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The Harold S. Hirsch Awards for excellence in journalism

Announcing the 2017 Hirsch Award winners!

Read more about the 2017 winners and past Hirsch Award winners

Dino Vournas


Photography: Dino Vournas
Dino, a NASJA member for over 40 years, started his career as a photojournalist and ski and travel writer in the early 1970s with the Hayward Daily Review in California. He then had stints at the Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Examiner as chief photographer. For 10 years he was a freelancer for the Associated Press, mainly shooting pro and collegiate sports and writing ski travel stories for the Tampa Tribune. Presently he is freelancing for local municipalities and the Department of Energy, and writing travel stories for the Bay Area News Group in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is his fourth Hirsch Award, three for photography and one for newspaper feature writing.

Moira McCarthy


Columns: Moira McCarthy
Growing up, Moira was constantly counting the days or hours -- depending on the time of year -- until she'd get out skiing. "I knew from a very young age, it was my place," she said. A marginally competitive freestyle skier, Moira was a champion, however, at making friends on the slopes, putting in full ski days and just plain savoring it all. Writing for Snow Country Magazine, SKI, Ski Area Management and the Boston Herald, she said, is surreal.

"That I get to do what I love as my career is just incredible," she said. "I am thankful for every single day." When she's not skiing or writing about it, McCarthy can be found running, playing tennis, hanging out at the beach or plotting her new granddaughter Molly's ski future.

Wendy Clinch


Blogs: Wendy Clinch
Wendy is a two-time winner of the North American Ski Journalists Association’s Harold Hirsch Award for Best Ski Blog (2016 and 2017). She is the owner of, the leading online community for women skiers, which she founded in 2006. TheSkiDiva consists of a blog, where Wendy writes on a variety of topics related to skiing and the outdoors, and a forum where women can discuss ski gear, technique, resorts, and more. Wendy graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, and is also the author of two ski novels: DOUBLE BLACK: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY (Minotaur, 2010) and FADE TO WHITE: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY (Minotaur, 2011). She lives in Plymouth, Vermont, with her husband, noted author Jon Clinch.

Lisa Ballard


Feature Writing: Lisa Ballard
Lisa has won 3 Emmys for TV production and hosting; 3 Harold Hirsch Awards, TV; numerous awards for TV, photos, writing from the Outdoor Writers Association of America. She has been a freelance ski journalist since 1991 and is a past president, OWAA. Her media outlets include, NSAA Journal, Vermont Sports, PSIA's 32 Degrees.



Help Grow the NASJA Clipbook!

Check out the NASJA member clipbook--it's currently a work in progress. NASJA invites all members to submit their latest work and help spread the word about snowsports journalism.



NASJA Events

Join NASJA members on Sunday, November 26 for a casual get-together dinner following the weekend of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup event at Killington. More details coming soon! If  you are interested and would like to attend, please contact


NASJA at Camelback


NASJA provides the opportunity to network with over 250 press and corporate members. We are the largest snowsports communication group in North America. Our goal is to drive awareness and participation in snow sports.


Member Spotlight: Wendy Clinch

This article is part of a continuing series highlighting the recent work of NASJA members, taken from our Member Clipbook.  Spread the word--submit your work today!

A chat with Kelly Pawlak, new president of the National Ski Areas Association

BY WENDY CLINCH | OCTOBER 17, 2017 | from

There’s nothing unusual about female ski instructors. And women in resort human resources, marketing, communications, and sales? Common as dirt.
But women general managers are a somewhat rarer breed. According to statistics from the National Ski Areas Association [NSAA], there are only about 20 to 30 nationwide. It’s more or less a boys’ club.

Kelly Pawlak
Kelly Pawlak

All this is about to change. Because starting in January, the boys’ club will have a woman in charge. Kelly Pawlak, GM of Mount Snow, VT, will become NSAA’s first female President and CEO. NSAA represents 313 alpine ski resorts that count for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboard visits nationwide, as well as 414 supplier members who provide equipment, goods, and services to the mountain resort industry.

