Vail Resorts appoints Pete Sonntag as new chief of operations at Whistler
BROOMFIELD — Vail Resorts has announced the appointment of Pete Sonntag, the current senior vice president of the company’s Lake Tahoe region, as the new chief operating officer of Whistler Blackcomb. Sonntag will start this summer once his Canadian work visa is approved.
The appointment follows the announcement last month that longtime Whistler Blackcomb chief operating officer, Dave Brownlie, was stepping down and to pursue other endeavors after a nearly 30-year career at the resort.
“Pete brings more than three decades of experience in the ski industry and has held a variety of senior leadership roles with Vail Resorts at Heavenly, Vail, Beaver Creek and Keystone in addition to his current role overseeing our three Tahoe resorts, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood,” said Pat Campbell, Vail Resorts mountain division president. “Over the course of Pete’s career at our company, he has had the opportunity to focus on both winter and summer operations at several of our resorts, a perspective that will continue to be invaluable to the team and guest experience at Whistler Blackcomb. His knowledge and strategic thinking and leadership in creating a complete resort experience, both on and off the mountain, will drive the resort’s continued success and world-class reputation.”
Sonntag has been the senior vice president of the company’s Lake Tahoe region since 2015, serving as the chief operating officer of Heavenly Mountain Resort with oversight of Northstar California and Kirkwood Mountain Resort. He was appointed to lead Heavenly in 2010. Prior to that, he was director of the Vail Mountain Ski & Snowboard School since 2009. From 2007-2009 he was director of the Ski & Snowboard School for Beaver Creek Resort and from 2005-2007, director of skier services at Keystone Resort.
Sonntag began his ski career as an instructor for the Beaver Creek Ski & Snowboard School while working summers as a greenskeeper at the Beaver Creek Golf Club.
Sonntag, his wife Carol and their three children, will relocate to the Whistler community this summer and they already have a strong connection to British Columbia as Sonntag’s eldest daughter is entering her senior year of high school at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, British Columbia and his son will be an incoming freshman there this fall.
“Pete’s commitment to, and the relationships he has built across, the Lake Tahoe community have been paramount to his leadership and success in his current role. I’m confident he’ll bring that important perspective, passion and dedication for the community in which he serves to the leadership of the world’s most iconic resort,” Campbell said. “We’re thrilled to have someone with Pete’s caliber of expertise leading the talented team and exceptional guest service at Whistler Blackcomb. He will undoubtedly continue the world-class legacy that the resort is known for.”
Brownlie will continue with Whistler Blackcomb through mid-summer to ensure a smooth transition for the resort and surrounding community. The search for Sonntag’s successor will begin immediately.
For more information, go to wwwvailresorts.com.
The graduates of Vail Mountain School’s class of 2019 will be off to far-flung destinations next fall, set to enter college in one of 16 different states or explore the world on a gap year. One grad is even attending college in Canada.