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Vail Resorts CEO: ‘We should have done more’ to prevent staffing shortage last year

In a Q&A, Kirsten Lynch also talks about affordable housing, diversity and adapting to the future

John Meyer
The Denver Post
Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch is beginning her second year at the helm of the ski industry behemoth. Last season the company was severely criticized by many passholders because of problems stemming from staffing shortages.
Courtesy photo

Kirsten Lynch, the chief executive of Vail Resorts, is beginning her second year at the helm of a ski industry behemoth that owns 41 resorts in the U.S, Canada, Australia and Switzerland, including five in Colorado.

Born and raised in Chicago, she fell in love with skiing at Wilmot Mountain, a tiny area in Wisconsin improbably nicknamed “The Matterhorn of the Midwest” despite having only 193 feet of vertical drop. Her family skied there often and made frequent ski trips to Colorado, fueling her “dream” to live here someday.

“When I went to Wilmot at age 6 and experienced the outdoors and what I perceived as ‘the mountains,’ it ignited in me an exhilaration, a passion, a thrill, this sense of freedom,” Lynch said. “And that was before I even came to Colorado and knew what real mountains were like. It just grew from there.”



In 2011 she quit her job at PepsiCo, where she was chief marketing officer of the Quaker Foods and Snacks division, and moved to Boulder without having a job lined up, “purely for my passion to be in Colorado, near the mountains and near skiing.”

She soon landed at Vail Resorts and spent 10 years as the company’s chief marketing officer before succeeding Rob Katz as CEO last November.

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The Mountain Top Express Lift at Vail takes skiers and snowboarders up to the top to get the season’s first turns Friday on Opening Day at Vail. The resort opened with more than 100 acres of skiable terrain.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

The first weeks of her tenure were challenging because of staffing shortages that caused long lift lines and hindered snowmaking efforts before the Christmas holidays, igniting a storm of criticism from angry passholders. In an interview conducted this week at company headquarters in Broomfield, Lynch addressed those and other issues with The Denver Post.

Read more via The Denver Post.


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