| Home | Economy | 2021-06-25

Bill Jensen and Tim Silva honored with NSAA´S lifetime achievement award

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) honored Bill Jensen and Tim Silva, two ski industry veterans – and visionaries – with its Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated an extraordinary lifetime commitment to NSAA and the ski industry, and whose contributions will benefit the industry for decades to come. The awards were presented at the association’s virtual awards ceremony on June 11, and will again be celebrated at the association’s next in-person National Convention in 2022. NSAA wishes to thank MountainGuard for sponsoring its Lifetime Achievement awards.

Bill Jensen discovered a passion for skiing when he was 20, and turned it into a long career that spanned regions and resorts. Like many in the industry, Jensen started out in lift operations, eventually moving to marketing, and then spending the 1980s working with PistenBully to bring new grooming technologies to U.S. ski areas. He set a personal goal of running a ski area by the time he turned 40; his tenacity made that very thing happen, as he was appointed president and general manager of Northstar, CA, at age 39. Jensen saw multiple resorts through periods of renewed branding and growth, enjoying tenure at some of the best-known ski areas in the world: Breckenridge, Vail, and Telluride. 

Jensen is known for his commitment to mountain safety; his ability to bring multiple stakeholders to the table; and possibly coining the term “corduroy” to indicate a freshly-groomed slope. Now semi-retired and consulting for the new owners of Sundance Mountain Resort, Jensen remains committed to the industry he spent 47 years working in. Why does he do it? “Because it’s so much fun, and there’s no regrets.”

Tim Silva identifies himself as someone born with mountains in his blood, picking up skiing as a child growing up in California, and choosing to dedicate his life’s work to the industry. Like Jensen, Silva also started his career in lift operations; the two actually worked together for a time at Sun Valley at the beginning of their careers. He too served as general manager at Northstar, working under Jensen and reimagining the resort. Silva eventually returned to Sun Valley, reviving the resort from the Great Recession of the late 2000s, investing capital into new lifts, new lodges and a terrain expansion. Silva served on the NSAA Board of Directors for 13 years, and was also part of the ANSI B77 committee dedicated to the creation and evolution of lift operations standards. Silva retired after 12 years at the helm of Sun Valley, and will remain an advisor to the resort.

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