Vail's Sarah Schleper and John Garnsey in the finish at the 2009 Audi FIS World Cup opener in Soelden, Austria. (U.S. Ski Team)
BROOMFIELD, CO (April 24) – John Garnsey, who played an instrumental role in ski racing at Vail/Beaver Creek and was the 2012 recipient of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Julius Blegen Award for his service to the sport, will be retiring. Vail Resorts, Inc. announced that Garnsey, president of the company’s global mountain development, has decided to retire following the 2015 Vail/Beaver Creek World Alpine Ski Championships, which he helped to bring back to the Vail Valley for a third time.
“John has not only been an integral part of the success of Vail Resorts, but he has also contributed so much to the entire Vail Valley community and to the sport of skiing,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “He has played an instrumental role in bringing the world to Vail and Beaver Creek with three world alpine ski championships. It is only fitting for John to retire after the 2015 Championships, as it is a perfect crowning achievement for his career.”
“It’s been an amazing journey and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with so many smart, creative and hardworking people along the way,” said Garnsey. “I have been a part of the best teams in the industry at Vail and Beaver Creek, all while living in the greatest resort community where, with my wife, Vicky, we raised our children and established lifelong friendships. I’m a very lucky man to say that for the past 40 years I was able to build upon my passion for skiing by helping to elevate our company’s unparalleled guest experiences around the world. I look forward to sharing with family and friends many more wonderful days on our great mountains.”
“Ski racing has benefited greatly from John’s high level of professionalism as a leader at Vail/Beaver Creek and the Vail Valley Foundation, as well as giving of his time as an FIS technical delegate,” said USSA President and CEO Tiger Shaw. “Our ability to showcase ski racing in America at the 2015 World Championships is a result of his passion and perseverance.”
Garnsey began his lifelong career in the ski industry as a ski patroller at Waterville Valley, NH, in the 1970s. He headed west in 1974 and joined the race department and trails crew at Vail Mountain, then quickly ascended the ranks in mountain operations. In 1984, he joined the Vail Valley Foundation as vice president and went on to become president from 1991-1999. After the 1999 Vail/Beaver Creek World Alpine Ski Championships, he joined Vail Resorts as senior vice president and chief operating officer of Beaver Creek Resort and became executive vice president in January 2008. In September 2008, he was appointed president of global mountain development for the company.
Garnsey also acted as executive vice president for the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships, headed the campaign to bring the 1999 World Championships back to the Vail Valley, and co-chaired the successful bid to bring the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships to Vail and Beaver Creek. He serves on the board of directors of the National Ski Areas Association, the Vail Valley Foundation, The Vilar Center Foundation, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation, and was inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum Hall of Fame in 2011.
Garnsey was recognized for his lifetime of dedication to ski racing by the USSA with presentation of its Julius Blegen award in May, 2012 – the organization’s highest honor.