Snow Conference – Award Nominations
Colorado Ski Country USA
37th Annual Snowmaking and Slope Maintenance Conference & Trade Show
Thank you to all our sponsors, vendors, speakers and attendees for making the
37th Annual Snow Conference a tremendous success.
Be on the lookout for information regarding the 38th Annual Snow Conference next year!
Snow Conference Award Nominations:
Thank you for 2017 Snowmaker of the Year, Groomer of the Year or Terrain Master of the Year nominations. Congratulations to our finalists, we look forward to seeing some of you in June!
For information about future nominations contact Katherine Rainbolt, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
2017 Groomer of the Year Finalists
Chris Blanchard, Telluride
Josh Zeigler, Eldora
2017 Snowmaker of the Year Finalists
Cody Flower, Steamboat
Drew Warren, Aspen Snowmass
2017 Terrain Master of the Year Finalists
Chris Meyer, Telluride
Andrew Roy, Eldora
2017 Groomer of the Year Nominees
Chris Blanchard , Telluride Resort
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 tricker projects: rolling.
Brandon Mach, Winter Park Resort
Brandon Mach has worked with Winter Park Resort for 10 years. He began as a lift operator and worked his way into snowmaking and eventually grooming. Has gained grooming experience from a vast number of resorts and brought his skills to work at Winter Park. Brandon is always willing to learn new things, from the tubing hill, to the Cirque steep grooming, to new trails. He has worked every shift, from the late (overnight) to the swing (evening) shifts and is always adaptable.
Chad Oseth, Copper Mountain
Chad Oseth started working at Copper Mountain in 1992 through an internship while attending Gogebic Community College in the Ski Area Management program. He has been with Copper for all but one of those years since, when he had to see what California had to offer while grooming at Tahoe. Chad started as a snowmaker then moved into being a groomer and heavy equipment operator, excavating during the summer months. Chad is a three time Colorado Ski Country nominee as a groomer and terrain master. Chad has been involved with building and maintaining terrain parks, halfpipes and race course preparation for some of the world’s best skiers on Copper’s downhill venue. Chad has been a grooming foreman since 1995. His work ethic is second to none.
Jason Rakow, Beaver Creek
Jason Rakow started with Vail Resorts on October 3, 1994. Bringing three years of snowmaking experience from Windham Mountain in New York, he started first at Beaver Creek as a snowmaker, where he quickly became a crew leader. After the short snowmaking season he made a move into cat operating. After three years he became a full time operator and progressed into winch cat operating. Jason worked towards and became our winch lead before leaving to pursue other opportunities at Windham Mountain, then Prinoth, and Arizona Snowbowl. While currently fulfilling his role as a grooming specialist at Beaver Creek, he is also our department’s lead winch trainer. Also, when the position opened, he was unanimously selected as our winch lead for our FIS Birds of Prey World Cup event by both the Cat Crew and Race Department. This year Jason was also been nominated, and is our department’s front runner, for the Spirit of Beaver Creek Award, the highest award that can be awarded to a Beaver Creek employee.
Dusty Roberts, Keystone
Dusty Roberts enjoys his job. That is one of the things that makes him a great groomer. He is skilled enough to do any task, and will take on the most challenging tasks with ease. Early season, Keystone was short handed in regards to skilled operators on the grave shift. As soon as Dusty joined our team he took some of the work load off his team members. One specific time we needed the ball field of a lift packed out and no one was going to make it there in time to meet the lifty. He was able to find the lift on his own, having never been there, and take care of the project. Dusty is also very helpful and knowledgeable when it comes to the mechanical issues and trouble shooting on the mountain. He has helped out with quite a few significant issues already this season.
Josh Zeigler, Eldora
Josh Zeigler came to Eldora 13 years ago with an impressive resume, including experience at Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Crested Butte. His professional growth, experience and leadership during his time with Eldora has exceeded our high expectations. Josh started the 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 anyway. 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. We count on him for special projects that require precision and perseverance, including the preparation of our ski race courses. He can groom the extensive trails in our Nordic Center, skillfully operates the winch cat and grooms the terrain park. He successfully navigates and grooms the trails in some of the most difficult white out 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 advances 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.
