HUNTSVILLE — Backed by a lifelong skier’s perspective, Snowbasin’s new general manager says he’ll strive to make the mountain a good place for both tourists and locals alike.
This year at the resort marks the beginning of the John Loomis regime. Loomis takes the reins from Kent Lyons, who managed Snowbasin for the past three years.
Loomis previously served as vice president of operations at the Northstar California Resort in Lake Tahoe.
Not a stranger to the Wasatch Front, he started his career in the ski industry at Alta Ski Area in the 1970s and also spent 24 years at Snowbird.
Loomis, 64, grew up in the Pacific Northwest and began skiing at age 5.
He attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., earning a degree in economics.
Loomis kidded that his first order of business as the head of Snowbasin would be to do a little extra praying to the snow gods in an attempt to ensure a better winter than what the Top of Utah saw last year.
“I’ve only seen one winter as bad as what we had here last year,” Loomis said. “But I’m doing all I can to change that.”
He’s actually half-serious — noting that the resort’s snow machines have been working overtime, laying down snow whenever temperatures permit.
Since Loomis began his tenure, changes both small and large have already been seen on the mountain.
On the small scale, Snowbasin patrons are now allowed to take dogs with them on the gondolas.
“That’s just kind of a real small example of what our larger goal is,” Loomis said. “Which is focusing on our guests and what they want.”
On the larger scale, Loomis dropped the price of season ski passes by a considerable amount.
This year, an unrestricted pass went for $649, a reduction of more than one-third off last season’s $999 rate. A pass with very limited restrictions went for $459.
While many skiers love the extra money they’ve saved through the discount, some wonder if overcrowding will be an issue on the mountain this year. But Loomis said he doesn’t think it will be.
“We’ve got the capacity at the resort, and we’ve got room on the mountain,” he said. “I don’t feel like we’ve oversold or that we’ll be overrun. We’ve got the facilities and a plan in place, and now all we need is the snow.”
Loomis did confirm that the resort has already sold more season passes than it did last year, but wasn’t willing to say how many.
“It’s just a different business model,” he said. “We’re just hoping to get more people into the sport. If I can share my love of winter and the mountains and get people up here to experience that, then I’ve succeeded.”
As Snowbasin figures to be a part of Ogden city’s vision to turn the city into an outdoor mecca that attracts tourists from all over the world, Loomis said he’ll work to strike a balance between that vision and keeping the resort a friendly place for locals.
“That’s the universal question,” Loomis said of the conundrum of how to grow the resort while keeping it convenient and uncrowded for locals. “You just have to be careful and grow in a smart way. We want to have something here that works for everyone.”
Snowbasin Resort opened Thursday.