Trading Tahoe for Vermont
A man described as one of the warmest personalities in town has traded the powder of Lake Tahoe for the icy slopes of New England.
Heavenly Ski Resort bid farewell Christmas Day to Stan Hansen, the former senior vice president of resort properties for the ski area’s parent company. American Skiing Co. offered Hansen the managing director post at Mount Snow ski area in Vermont.
“Tahoe has been a phenomenal place to learn to manage and motivate people. But it’s a good opportunity. My wife and I are very excited,” Hansen said. He starts in his new post in mid-January.
After 35 years, Hansen harbors a lot of memories of Lake Tahoe and the ski area from which he built a career.
He’s lived and worked through changes in management, company ownership, snowmaking capacity, lift operations and the town’s development dreams.
Hansen is considered an instrumental player in the South Lake Tahoe redevelopment movement as Heavenly worked to install the gondola and build a condominium project, which eventually was transferred to Marriott International. In the process, Hansen forged a coalition and built many friendships, some in the face of adversity. With that came a level of respect.
“It’s interesting because we had to build a level of trust to allow controlled growth to go forward. But this is just the foundation. The City Council went out on a limb (with this). But without risk, there’s no reward,” he said.
He said the community needed to see that significant economic decisions wouldn’t negate the efforts made by those working to protect the lake’s resources. He singled out Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Executive Director Juan Palma for his courage trying to juggle the two issues in active business and environmental communities.
“I’m going to miss the people. The Juan Palmas, the Brookes of the community — those people who work in it every day,” he said. (Brooke Laine sits on the City Council.)
“He’ll be dearly missed,” Councilman Tom Davis said.
Davis commended Hansen for his patient hand in redevelopment, carefully considering all facets of the community with a say in the matter.
Davis recalled one time Hansen was at a loss of words.
The expert skier hit a tree on the Gunbarrel Face in the early 1970s, breaking his jaw. When it was wired shut, Davis gave Hansen a hard time about the accident while he lay in a hospital bed.
“He couldn’t say a thing,” Davis said.
Heavenly President Dennis Harmon said he enjoyed “a great relationship” with Hansen, but he admitted it was difficult going anywhere with Hansen without people talking to him. A short errand to the bank could take twice as long as most visits, he said.
“That’s what made him so valuable to the company,” Harmon said.
He reflected fondly on a golf game with Hansen and his late friend John Denver.
Hansen held an affinity for the outdoors, much like Denver did.
“I’ll miss skiing across the hill and looking across the lake,” Hansen said.
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