John Garnsey talks to Vail Chamber members |

John Garnsey talks to Vail Chamber members

Lourdes FerzaccaVail, CO, Colorado

John Garnsey, executive vice president of Vail Resorts Mountain Division, and the chief operating officer of Beaver Creek, was the guest speaker of the Vail Chamber & Business Associations Monthly Membership Meeting last Tuesday, March 11.Garnsey talked about his arrival into the town of Vail as a ski bum in 1974. He went from living in a crowded East Vail house of 10 guys, to working for the nonprofit organization, Vail Associates Foundation. The foundation, now the Vail Valley Foundation, was Garnseys introduction to the ski resort industry. Shortly after the 1999 World Championships in Vail, he was asked to head operations in Beaver Creek where he has been employed ever since. An important focus of the meeting was a discussion about the recent changes made in the executive leadership of Vail Resorts and the direction the company is moving toward due to these changes. Garnsey said that although it is unfortunate for the community to see Bill Jensen leave for his new position at Intrawest, he is looking forward to having Chris Jarnot, an experienced resort industry executive, able to take over more of the leadership responsibilities at Vail. While the impact of the slow season start did affect revenue for Vail Resorts as well as the town businesses, Garnsey said the record snowfall since mid-December and more international visitors to Vail have helped. He anticipates the redevelopment in Vail and the reputation of this years snowfall will be beneficial to the community for next year, and that the potential for Vail staying open an extra week next season due to a later Easter holiday is a possibility. Garnsey reminded those at the meeting that this years Easter is still a heavy income-producer for the Vail Valley before the close of the season. Garnsey also participated in a question and answer session with the Vail Chambers Board of Directors and other members of the business community. The discussion included a comparison between the Vail and Beaver Creek resorts and the changing demographics of the area. One of the biggest differences seems to be the successful advertising campaign for Beaver Creek, which uses not only traditional ski industry media to advertise but also focuses on magazines such as Bon Appetit and The New Yorker for their campaign. It is possible Vail will follow in the footsteps of this innovative approach to generating business.Lourdes Ferzacca is president of the Vail Chamber & Business Association board of directors.

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