Vail Resorts Replace General Manager at Troubled Stevens Pass Ski Area, WA

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vail resorts, Stevens Pass, washington,
Lift lines at Stevens Pass, WA. Credit:

Vail Resorts have replaced the general manager at troubled Stevens Pass, WA, after coming under increased pressure and bad publicity in recent weeks. A petition against Vail Resorts for its ‘disgusting mismanagement of the ski area’ has gathered almost 40,000 signatures.

Tom Fortune, general manager at Heavenly Ski Resort, CA, will serve as the new interim general manager, replacing outgoing GM Tom Pettigrew. The announcement was made in a blog post yesterday.

Stevens Pass Community,   

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.   

Tom Fortune, the new Interim General Manager of Stevens Pass, skiing at Stevens Pass in the 1990s
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,   

Tom Fortune

Despite record-breaking early season snowfall, the resort has struggled with staffing issues and has been unable to open lifts to access the whole mountain, and have even been using ski patrollers as liftys.

An internal letter to employees was leaked yesterday, announcing that Tom Pettigrew would be leaving Stevens Pass.

Stevens Pass,
An internal memo to Stevens Pass employees.

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