Ski New Hampshire: Recognizes Individuals for their Contributions to the Ski Industry
Governor Sununu and Ski Industry Veterans Receive Awards at Ski NH Annual Event
Conway, N.H.— Ski New Hampshire hosted its Annual Business Meeting and a “Beachside Soirée” event on July 7 at King Pine Ski Area & Purity Spring Resort to bring industry employees and partners together face-to-face for the first time in over a year. The purpose of the event was to celebrate a successful season and recognize several individuals for their contributions to the ski industry.
At the business meeting Ski NH and its Board of Directors presented the Chandler-McLane Government Service Award to Governor Chris Sununu, who was on hand to receive the award. The award recognizes “a public official serving in the New Hampshire state government who has worked hard in serving the people of New Hampshire, has kept people informed as to what is happening in the process and any potential impacts, and has been a key player on issues that are important to the ski industry and to tourism in general.” Ski NH Chairman of the Government Relations Committee and General Manager of Pats Peak in Henniker Kris Blomback praised the Governor’s efforts to help keep New Hampshire’s economy running among other efforts, saying, “One year ago, everyone here today was uncertain how the 2020-2021 ski season was going to play out. There were travel restrictions and distancing requirements, among other challenging components likely to impact ski areas across the state.” He went on to share that “a planned collaboration took place between state officials and members of the ski industry to develop a careful set of practices that would give the skiing public and public health officials confidence that our segment of outdoor recreation could safely be offered.” Blomback concluded that as a result, New Hampshire ski areas enjoyed “a solid ski season within a set of reasonable and safe protocols without any breakouts.”
At the beachside event, several ski industry veterans were credited for their contributions to the ski industry. Three past alpine ski area general managers were awarded Ski NH’s top honor, the Whitney Award, which recognizes individuals who have “made an outstanding contribution to the ski and snowboard industry in New Hampshire.” Greg Goddard, Douglas Holler, and Bob Hoyt were all recognized for their many years of service to the industry. The Merrill Award, Ski NH’s highest award for cross-country industry contributors, was presented to Howie Wemyss, while past Merrill Award winner Al Jenks was recognized after closing the ski area he opened nearly 50 years ago. Peter Holland was recognized with Ski NH’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Greg Goddard’s ski industry career spanned nearly 40 years at Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford, NH. Starting as a bartender in the Powder Keg pub at the ski area during the 1981-82 season, Goddard’s financial chops led him to become the Director of Finance and Administration in 1988 following a major expansion at the resort. Ten years and tireless work to secure Gunstock’s financial situation later, Goddard took the helm as the resort’s General Manager. Over the next 22 years, Goddard would oversee a plethora of major capital projects, including a major $3.8 million expansion that included extensive new snowmaking and a new highspeed chairlift, the expansion of beginner terrain including a new 4-passenger chairlift, and the expansion of night skiing terrain from 15 to 22 trails. He also led the transition of the resort into a major 4-season attraction that included the installation of some of the nation’s longest and fastest zip lines and New England’s largest aerial tree obstacle course; this year-round transition culminated with a $2.8 million mountain coaster that was added in 2016. During Goddard’s tenure, the net worth of the resort increased substantially and continues to do so to this day.
Doug Holler retired in 2020 after 19 seasons as General Manager at Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme Center, NH. The Skiway, which is owned by Dartmouth College, is the site of NCAA Division I ski racing as well as a myriad of youth racing programs. Holler oversaw improvements to trails that brought them up to international racing standards and greatly raised the bar on their safety, making the ski area a highly sought-after mountain for ski race competitions – including the 2003 NCAA Skiing Championships during Holler’s tenure. In addition to these trail and safety upgrades, Holler managed renovations to the McLane Family Lodge, which is used for a variety of events in addition to serving as the ski area’s base lodge. But while the racing community has always been important to the Skiway, Holler constantly sought a balance by encouraging the public to come ski at the resort, and those efforts to make the ski area welcoming to all have helped make the ski area a go-to destination for Upper Valley area skiers and others in the western part of the state.
Bob Hoyt’s Whitney Award was presented posthumously to two of his three daughters, Stephanie Hoyt and Amanda Morrill, by 2017 Whitney Award recipient Bo Adams. Born into the family that had founded and operated Purity Spring Resort in Madison, NH, since the late 1800s and which later added King Pine Ski Area in 1962, Hoyt was raised in the hospitality industry and his passion for it – particularly for the ski industry side of the business – was evident during his decades as the resort’s general manager. He spent a lifetime working to create experiences for guests who would come from around the country, year after year, and dedicated countless hours to helping improve and advocate for the industry by participating in organizations for many years such as Ski New Hampshire (and its predecessors, the NH Ski Area Operators Association and Ski the Whites), SnoCountry, and the NH Tramway Board.
