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Deer Valley's COO Jumps Ship Five Days Before Opening Day

thetrailboss

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As I posted in the "Mayflower" thread, late yesterday the Park Record reported that at Deer Valley the buck will no longer stop with Jeremy Levitt. The COO of Deer Valley for just under a year, abruptly departed effective yesterday. Alterra gave the usual "we wish him well" statement. No reason as to why he is passing the buck.

This is very odd timing considering that the ski area is set to open for the season on Saturday. It's also odd considering that Deer Valley was engaged in high level talks with Park City officials regarding Deer Valley's proposed construction of a new base village at Snow Park. Deer Valley is also set to begin talks regarding another Olympic bid.

Levitt was formerly at CMH Heli Skiing and Summer Adventures in Canada, that Alterra bought. His experience was in the financial sector in New York City.

At the end of last season Levitt had told the Park Record and the public at a virtual "leadership" seminar that he was concerned about crowding issues at Deer Valley caused by the IKON Pass and was interested in "reviewing" the pass program. Perhaps he lost that battle. Or perhaps he is a snowboarder.

Alterra announced an interim COO who, surprise, surprise, worked with Rusty Gregory at Mammoth.


As to the terrible puns, you're welcome. ;)
 

ss20

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Probably looked at the weather forecast for Park City and said NOPE.

I had considered teaching there this season. Kinda glad I didn't as it looks inevitable that terrain will be extremely limited to start.

Should see a flip to snow/cold next week but they've been saying that for three weeks. Although this one finally looks "real".
 

thetrailboss

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Probably looked at the weather forecast for Park City and said NOPE.
:ROFLMAO:
I had considered teaching there this season. Kinda glad I didn't as it looks inevitable that terrain will be extremely limited to start.
So Deer Valley historically has had a "hard" opening and closing date. Usually they are last to open and one of the first to close. I can't remember them NOT missing an opening date since I have been out here, but this may be the year. From what I saw of PCMR they have ZERO natural snow and very, very limited windows for snowmaking.

Should see a flip to snow/cold next week but they've been saying that for three weeks. Although this one finally looks "real".
Open Snow is seeing that too. I hope we go back to cold/active as we were in October. Have you started skiing at Alta yet? They have a lot open.
 

raisingarizona

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I do seriously wonder if it was a rift that formed and that made him reconsider staying. DV has always been an exclusive place. IKON is not so exclusive.
Indeed, I’ve never understood their decision to go with Ikon. For as long as I can remember they were selling the exclusive ski experience.
 

thetrailboss

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Indeed, I’ve never understood their decision to go with Ikon. For as long as I can remember they were selling the exclusive ski experience.
The reason is that Alterra bought them. I could see Rusty Gregory and other folks at Alterra telling Deer Valley Resort, “we own your ass so don’t rock the boat. Go with it. Be like the cool kids.”

From a business perspective IKON certainly makes a lot of money. It’s also good for consumers. As to the skier experience…..?

Right now Alterra is trying to portray that DV is still exclusive while not restricting IKON too much. The old rich clientele ain’t happy and are leaving. Alterra is trying to play both sides. When the “big” improvement for the season at DV is “upgrading” the dining experience at Snow Park Lodge to “build your own salads” and a burger bar then something is really wrong. Anyone (including me) who had the true “Deer Valley experience” before Alterra would tell you that the dining experience was very special. The regular lodge restaurant served prime rib, hand carved meats, and other fancy but reasonably priced quality food items. I don’t know too many billionaires demanding a burger bar or “build your own salads”. Sounds like cheapening out to me. DV is slowly losing its posh feel and becoming another regular ski area.
 
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cdskier

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Does DV no longer restrict daily access?
They do in terms of limiting daily lift ticket sales. But they don't require Ikon holders to make reservations anymore, so I guess in theory you could get a lot of Ikon people suddenly show up one day.
 

thetrailboss

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They do in terms of limiting daily lift ticket sales. But they don't require Ikon holders to make reservations anymore, so I guess in theory you could get a lot of Ikon people suddenly show up one day.
Exactly
 

thetrailboss

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Where are they going?
Exhibit 1. Owned and being developed by some of Edgar Stern's descendants. Managed by DV's former President/CEO Bob Wheaton.


The timing is uncanny.

And, to be fair, some are also just selling and retiring from skiing.
 

abc

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Exhibit 1. Owned and being developed by some of Edgar Stern's descendants. Managed by DV's former President/CEO Bob Wheaton.


The timing is uncanny.
But where will they be skiing?

And, to be fair, some are also just selling and retiring from skiing.
To be fair, there will be more people retiring from work to ski more, than those who retire from skiing.

For the next 20 or so years anyway. (or perhaps this year is the height of that retirement from work?)
 

thetrailboss

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But where will they be skiing?
That is a huge private ski resort.

1619833007.jpg



To be fair, there will be more people retiring from work to ski more, than those who retire from skiing.

For the next 20 or so years anyway. (or perhaps this year is the height of that retirement from work?)
True. Hence why I think the original DV model still would work and be profitable.
 

thetrailboss

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I forgot, who owned DV and sold it to Alterra?

I've always found it odd when it first happened. DV doesn't quite "fit in" the typical profile of Alterra resorts
The descendants of Edgar Stern and some other business partners (one I believe is the Penske family). They also owned Solitude. They sold DV to Alterra in 2018. I imagine Alterra took an option on Solitude and exercised it in 2019 when they bought Solitude.

It does not fit the Alterra mold per se. But neither does Aspen, which is owned by the Crowns (who co-own Alterra). I expected that Alterra would put DV in the same "premium" category as Aspen, and restrict access and pricepoint. They sort have done that but not really. An IKON base pass, for example, is no longer honored at Aspen. But it is at DV with blackout dates. We can only speculate as to discussions internal to Alterra regarding DV, but I imagine that the rift was regarding IKON at DV and DV's place in the company with the majority view being to continue this "middle ground" of saying its exclusive but not making it as exclusive as Aspen. It seems that the interest is in protecting Aspen's place in the market to the detriment of DV.
 

thetrailboss

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Here is a reminder of some of those points made by Rusty and this now-former COO in March. I have highlighted some relevant points:

Rusty Gregory and the new Deer Valley President did a virtual town hall on "Leadership" last night in Park City. I will post the link when I get a chance. The talking points and marketing lines were in full force. Despite multiple reassurances that they were "not blowing smoke", I had a hard time seeing with all the air pollution. Some highlights:
  1. The new DV President looks like he is 35 years old. He does not have a lot of experience. He did not talk much. He said that DV is "the jewel" of Alterra and was really impressed with his employees. He said he wants to do a retreat this summer with his leadership to "develop a plan" for the resort. That seems about four years too late. He also tacitly admitted that Ikon is resulting in more people and he wants to "revisit it." He was adamant that the lines were due to "COVID" and not being able to load chairs fully. Almost in the same breath he admitted that Ikon had "50% more pass sales" this season than before.
  2. The first hot button issue was the $500 increase in DV Senior Season Passes and cutting the Ikon Pass benefit that came with those passes. With a smug smile, the new DV President said he had to "make ends meet", that the increased price made the pass worth "about 7-8 days" of skiing to break even, and was final. Rusty joked that he is not local (basically throwing the guy under the bus) and that he supported the price increases "but" if the market thinks that Alterra is wrong then people would leave and Alterra would reconsider.


Complete educated guess, but I think that the now-former COO had a different vision for DV than Rusty did and they disagreed. Plus the guy is not a former Mammoth Ski Bro so there is that.
 
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