By Tom Eastman
CONWAY — Bo Adams, longtime president of the New England Ski Museum, was presented with Ski NH's Bill Whitney Award for "an outstanding contribution to the New Hampshire ski and snowboard industry" at the ski resort organization's 24th annual conference and trade show dinner at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway Monday.
The award was established in the mid-1970s by Betty Whitney in memory of her husband, with whom she co-owned and operated Whitneys Inn and Black Mountain in Jackson.
Presenting the award on behalf of Ski NH was Bob Hoyt, general manager/owner of King Pine Ski Area/Purity Spring Resort in East Madison.
Adams, of York, Maine, grew up in a skiing family in Simsbury, Conn., and attended Nasson College in Springvale, Maine, where he raced for their alpine ski team and was captain for two years. After graduation he coached his college team while beginning his career in the ski resort insurance business.
Adams has strong ties to the ski industry and is passionate about the sport and the insurance side of the industry. He is the grandson of Carl E. Shumway who was one of the founding members of the Dartmouth Outing Club and is proud to have followed in the tracks of his grandfather by making the annual spring trek to the Eastern slopes of Mount Washington 50 years in a row. He joined the New England Ski Museum Board of Directors in 1999 and has been the museum's president since 2007.
In his remarks, he thanked all for their support of the New England Ski Museum, which is conducting a fundraising campaign to open a North Conway Village branch of the Franconia-based ski museum at the former North Conway Community Center.
He also credited his mentors, especially past Whitney award winner Phil Gravink, past general manager and president of Attitash Ski Area and a board member of the museum.
"When I look at past recipients, including our very own Jeff Leich, executive director of our museum, and Phil Gravink, I am very honored to be among this select group," said Adams, citing the list of many past recipients.
In other awards at the dinner, Loon Mountain official Rick Kelley presented Ski NH's Lifetime Achievement Award to National Ski Areas Association President Michael Berry. Berry plans to retire at the end of the year. He has held that post since January 1993.
According to Ski Area Management, prior to NSAA, Berry worked at several U.S. ski areas, including Hunter Mountain, N.Y., Keystone and Vail, Colo., Sun Valley, Idaho, and Kirkwood Mountain, Calif., where he was president from 1985 to 1992. He began leading NSAA shortly after it was reconstituted following the breakup of the United Ski Industries Association (USIA).
Under his watch, NSAA developed the Model for Growth, a major research endeavor designed to help attract and keep new participants. The project has guided many of NSAA's programs for more than a decade, including Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month/Bring a Friend.
In other presentations, Executive Director Jessyca Keeler of Conway thanked longtime Ski NH chair Ben Wilcox of Cranmore Mountain Resort of North Conway for his many years of service. Wilcox served as chair for four years.
In prepared remarks published in the meeting's official program, Wilcox said that the 33-member trade association of New Hampshire ski resorts was keeping a closer watch on legislative activity, working with lobbyist Bruce Berke of Sheehan Phinny and Keeler.
He also said marketing initiatives have been explored, working with the state of N.H. Division of Travel and Tourism Development.
"State marketing campaigns are being collectively planned with our member ski areas thanks to Ski NH and our statewide ski message has never been stronger. It was exciting to see our progressive effort at the Boston Ski Show last fall, and I know it has forced Vermont and Maine to evaluate how they can step up to meet what we presented at the show," said Wilcox, general manager and president of Cranmore Mountain Resort, which is currently developing its Kearsarge Brook Condominiums at Cranmore project.
Unable to attend but recognized for his efforts to promote cross country skiing was Steve Flagg of the Nordic Skier/Wolfeboro Cross Country, who received Ski NH's Merrill Award, presented in honor of the late Al Merrill, the "Silver Fox" who served as Dartmouth College's cross country ski coach for nearly 30 years.
Also unable to attend but recognized for his legislative efforts on behalf of New Hampshire skiing was State Senate President Chuck Morse (R-District 22) of Salem. Morse is this year's recipient of Ski NH's "Legislator of the Year" award. He was recognized by Berke, Ski NH's lobbyist.
Berke also cited legislators present for their support of the industry, including Frank McCarthy (R-Conway) and his wife, Terry.
As part of Ski NH's annual trade show and conference, the North Conway Country Club hosted a Ski NH golf tournament June 12, followed by the business meeting and the annual awards dinner at the Red Jacket Mountain View June 12 and workshops June 13.
Topics covered in the workshops Tuesday included: Session one: lift operations and maintenance roundtable; tackling risk management, media planning "beyond the traditional," and green initiatives for sustainable slopes. Session two: workplace laws and regulations in the first 100 (-ish) days of the Trump/Sununu administrations; N.H. Department of Environmental Services; emergency generators and fuel tanks; staying relevant in the digital age; and self-funded energy projects.
Session three topics were: skier development: programs and promotions to drive conversion; U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for America program; and "Employment through J-1 International Exchange Programs."
After the meeting, Keeler told The Conway Daily Sun that Ski NH resorts had a successful season and that details would be forthcoming.
In her welcoming letter to attendees, she said, "This winter, we were blessed with timely storms that dropped lots of snow at key times — during Christmas vacation week, in the tow weeks leading up to February vacation,and in early and mid-March. But," said Keeler, "we experienced weather challenges that tested our ski areas as well. Due to years of planning and snowmaking upgrades, we've been able to withstand challenging weather conditions and also able to maximize ideal winter conditions."
She said the conference would help Ski NH resorts to "celebrate our victories" and provide an opportunity "to explore ways to improve our efficiencies, minimize our carbon footprint and develop new and innovative ways to draw people to our resorts."
She also said that Ski NH plans to soon announce that it is planning to relocate its main offices from Lincoln to Conway beginning in July. Details regarding that leased office space are yet to be announced, she said.
Among the show's sponsors were Eversource Energy, HKD Snowmakers, Letmer-Poma America, Inc.; AMI Graphics and PepsiCo; Sheehan Phinney; Action Bearing, Great Northern Networks, Inntopia, Liftpia, PistenBully/Kassbohrer, and Usoure; and the MacMillian Company and Mountain Guard.
Member alpine resorts are Abenaki Ski Area, Black Mountain, Bretton Woods, Cannon Mountain, Cranmore Mountain Resort, Dartmouth Skiway, Granite Gorge, Gunstock Mountain Resort, King Pine at Purity Spring Resort, Loon Mountain Resort , McIntyre Ski Area, Mount Sunapee Resort, Pats Peak, Ragged Mountain Resort, Waterville Valley Resort and Whaleback Mountain.
Cross country member resorts are: Bear Notch Ski Touring Center, Bretton Woods Nordic Center, Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center, Dexter's Inn Trails by Norsk, Eastman Cross Country, Franconia Village XC Ski Center, Granite Gorge XC, Great Glen Trails, Gunstock Mountain Resort XC, Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, Loon Mountain Resort XC, Mt. Washington Ski Touring & Snowshoe Foundation, Nordic Skier Wolfeboro XC; Pine Hill Ski Club, Purity Spring Resort XC & Snowshoe Reserve, Ski Hearth Farm, Waterville Valley Adventure Center and Windblown XC.
For further information including summer activities at the Ski NH resorts, visit www.skinh.com or call (603) 745-9396.