STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO- May 28, 2013-Derek ‘Deke’ Fritz, a 32-year veteran of the Steamboat lift maintenance department, was selected as the Lift Maintenance Person of the Year by the Rocky Mountain Lift Association during its 42nd Annual Conference earlier this month in Grand Junction, Colorado.
“Steamboat is world renowned for its Champagne Powder® snow, western heritage and warm hospitality while amenities like our extensive lift system are often overlooked,” says Doug Allen, vice president of mountain operations for the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “Derek is a shining example of the hard work put in behind the scenes to make Steamboat’s guest experience top notch. We are proud of Derek and the entire lift maintenance department, and are thrilled that the Rocky Mountain Lift Association recognizes all his hard work, dedication and decades of industry experience.”
After obtaining a Business degree from the University of South Carolina, Fritz moved to Steamboat Springs in 1980 where he began working for the resort as a lift operator. Fritz started his lift maintenance career as a full-time Journeyman Lift Mechanic in 1986, before earning Master Lift Mechanic in 1994. With the respect of his peers, a passion for the professional and tireless energy, Deke readily shares his extensive knowledge and expertise with the next lift maintenance generation.
Over his three decades in the business, Deke has created numerous detachable quad chairlift procedures that are still in use today as well as leading adapting industry changes by ANSI, CPTSB and OSHA at the resort. In addition to their routine maintenance activities this past summer, Deke’s section oversaw several significant lift maintenance projects including gearbox rebuilds, haul rope splice, replacement of grips/carriers and retrofitting a counterweight hydraulic tension system.
“Derek is the heartbeat of the lift maintenance crew,” said Kurt Castor, lift maintenance director for the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “He has high expectations for himself, and therefore consistently sets the bar very high for the team; that dedication and attention to detail helps propel our department to the highest level.”
RMLA has presented the Lift Maintenance Person of the Year award to the top mechanics from resorts around the country since 1994, “in recognition of their outstanding performance, productivity and commitment to excellence in the Lift Maintenance Field.”
The RMLA is a professional and educational association founded in 1971 to meet the needs of the growing ski industry in Colorado. The organization was established as the Rocky Mountain Lift Maintenance Association, dedicated to sharing information and problem solving ideas among lift maintenance personnel. In 1976, the name was changed to Rocky Mountain Lift Association (RMLA) to recognize the vital roles played by all lift Operations and Maintenance personnel.
Fritz joins a growing list of lift professionals to be honored by the RMLA including previous Steamboat recipients - Ted Serafy (2013), Mark Emery (2011) and Frank Fidler (2009).