Peter Holland, a long-time race team coach at Pats Peak who began his ski career there as a ski instructor in 1980, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented posthumously to his wife Roberta “Bertie” Holland, Ski NH’s 2016 Whitney Award recipient. Holland, a longtime member of the New Hampshire Alpine Racing Association’s (NHARA) Board of Trustees, a level three Technical Delegate, a level three Certified Instructor with PSIA and Treasurer of the Eastern Division of PSIA, dedicated decades to teaching and coaching skiers of all ages. He coached racers at Pats Peak, Waterville Valley, the Franconia Ski Club, and Abenaki Ski Area, and was proud to have established a two-day NHARA/Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) coaching clinic for both instructors and coaches who came from all over New England to attend.
Ski NH’s Merrill Award was presented this year to Howie Wemyss, who began his long tenure in New Hampshire’s travel and tourism industry when he became the general manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road in 1988. However, it wasn’t until 1995 that Wemyss also became a leader in the ski industry as the manager of the newly opened Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. Today, not only does the center boast 45 km of trails used year-round with incredible views of the Presidential Mountains, but Wemyss also ensured that the 2018-built Glen House Hotel, which sits on the Auto Road/Great Glen Trails property, incorporated technology that makes it nearly energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral. A host of other efficiency efforts implemented throughout the properties under Wemyss’ direction won them NH Energy Week’s 2021 Small Business Energy Champion of the Year.
Al Jenks, who founded and operated Windblown XC in New Ipswich, NH, and who received Ski NH’s Merrill Award in 2009, retired and closed the ski area in March of 2020 after 48 years in business. Jenks was recognized for bringing skiing to thousands of cross-country skiers in the Monadnock region over nearly five decades and for his diligent work to create an unmatched ski experience for his guests. His kindness and generosity were among the qualities that set Jenks apart, and he was known in the industry for working with other Nordic ski centers in the state in a spirit of “friendly competition”.
More About Ski NH’s Awards
The H.H. “Bill” Whitney Award was established in the mid-1970s by Betty Whitney in memory of her husband, to recognize an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the ski and snowboard industry in New Hampshire. He owned and operated Black Mountain Ski Area in Jackson, the oldest ski area in NH, as well as the slopeside inn that today still bears his name. He was active in all aspects of skiing and ski area operation. By attaching shovel handles to one of the original ski tows behind his inn, he created one of the first overhead ski lifts in the East. He was one of the founders and the first president of the New Hampshire Ski Area Operators Association (the organization that preceded Ski NH). These were some of the many contributions that made him instrumental in shaping the future of the ski industry in New Hampshire. Some past recipients of the Whitney Award include Wayne Patenaude, Thad Thorne, Bob Fries, Werner Wagner, Stan Judge, Bill Currier, Phil Gravink, Dev Jennings, Herb Schneider, Carroll Reed, Tom Corcoran, and Governor John Sununu.
The Al Merrill Award was established in memory of Al Merrill to recognize an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to cross country skiing in the state of New Hampshire. Al Merrill, the "Silver Fox", was Dartmouth College's cross country ski coach and Director of Outdoor Affairs for close to thirty years. He was a key organizer for many national and Olympic racing events in the 1970s and '80s. A wizard of ski and wax, on duty at eight Winter Olympics, designer of ski trails across the country, he was the coach and "Head Tigah" for countless athletes. Al was the dean of cross-country skiing at Dartmouth College and was instrumental in shaping the future of the cross-country ski industry in New Hampshire. Past recipients of the Merrill Award include Thom Perkins, Chuck Broomhall, Cory Schwartz, Cami Thompson-Cardinelli, Len Johnson, Jim Wellinghurst, and John & Nancy Schlosser.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 1999 to recognize a member of the New Hampshire ski industry who has devoted a large part of his/her professional career to furthering the NH ski area experience for our guests; this could be in one or more of several areas, including operations, marketing, guest service and more. Past recipients of the Ski NH Lifetime Achievement Award include Michael Berry, Phil Gravink, David Buckman, and Bill Roy.
The Chandler/McLane Government Service Award (renamed in 2018 from the Legislator of the Year Award) is presented to a public official serving in state government who has worked hard in serving the people of New Hampshire, has kept people informed as to what is happening in the process and any potential impacts, and has been a key player on issues that are important to the ski industry and to tourism in general. The award is named after two individuals, Gene Chandler and Susan McLane (and their families), who have contributed to the state’s ski industry as well as serving in our state legislature. Past recipients include Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster, Senator Chuck Morse, Commissioner George Bald, Representative Henry Mock, Representative Gene Chandler, and U.S. Congressman Jeb Bradley.
Ski New Hampshire is the statewide association representing 34 alpine and cross-country resorts in New Hampshire. For more information on ski areas, trail conditions, vacation planning, and updated winter events at Ski New Hampshire resorts, visit SkiNH.com.