2017 Snowmaker of the Year Nominees
Mark Eldring, Echo Mountain
Mark Eldring has been absolutely instrumental to Echo’s smooth operation and turnaround this season. Instantly, guests shared that the snow and grooming are the best it’s ever been at Echo, despite the low snow and warm season. He has an incredible resume and it’s time he was recognized more widely. Many in the industry around the world know Mark and the incredible work he does. He’s had one summer in ten years! He makes snow and grooms year round and has worked at some of the industry’s biggest resorts and events, including the Sochi Olympics and Vancouver Olympics as wells as stints in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Cody Flower, Steamboat
Once upon a time on a ranch in a ski town, a boy was born. This boy was introduced to physical labor, harsh conditions, dangerous deteriorating machinery and a variety of beasts with unique and wild temperaments. He enjoyed this lifestyle and eventually became manager of this ranch while also acquiring the skills to be a killer snowman! He was recruited and thrown into the war on summer where he paved acres of stick and rock into gleaming corduroy tarmacs. Over the years he has been award employee of the month plus multiple awards within our recognition program to thank him for his extravagant work ethic and professionalism. Management often gives him the more difficult assignments, which he proudly takes with a smile and slew of wise comments. The most noticeable and unforgettable part of Cody Flower is his energy and sense of humor. When things get tough you can count on Cody to come out of nowhere with an amusing snack, a joke and a solution. His taste in snow quality is like a winery’s taste in grapes, leaving behind only the finest whales, dolphins and sting rays (slang for snow pile shapes). He helps train rookies, develop new strategies and maintain our vehicles and staff spirit.
Travis Gant, Breckenridge
Travis Gant started making snow at the Breckenridge Ski Resort in December of 2012 as we were scrambling to fill an opening last minute. Travis had no snowmaking experience and very little time in the mountains. Many times it’s tough to bring someone in that far along in the season since the employee misses out on all the early season training and practice. After talking to Travis it seemed that he had some great qualities and a strong desire to get into the mountain lifestyle. From the start it was obvious that Travis enjoyed being part of the team, he always showed up smiling and ready for the challenge of battling the mountain. Travis was quick to learn the process and by the second season he was being asked to train new staff members on our night shift. He has worked all four seasons on the night shift and was promoted to an advanced position which is responsible for all aspects of the job. Travis has worked very hard to be able to operate all of our guns including Ratnik, Techno Fan Guns, Kguns and HKDs to help to pull off the Dew Tour in early December. He has a tremendous safety record over his time here while operating UTVs, snowmobiles and trucks around the mountain. He continues to push himself to learn more about the system and how to operate it by completing plant reports and asking lots of questions. This past winter Travis was voted Snowmaker of the Year at Breckenridge for his attention and efforts toward safety, efficiency and fun.
Alex Reynolds, Winter Park Resort
Alex Reynolds has worked for Winter Park for only four years but has advanced quickly on the Winter Park team. He started as a snowmaker and is now an operator for summer and winter operations. Alex started out in one of the hardest jobs you can have in snowmaking for Winter Park Resort. He worked his way up from snowmaker and is now a controller of a crew. Alex also runs our Cirque sleigh at 12,000ft for transporting our guests to the top of Vasquez Cirque.
Cody Teston-Pastore, Copper Mountain
Cody Teston-Pastore grew up in the Denver area and attended college in Arizona. His love of the mountains and snowboarding led him to a career in the ski industry. He worked as a lifty, lift mechanic, trail crew, groomer, and finally as a year round snowmaker. He was the assistant that every welder (in-house or contracted) asked for. He worked seven days a week during projects.
Anyone who worked with Cody would tell you he was the guy you wanted to go on gun runs with. We were going to send him to welding school this spring.
Corbin Weyand, Eldora Mountain
Corbin Weyand started making snow at Hidden Valley, PA just after high school and worked there for three seasons. Corbin has now been with Eldora for two seasons as a night shift foreman. In this time, Corbin has proven himself to be passionate about the snowmaking process and a dedicated leader on our team. Corbin is always out on the hill, constantly pushing himself and his teammates to make the most of any conditions. This season, Corbin’s efforts helped drive our most successful season on record, covering the mountain faster than ever before while keeping snow quality exceptional. After the snowmaking season, Corbin works in the terrain park and is also training as a cat operator.
2017 Terrain Master of the Year Nominees
Zach Dopson, Buttermilk Mountain
Zach Dopson started as a terrain park worker at Buttermilk Mountain before he was promoted to terrain park lead. From there he was promoted again to a terrain park groomer and eventually to Buttermilk halfpipe cutter. In the summers Zach works in the new Summer Bike Trail Department. Zach exemplifies the “Terrain Master” designation because he masters everything he does, whether it is moving dirt or snow, rail fabrication, grooming and cutting pipe or even stepping back into day crew operations to assist during our events, which include the Winter X Games. Zach does all of his work with an incredibly positive “can do” attitude.
