CONWAY — At Ski New Hampshire’s Annual Conference and Trade Show on June 4 at Church Landing in Meredith, ski area members and industry partners came together during an awards dinner to honor people who have made contributions to New Hampshire’s ski industry.
This year’s seven awards recipients included J. Douglas Irving and Dan Carbonneau from Gunstock Mountain Resort, Karen Dolan and Tricia Garcia of Cranmore Mountain Resort, Nordic ski coach Steve Olafsen, Rene Pelletier of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, and Jay Scambio of Loon Mountain Resort.
Long-time operations director at Gunstock Mountain resort J. Douglas Irving, who passed away on July 24, 2018, was one of two recognized for the H.H. “Bill” Whitney award.
Irving’s posthumous award was presented by Greg Goddard to Irving’s life partner Debbie Irwin. “Doug had been with the resort for over 44 years, and lived, breathed and bled Gunstock that whole time. Doug had a hand in all the improvements to lifts, trails, buildings, snowmaking, and base lands since the early 1980s. He was a tireless advocate for the resort and its guests and had an unmatched passion for his work. He was an outstanding role model, mentor, and coach for countless managers who worked for him,” said Goddard, general manager of Gunstock Mountain Resort. Irving was especially committed to being a good land steward, working closely with the Belknap County Conservation District, the Belknap Range Trail Tenders, and other naturalists and environmentalists to protect the landscapes, vistas, streams, woodlands, and wetlands which make Gunstock special. He was highly regarded by officials at the state and local authorities he dealt with daily.
The new Next Gen Award is designed to salute young professionals achieving success in the ski industry and have distinguished themselves as future leaders within the New Hampshire ski industry. One of the three winners for the award was Dan Carbonneau from Gunstock Mountain Resort. The three award winners, nominated by their peers, have demonstrated the leadership and dedication needed to help steer the snowsports industry of New Hampshire into the future.
Dan Carbonneau’s award was presented by Patrick McGonagle, Gunstock Mountain Resort’s acting operations director. Carbonneau joined the Gunstock team in 2012 as mountain maintenance supervisor. He was promoted to mountain maintenance manager after being recognized early as an effective leader. His handling of day-to-day operations is impressive, but what makes him stand out is his vision for the mountain. Without prompting, he developed a 10-year plan for continuous snowmaking improvements and is a tireless advocate for its implementation. Each year Gunstock has more trails open earlier, the entire mountain covered faster, and over $100,000 trimmed annually in operating costs following his plan.
“Dan’s leadership and maturity are well beyond his years. His road to becoming a future industry leader is off to a flying start,” said Goddard.
The Al Merrill award, established in memory of Merrill, recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to cross country skiing in the state. This year’s recipient was Steve Olafsen, whose award was presented by Rob Nadeau, the 2015 Merrill Award recipient. Over the course of more than 20 years of coaching, Olafsen coached the eastern teams, J2/U-16 teams, and the Inter-Lakes High School Nordic skiing team. He has coordinated opportunities for middle school Nordic skiers through the New Hampshire Nordic Coaches Association, creating and hosting the New Hampshire Middle School Championship. In 2016, he was awarded the NHNCA Coach of the Year award. Olafsen is the trail builder, coordinator and groomer at the Fairground Trails for both the Inter-Lakes ski teams and the residents of Sandwich.
“Steve’s contribution to formal ski programs is nearly eclipsed by his enthusiasm for leading youth on ski tours through the swamps and woods any time of the day, night or year. Perhaps most importantly he shares and exudes a love of skiing that last long after the kids graduate from their scholastic high school programs,” said Ski New Hampshire Board Member and Great Glen Trails Ski School Director Sue Wemyss.