Published January 30, 2024

In Episode 1 of the Chairlift Chat Series, Todd Bennett, President and COO of Deer Valley, chats with Steve Graff, Vice President of Mountain Operations. They discuss the challenges of managing 15 departments and 700 staff amid variable snow conditions. Steve shares insights from his 30-year tenure at the resort, highlighting Deer Valley’s strong community spirit and future expansion plans that aim to maintain its unique character. They also touch on improvements in team communication, emphasizing the resort's commitment to exceptional service and guest experiences. Tune in for an insider’s view of what makes Deer Valley a premier ski destination.

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With 15 departments and 700 workers, the Mountain Operations Team at Deer Valley ensure the smooth functioning of all outdoor activities and maintenance, crucial for the resort's success. The past year highlighted the team's agility—starting with light snow and transitioning to heavy falls, they adeptly managed these varying conditions, demonstrating the resilience needed in the mountain resort industry.

With over 30 years at Deer Valley, Steve credits the community—both colleagues and guests—as the core reason for his prolonged tenure. His experiences reflect a deep-seated commitment to exceptional service, influenced by the resort's founders, Polly and Edgar Stern. Their ethos of authentic, high-quality customer care continues to guide the resort's operations and guest experiences.

In response to staff feedback requesting better communication, Steve describes initiatives aimed at improving transparency and information sharing within the mountain operations team. Regular, detailed updates now facilitate a better-informed and more cohesive team environment. This effort not only improves operational efficiency but also ensures that employee concerns and suggestions are heard and acted upon.

As Deer Valley prepares to significantly expand its terrain, Steve highlights the excitement and challenges of integrating new areas while preserving the resort's unique character. The expansion plans are ambitious, but maintaining the founders' vision of exceptional service and attention to detail is paramount. Steve looks forward to overseeing this growth, ensuring that the resort's identity continues to resonate with both new and returning guests.

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Continue Exploring the Chairlift Chat Series:

Ep 1: Mountain Operations
Ep 2: Skier Services
Ep 3: Food & Beverage
Ep 4: Human Resources