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These are the workers who make Colorado's ski season possible

It takes more than just tons of snow to make a great ski season. Groomers, snowmakers, and terrain park specialists are being recognized for behind-the-scenes work.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — An estimated 500,000 Coloradans are active skiers or snowboarders.

Colorado ski resorts logged a record 13.8 billion skier visits during the 2021-22 season, according to data released by the not-for-profit organization Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA).

Colorado features some of the best terrain and fluffiest snow in the world, but CSCUSA said there's a host of men and women working behind the scenes that make the state's ski areas the best.

At the 41st Annual Snowmaking & Slope Maintenance Conference and Trade Show, often called SnowCon, in Grand Junction, CSCUSA recognized the workers behind the snow.

Patrick Shultz, a snowcat operator at Telluride Resort, said this season has been one of the best he’s ever seen.

Mark Gresset, a snowcat driver at Aspen-Snowmass for 44 years, spends 10 to 12 hours at night grooming the beautiful corduroy that skiers love so much.

“When you just laid a perfect surface, and you don’t see a flaw in it – it looks like your bedroom carpet – that’s perfect. To me that’s perfect," Gresset said.

James Schold, a nominee for Snowmaker of the Year, made his way to Colorado's Rockies from the family farm in Nebraska.

“The way I see it is that resort is more or less my farm," Schold said. "In the fall I go plant my crop and spend the rest of the winter taking care of that crop. Then when the summer comes around you get ready for the next planting season."

Seventeen Colorado ski resort workers were nominated this season. The top three winners will be announced in June.



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