Class of 2020
Innovators and Leaders in West Virginia Snow Sports
Area Operations and/or Management or Development Competition
Ed Galford, a native of Pocahontas county, grew up with a passion for the outdoors and loved to explore Cheat Mountain. The mountain was filled with great places to explore, streams to wade in, and it seemed like each trip was an adventure. He spent many days hiking, fishing, and hunting the remote areas of Pocahontas and Randolph counties.
Ed attended high school in Morgantown, graduated in 1971, and then enrolled at WVU with a Forestry major. Ed also worked at his dad's garage during the high school years, working after school, he gained a ton of knowledge about cars, heavy equipment, and motorcycles.
In the summer of 1974, Ed needed to work in a Forestry related industry for one college credit, so he went to work at Kumbrabow State Forest in Elkwater, WV. The job lingered into fall as he decided to skip a semester from WVU. Later that year,
Ed started a new job at Snowshoe as a snowmaker working the night shift, 8 to 8, seven nights a week unless it rained. That job turned into a part-time job through the next couple of years and part-time studies at WVU until graduation. Ed went on to be a full-time employee in 1977 at Snowshoe as a snow grooming manager. Then in 1982, he became the Director of Mountain Operations. Ed was overseeing the ski lift construction, trail work, snowmaking system, road construction, and pipeline installation which was in full swing every summer. During this time frame, Snowshoe saw significant growth in skier and snowboarder visits as trail development occurred almost every year under Ed's watchful eye.
The Hawthorne Golf Course was another project Ed was heavily involved with during this time frame. Snowshoe had a series of owners during that era of development, then in 1995, the Intrawest Development Group bought Snowshoe, and Ed was promoted to Vice President of Mountain Operations. Intrawest invested 12 million dollars in updating Snowshoe with modern technologies and modern equipment. Ed was involved with installing two high-speed detachable ski lifts, the development of a new western ski trail, the installation of a new snowmaking system, and the construction of a 40-acre lake and dam for potable water. All these projects were developed with an environmental protection plan to ensure no endangered species were harmed during the construction. Along with developing Habitat Conservation Easements, the Habitat Conservation Plan, which was the first-ever in the State of West Virginia that helps protect the endangered species found on Cheat Mountain.
Ed was a member of the TNC corporate council, a board member of two watershed groups. He was president of one watershed organization that was awarded the West Virginia watershed group of the year. Ed was also on the Shavers Fork Restoration project's steering committee, where 7 miles of the stream was reconstructed to promote a cold-water fishery.
During the Intrawest years at Snowshoe, Ed was instrumental in developing programs that reduced the carbon footprint by implementing recycling programs, investing in converting to new energy-efficient snow guns that use a fraction of the energy required of traditional snowmaking equipment. Reducing the use of plastic, reducing the motor vehicle fleet's size, installing electric car chargers, and developing a program of replacing light fixtures to high-efficiency LED bulbs saves 451,000 kwh.
Ed has always been interested in the sustainability of the environment and has successfully managed Snowshoe Mountain's timberlands to promote a healthy forest for generations to come by implementing a forest management plan that will enhance the wildlife habitat, the watershed and maintain the health of the forest.
Ed has had a particular interest in outdoor adventure all his life. He put a team together at Snowshoe Mountain to build a program that would bring enjoyment to guests and homeowners for generations. Programs such as terrain parks, snowboarding, night skiing, mountain biking, personalized learning centers, summer camps, zip lines, paddle boarding, canoeing, fishing, cross country skiing, horseback riding, off-road touring, golfing, hiking, sight-seeing, swimming, climbing walls, and of course skiing!
Ed retired after 45 years at Snowshoe Mountain in 2019. He resides in Pocahontas county. Ed spends a little time on a golf course, enjoys restoring classic cars, and occasionally fly fishing on Elk River, mostly just enjoying life in the mountains.