Last week Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, CA mountain manager Jimmy King was recognized for his work and awarded the Dave McCoy Lifetime Achievement Award by the California Ski Industry Association.
For nearly the past fifty years Jimmy has quietly labored away at the resort behind the scenes, rarely if ever missing a day, to keep lifts turning, and guests and employees safe.
“In my 40-plus years of being in this industry, I cannot think of anybody more deserving and worthy as the recipient of the Dave McCoy Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Casey Blann, the resort’s vice president of mountain operations, during a ceremony. “He’s the go-to guy of everything Squaw. He will do anything, anytime for anyone who works for him, he’s got this hard-guy nature and this tough-guy kind of attitude, but the guy is the most sensitive dude in the world underneath all of that.”
King first started at Squaw in 1973 as a seasonal lift operator and was later given a year-round position by Alex Cushing, reports the Sierra Sun. He went on to work with Hans Burkhart in developing more lifts at the resort, mastered driving grooming machines on some of Squaw’s steepest terrain, before becoming mountain manager in 1991.
“Chris Woo, he and I built this Far East lift over here in 60 days,” said King while pointing toward the lift during his address to the crowd. “Nobody thought we could do it … those were the kinds of things we were able to do, but it was all because of the team, it was because of the crew. The biggest thing about it — as I look at the team and the crew — is safety. Safety is so important to all of you guys and all of you girls out there. You just have no idea, because many of us like myself we have seen the really good, the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
King was an instrumental part of the rescue effort following the 1978 tram accident that claimed the lives of four people and over the last half-century has seen almost everything.