Class of 2021
Innovator and Leader in West Virginia Snow Sports
James "Chief" Haas
James “Chief” Haas was a leader, friend, and mentor to many in the West Virginia Ski Industry and helped establish Snowshoe Mountain, Silver Creek Resort, and beyond.
In 1981, Jim established the Safety and Security Department at Snowshoe by transitioning a small resort security group into a Safety Department available to all homeowners and business operators. Through a determined dedication to the resort and community, Jim almost single handily created the Fire and Rescue Department at Snowshoe and directed the Department to work seamlessly with Ski Patrol at Snowshoe and Silver Creek Resorts.
At Snowshoe, he established one of the first Risk Management departments in the Ski Industry. Through this office, he combined Ski Patrol, Lift Services, Ski School, Security, and Fire Rescue into joint cooperation for the Resorts Ski and the general Public’s Safety. Additionally, Jim was one of the first supporters and advocators of the Ski Safety Code, which is now a part of every ski resort in the Country.
Jim spent decades at Snowshoe, working diligently to enhance the patron experience and overall safety on the mountain. What started as a paramedic position at an Urgent Care Facility at Snowshoe in 1972, his career only progressed until he reached the position of Vice President of Resort Services in 2001.
In 2005, Jim accepted a position as General Manager of Madrid SnowZone, an indoor snow dome, where he oversaw the operations and leadership team for the facility. After his time abroad, he returned to the states to continue a career with Intrawest as VP of Special Projects and establish his consulting firm, Asset Protection Strategies, that provided businesses with safety and health initiatives to protect their patrons, people, and profits.
In 2019, Snow Operating reached out to Jim with the opportunity to manage the first snow dome in the United States, Big Snow American Dream. Driven by his passion, Jim took this opportunity to end his career on a high note. He spent his final years opening and operating the dome, building and leading a team of industry professionals, and supporting a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion amongst his team and patrons.
Jim was a true mentor, friend, and a pioneer of risk management for the east coast ski industry. Jim has saved many lives throughout his career, whether through risk protocol or performing CPR. His leadership, passion, and dedication have inspired many professionals across the industry. Many new patrollers and professionals have served under his guidance. Several people continue to serve because of Jim’s shared joy, love of the industry, and mentorship.