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July 2011

20 Under 30 :: 2011

Here's a look at young industry employees who are making their mark.
Written by Staff | 0 comment

About five years ago, there was a general feeling among top managers that the resort industry faced a looming succession shortage. Guys (and it was mostly guys) looked around after 25, 30, or 40 years of running their resorts and they didn't see many folks capable of replacing themselves when they retired.

Now, some of that was surely ego; we're talking about Boomers, after all. But in fact, the industry had not done a good job of identifying the next generation of leaders.

We at SAM had been highlighting young(er) leaders through our annual SAMMY awards-this year was the 13th for the program. But we realized that we could do more to expose future leaders to a wider audience.

In visiting resorts, attending events and generally being out and about, we knew there were talented young people making their way in the industry. So in 2005, we launched the Top 10 Under 30 (ish), a call to the industry to tell us about its brightest young stars. Nominations trickled in that first year, but the following year we received triple the amount of nominations, and this year the submissions increased even more. It's become so popular, in fact, we decided to expand the list to 20 outstanding individuals.

To challenge their ingenuity, we asked this year's group to describe themselves in six-word bios. The answers are insightful, funny, inspirational and, above all, illustrate the devoted passion these young folks have for the mountain resort industry.

And we also decided to get you, the readers, involved. We want you to weigh in on this impressive group. SAM and NSAA have teamed up to give the winner free registration and accommodation to the NSAA conference in May 2012 and a lifetime subscription to SAM. Everyone who votes will be entered in a raffle to win a Skull Candy 50/50 headset and a SAM beanie.

We also invite you to tell us about your own rising stars. It's a great way to recognize and inspire them. And they may just work their way into the next SAM celebration of Young Guns.

- The Editors

Ethan Austin
Ethan Austin, 29
Communications Manager
Sugarloaf, Maine
Six-word bio: “PR guy, photographer, writer, skier, Sugarloafer.”
Poised, articulate and tuned into modern communications, Austin expertly managed a communications crisis when worldwide news of a chairlift derailment put him in the hot seat.

Josh Bean, 30
Assistant Mountain Manager
Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, Nev.
Six-word bio: “If you love it, do it.”
It’s been said if you water a garden, it will grow. Josh Bean literally started his career watering the grass at the ski area, and his career’s been growing ever since.

Aimee Braxmeier

Aimee Braxmeier, 24
Lift Supervisor Stratton, Vt.
Six-word bio: “All for the love of winter.”
Enthusiasm for winter sunrises, the patience required to handle tricky projects, earning and showing respect—these qualities have put Braxmeier on the fast track.

Doug Burnett

Doug Burnett, 30
Roundhouse Lodge Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.
Six word bio: “Enjoying life, wine and great food”
With an office at the top of the world and a staff of more than 100, Doug Burnett ensures Whistler’s guests are fed and happy on the mountain all year long.

Adam Bibliw

Adam Bybliw, 29
Environmental Manager
Vail Resorts, Colo.
Six-word bio: “I’m only staying for one season.”
This environmental manager dedicates his energy to saving Vail’s, bringing a passion and positive attitude that has caught the eye of Vail’s big bosses.

Katie Cerovski
Katie Cerovski, 21
Lift Operations Manager
Red Lodge, Mont.
Six-word bio: “Colorful, cheerful, determined, dedicated, fun, snowboarder.”
At 20, Cerovski stepped into her current position in mid-winter, and revitalized Red Lodge’s lift operations department with her smile, work ethic, and passion for the industry.

Robert Chacon
Robert Chacon, 28
Assistant Director of Mountain Operations
Mountain High, Calif.
Six-word bio: “A neck tie = dog leash”
A powderhound and seasoned patroller, Chacon is skyrocketing up the ranks at Mountain High, with an eye for efficiencies and a ready ear when people need it.

