Innovation Corner: Jon Burgman, Pass Powderkeg

Jon Burgman has been with Pass Powderkeg (Crowsnest Pass, Alberta) for more than 15 years.  Today he is the Mountain Operations Supervisor, but over his tenure he has held roles in almost every department.  Therefore Jon is known for his never ending knowledge of almost every aspect of the ski hill.  He is always working towards unique and creative solutions to keep Pass Powderkeg going!

Jon is up for almost any challenge and won’t let the stress of pre-season preparations stop him from coming up with new inventions.  Each year he creates a unique Halloween costume for his son, this year’s edition was a snowcat.


In the midst of setting up for pre-season snowmaking, Jon built a mini snowcat plow for his son. The cat runs the tracks off of the wheelchair motor and the custom build plow helps clear the path forward using a household shovel and some neat mechanical work.

While this is by far the cutest innovative solution Jon’s done, he also has spearheaded many other projects at Pass Powderkeg from homemade stick guns to managing the major dirtwork project this summer.

The ski industry is known for its innovation and creativity.  We want to hear about your new innovative programs, inventions, and creative way your ski area has solved a problem.  From new ways to recruit staff, creative fixes for that impossible problem or a cool invention fellow ski industry folks will be envious of, like Jon’s plow cat. 

Submit your story (and pictures) for this monthly newsletter feature to Cynthia Thomas at