Alpine Meadows executive returns to Tahoe
A ski industry veteran is returning to familiar territory to take the helm this winter at a favorite North Tahoe ski resort.
JMA Ventures has named Jim Kercher as the new general manager of Alpine Meadows Ski Area, the resort the San Francisco-based development company purchased last month from Powdr Corp. for an undisclosed amount.
Kercher has a long history of working in the ski industry, including a stint at Alpine Meadows from 1976 until 1990. Most recently, Kercher worked as the ski and snowboard school and guest services director at Beaver Creek in Avon, Colo. He has also worked in upper-management at Mammoth Mountain, Breckenridge Resort and Jackson Hole.
“For Jim, it’s about coming home. He started at Alpine and I know he’s just thrilled about the opportunity [to manage it],” said JMA President Art Chapman in a phone interview.
Kercher is a long-time Californian and said he’s pleased to come back to his old stomping ground.
“Mountains like this don’t exist everywhere,” he said in a prepared statement. “Alpine is a great place with a wonderful history.”
And Chapman said the development company is equally excited to have someone with Kercher’s background and customer service experience overseeing the resort.
“We went on a very extensive search [for a general manager]; Jim is one of the top guys in the industry,” Chapman said. “As you know, our big focus is to re-establish Alpine among the favorite of locals. And we think Jim’s the right guy to do it.”
Since JMA now owns both Homewood Mountain Resort and Alpine Meadows, company officials are developing plans to cross-market the ski areas including season passes and tickets that may be used at both resorts.
Kercher and Homewood Mountain Resort General Manager Kent Hoopingarner are hoping to finalize the details by next week, Chapman said.
The information will hen be posted on the ski resorts’ respective Web sites.
Founded in 1986, JMA Ventures is a real-estate firm with a portfolio of properties that includes Ghirardelli Square, Rincon Park Restaurants and 706 Mission Street in San Francisco, as well as an upscale boutique hotel on the river in downtown Truckee and the Tahoe Inn near the CalNeva in Brockway.
The group now operates more than 3,000 acres of ski terrain in North Lake Tahoe.
As for its plan for Alpine Meadows, Chapman said JMA expects the resort to stay very much the same, but will modernize the lodge, expand food and beverage services and eventually replace some of the chairlifts.
“The focus, again, is to make the locals feel like this is where they want to ski,” he said.