FWSA Conducts its 86th Annual Convention in Reno, Nevada

By Jane Wyckoff, FWSA Trustee

The Far West Ski Association conducted its 86th Annual Convention and Meeting June 7-10, 2018 at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, hosted by the Bay Area Snow Sports Council and the Sierra League & Council. The Far West Ski Association, founded in 1930, is a volunteer, non-profit organization representing 150 affiliated ski clubs located throughout nine regional councils in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, South Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The Association conducts active programs in public affairs, skier safety, ski heritage, racing, communications, travel, council development, ski industry and community outreach. In addition to the 170 ski club delegates attending the annual meeting, approximately 75 ski and sports industry representatives participated in the weekend’s events.

Special guests included: Billy Kidd, Keynote Speaker, Olympic Medalist; Tom Kelly, US Skiing VP of Communications; Lila Lapanja, US Ski Team Member & FWSA Athletic Scholarship Recipient; Matt Smallhouse, Junior Racer & FWSA Athletic Scholarship Recipient, Ingrid Wicken, Historian & Founder of the California Ski Library; Bill Clark, Curator, Western Skisport Museum; Dave Ludwig, Founder of Hope on the Slopes; Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund CEO; Trey Humphries, High Fives Foundation Interim Executive Director and Dr. Jon Kedrowski, author and mountain climber.

The 33nd Annual Silent Auction on Friday evening raised over $27,000 to support FWSA programs. The highest bidders purchased ski trips, bicycle trips, diving trips, and tour packages. Saturday morning’s Travel Expo enabled industry representatives to meet with travel decision makers from the Association’s clubs and councils.

Saturday afternoon, following the luncheon, included a presentation by Keynote Speaker Billy Kidd. When you think of legends in American skiing the name Billy Kidd is at the top of the list. He and teammate Jimmie Heuga became the first American men to win Olympic medals in alpine skiing – a silver for Kidd and a bronze for Heuga – in the slalom at Innsbruck, Austria in 1964. Billy became a World Cup Champion in 1970 in Val Gardena, Italy. Among many accomplishments, he is a member of the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. He continues his involvement in snowsports as Director of Skiing at Steamboat. A longtime friend and continued convention attendee over the years, Kidd is a recipient of the FWSA Hans Georg Award. He gave an inspirational presentation regarding the challenges and rewards of being a member of the US Ski Team, and brought the audience back to his experiences at the Olympics and as a World Cup Racer. To the delight of everyone, he brought his Olympic and World Cup medals, and some attendees had the honor of privilege of wearing his medals for a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

Bids were presented to the FWSA Travel Committee for selection of the 2020 FWSA Ski & Snowboard Week, with the result to be announced later in the summer. The 2019 FWSA Ski & Snowboard Week will be held in Steamboat, Colorado, February 2-9. A Mini Ski & Snowboard Week will be held at Winter Park, Colorado, March 24-29. The 2019 International Ski & Snowboard Adventure will be to Ski Niseko, Japan, March 9-16, with an extension to be announced.

Three FWSA Snowsports Leadership Academy classes were held on Saturday, two morning sessions “Make your Nonprofit Passion a Successful Reality” and “Knock Knock, Who’s There to Take Over? Successful Succession Planning,” and an afternoon session “I Want to Go On the Trip, Too; Maximizing Travel for Your Clients with Special Needs." Two Public Affairs Sessions were conducted, with the morning session dedicated to snowsports history and documentation, and the afternoon session to the junior racing and the US Ski Team, past and future.

FWSA Snowsports Builder Awards were presented to Fritz Buser, Ingrid Wicken and John Watson. Mike Pierce, Mount Rose - Ski Tahoe, accepted the award on behalf of Fritz Buser. Fritz was the founder and developer of Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe. His son Kurt has been executive of the company for the past 20 years. Fritz recently passed away in his native home of Switzerland. Ingrid Wicken has written seven books and numerous professional papers on ski history in various journals. She is the founder of the California Ski Library, which celebrated its 30th year of operation this year. John Watson has dedicated over 50 years of volunteerism to organizations that support snowsports. He was the creator of multiple innovative programs and recognition awards on all levels of snowsport – club, council, FWSA, US Ski Association, US Recreational Ski Association and the Far West Ski Foundation.

Two FWSA Industry Awards were presented: the FWSA Tommi Tyndall Award for Outstanding Ski Industry Contribution, to Sugar Bowl Resort; and the FWSA Bill Mackey Award for Outstanding Ski Industry Employee, to Sandy Gaudette, SKIGroup.com. Three FWSA Media Awards were presented: the Bill Berry Award for Featured Article, to Dr. Jon Kedrowski, author of “Skiing and Sleeping in the Summits”; the Bill Berry Hard News Award to Justin Scacco, writer for the “Truckee Sun”, and the Warren Miller Modern Media Award to Red Bull Media House for their movie Peak Season”.

