^Stevens Pass interim GM Tom Fortune
Stevens Pass Ski Area interim GM Tom Fortune wrote a letter yesterday announcing that his permanent replacement has been hired. Ellen Galbraith, a Washington local, will take over in early June of this year.
Galbraith has been working for Vail Resorts for nearly 20 years. Notably, she spent 16 years at Beaver Creek where she ultimately became the Director of Mountain Operations.
She’s also worked as a Senior Director of Mountain Operations at Northstar, and as Chief of Staff for James O’Donnell, Mountain Division President at Vail Resorts.
You might recall that Stevens Pass was in the spotlight this season for all of the wrong reasons. Over 45,000 people signed a petition to hold Vail Resorts accountable for mismanagement of the resort, and Washington’s Attorney General was actively soliciting complaints about the resort.
Vail transitioned industry vet Tom Fortune from Heavenly Resort to fill in as interim GM after firing the previous GM mid season amidst the complaints.
Sounds like Vail Resorts made a great hire in bringing Galbraith on at Stevens Pass. Here’s to hoping she follows Fortune’s path of being transparent with guests, and that she continues to work to better the ski area.
Check out the full letter from Stevens Pass Interim GM Tom Fortune below:
Stevens Pass Team –
I have some big news this morning – I’m thrilled to share that Ellen Galbraith will join Stevens Pass as its new General Manager & VP. Many of you met Ellen when she jumped in with both feet to support us earlier this season, taking a hands-on approach while at the mountain. Her passion for skiing (and this industry) and years of mountain operations experience, combined with family roots in Washington, and a love of this very special mountain, make her the perfect person for this role.
Ellen joined Vail Resorts in 2003 as a member of the Beaver Creek Race Crew and also worked as a snowcat operator, later rising to the role of Manager of Racing. She ultimately became the Director of Mountain Operations at the resort, where she stayed until 2019. After 16 years at Beaver Creek, Ellen went west to Northstar, California as Senior Director of Mountain Operations. After two seasons of managing operations at the resort, she jumped at the opportunity to support broader business growth while representing the in-resort perspective, accepting the role of Chief of Staff to James O’Donnell, Mountain Division President at Vail Resorts.
Ellen grew up on the slopes, later becoming a talented ski racer. She attended the University of Washington, where she could follow her passion in the mountains and be closer to family. While at UW, she was a ski coach for Team Alpental-Snoqualmie. All of this is to say Ellen’s love of the mountains runs deep.
She also has a history with Stevens Pass, having skied there in college – she even rang in the new Millenium on the mountain on New Year’s Eve 1999! She has always felt connected to our mountain, with the drive to get to know it better, so when this opportunity presented itself, she jumped at it…and I’m so glad she did! I have full confidence in Ellen as she steps into this new role and guides the mountain – and this incredible team – into a new chapter. Her passion, experience, team-first approach, and commitment to preserving the heartbeat of what makes this mountain special will be critical to the future success of the resort, and to all of you.
While I’ve been here these last four months, I’ve been so inspired by all of you. I keep saying it, but I mean it – there really is something so special here, and it starts and ends with this team, every single day. You have all shared so much with me, and I’m honored to be part of the Stevens Pass story. I remain committed to ensuring a positive future here – I will support Ellen through a transition period this summer, and will stay on board in an advisory capacity moving forward.
We continue to be headed in the right direction…but we also know there is work yet to be done. As the heartbeat of this mountain, you – the team – are critical to everything we do. We’ve heard you, and will continue to make your experience here a priority.
Ellen will make her way to Washington in early June. We will share more about that timeline and related opportunities to meet her as she gets situated soon. In the meantime, feel free to reach out directly to welcome her to the Stevens Pass family.
I want to thank you again for welcoming me so warmly, and for being open and honest along the way. The future – and vibe – is bright!