Mount Snow: General manager to leave and take on new job

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WEST DOVER — Mount Snow officials know the general manager will be missed as she moves on to the top position at the National Ski Areas Association.

Kelly Pawlak's "departure means there are some large (ski) boots to fill as we continue the momentum of mountain upgrades and expansion throughout the 2017-2018 season and beyond," Mount Snow Communications Manager Jamie Storrs wrote in an email Monday.

Pawlak is resigning to take the job as president and CEO of the NSAA. She will be leaving Mount Snow on Nov. 6 to start her new work in Colorado.

Pawlak plans to keep her home in the Deerfield Valley.

"I love this valley and some of my work with NSAA will be based in the Northeast," she told the Reformer.

Pawlak said she will miss the people at Mount Snow most when she leaves. "That is why it took me 30 years to move on," she added.

In his email, Storrs called on guests and passholders to join the resort in "saying a huge 'thank you' to Kelly for her enthusiasm, guidance, and infectious positivity over the past 32 years."

At her new job, Pawlak expects she will start out listening and learning at first.

"It is important that I understand what it is that our membership needs to run successful ski areas for generations to come," she said. "Some of the challenges are defined and we are working on them. Some of our deficiencies have to be discovered and analyzed. Of course, we will focus on our strengths, which the ski industry has plenty."

According to the NSAA's website, the group "analyzes and distributes ski industry statistics; produces annual conferences and trade shows; produces a bimonthly industry publication and is active in state and federal government affairs." The association also provides educational programming and other resources related to employees, environmental laws and regulations, state regulatory requirements, aerial tramway safety, guest services and resort operations.

Pawlak worked her way up to general manager of Mount Snow in 2005 after starting as group sales coordinator in 1985. She had also led the resort's marketing department.

Pawlak knows Mount Snow "inside and out, and has loved and led our resort diligently," Storrs wrote, describing her as "a passionate champion of the ski lifestyle and a respected leader in our industry during her tenure at Mount Snow."

"While we are incredibly sad to see her go, we are thrilled to congratulate her on her new job... and wish her all the best in her new position," Storrs wrote. "We know she will continue to affect change for and open the doors to this sport on an even greater scale in her new role... We know that even though she'll be exploring the slopes across the country, she'll always think of Mount Snow as home. Because after all, We All Love Snow!"

Pawlak was not the first Vermonter recently offered the job. Last month, VTDigger reported that Vermont Ski Areas Association President and CEO Parker Riehle had backed out of joining the national organization, which represents more than 300 ski resorts in the United States.

Dave Meeker, editor of Ski Area Management magazine who had served as Mount Snow's communications manager and marketing director after working in the resort's sales department, said the mountain-resort industry is very lucky to have Pawlak at the helm of the NSAA.

"Kelly is hard working, positive, and leads by example, which is why the culture at Mount Snow is so great," Meeker said. "I know she will bring that same infectious work ethic and attitude with her to the national level, which will benefit the industry as a whole. She's going to do great things."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or @CMaysBR.


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