Dylan Goodspeed
Dylan Goodspeed, 28
Area Manager
Whaleback, N.H.
Six-word bio: “Put it all on the line.”
Goodspeed turned a passion for skateboarding into a position where he oversees all aspects of Whaleback’s mountain operations and is also part owner of the resort.

Kathy Hall

Kathy Hall, 28
Operations Staff
Beaver Valley, Ontario
Six-word bio: “Fresh snow, humming lifts, happy faces.”
A Jill of all trades, Hall has done trail maintenance and been a rental manager, patroller, snowmaker, and currently, lift mechanic.

Ben Haugan

Ben Haugan, 28
Chief of Operations
Showdown Mont.
Six-word bio: “Skiing, fishing, dancing, family and friends!”
An economics major who chose tie-dyed shirts and 5 a.m. snow reports over big-city living and a 9-to-5 job, Haugan is out to get Montanans moving in the winter.

Eliot Jones

Eliot Jones, 28
Assistant Mountain Manager
China Peak,Calif.
Six-word bio: “Love life. Enjoy people. Seek adventure.”
Über local Eliot Jones returned to his childhood hill where he has put his knowledge of mini-booters and his love of on-snow events to good use.

Mat Joyce

Mat Joyce, 29
Rental Manager Northstar-at-Tahoe, Calif.
Six-word bio: “Not there yet…not done yet.”
This shop rat with an eye for logistics has revamped how Northstar handles rental customers, particularly never-evers, and created a model for others to follow.

Maya Lengerich

Maya Lengerich, 26
Mountain Ops and Human Resources
Angel Fire Resort, N.M.
Six-word bio: “Discovering exciting opportunities in the mountains.”
Lengerich is a fast-climbing go-getter at Angel Fire Resort where she brings a love of the industry, and a reliable sense of urgency, to every new role she tackles.

Kevin Maughan

Kevin Maughan, 28
Resort Services Manager
Telluride. Colo.
Six-word bio: “Kansas boy, living dream, I’m staying.”
Landing in Telluride was an accident, but Maughan’s success has been based on hard work, creative thinking, and an award-winning personality.

Halley OBrien

Halley O’Brien, 25
Media Professional
Mountain Creek, N.J.
Six-word bio: “Family, friends, passion = recipe for success.”
Mountain Creek’s Halley O’Brien is a tour-de-force of personality who has helped this small, New Jersey-based resort achieve one of the most-trafficked social media profiles on the East Coast in just two short years.

Carl Patten

Carl Patten, 30
Supervisor, outdoor operations
Kelso and Glen Eden, Ontario
Six-word bio: “No problem. We’ll make it happen.”
An all-round operations whiz, Patten has helped this small Canadian resort stay on course and on-budget in Ontario’s competitive regional resort market, all while earning the respect and loyalty of his team.

Katherine Rockwell

Katherine Rockwell, 28
Manager, Ski and Snowboard School
Pico, Vt.
Six-word bio: “15 years later, feet still cold.”
Born into her ski school role at Pico, Rockwell is a fast-rising snow school star with a genuine passion for creating great guest experiences.

Chris Rudolph
Chris Rudolph, 30
Director of Marketing
Stevens Pass, Wash. S
Six-word bio: “Wandering amongst mountains, stumbled upon purpose.”
A seasoned backcountry skier and pro-wrangler for high-profile video shoots, Rudolph has won two NSAA marketing awards and been recognized as one of the 100 people who define Seattle’s vibrant urban culture.

Jacob Treadwell

Jacob Treadwell, 27
Director of Competition and Events
Sunday River Resort, Maine
Six-word bio: “Work hard. Play hard. No regrets.”
An events prodigy with a need for speed, Treadwell brings natural leadership and a Masters in Sports Management to Sunday River’s jam-packed events department.

travis weber
Travis Weber, 26
Director of Sales
Taos, N.M.
Six-word bio: “Endless winter, endless life, what else?”
Road warrior Weber has faced the flats of Texas and the desert wastelands of Arizona as he rounds up new skiers and snowboarders for Taos.