Colorado Ski Country Announces Awards Winners

DENVER, CO — April 20, 2004…Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) announces the winners of four awards for excellent service and dedication to the Colorado ski industry.

Longtime Aspen Highlands employee, Don Robinson of was named as the first ever CSCUSA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner for his significant contributions made to the Colorado ski industry in the last 45 years. Dave Mastrobuono of Breckenridge was recognized as the 2003-2004 Slope Groomer of the Year, David Leffler of Breckenridge was recognized as the 2003-2004 Snowmaker of the Year and John Asta of Steamboat was awarded the 2003-2004 Terrain Master of the Year. (See more information on the individual winners below.)

“We are very happy to honor these individuals who make such a difference behind the scenes,” said Rob Perlman, President and CEO of CSCUSA. “Colorado’s slopes are the best anywhere to ski and ride because of their hard work and dedication.”

The winners were nominated by their peers and chosen from a set of finalists who exhibit dedication and leadership in the snowmaking and slope grooming fields. They were recognized at the Annual Snowmaking and Slope Maintenance Conference and Trade Show in Grand Junction last week. The conference offers educational lectures and hands-on classes specifically geared toward snowmakers, slope groomers and terrain park masters.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The CSCUSA Lifetime Achievement Award was designed to recognize outstanding, long-term, hands-on ski area employees for his/her lasting and significant contributions, improvements and innovations in their field of expertise, and mentoring to others in the Colorado ski industry.

It is fitting that the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Don Robinson who dedicated 45 years to Aspen Highlands as the senior vice president of mountain operations and trail director.

It is estimated that Robinson cut more than 70 of the runs when the ski area was first being created.

“He ran all the bulldozers — the heavy equipment was really his forte,” said Mac Smith, Highlands ski patrol director in a Dec. 31 Aspen Times article. “He could make a bulldozer talk. He had a lifetime of being productive and not hurting himself or the machinery even on the steepest bits — that’s saying something.”

Unfortunately Robinson died of lymphoma this past December. He will be remembered for his lifetime achievement in the Colorado ski industry.

Slopegroomer of the Year

Dave Mastrobuono has worked for Breckenridge for the past ten years as the graveyard crew chief during the winter and on the Trail Crew during the summer.

Trails Director Gary Mays said “Dave is a steady leader and the backbone of our graveyard shift. His most significant contribution is being the training coordinator for new operators—his patience, expertise, and coolness under pressure are perfect attributes for the job.”

With his keen knowledge of the equipment, Dave has also developed many of the safety guidelines utilized by Breckenridge today. Dave said he is always “working with the crew to try new ways, striving to make the process of grooming more efficient without sacrificing quality.”

Snowmaker of the Year

David Leffler’s tenure with Breckenridge Snowmaking has involved seven years as a snowmaker and two years as shiftlead.

Snowmaking Manager, Brett Gray said that “To do the job in a safe and efficient manner is Dave’s top priority. He knows the importance of managing the system to its fullest potential while at the same time maintaining snow quality.” He continued, “Due to the progressive nature of Breckenridge Ski Area, Dave has the ability to: See the future! Be the future! Make the future! He plays and integral part supplying recommendations for new technologies.”

Leffler said, “Ski school, patrol, grooming, lifts all need snow in different places. Understanding the job to be done is what I get the creww excited about. When the mountain looks good, the public has a great time.” He said, “It feels good to help our snowmaking department succeed.”

Terrain Master of the Year

John Asta has been with Steamboat for 11 years, originally starting as a snowmaker and moving to Terrain Park Supervisor four years ago. John vied hard for the position when it became available as he wanted to raise the standard, quality and size of the resort’s park. John now designs, builds and maintains all aspects of the terrain park. Director of Slope Maintenance David Crisler said, “His desire to provide riders with the best experience out there lead to the park’s rating of among the country’s top 10 parks.” He continued, “John successfully championed for rails to be added to the terrain park as well as the building of a 700 ft. half pipe — nearly double the size of most resort’s pipes.”

Asta said “I take pride in hearing experienced riders as well as new, inexperienced riders, talk about how fun the park is and how many options there are for them to excel.” He continued, “I look at details, which has helped us to decrease the number of injuries sustained in the park as well as improve the overall appearance of the park for the resort. I feel honored that I helped raise the overall standard of pipes everywhere.”

Colorado Ski Country USA is the non-profit trade association representing Colorado’s 24 ski & snowboard resorts. Information about the organization and its members can be found at www.coloradoski.com and www.media-coloradoski.com.