How in the world does a noname 20-something writing blog posts from the laundromat end up with so many friends and opportunities in an industry as cool as skiing?
With such humble beginnings, I have a ton to be thankful for. So being, every year since those early days scribbling ideas by the washing machines I’ve taken a moment to share my appreciation for the people who have helped those stars align. This marks the eighth year and it’s become a tradition I look forward to for months.
To recap, here are the previous years’ lists:
Eric Hoffman, Christian Knapp, Corey Ryan, Dave Amirault, Kim (my wife), Jon Slaughter, Evan Reece, Doug Holton, Brian Rodine, The Utah Joes (Johnson & Myers)
Missy W Larsen, Milena Regos, Shawn Alain, Thomas Prindle, Ben Zeeb, Kim Blanchard, Ryan Blanchard, Alex Kaufman, Troy Thompson, Davy Ratchford, and everyone who drinks (the ski industry).
Callie Blanchard, Shawn Gallagher, Mark While, Steve Pope, Krista Parry, Paul Allen, Corey Ryan, Kory Samson, Dave Gibson, Kim Blanchard.
The Origin Crew, My Parents (Paul & Kim), Halley O’Brien, Brad Larsen, Patrick Sande, Jason Dyer, Chandler Burgess, Greg Kwasnik, Mary Jo Tarallo, Kim & Callie, James Keddington, Rob Megnin, Bruce Rosard.
Steve Wright, Mike Swanson & Jackie Megnin, Sam Blanchard, Rick Kahl, Jamie Ippolito, Patrick Crawford, Trevor Crist, Kurt Gellert, Jeremy Davis, Chris Bradford
Kim Blanchard, Larry Bird, Craig Deluca, Pascale Savard, Trevor Crist, Richard Elwood, Paul Allen, Dr John Goshert, Rob Webb, Josh Arneson
Trevor Crist, Corey Ryan, Adrienne Saia-Isaac, Hugh Reynolds, Joe Hession, Joni Loveless, Joe Johnson, Claire, Pascale Savard & Donnie Clapp, Kim & Callie & Sam
Without further ado, the 2018 list.
1) Kelly Pawlak
I was definitely one of the people fist pumping when I heard Kelly announced as the new NSAA President. But at the time, I’d never met her. When I finally got up the guts to send an email, she picked up the phone and called back. Since then she has been nothing but supportive of my feeble efforts and ideas and given me a chance to be involved in the future she’s moving us toward. Kelly, I can’t thank you enough for that support.
2) Dave Meeker
To my point yesterday, what does someone say when they graciously invite you to be part of a Best/Worst article and you reply, “can I only do the best?” If you’re Dave Meeker, you say “all good man, do your best.” That annual tradition was one I’d always had mixed feelings about but also deeply appreciated the chance to be part of. Thanks, Dave, for letting me participate even if I didn’t contribute the way I had in the past. Means a lot.
3) Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover is the founder of something called Product Hunt. An amazing place to launch any product, in the last year I’ve had two of my side-projects be Top 5 products of the day thanks to Ryan’s devotion to keeping his service a level playing field. I’ve always been a bit unsure about my product/design/dev skills and whether they were any good, but the response to my efforts on this platform has opened my eyes to career possibilities I’d never imagined and given me a much-needed confidence boost in my own abilities. Thanks, Ryan, for keeping Product Hunt a tool anyone can benefit from.
4) Greg Fisher & Thad Quimby
Vail may have some big names, but if there’s someone I want to go to battle with it’d be people like Greg Fisher and Thad Quimby. Both of them, more than once, have been willing to jump on the phone with me and just give me some perspective and advice and it’s been more helpful than they’ll ever know. As both parents and top-notch marketers, Peak Resorts are lucky to have them and I couldn’t be more appreciative of their willingness to help, their advice, and their examples.
5) Karin Tierney
When I joined the leadership team at Inntopia in May, I was a fish out of water. My leadership skills were…umm…lacking, to say the least. So being, I was lined up with a sort of “leadership coach” and instantly rolled my eyes. But Karin has been patient, helped me learn a ton about myself, and really helped me accelerate my ability to lead, manage, and work with people on a level that I’m simply not use to. My transition from doer to manager of doers has been bumpy, but it’s been less so thanks to Karin’s time and concern.
6) Nick Herrin
Nick is the CEO of PSIA and, so being, whenever I’ve written about the business of ski school or what we need to do to grow the sport, sometimes I’m pushing pretty hard against efforts like his. So when we finally met, I couldn’t have been more appreciative of Nick seeing the good intentions behind my imperfect words. Even more, Nick is many steps ahead of me on virtually everything I’ve ever written about ski school. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised I was wrong/behind again, but I do appreciate Nick for being such a good dude about it. I couldn’t be more excited to see where he takes PSIA.
7) Kim Blanchard (My Mom)
When I look at where I am today, it’s largely a result of a knack for creativity that was fostered by my incredible parents. Slowly, as my kids have gotten a little older, I’ve realized that the “creations” of my childhood likely made huge messes in our home. My mother didn’t complain about the mess (like I sometimes do with my kids) but rather praised what I had created and encouraged more. When my snowmaker flooded the basement? Same response. I owe a lot to the creativity I have and I owe the growth of that creativity to the support of my mom.
8) Dan Tosch
I’ve written a lot of stories and interviewed hundreds of marketers over the years. I’ve talked with some of the most well-known names in skiing. But the one story that stands our more than all the others for me personally is Dan Tosch. As good a dude as you’ll find, Dan has become not just a good friend but a great example of finding where you can contribute, doing your absolute best, putting family and life first, and not being swayed by the tempted by big titles. Dan is an incredible marketer and his story is one I think about a ton and appreciate even more.
9) Brandon von Guenthner
Brandon is someone I really, really look up to and have learned a lot from. I’ve learned that you can bootstrap a hardware company, I’ve learned the 2018 marketing value of creating an amazing product, I’ve learned how to never stop improving. But most of all I’ve learned how overcoming failure and challenges can become a positive aspect of your brand. Brandon is doing amazing things for resort marketing and I couldn’t be more appreciative of his friendship, example, and hustle.
10) Joan Gallagher
In 2017 my maternal grandmother passed away. She was a tough woman who did some pretty incredible things in her life despite long odds. I won’t get into details and it’s obviously too late to tell her in person, but just know that the more I get into life and parenthood the more I appreciate her example of making time for adventures, focusing on others, and pushing through adversity without complaint. She wasn’t the typical grandma, but she was a darn good one and I miss her.
BONUS) Shawn James
If there’s one aspirational thing I want to do in my life, it’s buy a piece of land and build a cabin (preferably on hilly property so I can also build a rope tow). Right now, this isn’t super realistic so I appreciate a dude named Shawn James who has documented this process and let me live vicariously through his experience. It’s a small thing, but for a guy hustling at work and home who sometimes struggles with postponing dreams, it’s a big deal.
That’s all for this year.
As always there are dozens of people that could have been on this list. I appreciate everyone who has supported me more than any words on a screen could every convey. Life is good because of people like you giving me a chance.
Here’s to a happy, healthy Thanksgiving for you and yours.
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