Credit: Carson White Snowsports Achievement Award - Recipients

Carson White Snowsports Achievement Award – Recipients

Annually since 1969, NASJA has recognized innovators and pioneers who have made a significant and lasting contribution to North American winter sports, with its highest honor, the Carson White Snowsports Achievement Award*. The award is named in memory of the first president of the U.S. Ski Writers Association, the predecessor of NASJA.

DAVE KELLY-Magic Carpet Ski Lift

DAVE KELLY-Magic Carpet Ski Lift

Carson White Snowsports Achievement Award

“Flying under the radar” from an unassuming industrial park in 1990 in Denver, Colorado, Dave Kelly revolutionized the ski industry and ski areas and made life a lot easier and less terrifying for beginning skiers.  Dave had been involved in the industrial conveyor systems business since the early 1970’s and in 1982 started the Rocky Mountain Conveyor and Equipment Company, helping companies move goods and components.

His wife Jennifer describes him as a marketing major with a mechanical brain.  In 1990 he was approached by the Kinderhut day care center in Breckenridge, Colorado to see if he could adapt his conveyor system to transport young skiers up a small hill.  As a skier, Dave watched beginning skiers toil by walking uphill on unfamiliar leg accessories (skis) or crashing and burning trying to grab hold of a moving rope tow.  He was inspired to design and patent a conveyor belt that would eliminate their angst and transport them effortlessly uphill.  Thus, the Magic Carpet© ski lift was born.

Apparently Dave didn’t quite know what he had in his invention, whimsically named after the magical conveyance in Disney’s “Aladdin.”  It was two years later that Vail Resorts asked him to build three units for their ski area when he realized that he might be able to sell a few of these.  “We were probably the worst marketers around“, Dave said laughing.   By 1996, with a redesigned, lighter, less expensive modular unit, Magic Carpet Ski Lifts © spun off from the parent company and became an international sensation with 600-1000 lifts (they’ve lost count) installed in 10 countries; a list which is a veritable who’s-who of ski resorts.  Other uses of their lift, half-pipe and tubing hill transportation to name a few, soon followed.    In later years, dropping “Ski” from their name, the company adapted their technology to transporting visitors on rides at amusement parks, moving kayaks and boats for water sports applications and even controlling whitewater rafting courses.  These days you can see their conveyor principle applied by other manufacturers.  The next time you’re loading a certain high-speed quad and are effortlessly deposited onto the chair from a belt, you can probably thank Dave for that.  Dave and Jennifer live in Denver and still sample skiing the Rockies.

Read more about Rick Kahl and past winners of the Carson White Snowsports Achievement Award

2016 . . . . . . . . James Niehues, Artist, Ski Resort Mapmaker
2017 . . . . . . . . Jason Levinthal, Twin-tip Ski Designer
2018 . . . . . . . . Klaus Obermeyer, Obermeyer ski clothing
2019 . . . . . . . . Rick Kahl, Ski Area Management

* On November 20, 2015 the NASJA Board voted to consolidate the Carson White Golden Quill Award and the NASJA Lifetime Achievement Award, with the two awards becoming the Carson White Snowsports Achievement Award.

Carson White Golden Quill Award Winners

1968 . . . . . . . . Dr. Merritt H. Styles, U.S. Ski Association
1969 . . . . . . . . Ralph “Doc” DesRoches, Ski Industries of America
1970 . . . . . . . . Robert P. Beattie, International Ski Racers Assn.
1971 . . . . . . . . Harold S. Hirsch, Ski Industries of America
1972 . . . . . . . . Dorice Taylor, Sun Valley, ID
1973 . . . . . . . . Willy Schaeffler, U.S. Ski Association
1974 . . . . . . . . Fred Pabst Jr., Bromley Mountain, VT
1975 . . . . . . . . Robert Parker, Vail Associates, CO
1976 . . . . . . . . Rudy Mattesich, Ski Touring Council
1977 . . . . . . . . Lowell Thomas, Pawling, NY
1978 . . . . . . . . Dave McCoy, Mammoth Mountain, CA
1979 . . . . . . . . Tony Wise, Mt. Telemark, WI
1980 . . . . . . . . Cliff Taylor, Hogback Mountain, VT
1981 . . . . . . . . Werner Schuster, Alpine Meadows, CA
1982 . . . . . . . . Hal O’Leary, Winter Park, CO
1983 . . . . . . . . Averell Harriman, Sun Valley, ID
1984 . . . . . . . . Sepp Ruschp, Mt. Mansfield-Stowe, VT
1985 . . . . . . . . Warren Miller, Warren Miller Productions
1986 . . . . . . . . Israel and Orville Slutzky, Hunter Mountain, NY
1987 . . . . . . . . Tom Corcoran, Waterville Valley, NY
1988 . . . . . . . . Lloyd T. Lambert, 70+ Ski Club, Ballston Spa, NY
1989 . . . . . . . . Norbert Fischer, Disabled skiing advocate
Doug Pfeiffer, Freestyle skiing pioneer
1990 . . . . . . . . Dev Jennings, Ski New England
Bill Lash, Professional Ski Instructors of America
1991 . . . . . . . . Jim Ward, U.S. Ski Hall of Fame
1992 . . . . . . . . Stein Eriksen, Deer Valley Ski Resort, UT
1993 . . . . . . . . Nancy Greene-Raine, Canadian Olympian
1994 . . . . . . . . John Fry, NASTAR and Snow Country founder
1995 . . . . . . . . Dick Durrance, “The Man on the Medal”
1996 . . . . . . . . Jerry Groswold, Winter Park, CO
1997 . . . . . . . . Jake Burton Carpenter, Snowboard pioneer
Tom Sims, Snowboard pioneer
1998 . . . . . . . . Stephen Bradley, Father of snow grooming
1999 . . . . . . . . Bernie Weichsel, Snow show producer
2000 . . . . . . . . Ned Gillette, Snowsports adventurer
2001 . . . . . . . . Pete Seibert, Vail founder
2002 . . . . . . . . Jeannie Thoren, Women’s ski equipment innovator
2003 . . . . . . . . Ernie and Rhoda Blake, Taos Ski Valley, NM
2004 . . . . . . . . Jerry Simon and Harry Leonard, Ski show promoters
2005 . . . . . . . . Jerry Nunn, Ski patroller
2006 . . . . . . . . Carl Ettlinger, Vermont Ski Safety Research
2007 . . . . . . . . David Ingemie, Ski Industries of America
2008 . . . . . . . . Art Bowles, Breckenridge Resort, CO
2009 . . . . . . . . Stu Campbell, Ski instructor, racer & journalist
2010 . . . . . . . . Mel Dalebout, Ski boot pioneer
2011 . . . . . . . . Greg Stump, Film maker
2012 . . . . . . . . Joe Cushing, SNO Engineering
2013 . . . . . . . . Michael Berry, President, National Ski Areas Association
2014 . . . . . . . . Bill Marolt, President and CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA)
2016 . . . . . . . . James Niehues, Artist, Ski Resort Mapmaker
2017 . . . . . . . . Jason Levinthal, Twin-tip Ski Designer