Last Thursday 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.