The annual award was created in 2009 as part of the Alta Gala event to pay special tribute to community figures for their unique and important roles helping to sustain our community.
The 2019 Stellar Award Recipient: Roger & Margaret Bourke
Margaret Bourke: Alta holds a special place in my heart. Roger proposed to me on Yellowtrail, December 1989. We are passionate about Alta. From the mountains majesty, the natural beauty of the rocks and trees, gullies filled with flowers, even the vistas fill us with awe and wonder at the peace and purity of creation, in all seasons. Alta attracts people who care for the environment and its future. We are inspired to protect and preserve what is here by volunteering with others to remove invasive weeds, pick up trash, plant seedlings, re-build and renovate trails, plus participate in community events where we receive far more than we give. We want to leave behind a place that is sustainably better than when we first fell in love with Alta.
Roger Bourke: Roger Bourke grew up skiing in Sugar Bowl on Donner Summit. There he met Junior Bounous who had come from Alta to lead the ski school, and who hired Roger as a part time ski instructor while he was in college. Junior and Maxine extolled the virtues of Alta to Roger and his young wife Joyce. When finally out of grad school in the mid-60s, Roger, Joyce and their two kids headed to Alta. “I still remember the first day. We arrived by overnight train and took a shuttle up the canyon. There were three lifts: Wildcat, Germania and the Collins single chair”
Over the next few decades, while in the space exploration business in Southern California, Roger and his family sampled ski areas all over North America and Europe. But he kept coming back to Alta. “I decided I was telling myself something.”
Joyce passed away in 1981 and a decade later he married Margaret and a few years after that along came Forrest. “My whole family are Alta lovers. My kids all learned to ski here and all have worked and lived in the canyon, but Margaret and I are the only ones fortunate enough to live here now.”
Roger and Margaret have lived in Alta the whole 21st century and will continue as long as they can. “Meanwhile both of us are devoted to maintaining Alta’s beauty and unique character.”
The 2019 Stellar Award Recipient: Paul Lippert
I arrived in SLC in 1984 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, looking to find a new direction in my life's path. That first year I fell in love with the beauty, serenity and all the healthy activities available in Little Cottonwood Canyon. By the time Our Lady of the Snows was dedicated in 1993, I knew I had to share all my blessings, so I adopted the cause of Alta & the catholic diocesan to make Our Lady of the Snows the best community center in the canyon. Starting as a volunteer doing snow removal for the original Alta school, events & religious services to a canyon employee maintaining the building year round.
Through those years at Our Lady of the Snows I came to know the people & goals of Alta Community Enrichment (ACE) and how they were in step with the growth of Alta's community. I saw ACE as another venue to "spread the love" and joined their ranks on the ACE Board. For the past 15+ years it has been my pleasure to have served the board, support their events and be their " Mr. Fix it". The fulfillment of their past dreams for our community and goals of the day, I look forward to what they are dreaming of now.
In 2002 after helping Wendell relocate his bird feeder I realized that "Mother Nature" was in need of some love too and the birds were her progeny. So Wendell and I installed a pulley system to shadow snow levels and keep it full. In 2014, after a squirrel family squatted for the summer a rebuild was in order. It was with this update that Alta recieved its first educational bird feeder, with a picture & name of visiting species engraved & painted on the inside of the glass lens. To all the bird feeders aficionado, friends and donors of the 240+ pounds of seeds seasonally,
The annual race party bar sign says it best & reflects my sentiments: Our Lady of the Snows, taking care of your body, mind & spirit (soul).
The 2017 Stellar Award Recipient: Trainer Mahon
Trainer Mahon grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, moved to Alta, Utah for the legendary deep powder skiing in 1979. His first job was at the Goldminer’s Daughter Lounge, he has been there for 37 years, serving the community smiles, delicious pizzas and cold beer. Trainer has been on the Alta Ski Area gun crew for 11 years, helping to protect the Town of Alta from avalanches.
Trainer has supported the Alta community for all of these years, volunteering and donating for all of the non-profits. When we asked him his favorite part about Alta Community, he replied “the people and the kids I work with”. Trainer is a true Alta community member.
The 2016 Stellar Award Recipient: Dr Ken Libre:
Born and raised on the east coast, (Bethesda, MD and Lake Placid, NY), Kenneth Libre, MD graduated from Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School. It was in medical school that he met his future wife Carolyn Anctil, MD. As she limped into a classroom, he asked her what happened. When she said she had crashed her mountain bike, he knew he'd met the right girl. Residency training brought both Dr. Ken and Dr. Carolyn to Albuquerque NM. A couple big snow years and a stint at "Mogul Medical" (the medical clinic at the base of Taos), had them smitten with the West. After a year in Ophthalmology at Albany Medical Center, they relocated to Salt Lake - drawn in large part by Little Cottonwood Canyon. In 1998 Dr. Ken completed his training in Family Medicine at the University of UT. That year he began working three jobs: Salt Lake Community Heath Centers, Tooele ER, and Snowbird Medical Clinic.
