition to working on rail fabrication and repair in the fall. He then transferred to the Snowmass terrain park, where he has groomed on the night crew for the last two years.

Chris will work day and night, said Yannick Rioux, Terrain Park Manager at Snowmass. After seven years in the Terrain Park Department, Chris is a very good asset for me because his skills are well rounded. Whether its grooming, welding, rail setting, events, and everything else our terrain park staff does, Chris operates at a very high standard.

Terrain Master of the Year (Day Crew) – Tyler Reynolds, Snowmass

Tyler Reynolds joined Snowmass for the 2014/15 season and began moving rails with a snow cat after four years at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, where he held the position of lift operations foreman and lift mechanic/maintenance worker during the summer.

Tyler was nominated not just by myself but also by the day crew and the terrain groomers at Snowmass said Yannick Rioux, Terrain Park Manager at Snowmass. Tyler never complains, always offers help and lessons. He wants to move up in the Terrain Park Department and shows initiative. His hard work should be recognized.

Snow Maker of the Year – Emily Barker, Vail Mountain

Emily Barker is a six-year veteran of Vail Snowmaking and is a Ski Area Management graduate from Gogebic Community College. Emily has also worked for the grooming department at Vail Mountain after snowmaking was done for the season, and she has worked for the U.S. Forest Service fighting forest fires.

Emily consistently impresses management with her can-do attitude and detailed follow through, explained Tim Lipman, Assistant Snowmaking Manager at Vail Mountain. She completely understands the three department core values we train to – safety, teamwork, and communication. Emilys dedication to the team is never-ending, she is always willing to stay late and come in on her days off. She is constantly taking ownership of tasks and elevating the outcome beyond anyones expectations.