Skico groomer, terrain master honored by state ski industry

Staff report

Two employees of Aspen Skiing Co. received Double Diamond Awards recently from Colorado Ski Country USA for their fine work.

Tigran Bailey was named Terrain Master of the Year for his work on Aspen Mountain. Bill Drake was named Groomer of the Year for his work at Snowmass.

Bailey has worked for Skico since 1996 as a snowmaker with Matt Reader, a pioneer in snowmaking.

“He learned the art of making great snow when attention to air and water mixed by the snowmaker himself was of utmost importance,” Colorado Ski Country said in its recognition.

Bailey has worked on events such as 24 Hours of Aspen, World Cup alpine racing and the Winter X Games.

“From K guns to fan guns he has worked to understand the peculiar aspects of each technology,” Colorado Ski Country said. “To make the most efficient snow possible, the automation of man-made snow is ever valuable as snowmaking progresses.”

Drake was raised in Aspen and hired as a snowcat operator at Snowmass Ski Area in 1988 and left the job in 1994 to help his parents run their family business, the Ullrhof restaurant at Snowmass. He sold the restaurant in 2007. The winter trails manager at Snowmass, Mark Gressett, welcomed him back to the grooming crew.

“Bill has been spending his winters playing on the cat crew ever since,” Colorado Ski Country said.

In other awards, Bill Baum of Winter Park Resort/Intrawest received the Chairman’s Award for his work as an executive.

Mike McCormack of Purgatory Resort received the President’s Award for his career in the industry.

Cole Puckett of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club received the Spencer Nelson All-Star Athlete of the Year Award.

Roman Sanchez of Eldora Mountain Resort was named the Ski Patroller of the Year while Debra Greenblatt of Purgatory was recognized as Ski Instructor of the Year.

Spencer Rugland of Powderhorn received an award for Snowmaker of the Year.