Conway, N.H. (June 19, 2018)—Ski New Hampshire’s Annual Conference and Trade Show, held on June 11-12 at the Omni Mount Washington Resort, is an event that brings together the association’s ski area members, industry suppliers, and speakers for networking and educational sessions. The event also includes an awards dinner each year to honor exemplary people who have made invaluable contributions to New Hampshire’s ski industry. This year’s awards recipients included Bebe Wood, Selden Hannah, Jim Rodrigues, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 1999 to recognize a member of the New Hampshire ski industry who has devoted a large part of his/her professional career to furthering the NH ski area experience for our guests; this could be in one or more of several areas, including operations, marketing, guest service and more. Past recipients of the Ski NH Lifetime Achievement Award include Phil Gravink, David Buckman, and Bill Roy, among others.
This year’s recipient was Bebe Wood, a longtime member of the Ragged Mountain Resort community. Wood and her siblings taught themselves to ski at a golf course near to their home in Marblehead, Massachusetts in the 1930s, before traveling to Cranmore Mountain Resort on family vacations. She eventually moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, and became a pioneer of the ski bum culture. She was also featured as a model in Life Magazine in 1950 for an article about skiing. In the early 1960s, she and her husband moved to Bristol, New Hampshire, and in 1965, she was made the Director of the Junior Program at Ragged Mountain Resort when it first opened. Wood also served as the head of the courtesy patrol until her retirement, but continues to be a mountain host on the weekends. The Bebe Wood Free Learn to Ski and Ride Program at Ragged Mountain Resort is named in her honor, and has introduced nearly 2,000 people to the sport of skiing since its inception just two years ago. Upon receiving her award, which was presented by the resort’s General Manager, Ryan Schramm, Wood had just one thing to say: “Everyone in New Hampshire should learn to ski.”
The H.H. “Bill” Whitney Award was established in the mid 1970's by Betty Whitney in memory of her husband, to recognize an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the ski and snowboard industry in New Hampshire. He owned and operated Black Mountain Ski Area in Jackson, the oldest ski area in NH, as well as the slopeside inn that today still bears his name. He was active in all aspects of skiing and ski area operation. By attaching shovel handles to one of the original ski tows behind his inn, he created one of the first overhead ski lifts in the East. He was one of the founders and the first president of the New Hampshire Ski Area Operators Association (the organization that preceded Ski NH). These were some of the many contributions that made him instrumental in shaping the future of the ski industry in New Hampshire. Some past recipients of the Whitney Award include Sam Hall, Thad Thorne, Warren Pearson, Herb Boynton, Bob Fries, Werner Wagner, Stan Judge, Bill Currier, Phil Gravink, Dev Jennings, Herb Schneider, Carroll Reed, Tom Corcoran and Governor John Sununu.
The 2018 recipient was Selden Hannah for his commitment to safety within the industry. Hannah has been on the frontline of ski lift safety for more than 45 years. He began his engineering career with the U.S. Navy Civil Engineering Corps. After an 11-year stint as the head of the Mountain Engineering Division of Dufresne Henry, Inc., he joined Willis of New Hampshire as the Vice President of Engineering. In this role, Hannah was responsible for loss prevention for the ski industry through the MountainGuard insurance plan. He has served as the Chairman of the full ANSI B77.1 Committee, Chairman of the fixed grip subcommittee, and remains an active member today. Hannah has been an appointed member of the New Hampshire Aerial Tramway Safety Board for more than 25 years and currently serves as chairman. His award was presented by Chris Ellms, Director of Ski Operations for the Bretton Woods Ski Area.
The Al Merrill Award was established in memory of Al Merrill to recognize an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to cross country skiing in the state of New Hampshire. Al Merrill, the "Silver Fox", was Dartmouth College's cross country ski coach and Director of Outdoor Affairs for close to thirty years. He was a key organizer for many national and Olympic racing events in the 1970's and '80's. A wizard of ski and wax, on duty at eight Winter Olympics, designer of ski trails across the country, coach and "Head Tigah" for countless athletes. Al was the dean of cross-country skiing at Dartmouth College, and was instrumental in shaping the future of the cross country ski industry in New Hampshire. Past recipients of the Merrill Award include Chuck Broomhall, Cory Schwartz, Cami Thompson-Cardinelli, Len Johnson, Dave Matthews, Jim Wellinghurst, John & Nancy Schlosser, Al & Irene Jenks and Thom Perkins.
This year’s recipient is Jim Rodrigues. From 1895 to 1992, Rodrigues was the Cross-Country Ski Director for Temple Mountain in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Starting in 1989, he also coached the Milford High School Nordic team to five state championships, and also became a FIS Technical Delegate who has officiated 136 USSA and FIS races to date. Rodrigues served as the Event Director of the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) from 2002 through 2014. He is currently the Chief of Competition at Lake Placid for cross-country events, and the USSA Eastern Officials Coordinator. His award was presented by Amber Freeman, the Youth Program Director for NENSA.
The Chandler/McLane Government Service Award, previously called the Legislator of the Year Award, was established in 2000 to recognize a member of the New Hampshire Legislature who has worked hard in serving the people of New Hampshire, has kept people informed as to what is happening in the process and any potential impacts, and has been a key player on issues that are important to the ski industry and to tourism in general. Past recipients of the Ski NH Legislator of the Year Award include Senator Bev Hollingworth, Senator Carl Johnson, Senator Tom Eaton, Representative Gene Chandler, Representative Henry Mock, Representative Martha McLeod and U.S. Congressman Jeb Bradley.
The award was renamed for 2018 to honor two prominent and influential families that have served diligently in New Hampshire.
The 2018 recipient is Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster. Given the new name of this award, it is rather fitting that the honoree of Ski New Hampshire’s first Chandler/McLane Government Service Award is being presented to Congresswoman Annie McLane Kuster, Senator Susan McLane’s daughter. Congresswoman Kuster is in her third term representing NH’s second congressional district and is carrying on the strong McLane history of supporting New Hampshire’s ski industry. As a child, Congresswoman Kuster grew up skiing at Wildcat Mountain and then went on to race for the Dartmouth College Women’s Ski Team. In Congress, she has re-established the Ski and Snowboard Caucus to bring recognition to the ski industry’s importance across the country. Additionally, Congresswoman Kuster has co-sponsored the “Ski Fee Retention Act of 2018”, which will allow regional offices of the US Forest Service to retain a percentage of fees paid by ski areas operating on Forest Service lands so that the review and approval process for ski area permits may be facilitated in a more expeditious manner. It should also be noted that prior to Congresswoman Kuster’s service in Congress, she was an early and active participant in several of Ski NH’s Legislative Ski Days in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Her award was presented by New Hampshire Speaker of the House and former Legislator of the Year Award recipient, Gene Chandler.
Ski New Hampshire is the statewide association representing 34 alpine and cross-country resorts in New Hampshire. For more information on ski areas, trail conditions, vacation planning, and updated winter events at Ski New Hampshire resorts, visit SkiNH.com. For statewide travel info, go to VisitNH.gov.
Karolyn Castaldo, Communications & Marketing Manager
603.745.9396x205 | Karolyn@SkiNH.com