VAIL — John Garnsey helped lead the drive for the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships. After the 2015 championships, he’ll cut back his schedule a bit.
Garnsey on Thursday announced his retirement from his current job as Vail Resorts president of global mountain development, effective May 1, 2015.
In the 1980s, Garnsey was a vice president at the Vail Valley Foundation. As director of the Vail Valley Foundation, Garnsey was a key member of the team that brought the 1999 championships to the Vail Valley. These days, Garnsey is a member of the 2015 organizing committee.
“It’s been a great run — a wonderful experience,” Garnsey said.
In a release announcing the retirement, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz praised Garnsey:
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce John’s retirement from full-time activities with our company,” Katz wrote. “John has not only been an integral part of the success of Vail Resorts, but he has also contributed so much to the entire Vail Valley community and to the sport of skiing. He has played an instrumental role in bringing the world to Vail and Beaver Creek with three World Alpine Ski Championships, in developing the guest experience and reputation at Beaver Creek to the incredibly high levels it enjoys today and to helping the company see through to fruition our new urban ski areas strategy and international partnerships, among so many other notable accomplishments. It is only fitting for John to retire after the 2015 championships, as it is a perfect crowning achievement for his career. On behalf of the board of directors and employees of Vail Resorts, I want to express our deepest appreciation for his many contributions, and while John will be missed by all in his day-to-day activities for the company, he will remain very involved with the sport of skiing and our entire community as we chart the course for our collective future.”
Garnsey began his career in the ski industry as a ski patroller at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, in the 1970s. He headed west in 1974 and joined the race department and trails crew at Vail Mountain. In 1984, he joined the Vail Valley Foundation as vice president and went on to become president from 1991-1999. After the 1999 Vail/Beaver Creek World Alpine Ski Championships, he joined Vail Resorts as senior vice president and chief operating officer of Beaver Creek Resort and became executive vice president in January 2008. In September 2008, he was appointed president of global mountain development for the company.
There’s a lot of work remaining before the 2015 championships, so Garnsey isn’t really looking that far ahead yet. Still, he said he hopes to slow down a bit.
“I hope to do more fishing, more skiing, spend more time with my wife,” he said. But, he added, he’s not ready for the rocking chair just yet.
“I hope there’ll be some special projects to work on in the future,” he said.
Garnsey serves on the Board of Directors of the National Ski Areas Association, the Vail Valley Foundation, The Vilar Center Foundation, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation, and he was inducted into the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2012, he received the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Julius Blegen Award for lifetime service to the sport.
John (Garnsey) has not only been an integral part of the success of Vail Resorts, but he has also contributed so much to the entire Vail Valley community and to the sport of skiing. He has played an instrumental role in bringing the world to Vail and Beaver Creek.
CEO of Vail Resorts