SAM Magazine–Woodbury, Conn., April 13, 2004–Ski Area Management Magazine (SAM) is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the SAMMY Future Leadership Awards. The awards, now in their seventh year, honor those in the wintersports industry whose strong innovative leadership demonstrated at mid-career shows exciting promise for even more accomplishments and leadership in the future. It is these people who will shape our future:
Jeff Boliba, Global Resort Manager for Burton Snowboards and North American sales manager for Anon and RED: Jeff Boliba grew up in southern California on a skateboard, a love he brought to snow in 1986 when he first tried snowboarding. After graduating from high school in 1989, he spent a winter at Brighton, Utah, before heading to San Jose State University in California. But the mountains called again so Boliba spent his senior year at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., where he cemented his future in wintersports.In 1996, Boliba joined the Park City Mountain Resort team to help the area get ready for the 2002 Olympics. In 2000, Boliba joined the Burton team and has not looked back.Boliba was brought to Burton to develop the learn-to-ride (LTR) and resort programs, a concept that partners resorts with the company in creating new snowboarders. Through innovative equipment and teaching methods, Burton has helped resorts convert first-timers into lifelong enthusiasts at a rate that far exceeds the industry norm–much of this due to Boliba’s hard work. Boliba has since brought these programs worldwide.In addition, Boliba has also worked with industry in developing the Smart Style terrain park safety program and is a key component to the Cutter’s Camp program put on by SAM and Timberline.
Russ Coloton, president, Hunter Mountain, N.Y.: Coloton, a native of Jewett, N.Y., grew up around Hunter Mountain and joined the area in 1979. Until the 90’s, Coloton worked his way up through the ranks at the family-owned area. Once at the helm, Coloton led the ski area through a capital improvement program that has made Hunter Mountain an industry example.Under Coloton, Hunter Mountain was one of the first resorts to not only recognize the importance of enhancing the beginner experience, but actually acted on it with its innovative Learning Center and surrounding learning terrain. For a resort that is located 2 hours from New York City, getting rid of a parking lot in favor of expanded teaching terrain is a major step forward in the industry-wide initiative to attract and retain more sliders.And Coloton is not done. Hunter will be embarking on its second phase with an upscale quarter-share project designed to make Hunter more of a destination.
Lucy Kay, Vice President of Marketing for Breckenridge and Keystone Resorts: Kay started her winter sports marketing career at Copper Mountain, as director of marketing and personnel director. She went on to direct marketing and international sales for Breckenridge under Ralston Resorts, as well as under Victoria Ltd (Japanese) ownership.Early on, Kay recognized the importance of events in her marketing efforts and has organized everything from World Cups, Grand Prixs and Triple Crowns at Breckenridge. In fact, Kay dropped the World Cup Freestyle event in favor of snowboarding events like Van’s and the Grand Prix at a time when no-one knew how popular they would become.After taking over additional marketing responsibilities at Keystone this past fall, she led a strategy that turned a ten-month decline in web hits to a four-resort gain in just two months. She was also instrumental in bringing what might be the next big event to Keystone: The NextSnow Search competition, put on by Snow Monsters and Sports Illustrated for Kids. The event showcases young talent, get guests excited about the resorts and and leverages marketing dollars. Kay is also a great team leader and builder of future industry leaders in marketing.
Doug Perry, president of W1, organizer of the WWorld Ski and Snowboard Festival at Whistler Resort: Perry has worked in the industry since he was 16, starting out as an instructor and coach at Whistler. Perry was one of the youngest skiers ever to achieve Level 4 certification and Level 4 Senior Examiner status with the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance. Perry also worked with Salomon Japan and the TV series Ski Now, which is where he picked up the idea of staging a World Technical Skiing Championships at Blackcomb Mountain in 1994.In 1996, Perry expanded the concept and founded the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (now sponsored by Telus), which put Whistler on the map and in the black in mid-April. The Festival has grown and currently drives a $20 million impact on the resort. This spring event is a grand celebration of music, arts and sports and brings the entire community together in a way other resorts can only envy. Indeed, Perry was awarded businessperson of the year by the Whister Chamber of Commerce for his efforts.Outside of the Festival, Perry’s company W1 has staged 250 concerts and produced television specials for distribution in over 100 countries.
SAMMY winners are nominated by industry peers and chosen by an industry committee.