The Eaglecrest Ski Area’s board of directors has selected the facility’s newest manager after a thorough evaluation and semi-public assessment process.
Ray Gardner will be coming to Eaglecrest from Georgia.
About two weeks ago, Eaglecrest and the City and Borough of Juneau’s Human Resources Department held a three-day finalist review, with an assessment center that simulated circumstances the manager could have to deal with. There were four finalists with experience in ski resort management all over the world. The city received more than 70 applications for the job, which had been held by Kirk Duncan. He left to become the director of the city’s Public Works department and has been filling in as Eaglecrest manager in the interim after hours.
“We had two really, really top notch candidates,” said Wayne Stevens, board president. “It was a tough decision. What made Ray stand out was his experience in working with local government.”
Stevens said Gardner had previously worked in a ski area that’s located in two counties in Oregon — neither county had the same rules for the ski area.
“His confidence and ease at working around a large group of people who he didn’t know I think added to it,” Stevens said. “It was a tough decision. When it was all said and done, Ray was slightly ahead of the other one.”
Gardner will start shortly after Labor Day. He doesn’t know the exact start date yet, as he is still arranging moving plans with his family, but expects to be in Juneau in early September. Gardner will move with his wife and two of his children — a 5-year-old and a 9-month-old.
Gardner said he was interested in the position because of the community and his passion for skiing.
“For my family and I, it was raising our kids in a community outdoor setting and skiing is a huge part of our lives,” Gardner said. “Juneau fits all of those things. We’ve been down in Georgia for a few years now and we’re ready to get back to the mountains. Running ski areas is my passion and I’m very excited about the opportunity.”
Gardner said he’s most excited to get on the mountain and provide a quality winter sport area.
“I think the big thing about skiing — and I am 100 percent biased that skiing is the greatest sport on the face of the planet — is providing that experience for winter sports. If you provide that for folks who are passionate about their area and skiing, you can never go wrong with that.”
Gardner has 18 years of experience within the ski resort industry.
In Atlanta, he was attractions manager for Stone Mountain Park for the past three years. He built and operated Snow Mountain, metro Atlanta’s only snow operation, a release stated. In Oregon, Gardner served as mountain manager for Willamette Pass Ski Resort for 15 years.
Stevens said the assessment process went very well.
“I have never had the opportunity to participate in one,” he said. “I was very impressed. If we had just gone on telephone interviews we might have hired someone entirely different.”
He said the process showed the different styles of the candidates and their responses to a variety of situations.
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.