Jeff Boliba, Burton Vice President Global Resorts, 2004 SAMMY Winner
Where you were in your career when youwon a SAMMY, and big moments since?
At that moment in time in 2004 I had come from a resort background having already worked at Brighton, Park City, and Purgatory resorts, and then been at Burton for four years. We were about to have our third child later in this year and kid’s snowboarding product and program development was top of mind for me.
At the time, the product, programs, gear and tools were not good for teaching snowboarding. Many days of on-snow testing at Stowe with the kids, many days inside the Jay Peak Children’s Center indoor ramp, and at home carpet testing with my kids helped us advance all facets of kids snowboarding.
Some big moments for me since winning a SAMMY:
2005: First ever Burton Progression Park launched at Loon Mountain and Northstar with Snow Park Technologies
2006: Developed the first ever Stash run with Northstar and Snow Park Technologies
2007: Taught Natalie Morales to snowboard live on the “Today Show” in Rockefeller Center on a scaffolding slope set up
2008: Launch of the Burton Snowboard Academy Terrain Based Learning Center
2008: Helped Taos Resort plan and execute a successful transition to snowboarding
2009: Burton “Riglet Reel” teaching tool product is brought to market
2010: First Kids Riglet Snowboarding Park built at Whistler as Olympic media event
2011: Mtn Creek Terrain Based Learning high volume project with Joe Hession
2012: The Burton “Star Wars Experience,” Yoda’s Riglet Park opens at Sierra-at-Tahoe
2013: First ever indoor PE Riglet Snowboarding event ran at Allen Brook School, Vt.
2014: Burton “Hover Cover” and “Dual Pull Handle” indoor teaching tools released
2015: ECHO Science Center and Burton “Stoked About Science and Riglet Snowboarding” interactive exhibit
2016: First ever varsity Vermont State Champions, boys volleyball head coach
Best day/worst day/most memorable in the business?
Best day: On January 17, 2010 when we were at Park City Resort and we got to ride the chairlift together as a family for this first time ever! Chloe was 5, Jacob was 8 and Jeffrey was 11. It was a great feeling being able to take the chairlift together as a family and then ride around the resort in fresh snow.
Worst day: On January 14, 2015 I was working with the Killington Snowsports School staff and we had just got done hosting a great indoor PE snowboarding session at the Woodstock Elementary School. On our way back to Killington I got call that my Mom had passed away suddenly. She was instrumental in helping me afford lift tickets and snowboarding gear when I was in high school, and truly helped me go after this passion with snowboarding and resorts.
Most memorable: In December of 2002 at Copper Mountain we had our Burton winter sales [meeting]. One of our professional riders, Craig Kelly, was at our meeting and was taking groups riding on the mountain. Craig was a true pioneer for the sport and it was a thrill to ride with him.
Who was/is a memorable mentor?
John Rice [Sierra-at-Tahoe GM] is someone who I consider a great friend and mentor. He has helped me both in the industry as well as with my multiple sport coaching efforts. He is amazing and I thank him for his time spent with me over the past 15 years.
Did you ever almost leave the industry, and why?
Why did you stay?
If you could work in another industry doing something completely different, what would it be?
Probably coaching a sport or teaching.
When was the last time you actually purchased a lift ticket?
It has been a long time since I have purchased a lift ticket. I purchase my family season passes at Stowe every year though.
How many days do you go without washing your ski / snowboard socks?
Only sometimes when I am travelling and I did not bring enough pairs do I have to wear socks more than once without washing. I really enjoy fresh socks to keep my feet warm and dry all day long so I can ride or work all day on the mountain.
What’s the last thing you searched in Google?
The Alburg / Noyan Border crossing. It is a sneaky alternative to the Montreal border crossing. I am flying out of Montreal tonight and needed to plug the address for it into my phone.
Thai Curry and good wine.
Where do you keep your SAMMY award?
It is proudly placed in my office right when you walk in on the shelf near the door.
Thoughts on the future?
· There is great opportunity for resorts to go after young, soon-to-be-snowboarding kids that have snowboarding parents who can’t wait to introduce them to the sport. Through our Riglet Snowboarding program we have found a lot of snowboarding parents that dropped out for a bit when life got busy with work and building a family. Seeing their child being pulled on a Riglet board at either a school, city activation, or a resort inspires them to get back to the resort and snowboarding. Snowboarding families are going to help us start replacing all of the baby boomers that are exiting snowsports.
· My Resort Team and the Burton Product Team will continue to innovate amazing products and develop creative programs that will help resort snowboarding thrive in the future.
· Talk to me in December when we launch one of our new innovative products. It is going to be a game changer.
My wife Amanda and three kids Jeffrey (17), Jacob (14), Chloe (11) are very important to me and a true part of my identity.
I am lucky with my job that I get to sell products and programs that I truly believe in and know will help resorts. Then to be able to collaborate and partner with our resorts to help them innovate and progress resort snowboarding is all time.
A lot of people just call me coach and that probably describes me pretty well. By coaching my kids and being involved with three sports, I have been able to apply learnings from all of them to continue to get better and bring those learnings to Burton and our partner resorts.