Vail Resorts announces multiple senior management promotions

Posted By: The Ski Channel on July 29, 2010 9:57 am

In April, Vail Resorts Chairman and CEO Rob Katz said that John Garnsey and Blaise Carrig, co-presidents of the Mountain Division, have been given greater strategic responsibilities to grow its existing resorts and the pursue new opportunities. As part of that move, the two no longer have any direct responsibilities for any particular resort. Garnsey was to retain oversight of Vail and Beaver Creek resorts, while Heavenly, Breckenridge and Keystone resorts were to continue to fall under Carrig. To replace Garnsey and Carrig on a more direct management level at the corresponding resorts, Vail Resorts, Inc. today announced several changes within the senior leadership team at Beaver Creek, Keystone and Heavenly Mountain resorts.

Keystone Resort Chief Operating Officer Doug Lovell has been named vice president and chief operating officer of Beaver Creek Resort and will report to Mountain Division co-president John Garnsey.

John Buhler, director of skier services for Breckenridge, has been promoted to the position of vice president and general manager of Keystone Resort and will report to Mountain Division co-president Blaise Carrig.

Vail Ski & Snowboard School Director Pete Sonntag has been promoted to the position of vice president and general manager of Heavenly Mountain Resort and also will report to Carrig.

Garnsey and Carrig had conducted a search of internal-only candidates and were impressed with the depth and breadth of talent available within the Company for these leadership positions.

“I’m very excited that Doug is coming back to Beaver Creek where he cut his teeth in the ski industry. I’ve worked closely with him for many years, both while he was here at Beaver Creek as well as at Keystone, and I have tremendous respect for his operations knowledge and experience and his focus on guest service. I am confident that Doug will continue to uphold the high standards of excellence for which Beaver Creek is recognized worldwide,” said John Garnsey, co-president of Vail Resorts Mountain Division.

Lovell has been vice president and chief operating officer of Keystone Resort since October 2009, and prior to that, vice president of mountain operations for the resort since 2007. Prior to moving over to Keystone, Lovell had been director of mountain operations for Beaver Creek since 2005. During his tenure at Beaver Creek, Lovell and his team were instrumental in developing safety and guest services programs that were lauded as the best in the ski and snowboard industry by the National Ski Areas Association. He began his ski career at Beaver Creek in 1994, having held various operations positions ranging from snowmaker controller, ski patroller and guest services supervisor before being promoted to mountain operations manager at the resort. Prior to joining Beaver Creek, Lovell worked in marketing, sales and finance in Denver, Boston and Loveland, Texas.

“John is a perfect complement to Keystone with 22 years of experience in creating an unparalleled family ski and snowboard vacation. He has been instrumental in driving the growth and success of Breckenridge over the past 16 years and brings vision, passion and knowledge to Keystone. I have no doubt that he will bring the same kind of innovation to the Keystone guest experience that will continue to position the resort as the top family experience in the industry,” said Blaise Carrig, co-president of Vail Resorts Mountain Division.

Buhler has been director of skier services for Breckenridge Ski Resort since 2006, where he was responsible for multiple departments including the ski and ride school, product sales, ticketing and ticket scanning, guest services and child care. Prior to being named director of skier services Buhler held the positions of ski and ride school manager, assistant director and director from 1994-2006. Buhler has held other positions within the ski industry, including ski school director (1993-1994) and assistant ski school director (1988-1992) at Mountain High Ski Resort in southern California and assistant ski school director (1992-1993) of Bear Mountain in Big Bear, Calif. Buhler is also a licensed general contractor. He serves on the board of directors of the Professional Ski Instructors of America – Rocky Mountain.

“I’m thrilled to have someone with Pete’s track record in developing innovative on-mountain programming, delivering extraordinary guest experiences and driving revenue growth through the lines of business lead the Heavenly team. His years of experience at Vail, Beaver Creek and Keystone bring the knowledge and strategic thinking in creating a complete resort experience, both on and off the mountain. I am confident that under Pete’s leadership, we will continue to drive performance and growth for Heavenly in the future,” said Carrig.

Sonntag has been the director of the Vail Snowsports School since 2009, where he was responsible for all operations of the world’s largest ski and snowboard school including overseeing a staff of more than 1,200 employees. From 2007-2009 he was director of the Ski & Snowboard School for Beaver Creek Resort and from 2005-2007, director of skier services at Keystone Resort. He began his ski career as a supervisor and private lesson manager for the Beaver Creek Ski & Snowboard School in 2000 and was promoted to adult ski and snowboard school director in 2001. Sonntag spent from 2003-2005 as director of the ski & ride school for Copper Mountain Resort. He serves on the board of directors of the Beaver Creek Interfaith Chapel and is a Rocky Mountain Division Alpine Examiner for the Professional Ski Instructors of America.