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SAM Magazine—Lakewood, Colo., April 30, 2019—The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has launched the Mountain Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to providing educational opportunities to the next generation of snowsports industry leaders. The foundation will award grants to ski industry employees so they can experience educational opportunities with the goal of furthering their careers.NSAA

“Empowering our staff to get out and meet their peers at conferences and seminars is crucial to developing their careers,” said NSAA president and CEO Kelly Pawlak. “What better way for our future leaders to spend time with industry experts who can teach, mentor, and inspire them than at these educational events?”

Blaise Carrig, former chairman of the NSAA board of directors and senior advisor for Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division, spearheaded the creation of the foundation. Carrig was a member of the NSAA board when he shared a story of how attending an NSAA educational event early in his career opened the door to possibilities in the industry. His experience there was influential in solidifying his career path.

“I was lucky someone gave me the opportunity to attend the NSAA annual conference when I was just getting started in the ski business,” Carrig said. “I made personal connections that were inspirational to my career and leadership journey.”

Carrig and his wife Leslie kick started the fund by pledging $50,000 to the Mountain Foundation. Their generous donation will allow NSAA to begin awarding grants to applicants as early as summer 2019.

“Leslie and I want to give back to the industry by helping provide other ‘up-and-comers’ the opportunity to help them grow into the future leaders of snowsports,” he said.

Starting May 1, employees of NSAA’s ski area, affiliate, and associate members will be able to apply to attend educational events including the NSAA National Convention and winter conferences, lift and vehicle maintenance conferences, and select regional ski association events. An application form and a full list of approved events, application deadlines, and disbursement information can be found on the NSAA website.

To make a donation to the Mountain Foundation, please visit