This weekend’s forecast: sunny with a chance of these. @winterparkresort Freeride Festival this weekend.
(Photo by Dave Camara, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area)
Eight months after kicking off Colorado’s record-breaking 2013-14 ski and ride season, Arapahoe Basin (A-Basin) announced that the mountain will close for winter operations on Sunday, June 22, 2014. The ski area will be open for lift-served skiing and riding this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday (June 20-22) from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
(photography by Tripp Fay, Copper Mountain Resort)
Colorado Ski Country USA Announces 2013-14 Double Diamond Award Winners
Athletes, On-mountain Professionals, and Industry Veterans Recognized for their Valuable Contributions
Yesterday evening at the 51st Annual Meeting of Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA), Colorado’s ski resorts capped a record-setting 2013/14 season with the Double Diamond Awards, where individuals who have made significant contributions to the industry were recognized for their excellence.
Industry leaders gathered at Copper Mountain Resort to recognize ski area employees whose diligence and expertise were crucial in providing a superior guest experience, including snow makers, groomers, terrain masters, ski instructors, and ski patrollers who have distinguished themselves through their great skill and effort. In addition, they celebrated the most exemplary young winter athlete of the year and honored two industry professionals whose dedication has benefited the entire Colorado ski industry.
This year’s Double Diamond Award winners are listed below.
Peter Rietz – Rietz Law Firm
The CSCUSA Chairman’s Award, the top Double Diamond award, is presented to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to Colorado’s ski industry. This year, the Award was presented to Peter Rietz, a Denver-based attorney who is a past president and founding board member of the Association of Ski Defense Attorneys and a former Special Counsel for the National Ski Areas Association,
As a Level III certified PSIA/RMSIA instructor and a Level 300 certified national race coach, Peter is passionate about skiing. He has served as a board member with the Rocky Mountain Division of United States Ski Association, Breckenridge Race Club and the Loveland Basin Race Club, with 26 years coaching and instructing experience.
“I am delighted to present Peter Rietz with the Chairman’s Award”, said Greg Finch, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of CSCUSA. “Over the years, Peter has been instrumental in drafting language for the Colorado Ski Safety Act and defending ski resorts in high-profile litigation. In addition, he has helped shape the Colorado ski industry’s culture of safety and risk management, turning Colorado into a leader in safety for guests and employees at ski resorts”.
Peter joins a select group of recent Chairman’s Award recipients, such as U.S. Senator Mark Udall, Graham Anderson (owner of Eldora Mountain Resort), and former U.S. Representative Scott McInnis.
Lea Tucker – Aspen/Snowmass
The CSCUSA President’s Award is presented to an individual who is a great partner to CSCUSA in its mission to promote skiing and snowboarding in Colorado. The 2014 President’s Award was presented to Lea Tucker, International Public Relations Manager for the Aspen Skiing Company.
“Lea embodies the best values of Colorado Ski Country USA”, said Melanie Mills, President and Chief Executive Officer of CSCUSA. “By generously sharing her considerable knowledge of international markets and journalists, Lea has helped us raise the profile of all ski resorts in Colorado. She is an incredible resource to me and my staff”.
In addition to her tireless work in making Aspen/Snowmass a signature destination for international travelers, Lea is active in the arts community in Aspen, enriching her community and generating goodwill between residents of Aspen and the ski resorts she represents so well.
Spencer Nelson All-Star Athlete of the Year
Ben Berend - Steamboat Springs Sports Club
Ben is an 18-year old Nordic Combined athlete with the Steamboat Springs Ski and Snowboard Club. Ben qualified #1 and was the highest ranking American at the World Junior Championships in Val de Feimme, Italy this past February. In addition, he has been nominated to the US Nordic Combined “B” Ski Team for the 2014/’15 season. “During the last dozen years I have had the pleasure of watching this young man grow up and I believe he represents the finest product our club, division, state and country has to offer”, said Todd Wilson, his coach. “He is a skillful, motivated, and determined young individual dedicated to the pursuit of excellence. Ben is able to make a real impact at high levels of competition or in any direction he sets his sights.”
