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July 2023

Where Are They Now?

We checked in with a few past "10 Under 30"s to see what they're up to, learn how they got there, and get their thoughts on the industry and the people in it.

Written by The Editors | 0 comment

We often refer to those profiled in the annual SAM “10 Under 30” as the future leaders of the ski industry. Their nominators saw great potential in these up-and-comers early on, and many past profilees are well on their way to fulfilling that potential.

So, we checked in with a handful of the select few who have been recognized as a “10 Under 30” since 2007 to see what they’re doing now, how they got there, and to get their take on the industry and the people in it. 

jul23 where now lang

How does your path from “10 Under 30” to where you are now compare to what you expected?

The work that I lead and get to be a part of is wonderful, and somewhat grander in nature than I realized the industry had to offer. My career at Alterra has become focused on long-term planning and development, which tends to be all around very large projects, game-changing expansions, and major investments on the scale of hundreds of millions and sometimes billions of dollars.

I sometimes miss the direct daily connection to the operations and the people leading the frontlines. There's nothing quite like walking the slopes with the snowmaking team and planning out a new system, or leading and rolling out a new pass product at Snowshoe. I've lost a bit of the “realness” of being at the resort. But at the same time, I'm really grateful for the privilege and opportunity to lead some of the initiatives that are changing the landscape of the ski industry in North America.

What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

My younger self was very career focused. I was (and still am) extremely passionate about driving results and growth, and I sometimes found myself tying my sense of accomplishment in life to what I achieved on behalf of the company. While I'm very happy with how it's worked out for my career, I would tell my younger self to detach more often and realize that the company will be okay for another day. Go get some turns in!

Who do you look up to in the industry?

Frank DeBerry. I often come across leaders that are either great at business or great with people, but rarely have I found someone who is as ridiculously astute in both of those areas as Frank. I could go on for a while on a slew of laudatory reasons, but at the core of it all is a very business-savvy person who takes the time and effort to understand the humans around him and how to help them be their best selves. During his tenure at Alterra, Frank was, in my opinion, the best operator we've had, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he achieves in his new role as president of SNOW Partners.

What is one thing the industry gets right and one thing we get wrong?

The industry has transformed dramatically over the past decade or two. I sincerely believe it's become far more exciting for avid skiers, with huge multi-mountain access options and some amazing investments and expansions resulting from more capital available from some large ownership groups. I think it's easy to see how much our core market has benefited from this.

On the flipside, I think we need to do more to keep the industry growing beyond its current market segments, and make it more accessible to a broader group of people. We are a very homogenous industry in terms of demographics and income. It's difficult to get into the sport without a good amount of discretionary income. My parents certainly wouldn't have been able to afford it when I was a child. I'd love to see the industry put more effort toward addressing this.

I get that most resorts are running a business and need to stay in business, so it's a nuanced challenge. But I've also seen some great initiatives out there and think we could do more of that. One good thing, at least, is that I think most of us are aware (or becoming more aware) of this. 


jul23 where now luce

How does your path from "10 Under 30" to where you are now compare to what you expected?

I expected to be working for a singular resort, likely somewhere in Lake Tahoe. I landed at Axess, in Park City, Utah. Our headquarters are in Austria. I’m stoked to be able to work with resorts of all sizes, all year around, throughout North America. I am much more involved with ski areas summer operations than expected. Additionally, I have learned a ton about the ski industry worldwide, which wasn’t necessarily in the cards pre-Axess.

What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

‌Learn German.

‌Who do you look up to in the industry?

‌The women on my team that I get to work with on a daily basis: Nancy Rainey, Sarah Metcalf, Lisa Currier, Nikki Divers, and Megan Seabrook. We have a wonderful team, and our combined array of experiences lead to a lot knowledge sharing and growth. Working with women who are intelligent, kind, and invested in our industry is powerful. They all make incredible ski (and snowboard) partners as well.

‌What is one thing the industry gets right and one thing we get wrong?

‌Our industry is doing a great job of creating events and a space that is enjoyable for a lot of individuals. Events like Mammoth’s Yacht Club and the Woodward x Snowbird terrain park collaboration are fun, and a fresh new way to enjoy our mountains and mountain towns!

I understand the logic of having learn-to-ski month in January, but learning to ski during the month of the year where crowds are high, and the factors that limit the enjoyment are abundant (cold, chain control, and high prices) might not lead to the best experience. I’d push for the learn to ski campaign to happen in spring when the weather is warmer and early season pass pricing is available.


jul23 where now marriner

‌How does your path from “10 Under 30” to where you are now compare to what you expected?

When I started out, my expectations were pretty simple: I wanted to be a professional snowboard bum and to live and work in the mountains. I wasn’t 100 percent sure where I wanted to end up. I saw things that interested me, set goals to work toward, and my career path evolved into where I am today. That being said, I never expected to spend three years in Korea building World Championship alpine downhill courses and the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic downhill courses. I also never expected to end up back at Mt. Hood Meadows where I grew up and my love for the ski industry began. All of which I am glad have become part of my career path.

