Ski Utah Press Release

Public Relations Director

NSAA Honors Ski Industry Leaders Bob Bonar and Blaise Carrig

Bonar and Carrig received liftime achievement awards for careers leave legacies in stewardship, service and sustainability.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (May 1, 2019) – The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) presented two ski industry leaders with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award: Bob Bonar, of Snowbird, and Blaise Carrig, of Vail Resorts. The NSAA Lifetime Achievement Award is the association’s highest honor, presented to leaders and innovators in the ski industry who have exhibited passion and a pioneering spirit to advance industry interests, and have worked in support of NSAA initiatives and programs.

“These dedicated leaders are recognized not only for their individual success within their resort companies, but their far reaching impacts and contributions to the success of NSAA and the entire ski industry,” said Kelly Pawlak, NSAA president.

Bob Bonar began his ski industry career at Snowbird in 1971 and was named General Manager of the resort in 1997. In his 47 years at the resort, Bonar demonstrated leadership in the areas of public lands stewardship, stakeholder relations and sustainability. Bob Bonar helped build Snowbird and make it one of America’s great ski destinations. During his long and successful career, Snowbird expanded into Mineral Basin, offered a lift-served connection to neighboring Alta, built North America’s first skier tunnel, and built The Summit, an 18,000 square foot dining facility at the top of Hidden Peak.

Bonar’s service to the public-private U.S. Forest Service/ski industry partnership is an important part of his legacy. He demonstrated a strong commitment to public land stewardship in his day-to-day decisions at the helm of Snowbird; his positive working relationship with the Forest Service serves as a model for other public land ski areas. In 2005, Snowbird was the first resort to partner with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) and contribute lodging dollars to the Ski Conservation Fund in support of local conservation projects, paving the way for many other resorts to follow suit. Under Bonar’s leadership, Snowbird was awarded two Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence (2007, 2013), evidence of Bonar’s unwavering top level support for sustainability and climate change action initiatives. 

Bonar was active within NSAA, the State of Utah and his local community. He served as Chair of the NSAA Public Lands Committee and served on NSAA’s Board of Directors. Bonar also served on the Board of Ski Utah, Utah Sports Commission and the Utah Office of Tourism. He was the driving force behind the creation of the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to improving the environment of Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, and served on the Board of Wasatch Adaptive Sports as well. 

“Bob is the epitome of a stand-up guy and is a tremendous role model for future leaders in the ski industry when it comes to working constructively with stakeholders, government, and community partners,” said Geraldine Link, NSAA director of public policy.

Blaise Carrig began his ski industry career as a ski patroller at Sugarbush Resort in Vermont, eventually working his way up to President and Managing Director. His career saw him take senior leadership roles at The Canyons, Utah, and Heavenly Mountain Resort, California. In 2008, he was named COO and President – Mountain Division at Vail Resorts, Inc., and served as a special advisor until his retirement in December 2018. Through his career, Carrig emphasized the importance of stewardship and service, promoting partnerships with the National Forest Foundation; encouraging corporate funding of forest restoration work; and creating the Vail Resorts Health & Safety Team. 

“Blaise is a natural leader and people have always gravitated to his leadership,” said Patricia Campbell, Mountain Division President at Vail Resorts. “Everyone knows you can rely on him to be candid, having clear expectations and letting you know where you stand. Blaise always brings a lightness and sense of humor with his leadership. He loves to connect with his team and employees and have fun.”

Carrig has been an active leader and mentor throughout his time in the ski industry, serving on the boards of National Ski Areas Association, Vermont Ski Areas Association, Ski Utah, the California Ski Industry Association, the Nevada Commission on Tourism, the National Forest Foundation, Tahoe-Baikal Institute, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, and the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce. He also served on NSAA’s Government Affairs Committee.

Carrig leaves a legacy with NSAA, having inspired two of the association’s primary initiatives: the Growth Committee and the Mountain Foundation. The Growth Committee is focused on finding innovative ways to increase participation and retention in snowsports. The Mountain Foundation is NSAA’s new 501c3 charitable arm focused on providing the next generation of ski industry leaders with access to educational opportunities to help further their careers. To that end, Carrig and his wife, Leslie, generously contributed the Foundation’s first donation to galvanize the program and encourage other leaders to do the same.

The awards were presented at the NSAA National Convention and Tradeshow in San Diego, Calif. Bonar received his award at a ceremony on April 30, 2019; Carrig received his award on May 1, 2019.  

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