Vail Resorts has announced that Tom Fortune, currently general manager at Heavenly, will be the new interim general manager at Stevens Pass where he began his career in the industry. An instagram post accunced the immediate departure of Tom Pettigrew, the now former GM.
The resort has been under a good deal of pressure since the season began with a change.org petition claiming that "Lift lines are out of control to the point where the majority of a day of "skiing" is spent standing in line at one of the few lifts open. This is, of course, if you are even able to park and not told you cannot access the ski area due to limited parking. In addition, the failure to open ample lifts or even half of the available terrain is due solely to mismanaging an understaffed ski area. The Stevens Pass website now states they will likely only run three base area lifts and open only 40% of the terrain, though there is plenty of snow to open more. Parking has been abysmal at Stevens Pass due to a lack of staffing, investment in infrastructure, and plowing. Customers are often told they cannot use their "Epic Pass" or the products they have paid for at Vail Resorts and must turn around, simply because there is nowhere to park."
In a letter to Stevens Pass skiers the incoming GM said:
"I am glad to be coming home, even if just temporarily, to support this period of transition at Stevens Pass.
"I grew up at Stevens Pass and my ski career started here, too. My three boys have grown up at this mountain and also call it home. I worked my way through the ranks for 20 years (I have the photo to prove it, see below), ultimately leaving in 1999, having served as Director of Operations. Since then, I have been lucky enough to manage a number of amazing resorts across the western United States, gaining new insight and experience along the way. This includes time at Schweitzer Mountain in Idaho as GM, followed by moving to the Tahoe area in 2010, where I’ve held several senior operations roles at both Heavenly and Kirkwood. In 2016, I proudly became the GM of Kirkwood, and three years later, I began serving in my current role as GM at Heavenly.
"I understand how special Stevens Pass is. I also know many of you are frustrated – and we’ve heard you. I’m taking an interim GM assignment here to support operational improvement, work towards getting the mountain open as quickly and safely as possible, and to positively change your experience with us.
"Stevens Pass is a complex operation…it always has been. That means change will not happen overnight, but I am committed to securing both short-term wins and outlining a long-term roadmap of improvement. With that in mind, I am committed to communicating often, and with transparency.
"My history and passion may be relevant, but what really matters today is moving forward.
"I am excited to reconnect with friends from the past, and to make new ones on the hill. And most importantly, we want to see SPKA!
"See you on the mountain,