That’s a pretty big responsibility. According to its website, NSAA’s primary objective is to meet the needs of ski area owners and operators nationwide and to foster, stimulate, and promote growth in the industry. To do this, it analyzes and distributes ski industry statistics; produces annual conferences and tradeshows; produces a bimonthly industry publication; and is active in state and federal government affairs. It also provides educational programs and employee training materials on industry issues including OSHA, ADA and NEPA regulations and compliance; environmental laws and regulations; state regulatory requirements; aerial tramway safety; and resort operations and guest services.
I recently spoke to Kelly about her new position.

SD: You’ve been in the ski industry for a long time. How’d you get started?

KP: Quite honestly, it was sort of by accident. When I graduated from college, I realized that if I wanted to ski, I’d have to pay for it, myself. My dad wouldn’t do it anymore. So I looked for a job, found one at Mount Snow, and never left.

SD: You really came up the ranks, too. I understand you held a variety of positions, correct?

KP: Yes, I’ve been there since 1985, and I’ve worked in marketing, sales, operations, events…pretty much everything.

SD: So how has this has helped prepare you for your position at NSAA?

KP: Well, I think it helps me understand some of the needs of the 300-plus member ski areas. Clearly, my expertise is not very strong in the west and midwest, so I have a lot of learning to do there. Luckily, I’m not alone. There’s an extremely qualified staff of about 12 people behind me, so I’m confident that with their assistance, and talking with the folks at the ski areas, retailers, and suppliers, I’ll be a quick study.


NASJA Member Testimonials

  • Cindy Hirschfeld
    NASJA has introduced me to fellow ski writers from around the country, many of whom I may not have met otherwise. It’s inspiring to hear about their deep experience in the snowsports industry. It’s also been a great way to get to know resort PR people from other regions than my own. I’ve called on other NASJA members when I needed information for stories I was writing that included ski areas I wasn’t as familiar with. And it’s been fun to get to know colleagues of all ages.
    Cindy Hirschfeld
  • Seth Masia
    Early in my career, deep in the last century, I had the good fortune to win the Harold Hirsch Award a couple of times. It did a lot for my credibility within the industry and helped me score some freelance assignments.
    Seth Masia
  • Chloe Elliot
    As a relatively new member to the ski and snowboard industry, NASJA has provided me with an invaluable network of writers, resorts and ultimately, resources. In my first year with Ski Vermont I was fortunate enough to travel to Colorado for NASJA’s annual conference where I was given the opportunity to learn more about industry trends and influencers from a panel of industry professionals. The experience was not only informative but also incredibly fun.
    Chloe Elliott
  • Emily Summers
    As a long term member of NASJA, Deer Valley Resort has benefited from the opportunity to create lasting relationships with both press and corporate members. The annual conferences have provided us with an invaluable opportunity to connect with key players in the ski industry. NASJA has provided us with a way to keep informed about trends and personal updates among the snow media.
    Emily Summers
    Communications Manager, Deer Valley Resort
  • Jules Older, Ph.D.
    With NASJA, I've skied New Hampshire,Vermont, Colorado, California, British Columbia. Because of NASJA, I've also skied France, Italy, Scotland, Montana, Idaho, Maine, Alberta and maybe a dozen or so other snowy places.
    Jules Older, Ph.D.
    5 time Harold S. Hirsch Award winner
  • Kristen Lummis
    When I joined NASJA as a snowsports blogger, my contacts in the ski industry were limited. After one meeting, my network exploded, as did my opportunities. Not only that, but now I call many of these contacts my friends.
    Kristen Lummis

NASJA Announces Restructuring

NASJA Revamps, Elects Devlin President

In July, NASJA restructured its organization to better adapt to the continually changing media world. The new NASJA no longer has regions and members join NASJA directly (instead of through a region) and vote for officers directly. It is run by a five-person Board of Directors consisting of a president, 2 VPs, a corporate liaison and immediate past president. For the first time in NASJA's history, the corporate board member has a vote.

Ski journalist Iseult Devlin has been elected president. Bob Cox and Dan Giesin are vice presidents. Stowe’s Jeff Wise is the corporate liaison and Martin Griff is the immediate past president.

Goals include strengthening relationships with other industry organizations and driving awareness and participation of snow sports through communication.

“As the collective communication force within the ski industry, NASJA is in a unique position to organize its members in a way that can help us drive awareness and participation in snow sports,” Nick Castagnoli, Rossignol Group NA brand/communications manager commented.