Vail Resorts names new COO for Heavenly Mountain; will have additional oversight of Lake Tahoe region |

Vail Resorts names new COO for Heavenly Mountain; will have additional oversight of Lake Tahoe region

After two years, Mike Goar, Keystone Resort's vice president and COO, is headed to Heavenly Mountain for the same role at the Vail Resorts-owned South Lake Tahoe ski resort.
Kevin Fixler / Summit Daily |

Earlier this week, Vail Resorts announced its pick to oversee operations in the Tahoe region following a reshuffling that saw the previous vice president of the region head to British Columbia.

Mike Goar, current vice president and chief operating officer of Keystone Resort in Colorado, was tapped as the new Heavenly Mountain Resort chief operating officer, with additional oversight of the company’s Kirkwood Mountain and Northstar California resorts.

His appointment follows the announcement earlier in June that Pete Sonntag would be transitioning from his role as senior vice president of the company’s Lake Tahoe region to become the new Whistler Blackcomb chief operating officer, replacing Dave Brownlie who announced his decision in May to step down from the role.

In a press release at the time, Pat Campbell, Vail Resorts mountain division president, said Sonntag would be bringing three decades of valuable ski industry experience.

“Over the course of Pete’s career at our company, he has had the opportunity to focus on both winter and summer operations at several of our resorts, a perspective that will continue to be invaluable to the team and guest experience at Whistler Blackcomb. His knowledge and strategic thinking and leadership in creating a complete resort experience, both on and off the mountain, will drive the resort’s continued success and world-class reputation.”

In a press release announcing Goar’s appointment, he gave credit to the team in Colorado while also stating his excitement about coming to the Tahoe region.

“I am incredibly thankful to the outstanding team at Keystone whom I’ve had the honor to work with for the past two years,” Goar said. “While I will very much miss the resort, and especially the employees who make it so great, I am excited and looking forward to the opportunity to work with the talented teams at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood.”

Goar has more than 40 years of ski resort industry experience starting out in ski patrol and grooming at Sunrise Park Resort in the White Mountains of Arizona. He has held various management positions throughout his career, including 27 years at Solitude Resort in Utah.

Goar has been with Vail Resorts since the company acquired Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, in 2013, where he served as the resort’s general manager since 2007, directing $37 million in on-mountain capital improvements, including new lifts, snowmaking, restaurants and ski terrain. During his tenure at Keystone since 2015, Goar has improved upon the resort’s standing as one of the premier family-friendly winter and summer mountain destinations in Colorado including the inaugural Colorado Family Ski Month this past December, as well as leading the capital investment in the resort’s operations and infrastructure.

“We’re fortunate to have incredibly talented leaders at our resorts, like Pete and Mike, who are choosing to once again elevate their careers and pursue these new exciting opportunities across our network of world class resorts,” Campbell said. “With Mike’s extensive experience in both winter and summer operations and his proven track record with guest service and community commitment, I am confident that he will continue to re-imagine our Tahoe resorts’ operations and our guest and employee experiences.”

Goar and his wife, Heidi, will relocate to South Lake Tahoe later this summer. The search to fill Goar’s chief operating officer position in Keystone will begin immediately.

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