SPOTLIGHT | INDUSTRY LEADERS
Women to Watch
With the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC), SIA is proud to recognize the 2016 Women to Watch, outstanding leaders working for brands, reps, retailers, resorts and non-profits.
Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Vail Resorts Years with current job: 4.5 Number of years in snow sports industry: 4.5 Average days on-snow: 25
Favorite place to ski, and why? I ski at all of our resorts, but my current favorite is Beaver Creek. I love the aspen trees, the intimacy of the resort, the variety of terrain, the village and the service we provide our guests, including the warm chocolate chip cookies served at the end of each ski day. It’s an incredible experience.
How did you get your start in this industry? I grew up in downtown Chicago and started my passion for skiing at age 6. … Five years ago, I was CMO for a division of PepsiCo in Chicago when my husband and I decided to quit our jobs and move to Colorado with our 1-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. So I landed in Colorado based on my passion and then was fortunate a few months later to join Vail Resorts. It still feels like a dream come true.
What are 3 things people don’t know about you?
1. I learned to ski when I was 6-years-old at a small ski area in Wisconsin wearing blue jeans and pink powder cuffs. 2. When I turned 16-years-old and got my very first car, my car license plates were personalized with “SNO SKI 1.” 3. I started my marketing career with Ford Motor Company in Detroit and had the amazing experience of learning to take apart a car engine and put it back together again!
What is the industry’s most pressing challenge, in your opinion, and why? The industry needs to find ways to make skiing and riding accessible to more people, in particular women and families. We have created new programs to help with this. In Colorado and Utah we launched Epic SchoolKids program that gives free skiing/riding, free lesson and free rental to all kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. Our intention is to build the next generation of skiers and riders by making it affordable and accessible. We have also created programs for women because we know that the majority of people on the mountain on any given day are men. After talking with women guests extensively we have created a program to try to help address their challenges with getting back on the mountain: time, skill and camaraderie. Specifically, our Women’s Ultimate 4 program, offered through our Ski & Snowboard Schools, is designed for women with a maximum of four women per group and led by a woman coach; participants have access to state-of-the-art women’s-specific equipment; and the program is offered at a time of day that’s most convenient for our women guests. Congratulations to the 2016 OIWC-SIA Women to Watch: Stephanie Bennett, K2 Sports; Julia Blumenfeld, Head/Tyrolia; Wendy Carey, Seirus Innovation; Donna Carpenter, Burton; Katie Hawkins, Marmot; Annelise Loevlie, Icelantic Skis; Kirsten Lynch, Vail Resorts; Kathy McGuire, K2 Sports; Amy Ohran, Boreal Ridge Corp.; Linda Rodney, Giro; Claire Smallwood, SheJumps; Kim Walker, Outdoor Divas