Tahoe Donner’s McClendon given SAMMY award

Tahoe Donner Ski Area Manager Robert McClendon has been honored with a 2021 SAMMY Leadership Award presented by Ski Area Management.
Photo courtesy Tahoe Donner

Tahoe Donner Ski Area Manager Robert McClendon has been honored with a 2021 SAMMY Leadership Award presented by Ski Area Management.

McLendon was among four individuals who were recognized from the entire U.S. ski industry by their peers for their positive impact on their ski resorts, local communities, and industry at large.

“I’m extremely honored to be recognized for this award and thank everyone who has provided guidance and inspiration along the way,” said McClendon. “I look forward to more successful years at Tahoe Donner while helping mentor others in their career development.”

Since 1998, the annual SAMMY Leadership Awards have recognized leaders in the mountain resort industry who, at mid-career, demonstrate the passion, involvement, work ethic, entrepreneurship and creativity that will shape the future.

“SAMMY Award honorees represent some of the most influential leaders in the mountain resort industry,” said Ski Area Management Publisher Olivia Rowan. “Congratulations to this year’s recipients, and to all SAMMY Hall of Famers from years past. Your leadership has driven and will continue to drive the mountain resort industry forward.”


McClendon first started working at Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort at age 14 in the rental shop and worked in a variety of roles at the Beach Club Marina, tennis center, and was promoted to ski resort manager in 2007, McClendon is accountable for the area’s multi-million dollar annual budget and more than 175 employees. Overseeing all departments, he is motivated by technology to improve all aspects of the resort operations and prides himself on being a hands-on leader with a focus on satisfaction and safety for his employees and guests.

Known as the “best place to begin” with its open, gentle terrain and welcoming learn-to-ski programs, McClendon has helped to mold Tahoe Donner’s family-friendly dynamic through the development of extensive employee training and safety programs resulting in an enhanced winter experience for the whole family. As a member of the Ski California Board of Directors, McClendon has developed classes for the association’s Lift Maintenance and Operations Education Conference.

When McClendon is not working at the hill, he can be found coaching the Truckee High School cross-country team, with multiple team and individual state championships under his leadership. A true outdoor enthusiast, McClendon’s leadership skills and lifelong passion for his hometown ski resort make him an invaluable force for Tahoe Donner and the ski industry’s continued progress and success.

McClendon’s nominators said he is one of the reasons the ski resort has celebrated its latest successes. His keen eye for developing general plans, capital improvements, yearly and reserve budgets and software-driven skier data has helped Tahoe Donner achieve a beneficial increase in both revenue and visitors in recent years.

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