Steamboat Springs It's tough being a ski lift mechanic.
"You have to have some mechanical knowledge as well as trouble shooting," said Frank Fidler, a mechanic for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. "We're doing a lot of mathematics whenever we're dealing with rigging and all that. It's a dangerous profession as well, working on towers and moving machinery."
Fidler, a nine-year veteran of Ski Corp.'s lift maintenance department, apparently is pretty darn good at all that. The Rocky Mountain Lift Association named Fidler its Mechanic of the Year last week at a conference in Grand Junction.
Fidler moved to Steamboat Springs in 2000 after earning his master's of science degree in agriculture and natural resource economics from West Virginia University. He started work at Ski Corp. as a lift operator and moved to the maintenance department in 2002. He became a master mechanic in 2006.
Like scores of others, Fidler came to Steamboat for a year - and stayed. The snowboarder said he enjoys working outdoors.
"Eighty percent of the time, we're outside, and we're always at a different place," he said.
Lift Maintenance Director Kurt Castor nominated Fidler for the award.
"Frank's strengths in problem solving, training and developing new procedures makes him not only an asset to our organization, but a role model for our team."
Castor stated in a news release: "Frank has high expectation for himself, and therefore consistently sets the bar very high in everything he does."
Fidler attributed his honor partly to a challenging winter.
"We've had a lot of turnover, a lot of new guys, so I was kind of all over the mountain all year on a lot of different sections trying to help everything run smoothly," he said. "I guess we went above and beyond."
He also credited his co-workers. Fidler said he learned much of his trade while on the job.
"I just really like working with the people I do work with, and they definitely helped me get to where I am," he said.
The Rocky Mountain Lift Association started giving the honor to mechanics from across the nation in 1994. This is the first win for a Steamboat lift maintenance department worker, according to the release. Ski Corp. President Chris Diamond praised Fidler in the release.
"Frank is a shining example of how much hard work we put in behind the scenes to make our guest experience top notch," Diamond said. "We are so proud of Frank and the entire lift maintenance department."
Fidler's award marks the second honor of the year for Ski Corp.'s behind-the-scenes team. Scott Livingston earned the title of snowmaker of the year from Colorado Ski Country USA in April.