Ski Patroller of the Year
Martinique “Marti” Prohaska, Telluride Ski Resort
Marti Prohaska is the first female supervisor on the Telluride Ski Patrol. She is the head of Telluride’s Patroller Development program and organizes weekly continuing education trainings, ensuring a very high level of technical ability and professionalism in Telluride’s Ski Patrol. “Marti is tireless in her efforts to achieve the highest standards for our patrol”, said Scott Clements, the director of Telluride Ski Patrol. “She continually strives to raise the ski level of our newer patrollers and does so in such an unintimidating way, that rapid and strong results are realized. The people she trains come away from her training sessions empowered and confident.”
Ski Instructor of the Year
Don Coleman, Copper Mountain Resort
Don Coleman is the general manager of Copper Mountain Resort’s Ski and Ride School. A veteran of the ski industry, Don was the director of instruction at Hidden Valley Ski Area in Estes Park, Colorado at age 20 before joining the staff at Copper. Recently, Don created an innovative new method of instruction for adult skiing and snowboarding lessons. Known as “Terrain Based Teaching”, Don designed specialized terrain features at Copper’s dedicated Learn to Ski Area, with specialized instruction that proved popular from the first day of the 2013-14 season. Adult enrollment in the Ski and Ride School increased 113%, the number of classes offered increased 101%, and Copper saw significant percentage increases in guests receiving instruction in their crucial first on-mountain experiences.
By creating a highly popular new method of teaching beginners, Don has raised the bar for effective skiing and snowboarding instruction and has developed an entire class of new, lifelong skiers and snowboarders.
Snowmaker of the Year
Ian Naudain – Eldora Mountain Resort
“Ian has worked four seasons making snow for Eldora Mountain Resort. He quickly learned the business and thanks to a great attitude, strong work ethic, and exceptional leadership qualities he rose to become a supervisor in just his second season”, said Chris Cipolletti, Snow Surfaces Manager at Eldora. “No matter how tough the weather or how difficult situations are, Ian always meets and exceeds expectations and keeps a level head. He is a valuable employee who continues to dive into as many aspects of the mountain’s operations as he can.”
Groomer of the Year
Napoleon Swyter – Keystone Resort
A ten-year veteran of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Napoleon started as a full time cat operator at Keystone, where he was voted as the rookie of the year. Napoleon also has grooming experience at Coronet Peak in New Zealand. “In 2013 Napoleon brought his experience and enthusiasm back to Keystone and is working like he never left”, said Pete Van Oosterhout, Trail Maintenance Supervisor for Keystone.
Terrain Master of the Year – Day Crew
Kelly “Parker” Glass – Aspen/Snowmass
Kelly graduated from his studies in 2001 and served in the US Army from 2001 to 2005 as a Cannoneer in Bamberg, Germany. He joined the Snowmass Park crew in 2011 and loves to be on the mountain. “Kelly strives to be an inspiration for other park crew members, and loves to make a difference”, said Yannick Rioux, Terrain Park Manager at Snowmass. “After three years of working on the day crew, fellow colleagues and supervisors have noticed his leadership among new staff and his growing passion and knowledge for the industry.”
Terrain Master of the Year- Night Crew
Chris Meyer – Telluride Ski Resort
Chris started as a Terrain Park Groomer with Telluride Ski Resort in 2005. He quickly demonstrated a level of skill, work ethic, and commitment to his position that allowed him to advance to Grooming Supervisor. Though Meyer was able to grow and enhance his skills as a Grooming Supervisor, his commitment, leadership, and creativity proved him to be more suitable for a Terrain Park Management position. “Because of Chris’s efforts as Terrain Park Manager, Telluride Terrain Parks have seen massive improvements in the areas of feature quantity, layout, creativity, and progression and have a beginner/intermediate park setup that has doubled in size over the course of just one year”, said John Kelly, Director of Resort Services at Telluride.
(photography by Larry Pierce, Steamboat Ski Resort)
2013/14 Ski Season Noted as Best Year for Colorado
Skier Visits Surge Past 12 Million Benchmark
Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) announced today at the association’s 51st Annual Meeting that statewide skier visits totaled an estimated 12.6 million for the 2013/14 ski season, thereby making it the best season on record in the state. This estimation shows Colorado being up more than 10 percent compared to last season and more than 8 percent compared to the five-year-average.
