With a tumultuous season at Stevens Pass Ski Area in the rearview mirror, Vail Resorts announced Tuesday morning that University of Washington alumnus and former Western Washington ski coach Ellen Galbraith would take over as as Vice President and General Manager.
Galbraith, 41, is currently chief of staff to the president of Vail’s mountain division and previously worked two years as senior director of mountain operations at Lake Tahoe Northstar Ski Area, another Vail property. Prior to that, she spent 16 years in Beaver Creek, Colorado where she rose through the ranks from race crew and snowcat operator to race director and eventually director of mountain operations.
And before all that, Galbraith graduated from the University of Washington in 2003. During her college years, she coached ski racing for the Alpental-Snoqualmie team.
The hire ends the acting tenure of Tom Fortune, who temporarily relocated mid-season from Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., to right the ship at Stevens Pass.
“I am thrilled to take on this role at Stevens Pass and be part of this truly amazing community as I work to carry forward the momentum Tom has created during his time here,” Galbraith said in a statement. “My family’s roots are here in Washington, and it’s meaningful to go back.”
Vail Resorts declined to make Galbraith available for an interview.
At the start of the 2021-22 ski season, Stevens Pass was plagued with staffing shortages and closed chairlifts that angered customers and made Stevens Pass a poster child operational snafus in Broomfield, Colorado , Vail Resorts, which owns Stevens Pass and 40 other ski resorts in four countries. Under Fortune’s leadership and with a focus on restoring mountain culture, Stevens Pass began to open up the ground and look like itself mid-season, capping May Day with its traditional closing Springfest. out of season – although complaints have persisted of a premature seasonal closure of the mountain. rear and careless treatment of the Nordic center.
Galbraith was among Vail employees who traveled to Stevens Pass in January to help Fortune reopen the majority of Stevens Pass land. She took care of important behind-the-scenes details, such as improving the design of the lift mazes, which direct skiers through lift lines and onto chairlifts.
“As a former ski racer, her heart has always been in the mountains, and that has translated into a career in the industry,” said Doug Pierini, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail. Western Region, about Galbraith in a statement. “Her nearly 20 years of experience in mountain operations, combined with a close connection to the Pacific Northwest region and its unique mountains, will make her an incredible leader for this special station.”
Fortune will remain in an advisory role to Stevens Pass.