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Regional News

Two ski industry leaders honored by NSAA

National Ski Areas Association

Former Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz will receive the 2022 National Ski Areas Association Industry Impact Award next month at the 60th annual NSAA National Convention in Nashville.

Ski Area Management magazine reports that in addition to recognizing Katz, Win Smith, the former owner of Sugarbush Resort, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Smith owned Sugarbush in Vermont for more than 19 years before selling the resort to Alterra Mountain Company in January 2020.

Both Smith and Katz are ski resort leaders who came to the ski industry following stints on Wall Street. Smith left Merrill Lynch in 2001 and purchased Sugarbush. Katz was working at the private equity firm Apollo Global Management when he joined Vail Resorts’ board in 1996 and later became CEO in 2006.

According to the NSAA, the Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes people whose commitment and contribution to the organization and the ski industry will benefit the industry for decades to come.

The Industry Impact Award recognizes individuals or organizations whose contributions have had a significant and valuable impact on the ski industry.

According to the announcement, under Katz’s leadership the company acquired 38 resorts and launched the Epic Pass, which connected those ski areas together under a single product.

Pat Campbell, senior advisor to and former president of Vail Resorts Mountain Division, told NSAA, “So much of the innovation that Rob [Katz] drove at Vail Resorts was uncomfortable for many in the industry,” she said, “and ultimately resulted in innovation across the industry that has proven beneficial for all.”

After 15 years as CEO, Katz stepped down in November 2021 and assumed the role of executive chairperson. In that role, he advises the board on long-term strategy and critical priorities. He has also remained involved in Vail Resorts’ leadership development and diversity, equity, and inclusion activities.

Award recipients from the last two years during the pandemic will also be recognized at next month’s convention.