“Seeing our visitation punch through the 12.5 million level and best our prior mark demonstrates the vibrancy of Colorado’s ski industry and the passion of our resident and visiting skiers and snowboarders,” stated Melanie Mills, president & CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. “With two consecutive years of growth, momentum is certainly in our favor as our resorts continue to set the industry standard in terms of snow quality, skier safety and guest service.”
Colorado resorts outperformed the ski industry nationally, which saw the Pacific regions heavily impacted by drought. Colorado resorts also bested the growth rate of 6.4 percent in the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. where snow conditions were more comparably favorable.
“Owning 22 percent of the national skier market speaks volumes to the reputation of our state as the top ski destination. Visitors choose to come here because of what our resorts have to offer; superior skiing, easy access, resorts of every variety, and resort staff who provide unparalleled guest service,” said Mills.
CSCUSA’s 21 member resorts hosted an estimated 7.1 million skier visits during the 2013/14 ski season despite having faced challenges with skier traffic on state roadways and sensationalized media hype surrounding the new recreational marijuana law.
“From the start of the season Colorado was in the national spotlight as media focused on the snow and the legalization of marijuana. All eyes were on the ski industry as the two stories unfolded during the ski season,” explained Mills.
Abundant early season snowfall and ideal snowmaking conditions in the fall prompted an October 13, 2013 opening for Colorado’s ski season. As snowfall continued, some resorts opened earlier than planned and opened more terrain earlier than usual.
“By Thanksgiving the ski season was off on a brisk pace backed by excellent early season conditions,” said Mills. “We got the word out that Colorado had snow and prime winter conditions, and that helped set up a robust holiday visitation period.”
In January and February, snow storms continued and were widespread across the state. During this time several factors kept visitors engaged in skiing and snowboarding: ideal snow conditions, enjoyable winter temperatures, positive economic news and the Winter Olympics.
“A variety of things came together to fuel mid-season visits and the results had major ski weekends bustling with guests, particularly Martin Luther King and President’s Day,” commented Mills.
Snowfall continued well into spring and bolstered Easter visitation despite the unfavorable late calendar date of the holiday. Healthy conditions allowed many resorts to extend their season or add additional weekends to their operating schedule.
“Overall it was a very positive season, we’re encouraged by the numbers and are hopeful this momentum continues,” said Mills.
During the course of the 2013/14 season Colorado resorts highlighted the importance of skier safety, resorts’ top priority, in several ways including by participating in National Safety Awareness Month. Additionally, several CSCUSA resorts were recognized for their safety programs as recipients of the 2013/14 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Safety Awards including: Steamboat Ski Resort for Best Use of New/Social Media and Copper Mountain for Best Terrain Park Safety Program.
Skier visits are the metric used to track participation in skiing and snowboarding. A skier visit represents a person participating in the sport of skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort. These numbers are preliminary results and subject to final adjustments by CSCUSA members. The decision to release individual numbers is up to each individual resort.
Ski Country Easter Fun Fact #1: The Easter Bunny’s native habitat is on Colorado’s Continental Divide, not far from the Loveland Pass on US Highway 6. This weekend, the Easter Bunny ventured a few miles down the mountain in each direction to visit nearby ski areas Arapahoe Basin and Loveland. Here are some picturesque shots of the Bunny doing his thing at A-Basin:
Photos courtesy Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Ski Country Easter Fun Fact #2: The Easter Bunny is an elite snowboarder who shreds deep powder and big jumps. Here’s the Bunny showing off his impressive skills at Loveland:
Photos by Dustin Schaefer, Loveland Ski Area
Never in the history of Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) has the ski area re-opened the lifts for more skiing and riding once it has closed for the winter season. Given the great season and existing snow that still remains on the mountain on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, CBMR will open its operations on the Silver Queen lift to service intermediate and advanced skiing and riding for guests. Along with the re-opening, the resort is giving one more reason to celebrate: announcing 2014-2015 winter pass prices.
Every year, Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) recognizes the top achievers in the Colorado ski industry through the Snowmaker, Groomer, and Terrain Master of the Year awards. Below is a list of this year’s winners.