Copper Mountain Resort ski patroller receives scholarship |

Copper Mountain Resort ski patroller receives scholarship

Alli Langley
Copper Mountain Resort ski patroller Jonathan Burk, 29, of Silverthorne, recently received a scholarship through the nonprofit Cody St. John Foundation to help fund his paramedic training. The foundation was created by the parents of Cody St. John, a Steamboat Ski Resort ski patroller who died after he was injured in a car accident while driving to a nursing school interview.
Courtesy Cody St. John Foundation |

A Copper Mountain Resort ski patroller will carry on the legacy of another on-mountain first reponder.

Jonathan Burk, 29, of Silverthorne, was recently awarded a scholarship to help fund his paramedic training through the Cody St. John Foundation, which helps ski patrollers who have completed at least two seasons further their medical education.

The nonprofit was formed by the parents of Cody St. John, a Steamboat ski patroller who died in 2007 after he was injured in a car accident while driving to a nursing school interview.

After growing up in Maryland, St. John lived in Silverthorne and worked in Summit County for a season.

He later worked in Steamboat for five years and was named Colorado Ski Patroller of the Year in the 2005-06 ski season. He was the youngest patroller, and only snowboarder, to receive the prestigious award.

His mother, Candy St. John, said this year the foundation received more scholarship applications than ever and they were impressive.

“These young men and women are highly educated,” she said, and some have degrees in engineering, kinesiology and geology. “They are amazing individuals, and they choose to be patrollers because it’s where their passion is.”

She said Burk’s application stood out because it told an inspiring story about his experiences working as a camp counselor with burn victims and showed that he understood the organization’s mantra: “Let us fortunate ones live the good life.”

The foundation chose the motto after finding it painted among Cody’s possessions, she said.

Patrollers from Steamboat Springs, Aspen Snowmass, Deer Valley, Mammoth Mountain and Northstar California also received scholarships funded by the seventh annual Cody’s Challenge event in Steamboat on Saturday, April 4.

The randonee race has become the premier race of its type and is now a member of the USSMA Cosmic series. Participants from local, regional and national resorts and ski patrols participate.

Cody’s Challenge features two endurance levels along with a competition among ski patrol teams for Cody’s Cup, which awards prize money to pay for avalanche and other patrol training.

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Ski Cooper employee named groomer of the year

Colorado Ski Country USA, the nonprofit trade association representing 21 Colorado ski areas, recognized the unsung heroes of the ski industry Thursday, April 9, in Grand Junction at an award ceremony bestowing the snowmaker, groomer and terrain master of the year awards.

Patrick Torsell, an employee at Ski Cooper, was named groomer of the year.

Torsell started as a groomer in his first season at Ski Cooper and was promoted to grooming and trail maintenance supervisor last summer. He also serves as Ski Cooper’s director of information technology.

Torsell vastly improved Ski Cooper’s terrain park quality and offerings. He also introduced snowcat-built moguls for training and mogul clinics last season, and he was instrumental in reducing the amount of nightly acreage per operator to allow greater attention to detail and higher quality snow surface.

“Patrick has been a positive influence upon Cooper’s groomers by demonstrating his leadership qualities and improving our area’s standards pursuant to his education and experience,” said Tim Kerrigan, vice president of mountain operations. “Patrick continually strives to improve his skills. He has helped raise the standards for fellow employees at the mountain and has had a positive influence in enhancing the quality of our guests’ experience. Patrick wears several hats at Cooper, but grooming excellence is his passion.”

The other honorees were Vail Mountain employee Emily Barker, recognized as snowmaker of the year, and Chris Branstetter and Tyler Reynolds, Snowmass employees recognized as terrain masters of the year.

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