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Whistler Blackcomb COO Geoff Buchheister leaving Vail Resorts

Buchheister named new CEO of Aspen Snowmass
Outgoing Whistler Blackcomb COO Geoff Buchheister.

Whistler Blackcomb's (WB) chief operating officer and vice president Geoff Buchheister is leaving the resort, WB's parent company Vail Resorts announced on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

“We are incredibly grateful to Geoff and everything he’s contributed over the last eight years at Vail Resorts, and certainly for the impact he’s had at Whistler Blackcomb over the last four years,” said Doug Pierini, COO and SVP for Vail Resorts, in a statement shared with Pique.

“Geoff has been an influential leader and we have no doubt he will continue to be successful in this new chapter. We are proud to build such great leaders across our company and it is a core value of ours to support these leaders throughout their journey while at Vail Resorts and beyond. We remain deeply committed to the continued success of Whistler Blackcomb, to delivering an excellent experience for our employees and guests, and to being productive partners to our community in Whistler.”  

Buchheister will assume the role of chief executive officer of Aspen Snowmass—Vail Resorts' direct competition—the company announced in its own release on Feb. 28.

“I’m incredibly excited to be returning to Colorado and joining the Aspen Skiing Company,” Buchheister said in the release. “I feel a strong connection to the values that the Crown family brings to this organization, and I look forward to being part of this team. Aspen has such deep history, built by a community that loves and celebrates its unique mountain culture. I’m humbled to have the opportunity to listen and learn as I integrate into the company and the community.”

Buchheister will lead Aspen's Mountain Division and will begin onboarding March 1, the release said. His first priority will be to spend the next two months learning and transitioning responsibilities from current Aspen CEO Mike Kaplan, who officially retires on April 30. 

“While this process took longer than expected, we firmly believe it was worth the wait. In the end, we found the ideal candidate to lead our ski and summer-time mountain operations into the future,” said Aspen owner Jim Crown, in the release. “Geoff has a long history in the industry, a true passion for the sport and understands the importance of long-term planning, community relations, and the role employees play in delivering guests a world-class experience.”

The announcement was first shared in an email with Vail Resorts employees.

Buchheister assumed the role of WB COO in November 2019, arriving in Whistler from Keystone Ski Resort in Colo., having previously worked in Park City, Utah.

With Buchheister's departure, Vail Resorts will be looking to hire his replacement, with more expected on that in the coming weeks. 

Pierini will step into the COO role at Whistler Blackcomb on an interim basis in the meantime.

Buchheister's last day is Friday, March 3.

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