The state's ski and snowboard trade group tapped Sipapu's General Manager John Paul Bradley as the best mountain operator, and Sipapu regulars, the Chauchere family of Tulsa, Okla., as the best customers.
The Chauchere family has been coming to Sipapu for the Christmas holidays since 1960. This season's stay will mark their 50th consecutive visit, during which the family has brought as many as 50 family and friends to Sipapu.
Bradley joined Sipapu in 2001 and, during his tenure, the number of trails has doubled and skier-visits have more than tripled at the northern New Mexico ski and snowboard area. He shared the mountain operations award with Michael Lindenbaum, of Ski Santa Fe. Lindenbaum worked his way up from the rental shop to mountain grooming to his present position.
Ski Santa Fe's Tim Boettler won the association's customer service award. Boettler started skiing and working at Sandia Peak in the 1960s, and then moved over to its sister area above Santa Fe to head up its customer service efforts.
Taos Ski Valley earned two awards. Ski instructor Mile Hinton won the best instructor award. Hinton began teaching skiing at Taos in 1982 and has since gotten certified as a telemark instructor. Nicolas Veith, who trains at Taos Ski Valley, earned best ski racer recognition for winning the Rocky Mountain/Central Junior Olympics overall alpine title.
Ski Apache's Terry Gee received the best ski patrol award. Gee, who grew up in Clovis, N.M., began patrolling at the southern New Mexico resort in 1977 and has trained most patrollers on the mountain since then.