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Genevieve Gunnarson, Snow Park Technologies Vice President, 2003 SAMMY Winner

Where you were in your career when you won a SAMMY, and big moments since?
I was working as the marketing director for Bear Mountain in Big Bear Lake, Calif.

Big moments since…

· Accepting position with Booth Creek Ski Holdings, working with Northstar and Sierra-at-Tahoe

· Being a part of the Northstar and Sierra marketing team

· Serving as a board member for Ski Lake Tahoe

· Being a part of Northstar’s transformation

· Starting SPT as an independent company with a license agreement with Booth Creek

· Acquiring SPT from Booth Creek in order to become an independent company and take our destiny into our own hands

· Having the opportunity to work with so many fantastic resorts across the US

Best day/worst day/most memorable in the business?
Best day: Seeing the SPT logo and staff on national TV, print or on the internet associated with some of the most influential brands in our industry from our collaboration with DC and PistenBully; our event partners: Burton US Open, ESPN X Games, and Dew Tour, and at resorts across the USA. SPT has been featured in several World of X Games shows including Real SNOW, Real Moto, and Real Backcountry. And, we had “Mountain Movers,” an entire TV series focused around the projects we work on that aired on the National Geographic Channel.

Worst day: Telling Brent Tregaskis I had accepted a job in Tahoe and I was leaving Big Bear. It was so hard to leave the place where I got started in the industry, built a brand new home (Sears was delivering my new appliances while I was on the phone accepting my new job) and had so many great friends, but I was excited for my new position and the opportunities ahead of me.

Most memorable: First X Games at Snow Summit followed by celebrating the 20th anniversary of the X Games with Gunny, my kids and the Kun family in Aspen. SPT has been involved in course build and design throughout the 20+ year evolution of the Winter X Games.

Who was/is a memorable mentor?
I’ve been so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with and develop life-long relationships with some of our industry’s key contributors including:

· Dick Kun (president Snow Summit Ski Corporation - Snow Summit and Bear Mountain)

· Brent Tregaskis (Bear Mountain, Eldora)

· Chris Ryman and Betsy Cole (Booth Creek Ski Holdings)

· Julie Maurer (Booth Creek Ski Holdings)

· Michael Gerard (Bear Mountain)

· Bill Jensen (formerly Intrawest and Fibreboard)

Did you ever almost leave the industry, and why? Why did you stay?
Yes, I became a mom. I resigned from my position at Northstar after the birth of my second daughter in 2008. I came back to work full-time in January 2011 when Gunny and I acquired SPT back from Booth Creek Ski Holdings.

If you could work in another industry doing something completely different, what would it be?
I probably would have pursued law, but for as long as I can remember I wanted to work in the resort industry. Even while in college, I remember working on projects specific to marketing and public relations for ski resorts. I went to school in Malibu and all I could think about was snow.

When was the last time you actually purchased a lift ticket?
Last winter. I didn’t want to call in a favor so I just bought a ticket.

How many days do you go without washing your ski / snowboard socks?
I wash my socks after every use even if I only got out for one run…

What’s the last thing you searched in Google?
Weather and snow forecast for the East Coast, West Coast, Colorado, Idaho, etc.

Guilty pleasure?
1. TV medical dramas - Grey’s Anatomy, Code Black and Chicago Med. 2. Sleeping in late without being interrupted (with two young kids it doesn’t happen often)

Where do you keep your SAMMY Award?
On my desk in my office.

Thoughts on the future?
Like most of us, I want to ensure that the resort and snow industry has the opportunity to thrive. Unfortunately, there are so many factors to consider about the future for resorts, from global warming and political implications, to the generational shift in participants and workforce. So I’m going to stick to thoughts on the future of marketing at resorts.

For me, I hope the future of marketing isn’t about specific lift tickets, equipment or real estate sales, but rather the impact that skiing/snowboarding can have on someone’s life and lifestyle. I never wanted to sell/market widgets, so I’ve always tried to place a greater emphasis on the experiences rather than the numbers of butts in seats, skiable acres, or units sold. As hopefully a wiser and more experienced marketer, I hope that the future pushes us to find new and creative ways to share authentic mountain experiences with a broader audience.

Skiing and snowboarding shaped who I am today and will impact my children and their futures.

 

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