Jo Simpson, Sierra League & Council (Reno, NV) received the FWSA Hans Georg Award for long-term service to organized skiing. Other individuals receiving recognition awards included: the FWSA Elizabeth “Schatzi” Wood Award for a decisive contribution to skiing to Jane Gutierrez, Los Angeles Council of Ski Clubs (Hawthorne, CA); the FWSA J. Stanley Mullin Award for a decisive contribution to skiing to Todd Hood, Los Angeles Council of Ski Clubs (Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA); the FWSA Jordan-Reily Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Affairs, to Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund; and the Terry Smith Award for greatly contributing to the advancement of intramural skiing to Kevin Kermode, Mammoth Mountain. The FWSA Jimmie Heuga Award was presented for Outstanding Humanitarian, to Dee Armstrong, Can Do MS. The FWSA Councils’ Man & Woman of the Year program, sponsored by Big White Ski Resort, recognized Kim Hovren and Mike Bouton of Intermountain Ski Council. The FWSA Presidents Award was given to; Tom Kelly, VP of Communications, US Ski and Snowboard Association; Michael Bouton, 2017 Host Council Convention Coordinator and Past President of Intermountain Ski Council; and to Jane Gutierrez, FWSA VP of Membership, and Snowsports Leadership Academy Chairperson.

The Wentworth Award for the Outstanding Publication was presented to Pacific Rim Alliance (Masters Class) and North Island Snowdrifters (Novice Class). The Outstanding Website Awards were given to: Pacific Rim Alliance (Masters Class) and Conejo Ski and Sports Club (Novice Class). The FWSA Charity & Community Service Recognition Awards were presented to Monterey Ski & Social Club (Double Diamond Class), and Bogus Basin Ski Club (Diamond Class).

Special presentations were made to Monica Palmer, a member of the Reno Ski and Recreation Club, for the FWSA Safety Person of the Year Award, sponsored by Telluride Ski Resort. The FWSA Western Ski Heritage Award, sponsored by Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation, was presented to Ingrid Wicken, ski historian and author of “50 Years of Flight”. Historic Ski Club designations were awarded to Long Beach Ski Club and Wailers Ski Club.

The FWSA Athletic Scholarship Program raised over $5,000 during the Convention through a raffle, silent auction and oral auction of two trips sponsored by Whitefish Mountain Resort and Averill Hospitality - The Lodge at Whitefish Lake and Firebrand Hotel. The FWSA Athletic Scholarship Program, which began in 2004, has awarded 123 scholarships for a total of over $129,000 to deserving USSA racers throughout the western United States.

Elections were held at Sunday’s General Session. FWSA Officers for 2018–2019 are: President, Gloria Raminha (Bakersfield, CA); Secretary, Sheri Parshall (Fairview, OR); Treasurer, Randy Lew (Battle Ground, WA); Chairperson Board of Trustees, Linda Westlund (Scottsdale, AZ); VP Council Services, Jo Simpson (Reno, NV); VP Marketing, Debbi Kor (Vancouver, WA); VP Membership, Michael Bouton (Boise, ID); VP Public Affairs, Paula Hazzard (Manhattan Beach, CA); VP North American Travel, Nancy Ellis (Truckee, CA); VP International Travel, Debbie Stewart (Visalia, CA); VP Racing, Bob Ellis (Truckee CA); Trustees Tom Bundgard (San Diego, CA), Jane Wyckoff (Irvine, CA), and Tucker Hoffman (Livermore, CA).

Far West Ski Association is appreciative of the many sponsors who are a big part of the success of the FWSA Annual Convention. Sponsors included: Alterra Mountain Company/IKON Pass, Aspen/Snowmass, Big White Ski Resort, BikeTours.com, Brian Head Resort, ClubExpress, Club Med, Diamond Peak Ski Resort, Great Basin Brewing Company, Holidaze Ski Tours, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Karbon, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Nancy Greene’s Cahilty Hotel & Suites, Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, Sports America Tours, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Ski.Com, Snowmass, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation, Telluride, Vail Resorts, The Firebrand Hotel, Winter Park Resort, Whitefish Mountain Resort, Winter Park, and Ski.com.

The 87th Annual Far West Ski Association Convention is scheduled for June 13-16, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa, California, hosted by the Orange Council of Ski Clubs. For additional information regarding the Far West Ski Association, please visit our website at www.fwsa.org.

Photographs from the Convention are available upon request.