2018 Nominees for the Carson White Snowsports Achievement Award:
KLAUS OBERMEYER – Sport Obermeyer
Klaus Obermeyer is the epitome of what the Carson White Snowsports Achievement Award is all about. Born in Oberstaufen, Bavaria, Germany in 1919, he soon fabricated his own skis from an orange crate at the age of 3, beginning his lifetime love of the sport. He emigrated to Aspen, CO in 1947, becoming a ski instructor at Aspen Mountain. Using his experience gained on-mountain, he formed his own company, Sport Obermeyer, to develop clothing and accessories to enhance the experience of skiing and mountain adventure. He created the first down ski parka, using his own down bed comforter as the raw material. Innovations and inventions followed in rapid succession.
Klaus had a hand in pioneering mirrored sunglasses, high altitude suntan lotion, hard-shell ski boots with a soft inner core, turtlenecks and nylon wind shirts. In later years, he came up with double-lens goggles, auto-canting ski boots, soft-shell jackets and breathable fabrics, all the while endeavoring to make a fashion statement for all of his skiwear. At 98 years old, Klaus is an amazing physical specimen as well. He goes to work 5 days a week, swims daily, practices Aikido martial arts, plays tennis and still skis, only making a concession to ski in good weather.
Mr. Obermeyer is a 1997 inductee of the U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, 1995 recipient of NASJA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and is overdue for our highest honor.
GREG WOZER – Leki North America
Greg Wozer, the founder of Leki North America, has helped to contribute to a diverse skiing, trekking and walking pole market, setting the standard in technology. Leki North America, one of the leading brands in the industry, started from scratch in the mid 1980’s. Leki and Greg have introduced innovation in collapsible poles and its ski pole and glove integration is second to none in the world and has become the standard for safety.
They have also led the way in ski pole systems, with a ski pole that becomes a probe, a shovel and a pole that has a pick on the handle for climbing and self-arrest.
Mr. Wozer is a dedicated family man but has also found time to mentor ski pros with their careers and personal lives for over 2 decades. His company is the unsung hero of the industry and humbly goes about their business, growing year to year which is a huge accomplishment in the winter sports world. He is quite deserving of NASJA’s highest award.
2018 Nominees for the Bob Gillen Memorial Award:
APRIL WHITNEY – Brundage Mountain Resort, Idaho
April, who is Communication Director at Brundage Mountain Resort, jumped from the University of Oregon after earning her BA in Journalism-Electronic Media into broadcast TV as a news producer and writer. After 9 years of electronic and web journalism, she found her place, meshing her lifetime love of snowsports and communications into her present position of promoting “The Best Snow in Idaho” for 13 years and counting.
To successfully manage and disseminate news and important information about Brundage to customers, April has adroitly mastered social media channels and a popular snow blog to foster word-of-mouth advocacy and customer loyalty. Her many hats include media relations, event planning, snow reporting and video, photo and website content. She is also Marketing Chair for the McCall regional Chamber of Commerce. She lives on a hill overlooking the city of McCall with her husband Cory and daughter Sienna.
It would be difficult to find a more accommodating, engaged, kind and personable PR person nor a more deserving Bob Gillen Memorial Award recipient.
JEFF WISE – Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont
Jeff, armed with a Mass Communications degree from Emerson College, had a brief stint in TV and radio at alternative rock station WDRE in New York. While on a flight in a small plane from New York to Southern Vermont to attend a job fair, he and his friend instead had to land in Morrisville near Stowe because of bad weather. After seeing the village and the region, he returned to his job in New York, packed his bags, never looked back and moved to Stowe. He began his career at the resort in 1993 as a riding instructor and then as Snowboard School Director.
In May of 2001, he elevated to the position of Marketing and Communications Director at Stowe, which he enjoys to this day. Highlights of his career are overseeing communications during Stowe’s 16 year, $600 million upgrade to a world-class all-season resort and the integration of the mountain into the Vail Resorts family. Jeff has been a model media liaison, dealing with journalists and the public in an exemplary, professional manner and elevating Stowe’s brand in recognition and respect in the U.S. and worldwide.
He was one of the first communications director to offer his media kit in digital form, first with CDs and then using a convenient flash drive, that saves resources and simplifies the dissemination of information. He received the MarCom Award for “Best Media Kit” and an NSAA honor for “Best Overall Marketing Campaign.” Jeff also served as the chair of the Vermont Ski Areas Assoc. PR Committee for many seasons. Jeff and his wife Julie, kids Ryder and Rex, and Ozzie, their Golden Doodle puppy share a home in Stowe. Jeff would be a very deserving Gillen Award winner.