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Ray Gallegos vehicle mechanic of the year 18/19

Why Our Operations Team Rocks!

Our Mountain Operations team has a big job full of myriad tiny details. Besides the obvious (running the lifts, grooming the runs) there are many unsung heroes out there, such as the mechanics that keep all of the equipment running, including the vehicles and cats used to get around.

Not one, not two, but THREE of our team members have won prestigious awards in the past two seasons! Meet these men below:

Logan James was named this year’s Groomer of the Year at Colorado Ski Country USA’s annual meeting and Double Diamond Awards in Denver last week. Logan quite literally grew up at Purgatory Resort, from his father serving as winch snowcat operator when he was a child to his first job on the mountain at age 17. Having skied Purgatory his entire life, Logan’s local knowledge and mountain intuition enables him to successfully balance the art and science of snow grooming, and maintain excellent conditions on the slopes.

This is the second year in a row a Purgatory employee was named Groomer of the Year by CSCUSA. In 2018 Sterling Bommarito received the award and shares a similar background to Logan, having also grown up skiing at Purgatory. His first job on the mountain was snow removal at age 15, and he’s since moved up to a supervisory role.

“It’s an honor for Sterling and Logan to receive these back to back awards,” says Josh Hamill, slopes manager. “We appreciate their hard work and dedication. They take pride in their work and it shows, from ensuring fresh corduroy each morning to the overall enjoyment of our guests.”

Next, Ski Area Vehicle Maintenance Institute (SAVMI) named Raymond Gallegos Mechanic of the Year at the organization’s annual conference and trade show last month. The award recognizes ski area employees responsible for maintaining snowcats and other essential vehicles that keep mountain operations running safely and efficiently. In addition to Gallegos, Purgatory’s entire vehicle maintenance staff received the SAVMI safety award, acknowledging their commitment to safety and the most consecutive days – over 1,360 days – without incident.

Last summer Purgatory was evacuated for one month during the 416 Fire, severely disrupting seasonal maintenance for its fleet of vehicles. Upon returning to work, Ray was promoted to shop foreman and quickly rose to the occasion. Despite his department being shorthanded, Ray led his team and successfully completed seasonal and preventive maintenance, helping prepare the resort for the winter season.

According to John Gallup, director of vehicle maintenance: “Ray’s leadership is a shining example of perseverance and dedication. His ability to prioritize and evaluate ensures each department has reliable vehicles, and no snowcat ever gets stuck on the mountain.”

“Purgatory’s culture and location in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains is why so many talented, passionate individuals call this mountain home,” says Dave Rathbun, general manager with Purgatory. “Our greatest strength is our employees, and we applaud the hard work and dedication of Ray, Logan, Sterling and our entire team during the epic 2018/19 season.”