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Congratulation Leah Parkes from Craigleith, winner of the 2021 Rise Up Challenge 


SAM Magazine—Barrie, Ont., Aug. 10, 2021—The lift maintenance team from Ontario’s Craigleith Ski Club and its featured up-and-coming lift mechanic Leah Parkes won the inaugural Rise Up Challenge sponsored by Leitner-Poma of America, garnering nearly 1,000 of the more than 4,000 total votes cast in the contest.Parkes and the Craigleith team will be awarded a $3,500 education grant.

“Congratulations Leah and everyone at Craigleith for a job well-done,” said Leitner-Poma of America president Daren Cole. “It was wonderful to see the stories and passion shared by all of the contestants and to be able to shine a light on these incredible people that keep the lifts running at resorts across North America. Thank you all for your hard work and commitment.”

Parkes is the first female Class A lift mechanic in Ontario. "Leah is constantly proving that she can handle herself in a typically male dominated field,” said one of her nominators, “and is always looking for training opportunities to better her skills."

The Rise Up Challenge showcased six lift maintenance teams—and an up-and-comer from each team—from resorts across North America: Craigleith Ski Club, Ont.; Hunter Mountain, N.Y.; Jack Frost, Pa.; Purgatory, Colo.; Snowbasin, Utah; and Taos, N.M.

The two-week voting period concluded Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021.

Each resort created a compelling video showcasing their lift maintenance teams’ personalities, camaraderie, and dedication to their jobs, each with a spotlight on one of their up-and-coming lift mechanics. Teams were vying for a $3,500 education grant provided by Leitner-Poma of America to help them continue and flourish in this career path. 





Craigleith Ski Club, Ont., up-and-comer: Leah Parkes


"Leah is constantly proving that she can handle herself in a typically male dominated field. Leah is the first female Class A mechanic in Ontario and is always looking for training opportunities to better her skills."







Hunter Mountain, N.Y., up-and-comer: Brady Pickett


"Brady may only be 19 years old, but he has the insight of three generations of Picketts, all of which worked at Hunter. Brady has the experience of working with seasoned mechanics and inspires the current young, enthusiastic team."







Jack Frost, Pa., up-and-comer: Kelly Wasco


"In 2020, Kelly was offered a FTYR position as lift mechanic and she has been pedal to the metal ever since. An avid climber, carrier maintenance specialist, line work enthusiast, and sheave train rebuilding machine. There is no job too big or too small for Kelly!"







Purgatory, Colo., up-and-comer: Zach Martinez


"Zach started as a Lift Attendant and quickly rose through the ranks, currently working as a Lift Mechanic II. He is an integral part of the new generation of Lift Mechanics and a strong mentor to the younger mechanics and lift operators. He teaches them the skills they need to know, and his dedication to the mountain and passion for the job is contagious."







Snowbasin, Utah, up-and-comer: Robby Fullmer


"Robby has always been a guy who likes to tear things apart, learn the interworkings, get his hands dirty, and solve problems. He has been a quick learner and just three years into his lift mechanic journey he has become a crew lead. He eagerly looks for ways to better the department and the procedures with his forward thinking."







Taos Ski Valley, N.M., up-and-comer: Eric Barela


"Eric is the picture of an up-and-coming lift mechanic in the industry. He not only displays a quick aptitude for the mechanics of ski lifts, but also has the day-in, day-out work ethic to lead by example."




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"A resort's lift infrastructure is truly the lifeblood and foundation for all operations and a cornerstone of customer experience and satisfaction. As a supplier, we are committed to helping the industry foster and develop the absolute best technicians possible to support this infrastructure. This program has been long overdue in recognizing the best of the best."

- Daren Cole, President, Leitner-Poma of America