Corey Matthews, Winter Park Resort
Cory Matthews has worked at Winter Park Resort for almost 20 years, from race crew, to snowmaking, to grooming, and now with terrain parks. Cory has been a supervisor of Snowmaking, and led crews of five through several snowmaking seasons. He has taken on a leadership role in dozing and build out of terrain parks.
Brandon McFadden, Telluride Ski Resort
Brandon McFadden began his career in terrain parks in Durango as a day crew park ranger. He learned the operations necessary to maintain a beautiful and safe park from the bottom up. On our mountain, Brandon has shown relentless drive and heart-felt passion to learn the snowcat side of building and maintaining the park. He goes above and beyond wherever possible to learn more from his manager, train our rookie cat and day crew operators, move features, sculpt terrain and otherwise build and maintain a beautiful park to Telluride’s highest standards. Brandon has relentless desire to learn all of the tricks and tools of a park cat operator. He volunteers hundreds of hours to build and maintain our hard features. Without a doubt, Brandon will continue to learn and excel as a cat operator through his life until he is on the top tier of park operators.
Chris Meyer, Telluride Ski Resort
Chris Meyer has been a top-notch terrain park operator since he came to Telluride in 2005. As a pure operator he led the team through his actions. There are always opportunities to cut corners when time runs out before perfection is reached, Chris never cuts corners or leaves any small detail looking less than sharp. Every feature he builds or maintains looks perfect, flat and sharp every single time. It baffles each of the other operators here on the mountain that he can do every single thing perfect every single night. Now that he is designing the park, it has exploded. Telluride ranks among the top of all resorts in the number of features in our parks, the standard of quality is top-notch (nothing other than perfect is accepted by his crew), all of our features are uniform in color and are meticulously well maintained. Chris has expanded our park terrain, built a huge beginner area that is healthy for the whole mountain, and has dedicated countless summer hours building and upgrading our features. Telluride is exceptionally lucky to have Chris.
Andrew Roy, Eldora Mountain
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 snow cat. He has been a huge help with the success of our new park program. We couldn’t have done it without him.
Dave Quinn, Telluride Ski Resort
Dave Quinn came to Telluride from a long tenure at Arapahoe Basin as park manager. He is currently the day crew supervisor and is outstanding. Dave has been perfecting his role in the terrain park for over a decade and that work shows. His attitude and work ethic are amazing and he inspires his team with seemingly little effort towards that end. His job consistency and the product he and his team produce is top notch. Our park would not be the smooth operating, beautiful, flawless land of jumps and features without him behind the helm. He is a key player to the operation at Telluride.
2016 Snow Conference Award Winners
L-R: Román Sanchez, Eldora; Bill Baum, Winter Park; Mike McCormack, Purgatory; Debra Greenblatt, Purgatory; Cole Puckett, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; Tigran Bailey, Aspen Snowmass; Spencer Rugland, Powderhorn. Not Pictured: Bill Drake, Snowmass
2016 Groomer of the Year
Bill Drake, Snowmass
Bill was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Aspen. He was first hired as an operator at Snowmass Ski Area in 1988 and left the job in 1994 to help his parents run the family business, the Ullrhof Restaurant located on Snowmass Ski Area. In 2007, he sold the restaurant and Mark Gressett, Winter Trails Manager at Snowmass, was kind enough to welcome him back to the grooming crew. Bill has been spending his winters playing on the cat crew ever since.
2016 Snow Maker of the Year
Tigran Bailey, Aspen Mountain
Tigran has worked for the Aspen Skiing Company since 1996 as a snow maker working with Matt Reader, a pioneer in the snowmaking industry. He learned the art of making great snow when attention to air and water mixed by the snow maker himself was of upmost importance. Tigran helps create events like the 24 hrs. of Aspen, World Cup, Winter X. From K guns to fan guns he has worked to understand the peculiar aspects of each technology to make the most efficient snow possible.
2016 Terrain Master of the Year
Spencer Rugland, Powderhorn
Spencer has worked at Powderhom for nine years, including five years in the Terrain Park. He has taken on a leadership role and submersed himself in the safety and management aspects of the job while keeping a fun and functional park. Spencer is very creative and progressive in design and execution.
Snow Conference Award Nominations
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