Young Guns 2007

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A religion major who hung with NBA stars, a park manager who fashions park features at his desk out of paperclips, and a marketing wizard who wants to bring the sex back to skiing. These are a few of SAM’s 15 future leaders--the next hot commodities in the ski industry. These are the individuals who are not only here to stay, but have already made an impact. They've turned ski areas around, created innovative marketing solutions and revamped resorts.

We're not saying these are the only people under 30 (or thereabouts; in the interest of full disclosure, a few of the following are 30 or 31) who will be around for the long term. Once we got people thinking about future leaders, we generated leads on at least 15 others. But this collection showcases the diversity of talent already percolating to the top at resorts across the continent.

Melissa Altman

Lodging Director
Tamarack Resort, Ida.

According to Craig Panarisi, recreation programs manager at Tamarack, Altman is "very sharp." Given the explosive expansion that Tamarack is experiencing, she’d better be. Altman, 30, oversees everything from ensuring that new lodging projects open for guests on time to making sure there are enough towels in the bathrooms. "She runs a very tight ship," adds Panarisi, "and in a startup company with curve balls coming at you all the time, her position would be a big job for anyone."

Dan Blood

Assistant General Manager
Devil’s Head, Wisc.

After stints in Vail, where he interned in grooming and snowmaking, and the University of New Mexico, where he received a degree in business, Blood, a Gogebic College alumnus, returned to his Wisconsin roots to work at Devil's Head. He's currently overseeing phase one of a luxury condo project and the opening of a new golf course. "I love fun," the 27-year old says of a career which allows him to have as much fun as he wants. "Fun is good."

John Paul Bradley

General Manager
Sipapu, N.M.

A product of Colorado Mountain College's ski management program, Bradley started at Sipapu four years ago. Professor Paul Rauschke of CMC calls him a natural leader, which helps explain how Bradley has made such a huge impact at Sipapu--more than doubling annual skier visits from a mere 10,000 per year when he came on board to more than 25,000 currently. "The ski area was nearly dead," notes one observer. "Now it is revived."

Jesse Boyd

General Manager
Jack Frost/Big Boulder, Pa.

If pedigree plays a role in the ski industry, then Boyd has the right ones in spades. The son of Tim Boyd, president of Peak Resorts, Jesse is in the process of transforming Big Boulder. The makeover includes converting half of the resort’s terrain to a park and pipe experience, with 30 custom jibs and a progression pipe, all aimed at creating an environment focused on learning and progression for skiers and snowboarders. When Tim Boyd was asked if Jesse was a "chip off the old block," he demurred. "Jesse wouldn’t say that," says Tim. While there’s no doubt that the younger Boyd has learned a lot from dad, there's also no question that he does things in his own style as he transforms the ski and snowboard experience at Big Boulder.

Kirstin Cattell

Communications Manager
Sierra-At-Tahoe, Calif.

With a degree in religion from Amherst and jobs for the Sacramento Kings of the NBA and Weidinger Public Relations (which counts Kirkwood and the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority as clients) already behind her, Cattell says that she's "in Tahoe to stay." She got her start in the ski business doing the snow report for Heavenly Valley at 5 a.m. every morning so she could score a season pass. It was one of four jobs she worked during a season of snowboarding and "trying to figure it out." Seven years later she still rides as much as possible and seems to have figured out plenty.

Isabelle Falardeau

Park Designer/Welder
Aspen/Snowmass

Fruit smoothie addict Falardeau has found a home in Aspen, where she's intimately involved in building features for one of the biggest events in skiing and snowboarding: the Winter X Games. But her passion doesn't stop with cold steel. "I love the snow," admits Falardeau. "I spend ten months of the year chasing it between Snowpark in New Zealand, Aspen and everywhere in between!"

Elia Hamilton

Mountain Manager
Mount Snow, Vt.

Hamilton got his start working on the Mount Snow terrain park crew but quickly assumed additional responsibilities, including oversight of Mount Snow's grooming and shuttle bus system. Hamilton's low-key attitude (he shuns the spotlight, says a peer) and "get things done" mentality are keys to his success, as is his creativity. "I make my prototypes (for park features) out of bent paper clips before they become welded steel," admits Hamilton. "My best ideas come while driving the snowcat around. I figure if it’s fun to drive it’s fun to ride. Then I go back to my desk and find a fresh paper clip."

Nick Herrin

Asst. Ski/ Snowboard School Director
Telluride, Colo.

A member of the PSIA demo team since he was 25, Herrin has, at 28, built an impressive resume. He began instructing at Big Sky, Mont., where he also worked in group sales and marketing in the off-season. After rising through the ranks to become a top choice for privates and running the training program, he moved to Telluride a year ago. "Nick has the intangibles you can't teach," says Bobby Murphy, VP of resort services. The intangibles allowed Herrin to prove to the longtime veterans in the ski and ride school that he belonged. Adds Murphy, "I look for people who are team players or who can build teams. I was also looking for somebody who was better than me. Nick challenges me to get better myself." Sounds like a born leader.

