Ski California celebrates 50 years |

Ski California celebrates 50 years

Over 150 people attended Ski California 50th anniversary celebration last week at Lake Tahoe.

Members of the association’s 32 member resorts, industry legends, partners, and lawmakers got together Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the West Shore Cafe in Homewood.

“For 50 years, Ski California has been the collective voice of the ski industry in California and Nevada on a state and national level. We’ve been able to accomplish our goals in large part because of the active, enthusiastic participation of those who passionately work in our industry,” said Michael Reitzell, Ski California president said in a press release about the event. “To have the opportunity to gather some of the influential people in our industry—from those who were part of the association’s early years, to those who will lead us into the next 50 years—in the same room to celebrate all that we’ve done together, and all that is to come, was truly an honor.”

People attending the event included industry legends Jay Price (Boreal founder) and Norm Sayler (Donner Ski Ranch), both of whom were original founders of the Sierra Ski Areas Association in 1969, Bill Killebrew (Heavenly), Werner Schuster (Alpine Meadows), recent U.S. Ski & Snowboard HOF inductee Bill Jensen (Northstar, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Bear Mountain), Kent Hoopingarner (Homewood & Alpine Meadows), Gary Burch (Heavenly), Clifford Mann (Mammoth), and Hans Burkhart (Squaw Valley).

Also in attendance were industry partners Caroline Beteta (Visit California CEO), Jeremy Jones (Professional Snowboarder & Founder of Protect Our Winters), Kelly Pawlak (National Ski Areas Association President), and Amy Berry (Tahoe Fund CEO).

Former executive director Bob Roberts presented the “Bob Roberts Award of Excellence” to Mike Dillon, the association’s original and only lobbyist.

The association was also presented with a joint resolution by Cheri West, legislative director for newly elected Senator Brian Dahle on behalf of Senators Dahle and Andreas Borgeas and Assemblymembers Jay Obernolte and Frank Bigelow. The resolution recognizes the association’s 50 years of outstanding service as a leader in snow sports travel, tourism and advocacy in California.

Industry milestones including being the original sponsor to legislation (AB 32) developed to curb greenhouse gases, developing comprehensive avalanche-blasting standards with Cal-OSHA, offering technical, hands-on training courses in lift maintenance and operations, leading the development of the California Tourism Marketing Act that created what now exists as Visit California, and introducing the first of its kind Mountain Safety Guide, a universal safety piece for guests at all California and Nevada resorts.

Incorporated on December 31, 1969 as the Sierra Ski Areas Association (later changed to the California Ski Industry Association 1990 and now Ski California), Ski California is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association representing 32 ski resorts in California and Nevada.

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