Pajarito Mt. gains statewide recognition

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By Kelly LeVan

He fixes the heavy equipment. He keeps the chair lifts operating. And he’s one of the guys who makes your experience skiing in New Mexico a little better than anywhere else.

Not that he’d admit that himself. Mike Green, recently selected as Ski New Mexico Mountain Operations Individual of the Year, doesn’t boast or show off.

“He doesn’t want any kudos or accolades,” said his boss at Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, General Manager Tom Long. “Mike’s just a great employee and a really good person, too.”

Long said he especially admires Green’s willingness to share his knowledge – a trait he has found to be fairly uncommon among mechanics within the industry.

“Ski jobs used to be scarce as hen’s teeth,” Long said. “A full-time job is still hard to get and job security is important ee So a lot of guys keep their cards pretty close to their chests.”

But in Green’s 23 years at Pajarito, he hasn’t let a fear of losing his position stop him from making sure his coworkers have the full benefit of Green’s lengthy experience.

“Mike spends a lot of time teaching new guys coming in,” Long said, adding, “He’s one of those stalwarts you find sprinkled around the industry.”

Long’s nominating letter convinced George Brooks, executive director of Ski New Mexico, and James Coleman, chairman of the board, of Green’s remarkable value to the ski industry as well.

“Mike, your contributions are too numerous to list but you were truly the cream of the crop,” the two wrote in a letter congratulating Green on his award. “Ski New Mexico salutes you for your outstanding efforts.”

Green credited his selection to his many “years of being up here and loving the job.”

He added, “I mean, who else could have an office like this?”

As head mechanic at Pajarito, Green and his six-member crew run, fix and maintain all the heavy equipment on the ski hill, including the chair lifts.

He said he sees sharing his knowledge not as a job security risk, but as important training.

“No one’s irreplaceable,” he said. “And I want to teach so I don’t have to be here all the time. It sure has helped me out.”

Even with the occasional vacation, Green is up on the mountain year-round – and he invited the community to visit the ski hill during the off-season as well.

“More and more people are getting up here for the biking,” he said. “Come up and enjoy the hike-and-bike ee There’s a summertime full of activities and the caf is open.”

Other Ski New Mexico winners this year include Sara Nora from Red River Ski School, Best Alpine Ski Instructor; James Hampton from Enchanted Circle Ski School, Best Nordic Ski Instructor; Jack Dant from Santa Fe Ski Resort Ski Patrol, Best Ski Patrol;

Tucker Van Ormer from the Junior Racers Red River Ski Team, Best Ski Racer; Ana Hayden of Red River Ski Area, Best Customer Service and Jeff Speck of Albuquerque’s Jade Enterprises, Best Skier of New Mexico.

For more information about skiing throughout the state, access www.skinewmexico.com. For more information about Pajarito Ski Area, see www.skipajarito.com.