2005 SAMMY Winners

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Jon Mahanna :: General Manager :: Angel Fire Resort, N.M.


Jon Mahanna started his career at age 14 as a ski instructor at Bousquet, Mass. After serving in the Air Force, Mahanna became a freestyle pioneer. As a member of the International Freestyle Skiers’ Association he was one of the first to perform inverted aerials. He traded this life for his first real industry position as assistant ski school director at Bousquet. He subsequently served as ski school director, operations manager and then GM at Dodge Ridge, Calif., and director of resort operations at Big Bear, Calif. He joined Angel Fire five years ago as director of mountain ops before ascending to his current position.

Under Mahanna’s leadership, Angel Fire has evolved from a ski mountain to a year-round family destination with a complete snowsport facility, including the state’s first halfpipe and several terrain parks. He has pursued these goals through improved internal and external communication and by fostering an enthusiastic working environment. All this has earned the respect of the Resort employees, the community at large and his industry peers.


Carla Marcus :: Executive Director:: WinterKids


Carla Marcus has been looking out for the welfare of young Americans for more than 20 years. She is the founder and executive director of WinterKids, a pioneering educational organization she formed in 2000 to help kids develop healthy lifestyles by becoming lifelong skiers and outdoor winter enthusiasts. Thanks to WinterKids, she has made presentations nationally on youth skier development initiatives and on the relationship between children’s health and outdoor winter activity. She is also a member of the Maine Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Health, and is chair of the Maine Key Advisory Council for Coordinated School Health Programs.

Carla began her ski industry career in 1982 as a ski patroller at Sugarloaf/ USA. In 1992 she founded the Sugarloaf Safety Patrol. This 40-member team promotes on-snow safety throughout the resort—from the slopes to the lodge and even the shuttle buses. Education is in her blood.


Jay Roberts :: Mountain Operations Director :: Wintergreen Resort, Virginia


Jay Roberts has spent his entire career at Wintergreen. He learned to ski at Beech Mountain, N.C., at age 5, near his birthplace in Boone. But he grew up in Virginia, and he started working at age 15 at Wintergreen during the 1985-86 season as a ski patroller. In the 20 years since then he has held a variety of staff and supervisory positions, from mountain host and snowmaker to ski patrol director and property manager. Along the way, he oversaw the automation of the area’s York snowmaking system, the replacement of two triple chairs with detachable six-packs, and developed a series of year-round adventure programs that are crucial to Wintergreen’s thriving real estate business.

His guiding principle on the job is to manage with creativity, flexibility and integrity. And given the unpredictable nature of the winter sports business, it’s not surprising that his favorite quote is, “Assumption is the mother of all screw ups. Trust in god, but tie your camel.”


Bill Rock :: General Manager :: Durango Mountain Resort, Colorado


Bill Rock has climbed the executive ranks the old-fashioned way: he’s earned it. A former platoon leader in the U.S. Army Rangers, he entered the ski industry in 1996-1997 at Bristol Mountain, N.Y., as the director of marketing. There Bill experienced nearly every aspect of resort operations, including what it means to be the manager on duty every night of the week. Bill’s work ethic and leadership skills led him to Intrawest as director of sales at Stratton Mountain in 1998. During his five-year hitch, Bill took on additional responsibilities, eventually leading the lodging, call center, sales, human resources, golf and other departments.

In 2003, at age 38, he became COO/GM at Purgatory/ Durango Mountain Resort, where he is widely lauded for raising morale (and visits) in the past two years. He credits his mentors for helping him learn the business and giving him opportunities to succeed. They, in turn, praise his energy, leadership, and can-do attitude.