Allison Kohn

Groomer
Beaver Creek, Colo.

This Colorado resort likes to boast about its impeccably groomed runs, and for good reason. Laying velvet corduroy has garnered B.C. top rankings in ski magazines for years. Kohn, Beaver Creek's rookie groomer of the year for 2006, is one reason why the mountain keeps racking up the accolades. “I like being out on the hill doing things,” says Kohn. “The sunsets are amazing.” She admits that working in mountain ops is an unusual career path for a lady, but she doesn’t mind. “It’s never bothered me that sometimes I’m the only girl,” she says. “The guys are really good to me.” They better be; more and more women groomers like Allison are rising to the top of the talent pool.

Julian Lamarche

Park Manager
Keystone, Colo.

When top freeriding athlete Simon Dumont announced he was moving to Summit County to train last fall, most people assumed he would be skiing Breck. Wrong. Dumont and other big names flocked to Keystone’s Area 51 terrain park. This collection of rails, hits and pipe is the brainchild of Lamarche, who has been quietly transforming Keystone into one of Colorado’s freeriding Meccas, attracting pros (and wannabes) from around the world. Next year, though, they’ll have to travel a bit farther. Lamarche has followed former Keystone boss Chuck Tolton to Ping Tian, China, and will spend the winter helping develop that country’s newest megaresort.

Brad Larsen

Marketing Director
Snowshoe, W.V.

Marketing wiz Larsen got his start at Welch Village, Minn., and quickly made an impression by picking up two NSAA awards for marketing innovation and customer service during his tenure there in 2005. Twenty-nine year-old Larsen relocated to Snowshoe in September and has been in his current position since March. Energetic, creative and willing to rock the boat, he’s generally expected to make a huge impact at Snowshoe. “This sport is all about romance, adventure, and sex appeal,” Larsen has been quoted as saying. Keep your eyes open for how that combination plays out at Snowshoe in the coming years.

Ethan Mueller

Director of Operations
Crested Butte, Colo.

“I learned a lot at the dinner table,” admits Ethan Mueller, the son of long-time resort operators Tim and Diane, who operate Okemo, Vt., and Sunapee, N.H., as well as Crested Butte. Ethan also has less happy childhood memories: “Ski trips were a necessity,” he grouses. “I had to go to all these cool places.” Tough childhood aside, the hard-working Mueller brings a deep passion for the industry to Crested Butte, as well as experience beyond his years. “I started working in the industry when I was 11,” he says. Look for Mueller to beef up Crested Butte’s park as well as take a leadership role in the development of Snodgrass Mountain and the North Village. “We have an opportunity here to look at everything everyone else has done in the industry,” says Mueller, “and then pick and choose what works best and do it better. It’s a cool position to be in.”

Laura Schaffer

Director of Public Relations
Snowbird, Utah

“There’s nothing like having a ski rack in your office and a tram right outside your door,” says Schaffer. She set her sights on the ’Bird while still in high school, moving to Utah as soon as she graduated from college. After working for the Salt Lake City Olympic Organizing Committee as a photo editor and acting as a media liaison during the speed events at Snowbasin, Schaffer took a seasonal position as a communications coordinator at Snowbird in 2002. She’s now the director of public relations. “She has a lot of respect from everyone she works with,” says Adam Barker, marketing and media manager for Ski Salt Lake. “Plus, she’s a ripping skier.”

Brian Scheid

Owner
High Peaks Chairlift Painting

Another product of Gogebic, Scheid got his start when an employer ran out of cash and he worked a deal to get paid in painting equipment. A mass e-mail to NSAA members was the next step; he picked up several jobs and he hasn’t looked back since. To staff the business, Scheid recruits Gogebic students each summer, who spend their time working at resorts like Big Sky, Mont. Scheid has also worked as a rental tech and snowmaker/groomer, lift supervisor, kitchen help, and has built terrain parks and pipes at Tyrol Basin, Wisc., his “off-season” employer. “I like working for myself, and don’t mind working for someone else in the winter. But I want to stay self-employed as long as I can. Working as an independent is my cup of tea.”

Marilyne Tremblay

Adjointe, Opération (assistant to the operations manager)
Le Massif, Que.

A graduate of Georgian College, Ontario’s ski resort operations program, Tremblay got her start as a snowboard instructor at Edelweiss Valley in Wakefield, Vt. “It’s where I decided to develop a career in the industry,” she says. Tremblay, who has been at Le Massif since the 2004-05 season, has the aplomb it takes to go face to face with the unionized staff of Le Massif, as well as to lead by example. Rob Butler, a former professor, describes her as a top student who “is not afraid of getting her hands dirty.” Which is exactly what she’s doing, working her current job while also pursuing a certificate degree in environmental sciences. “My goal is to combine my knowledge of operations with my interest in environmental sciences to find ways to improve the track record of our industry,” says Tremblay