FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLORADO SKI COUNTRY USA RECOGNIZES INDUSTRY’S BEST
DENVER, Colo. – June 17, 2009 – Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) acknowledged Annual Colorado Ski Industry Award winners on June 11th at its 46th Annual Meeting in Boulder. The industry trade group praised several snow maintenance professionals, athletes, instructors, and ski patrollers for their dedication to Colorado skiing and snowboarding.
Each year, coaches, resort supervisors and managers nominate one outstanding candidate from each category from their resort. The CSCUSA committee of judges, comprised of industry peers, chooses award finalists based on an application letter and interview. Final judging criteria include professionalism, dedication, contribution, leadership and attitude.
Colorado Ski Country USA’s President and CEO, Melanie Mills, presided over the awards ceremony. Mills explained: “It is due in large part to the individuals honored today that Colorado remains the top destination choice for winter vacations.” Mills had help congratulating the award winners from an unexpected guest, the University of Colorado’s mascot, Chip.
CSCUSA Annual Industry Awards recognize 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 organization’s annual Chairman’s Award and President’s Award.
Snow professionals—the people who spend tireless hours in the cold making snow, grooming slopes, and building terrain features—were the first group to receive industry accolades at the event. Although these individuals were awarded earlier at the 2009 CSCUSA Snowmakers Conference in April, they received industry recognition at CSCUSA’s Annual Meeting. These 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.
Mills commented on the important role that these snow professionals play, saying, “Colorado Ski Country USA resorts strive to deliver the highest level of guest experiences and much of that is due to the hard work that goes into maintaining the snow, terrain, and conditions.”
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 year’s “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.
"Each year, Colorado Ski Country USA supports many talented and dedicated all-star athletes,” Mills continued. “In turn, these young men and women are ambassadors of our industry."
The instructor and ski patroller awards went to:
Instructor of the Year
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.
CSCUSA was pleased to give credit to these hardworking individuals and others who contribute to making Colorado one of the world's premier ski destinations.
Media Note\Jason Rogers, Ski Patroller of the Year from Telluride Ski Resort (Credit: Chris Schneider)\\
Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) is the not-for-profit trade association representing Colorado’s 22 ski & snowboard resorts. CSCUSA is the global voice of the Colorado ski industry. The Association’s primary functions are concentrated in marketing, public policy and public relations. Information about CSCUSA and its members can be found at www.ColoradoSki.com. This release and other press information can be found in the online press room at http://media-ColoradoSki.com.