Lift Maintenance Manager, Snowmass, New Chairman ANSI B77 Committee.
Mark Thorpe is a Skier.
Two days before the NSAA Keynote speaker addressed the issue of aging resort leadership, the ANSI B77 committee announced Mark Thorpe as the Committee’s new Chairman. “Getting qualified younger people involved is crucial,” expressed Maynard Russell, who is stepping aside to vice–chair. “Mark’s leadership abilities also lends to recognize other member’s who are needed for other roles, like negotiate, or run an ad hoc committee.”
When asked about goals as the new Chair, Mark responded that his personal goals were recruitment and increased participation within the committee. And participation, he says, is an incredible opportunity to develop professionally. “I have 33 years in this industry and I joined the B77 to give back. This industry has given me a career and do something I’m passionate about. We have to find fresh blood to replace [tenured] lift professionals, some of these guys more than 30 years experience. [Finding these candidates] is like herding cats. They don’t like it but it can be done. I also left the Board at RMLA when taking on the B77 Committee. I had to make choices. I couldn’t do my day job, plus B77, plus RMLA.”
When asked about his 33 years in the industry, Mark says that it all really started by growing up in Aspen Valley. Yep – you read correctly. Born and bred and the FOURTH generation to grow up there. His house was three blocks from Aspen Mountain and he was always late to dinner because he was messing around on the hill and always outside. “It was a fantastic place to grow up when I was a kid. Aspen was a sleepy town with dirt roads. Hollywood and the jet set has changed it. Mom and Pop stores are now shops selling Louis Vuitton. Everything changes. Change is good. I also have a 15-year-old son who is a successful ski racer and is the third generation of racers including me and his grandfather.”
At 18 years of age, Mark started in the rental shop, attended the U. of Colorado for Business, and came back to work rentals for every vacation and break. After Mark graduated he was hired into the Aspen marketing department. He enjoyed marketing and felt he was good at it. “But then a new CEO came in and fired everybody because he wanted a different tone. I decided that was the end of the white collar world for me. Around 1988, I worked summer lift maintenance, enjoyed being outside. I transferred to Aspen Highlands in 1995 and then in 2000 went over to Snowmass and became lift maintenance manager. We have two of the original Poma detaches and this summer we are replacing 30-year haul ropes. There’re guys that will be working on those that are younger than the lifts.”