Jody Churich is Keystone Resort’s 2nd female general manager, reflecting a growing industry trend
KEYSTONE RESORT — On Oct. 11, Keystone Resort became the first ski area in North America to announce it would open for the season the following day. Two hours later, in a surprise move, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area officials announced they would open the ski area that afternoon. As the news broke, skiers scrambled for first chair.
That was Keystone Resort General Manager Jody Churich’s third day at work.
Despite the chaos, Churich said opening day was amazing.
“I mean, the team here is absolutely so experienced and so in love with what they do and with Keystone,” Churich said. “People here love what they do and are passionate about snowsports, and it’s just been an amazing environment.”
Churich, who is the second female general manager at Keystone Resort, came to Colorado via Utah.
“I came by way of Park City and was in Park City for the last seven years,” Churich said. “For the last year, I was working for Vail as the senior director of skier services — so overseeing all of the ski schools, product sales and services — and before that I was the chief operating officer for Woodward.”
She and her husband moved to Summit County with their dog as empty nesters, and she felt Keystone was a good fit for her.
“Really the brand fit for me was ideal because I come from a lot of youth action sports and really kids programming,” Churich said. “And that’s where my passion is, is in youth sports.”
Her experience working with children also ties into her vision for what she wants to bring to Keystone: inspiration for kids to progress in their snowsports passions and to strengthen Keystone’s family experience.
Churich also talked about being a woman in leadership in the snowsports industry.
“One of the things that I’m most stoked about in joining Vail is the new POWDER initiative, which is about providing opportunities for women, diversity, equality and respect,” Churich said. “… It’s just so inspiring to be able to be a role model for other women coming up in this industry.”
Churich also said she is surrounded by a lot of next-generation leaders within Vail Resorts.
“Myself and Beth Howard at Vail and Nadia Guerriero at Beaver Creek, the three of us being in Colorado together as leaders within Vail is really inspiring for me,” Churich said. “It’s so cool to be part of a group of women that are doing such great things in this industry.”
In 2006, Churich and Pat Campbell became the first female general managers in the industry. At the time, Churich was at Boreal Mountain Resort and Soda Springs Mountain Springs in California, and Campbell was at Keystone. Churich recalled someone telling her that she had broken a glass ceiling.
“It never even occurred to me,” Churich said. “It was just, I got tapped and went for it.”