What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

The one thing I would tell my younger self is to give myself a little more grace while learning new things and achieving new goals. As well as taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate my achievements and successes a little more.

Who do you look up to in the industry?

Mel Toney, Mt. Hood Meadows VP of mountain operations, is someone I currently look up to in this industry. I have just recently had the opportunity to work with and get to know her. I admire her leadership and the level of knowledge she holds. I look forward to learning more from her.

What is one thing the industry gets right and one thing we get wrong?

The ski industry is full of innovative and creative people. I think we do a good job of allowing those individuals to come up with solutions that help move our industry forward.

A weak spot I have experienced in the ski industry would be that we tend to be reactive more than proactive about some issues. Ensuring seasonal and year-round housing to attract and keep talent would be an example of one of the issues our industry hasn’t been proactive enough in.


jul23 where now spear

‌How does your path from “10 Under 30” to where you are now compare to what you expected?

While I’ve landed where I wanted to be, the path to get here had a few zigs and zags I didn’t expect. After a few years managing the tickets and season pass departments, I had the opportunity to manage the marketing department, which required me to step outside of my comfort zone, having little to no formal marketing experience or training. In addition to learning a lot about marketing, more importantly I honed my leadership skills being in an area where I was no longer the subject matter expert.

What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

I worked too many hours back in those days. Part of it was the culture at the time, but I’d tell myself a few things about finding better work/life balance.

Who do you look up to in the industry?

I can’t say I look up to one particular person. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by strong co-workers on our leadership team here at Killington and look up to the group collectively to refine my leadership skills.

What is one thing the industry gets right and one thing we get wrong?

I’m going to put technology into one thing we’re (finally) getting right, making the parking-lot-to-lift experience better and more seamless. There’s still a lot of progress needed here, but we’re on our way to making big strides.

I honestly can’t think of one area we’re just getting it wrong, but no doubt there’s still room for improvement in growing and diversifying the skiing and riding population.


jul23 where now torsell

How does your path from “10 Under 30” to where you are now compare to what you expected?

My path has included a few detours, but I'm largely on the same track. I took three years away from day-to-day ski area management to pursue several projects in the Northeast, both in and out of the industry. I wrote a book (“Snow Guns Before Sunrise”), developed a full music program for a church, remodeled a couple old houses, and hopped back in a cat for some winch grooming to hold me over.

Then I returned to Ski Cooper and have worked into my current role with oversight of an oddly diverse set of departments, including mountain ops, facilities and grounds, HR, risk management, IT, planning and development, and accounting/FP&A. I've also been teaching a variety of ski area operations courses as an adjunct instructor at Colorado Mountain College.

My 10-year goal in “10 Under 30” was to acquire and operate one or more small/medium ski areas. That's still the plan! I'd note that one way the nature of the goal has changed is that it's much more people-oriented now. Earlier in my career, my fascination was primarily with the machinery, logistics, and operations. While I still really enjoy those aspects, I've developed a deep passion for leadership and people. I love building teams and helping incredible people thrive, grow, and achieve their dreams.

What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

Slow down! I wanted everything done now, decisions made now, action taken now, and all too often I concluded that if I wanted the job done right, I had to do it myself. Time, experience, and maybe even a glint of wisdom have taught me that important decisions take time, that career growth is hard earned, and that trusting and empowering the people around me will ultimately produce much better results than I ever could on my own. Every year that goes by I learn more and more how much I don't know. Joy and success are in the learning, the journey, the shared experience with your team, and overcoming challenges—not just in the next quick decision, promotion, or opportunity.

Who do you look up to in the industry?

There are so many inspiring leaders in our business. But having grown up in the industry (dad started in '77, and he's still at it today) and hearing first-hand accounts from the heyday of the ’70s and ’80s, I still look to the careers and accomplishments of figures like Pres Smith, Dave McCoy, Jack Murphy, Hank Lunde, and Chris Diamond for inspiration.

Of course, we need to look forward, and we desperately need young, innovative leaders in the industry to carry us into the future. But as we move forward, we should remember that the first couple generations of industry pioneers still teach us so much about vision, hard work, innovation, creativity, and fun, and theirs is the foundation upon which any successful future for our industry must be built.

What is one thing the industry gets right and one thing we get wrong?

What do we get right? Resilience and creativity. Look at how the industry handled and bounced back from Covid. Peruse the SAM “Idea Files” and look at the genuinely brilliant and out-of-the-box solutions people come up with. We're a scrappy and creative bunch, and when we set our minds to it, this industry can get the job done no matter what we're up against.

What do we get wrong? The incessant need to latch onto the "current thing" and virtue signal about it, craft every conference around it, plaster it all over our websites, and be sure to sport the bumper sticker affirming support for the "thing." Largely wasted time, energy, and money accomplishing little more than distracting us from what we should be focused on, namely: running healthy organizations, delivering high quality skiing experiences, and top-notch guest service. I'll leave out the specifics here, but maybe I'll pen a career-jeopardizing op-ed soon!