Carl Patten

Supervisor, outdoor operations
Kelso and Glen Eden, Ontario

Six-word bio: "No problem. We'll make it happen.”

An all-round operations whiz, Patten has helped this small Canadian resort stay on course and on-budget in Ontario’s competitive regional resort market, all while earning the respect and loyalty of his team.

In an industry where keeping staff two seasons in a row is considered an accomplishment, Carl Patten, 30, has been working his way up the ranks at Glen Eden ski area in Ontario for 12 years.

Since starting at the resort in 1999, Patten has gone from the rental shop all the way to head of operations, now responsible for getting the resort up and running for the winter season, and making sure it comes in on budget on the other side.

At just 12 trails, 5 lifts and 240 feet of vert, Glen Eden isn’t Ontario’s biggest resort, but it sits less than an hour from the major market of Toronto, and its slopes often represent one of the first experiences city kids have with a ski area.

What makes Patten remarkable in his role is his ability to see the big picture at a relatively young age and to be a true leader of his team, says general manager Gene Matthews.

“Carl’s dedication to his profession has been noticed by our clientele,” says Matthews. Patten’s dedication has led to earliest-ever Tube Park openings, new terrain openings, a lift installation, and keeping the ski area running to the very last scheduled day despite a difficult winter.

“Did I mention all the capital and operational improvements completed on time and on budget?” Matthews asks.

Responsible for lift maintenance, grooming and snowmaking, Patten also remains an active lift mechanic, and was one of the first in Ontario to be accredited under the then-new Technical Standards and Safety Authority mandate introduced in the early ’00s. He’s done everything on the operations side of the resort, a fact that earns him no shortage of respect from the guys on his outdoor operations team.

In fact, says Patten, building a great team and earning its respect the old-fashioned way, by rising through the ranks, would be the accomplishment he is most proud since starting at the resort.

“When I first started here, it was not a happy spot to work. And now it is. The big thing I’ve learned is to work with the guys, not just be someone who barks orders from the office. I know how the operations run, the ins and outs, and when staff comes to me with concerns or questions, we just work through it. So building that team dynamic has been key.”

Going forward, Patten says he would like to hone his business skills in order to better understand the other side of the business—the side that pays for all the projects that he and his team undertake.

“Definitely, I need to focus on learning the business side of things,” he says. “I know what it takes technically to get a ski hill up and running, but when it comes to the business plan and budgeting, I just don’t have that much experience.”

—Katie Bailey