Vail Resorts announces leadership changes at 2 Lake Tahoe properties

Tahoe Daily Tribune staff report

Vail Resorts is reshuffling its leadership structure in a series of moves that will bring changes to two of the company’s Lake Tahoe resorts.

Vail announced in a news release Friday, Aug. 23, that Mike Goar, current chief operating officer at Heavenly Mountain Resort, is heading to Park City Resort in Utah to fill the COO position.

Tom Fortune, the general manager at Kirkwood Mountain Resort and former director of base area operations at Heavenly, will take the reins as COO at Heavenly.

The process to fill the open leadership role at Kirkwood will begin immediately, according to Joanna McWilliams, communications manager for the Tahoe Region.

Vail Resorts, which also owns and operates Northstar California Resort, cited the approaching departure of Executive Vice President Chris Jarnot and its pending acquisition of 17 additional U.S. ski areas as the primary factors in determining the shake up. The company is establishing three regionally focused leadership positions.

Pete Sonntag, who served as COO at Heavenly from 2010 to 2017 when he was named COO of Whistler Blackcomb, will serve as a senior vice president for the mountain division overseeing the three Tahoe properties, Stevens Pass in Washington, Whistler and Vail’s three resorts in Australia.

Bill Rock, former COO at Northstar and current COO at Park City, will now serve as senior vice president of the mountain division overseeing the company’s resorts in Colorado and Utah.

And Doug Pierini, a previous GM at Kirkwood who has been overseeing Vail’s three resorts in the northeast, will serve as vice president of the mountain division with continued oversight of the company’s three Northeast resorts and additional oversight of Vail’s three Midwest resorts and the additional 17 ski areas expected once Vail’s acquisition of Peak Resorts Inc. is complete.

In July Vail announced it was acquiring Peak, which owns 17 ski areas in the Midwest and East Coast, in a deal valued at approximately $264 million. At the time Vail said it expects the deal to close this fall.

The company currently owns and operates 20 resorts worldwide. The closure of the Peak deal would bring the total to 37.

Tahoe’s three resorts have seen some turnover recently. Earlier this year, Deirdra Walsh, the former senior director of mountain dining at Park City, took over as the new vice president and GM of Northstar. She was appointed following previous GM Nadia Guerriero’s promotion to vice president and COO at Beaver Creek in Colorado.

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