Credit: Harold S. Hirsch Award - 2019 Winners

Harold S. Hirsch Award – 2019 Winners

The judges have completed their work for NASJA’s  2019 Harold S. Hirsch Award winners.

Since 1963, the Harold S. Hirsch Award has recognized excellence in snowsports reporting, emphasizing journalistic creativity and editorial or artistic content. The concept for these awards came after the 1960 Winter Olympics from Hirsch, a ski clothing pioneer and founder of White Stag, to promote professionalism in winter sports coverage.

Award recipients are chosen by a panel of judges with the highest credentials in the fields of journalism, writing, education, snowsports and visual media.

The Hirsch Awards were revamped in 2018 to better reflect the changes in the ways journalists communicate. Several categories were merged so that words could be judged against words, whether in paper or digital form. Video and photography are now judged together in a new Images category. The

Book award is given every third year and was included in the 2018 contest.

Staring in 2018 the competition was opened to all journalists, not just NASJA members.

The 2019 Harold S. Hirsch Award Judges:

  • Mark Phillips, Freelance and former Association Press Photographer, New York, New York
  • Earl Saline: Director of Education Programming National Ski Areas Association
  • Marcia Biggs: Editor of St. Pete Life magazine, former travel writer at Tampa Tribune, Tampa Bay Times, Allegiant Airlines, VisitSouth.com and others.
  • Michael Kodas: Photojournalist, Author, Front Range Community College in Longmont, CO

The winner of NASJA’s 2019 Harold S. Hirsch Award in the Words category is new NASJA member Eric Smith.

Eric Smith

Eric Smith – Winner of the Words Category

The judges’ said that he had a good eye for newsworthy stories on the effect of a strong start to the snow season on resorts, the impact of the coming winter Olympics on snow sports in China and the boom of backcountry snow enthusiast. His stories were well-researched, with original reporting, informative use of data and a good selection of appropriate interview sources who gave solid quotes. Further, his fascinating articles on the business, promotion and future of skiing and the global ski industry offered insight and interviews one rarely finds in ski writing. Your choice of topics – from China’s untapped ski industry to the financial value of early snowfall  – and his easy writing style made his entries standout of the pack of very good writers this year.
Eric Smith, who grew up in Memphis, TN, and now lives in Louisville, CO, is a senior business editor at the longtime B2B trade publication SGB Media, where he covers the snowsports, outdoor and active lifestyle industries. He began his writing career as a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska before transitioning to business journalism with both consumer and trade titles.   His complete portfolio can be found at ericsmithwriter.com.

This year there was a tie for the Images Category.  Ray and Alicia Alba (Alba Adventures) and Dino Vournas

Ray and Alicia Alba – Images

Alba Adventures

Alicia and Ray Alba and their children. – Co-winners of the Images category

The co-winners of NASJA’s 2019 Harold S. Hirsch Award in the Images category are Alicia and Ray Alba(alba adventures) from New York City.
Shortly after their oldest son passed away, Ray and Alicia Alba of Alba Adventures rediscovered skiing and began documenting their time on the hill with their family and friends. It wasn’t long before they became better at their craft and in a short amount of time they have  produced award-winning film shorts, that have been shown in numerous film festivals including Lake Placid Film Festival and the IF3 Film Festival in Montreal.
Instead of skiers taking insane lines in places most of us will never see, much less ski, these are skiers and places most of its viewers can relate to evoking memories of things they have experienced. Their message is an important one, unplugging, getting outdoors, and embracing family time to make family bonds that many of us have lost.. “A Family That Skis Together Stays Together.” Their  latest film shorts can be found at Albaadventures.com.
The judges’ commented that their submissions were excellent examples of using video for story telling – they complimented Alicia and Ray on an in-depth reviews of the locations and the surrounding areas. “Great sense of the location, good use of lighting, action, sound and editing was employed.”

Dino Vournas – Images

Dino Vournas

Dino Vournas – Co-winner of the Images category

The co-winner of NASJA’s 2019 Harold S. Hirsch Award in the Images category is five time Harold S. Hirsch Award winner Dino Vournas.  Dino is a Hayward, California based Freelance photographer/ski and outdoor writer who has(SF)Bay Area News Group: East Bay Times/San Jose Mercury, Associated Press, Outside Magazine, Tampa Tribune, Skinet.com, Colorado Expressions, Examiner.com, others. Member of SATW and has been an active member in NASJA since 1977.
The judges’ complimented Vournas him on his photographs, especially those depicting action, drama, and risk. “It all added up to compelling use of photography for storytelling.”

Since 1963, NASJA’s Harold S. Hirsch Awards have recognized excellence involving snowsports, emphasizing journalistic creativity and editorial or artistic content. The concept for these awards came after the 1960 Winter Olympics from Hirsch, ski clothing pioneer and founder of White Stag, to promote professionalism in winter sports coverage. Award recipients are chosen by a panel of judges with the highest credentials in the fields of journalism, writing, education, snowsports and visual media.

Read the complete list of Harold S. Hirsch Award Winners