On a huge powder day in the spring of 2003 - after trying to get to work at Snowbird from the Albion Basin (2 hour commute!) - Dr. Ken decided to pursue the idea of opening the Alta Medical Clinic. Mayor Bill Levitt, Alta GM Onno Wieringa, and the Planning Commission all gave the go-ahead to proceed with the Clinic; the Goldminer's Daughter graciously provided space. With the start of the new ski season in November 2004, the Alta Medical Clinic opened its doors. 25,000 patients later, the Clinic provides all levels of care for visitors and residents of Alta. From severe trauma to cardiac resuscitation to ACL tears to primary care and flu shots. Much of the success of the Clinic comes from the warm, caring, and personal environment created by Office manager Marco Young and previous managers Kelli Moylan PA-S and Diane Kendall DNP.
Alta is the perfect fit for Dr. Ken. He is happiest when skis are on his feet -from commuting to work on his x-c skis, to ripping around the mountain with his co-workers or his kids. Caring for patients that share a passion for the mountains is especially unique. It is not uncommon for him to run into a patient from the past, in the lift line, recovered and excited to be skiing again. It seems everywhere Dr. Ken goes, he is surrounded by people he has helped, not only patients, but his former employees as well - the Alta Medical Clinic has been a launch platform for scores of young ski enthusiasts as they realize their dreams of practicing medicine. Many have gone on to become doctors, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, and more. Dr. Ken is here for all of us, whether you need a physician, mentor or friend. He is a true asset for Alta.
The 2015 Stellar Award Recipient: Elfriede Shane, former owner of the Goldminer's Daughter Lodge. Please read her bio, which is attached at bottom of page.
2014 Stellar Award recipient: Tom Pollard, Town of Alta Mayor
Tom was born and grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and graduated from the University of Arizona in 1981 with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. After graduating, Tom left the arid desert and headed to the Wasatch Mountains to fulfill a dream to spend the winter skiing. Tom arrived in Alta in September of 1981 and never left. Tom started working as the night auditor at the Rustler Lodge and six years later, in 1987, became the General Manager. That same year Tom was convinced to run for Town Council by two then town council members, David Houghton and Tim Evenden. Tom won the election and has been involved in the Town of Alta Government ever since.
Over the years Tom has felt strongly about wanting to give back to the community that he has grown to love. In 1990, Tom was married to Kate Arnold and made Alta home. They have 2 children, Andrew, 19, and Jacqueline, 16, who believe that Alta is a special place. Tom strives to preserve that viewpoint for his children. In 2006, after former mayor Bill Leavitt decided to no longer run for office, Tom ran for the office of Mayor and subsequently won. Tom is currently serving his third term as the Town of Alta Mayor. Tom remains dedicated to preserving the mystique that is Alta, while striving to maintain a sustainable community from an economic and environmental perspective.
Over the years Tom has developed a deep appreciation for the efforts of the town’s nonprofits. Tom applauds the Alta Historical Society’s efforts to preserve and tell the story of our rich past, Alta Community Enrichment’s support and development of community programming, and Friends of Alta’s dedication to the stewardship and protection of our environment. Tom feels that these three nonprofits add a dimension of community diversity that is unprecedented in small resort towns. Tom looks forward to working with these nonprofits and the rest of the community as Alta moves into the future.
2013 Stellar Award recipient: Connie Marshall
Connie has been in Alta since 1974 and has dedicated her years here to Alta Ski Area and our local community.
Full bio is available to bottom of this page.
2012 Stellar Award Recipients: Jaeann Tschiffely & John Guldner.
Full bios are available at the bottom of this page.
Jaeann Tschiffely has been the school teacher at Alta's one room public school since inception in 2002.
John Guldner has worked for the Town of Alta since 1982.
"Since the creation of the Alta School, Jaeann has provided a great asset to our community, education for our children. Through her enthusiasm and guidance our unique “One Room Schoolhouse” has been an amazing success. Being a parent of 2 children who were in her classroom, it was refreshing to watch how her efforts enhanced and expanded the education experience each year. Both of my children feel she played a pivotal role in helping them become successful students."
~ Tom Pollard, Town of Alta Mayor
“More than any person past or present, John Guldner is a walking Alta encyclopedia. If he does not know something, he knows where to look or whom to ask. His friendly manner has earned him respect and friendship of many. The fact that he has few detractors is remarkable considering the range of personalities, egos, and projects he has sheparded through the years.”
~ Onno Wieringa, Alta Ski Area General Manager
2011 Stellar Award will go to Alan Engen for his many years in Alta.
Please read full bio at bottom of page
2010 was awarded to Titus Case (Alta Ski Area), Liam Fitzgerald (UDOT), and Al Soucie (US Forest Service) for their years of snow safety in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Director of Snow Safety, Alta Ski Area
Avalanche Forecast Supervisor, Utah Department of Transportation
Alta Snowranger, United States Forest Service
2009 ~ Awarded to Bill Levitt for his years of service to the three non-profits.