Sugarbush Experiences Double-digit Growth in Skier Visits

By AlpineZone News |
May 16 2005 - 10:13 AM

WARREN, Vermont ??” Sugarbush Resort has announced several changes to its management structure in order to capitalize on the significant growth it experienced this past winter and to continue the resort’s push to becoming a leading four-season destination. To achieve this goal, the resort has created five strategic business units: Sugarbush Real Estate, Sugarbush Mountain Services, Sugarbush Hospitality Services, Sugarbush Recreational Services, and the Sugarbush Golf Club.

“We came off a successful winter season,” remarked Sugarbush president Win Smith. “We saw a double-digit increase in our total skier days and our early season pass sales are up 14% from a year ago so we very optimistic about next season. However, we need to continue to improve our business efficiency as well as our guest focus to take advantage of the excellent opportunities in front of us.”

Smith, who is also chairman of Sugarbush’s owner partnership Summit Ventures, said that empowering management encourages creativity and novel approaches to addressing business challenges. “These changes align us with our goal of becoming a leading four-season resort and giving greater responsibility to proven leaders,” he added.

Bob Ackland, one of the founding partners of Summit Ventures, will continue to lead the Real Estate SBU with his immediate focus on the Clay Brook project scheduled to commence this summer. Clay Brook at Sugarbush is the $50 million base area and residential unit project that represents Phase One of Sugarbush’s revitalization initiatives.

Hardy Merrill, who served as General Manager for Mount Ellen for the 04-05 season, has been appointed to lead the newly created Mountain Services SBU. Under Merrill’s guidance, Mount Ellen experienced a dramatic rise in skier visits as well as customer satisfaction. The Mountain Services unit will integrate guest services with overall resort mountain operations.

Peter Nohl will lead the new Hospitality business unit that will include the Sugarbush Inn, Lodging Services and resort-wide Food & Beverage services. He will also be exploring ways of working more closely with all local lodging businesses. The Austrian native has led the Food & Beverage division since moving to the Mad River Valley from St. Anton last fall. Nohl has more than two decades of experience in the hospitality business, starting his career in his family’s mountain inn, the Hotel Montjola.

John Egan will head the Sugarbush Recreational Services. The current director of the Ski & Ride School will assume his new full-time roll later this summer and will be responsible not only for Ski & Ride, but also the Sugarbush Health and Racquet Club and the development of other four-season recreational activities, many of which will be done in partnership with other Mad River Valley businesses.

Jon Rife has returned for his third season as the leader of the Sugarbush Golf Club and Glenn Crowell will continue as the Chairman of the Golf Committee. Crowell will transition from his current role in order to focus his talents on continuing the growth in the Resort’s golf memberships and member services.

To assist and oversee the integration of the new SBUs, Smith has appointed Mary Kowenhoven to lead the strategy, marketing and sales efforts for Summit Ventures. Kowenhoven is a graduate of Princeton University and holds and MBA from Georgetown University. A native of New Hampshire and an expert off-piste ski guide, Kowenhoven has been a senior manager for Bain and Company for the past eight years. Sugarbush’s Marketing and Sales departments will report to her.

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