Steamboat Springs Steamboat Ski Area employee Corey Peterson is happiest when he’s on top of a mountain making snow.
He’s on top again this week, but it has nothing to do with the altitude where he's usually working.
Peterson has been named one of the top six snowmakers in the country by Ski Area Management magazine. He was featured in the December Issue of the magazine and joins others like snowmaker Ken Mack, who was named in October for his work at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; like Ray Weller, who was recognized for his work in Breckenridge; and Senath Morril, who was added to the list for her work for Sugarloaf. The other two will be announced in February and March.
“I’m very honored,” Peterson said. “I guess I’m one of the top guys, but I work with a lot of guys who are just as deserving as me.”
Peterson said he fell in love with his job shortly after starting 10 years ago.
“It’s great because I get to work outdoors and it’s always fun," he said. "I enjoy the challenges the job presents and I enjoy the camaraderie I have with the people I work with.”
Doug Allen, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. vice president of mountain operations, said snowmaking operations slowed down before the holidays and wrapped up last week as crews made snow to fill in some high-traffic areas on the mountain.
This year, snowmaking began at the end of October and was aided by plenty of cold temperatures and lots of natural snow.
In all, snowmakers covered 438 acres and used a little more than 88 million gallons of water.
Allen said crews focused on building a solid foundation near the base area, which can require as much as 5 feet of man-made snow to get through the spring. The crews also worked higher up the mountain in places like the face of Storm Peak. Allen said crews don’t make as much snow at the higher points, but mixing the natural dry snow with moist man-made snow helps keep everything in place through the entire season.
“In places where we groom mixing natural and man-made snow makes the snow more durable,” Allen explained.
Although Peterson and his co-workers are done making snow for the winter, Peterson maintains a full-time schedule at the mountain.
He plows snow when needed and checks out hoses, pumps and other snowmaking equipment to make sure it will be ready to go next fall when the time to make snow returns.
“It’s hard to explain, but I love my job,” Peterson said. “It’s totally different than any other job I’ve had.”
In the profile in the magazine, Peterson explains that his love for the job continued to get stronger even after 10 years making snow.
“I would have thought that the excitement would start to wear down after several years, but instead, the anticipation continues to be just as high as my first year,” he said in the magazine.
Ski Area Management magazine will print profiles of each of the six snowmakers selected this year, and at the end of the year, readers will be asked to vote for the snowmaker of the year.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966
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