New boss named at Heavenly Ski Resort
Vail Resorts named Monday The Canyons’ president, Blaise Carrig, to run Heavenly Ski Resort, the latest addition to its $225 million portfolio of ski areas.
Carrig, 50, is a 25-year veteran of the ski industry who blazed the trails in both Colorado and Vermont. He started skiing when he was 9 years old.
Carrig will start Sept. 1 as Heavenly’s chief operating officer, following a 5-year stint at the Park City, Utah resort.
As the president and managing director, he was instrumental in moving through the redevelopment process of a resort formerly known for its brown bag lunches and discount lift tickets.
Carrig has come a long way himself, working as a “ski bum” between 1973 and 1976 before climbing his way through the ranks at Sugarbush in Vermont.
There, he started out as a ski patroller and left 20 years later as the president.
“I am enthusiastic about joining the Vail Resorts teams and especially the opportunity to take the lead at Heavenly,” Carrig said.
Carrig has never covered Heavenly’s slopes, but he’s skied Vail’s namesake resort, along with its Keystone and Beaver Creek ski areas.
Carrig took a tour of Heavenly recently and was pleased with what he saw.
“I was blown away by what I have to work with,” Carrig said of the South Shore resort’s potential.
A self-described mountain man at heart, Carrig’s routine includes slapping on a pair of snowshoes at the end of the day and checking out the terrain, operations and staff.
“I think it’s important to touch the product,” he said. “I find it’s a real stress burner.”
At first glance on Heavenly, Carrig sees a striking opportunity in food service on the mountain. In particular, he’ll be considering ideas to build an eatery at the gondola end-point.
Carrig said he was impressed by the $25 million gondola, along with “the size and scope of mountain.”
Vail hopes to open Heavenly this winter with renovated base lodges.
“We’re trying to put a new face on them,” he said.
Carrig is also meeting with the new faces that will surround him year-round. He’s already met with the executive management.
When asked how he would approach replacing a well-liked president like Dennis Harmon, Carrig stuck to his mission of making Heavenly “shine.”
“I’m going to come in and help execute the vision for Vail Resorts,” he said.
Heavenly spokeswoman Molly Cuffe said company morale appears high at the news of Carrig’s arrival because of his experience.
“I think, for the most part, everybody has been excited about him,” she said.
Andy Daly, president of Vail Resorts, said the organization was impressed with Carrig’s relationship building, operations experience and redevelopment knowledge.
“In addition to his management expertise, Blaise is well respected for developing excellent community and governmental relationships. By taking an active role in the community, he is able to build coalitions and find consensus among numerous constituencies,” Daly said. “His ability to go through the redevelopment process is a real strength.”
Daly also characterized Carrig as a “delightful guy” whose roots have shown a series of successes.
Carrig grew up in the Adirondacks in Little Falls, N.Y. He and his wife, Leslie, were married 15 years ago. She starred in one of the first extreme ski films at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They raised three skiers — 11-year-old Colin, 13-year-old Avery and 15-year-old Morgan. The oldest child also snowboards.