The 2021-22 season at Stevens Pass in Washington was, to put it nicely, a dumpster fire. Closed lifts and terrain, staffing shortages, and angry customers led to one of the worst vibes at any Vail Resorts property last season. A petition was even created to hold Vail Resorts accountable for the mess. In January, they hired Tom Fortune as Interim General Manager to ride out the storm.
After a mellower conclusion to their winter, Vail Resorts hired Ellen Galbraith as the new Vice President and General Manager of Stevens Pass. This week, King 5 spoke with Ellen Galbraith to discuss the upcoming season and the challenges that she has faced so far. Ellen described how she’s feeling about this upcoming season:
“There are things we can control, and there are things we can’t control. Our job is to do the best we can to be ready for everything that’s within our capabilities and feeling good about this winter. Feeling good for the team and feeling good for the guests that are passionate about this place for all the reasons you can see here and feel here. We’re excited.”
During the summer, they reopened their mountain biking park for the first time since 2019. They even offered a free scoop of ice cream to everyone who purchased a day ticket. In my opinion, that’s a great way to bring up guest satisfaction scores. One challenge they dealt with during the offseason though was the Bolt Creek Fire in September, which made them shut down their bike park. It affected the air quality in the area, and many employees had to evacuate their homes. Luckily, the fire has been extinguished.
This winter, they expect to be dealing with debris flow issues on Highway 2 during rainy periods, so they’re taking precautions to prepare for alternatives. There are alternative routes to get to Stevens Pass other than Highway 2, but this would obviously lead to more congestion.
Overall, I like the transparency that Stevens Pass has shown since the rough start to their 2021-22 season, and I think it will continue to improve in the coming months and years. With a new chairlift on the way during the 2023 offseason, Stevens Pass is moving in the right direction. The projected opening date at Steven Pass is December 2nd.