COLUMN: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Volunteer Directors React To Patagonia Rejection

Members of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Board of Directors spoke out about Patagonia's decision to remove its apparel from the ski resort.

August 23, 20215 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By John Carney, Robert Grady, Eric Macy, Dennis Nau and John Valiante

As independent members of the board of directors of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, we wanted to offer our perspective on how the business is run, how it serves the community, and the path forward.

We offer these perspectives as folks who are Democrat, Republican and Independent, moderate, liberal and conservative — just like America, and just like our employees and guests. The resort welcomes guests and employs fantastic associates who have a diversity of views. We welcome them all, as we believe that diversity is good for our company, our community, and our country.

Guest experience: For the last two and a half decades, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has been a very well-run ski and all-season resort. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has invested in the future, over $230 million since 1994 in valuable capital improvements, including a new Aerial Tram, a new Sweetwater gondola, new chairlifts (Apres Vous, Casper, Teton, to name a few), vastly improved snowmaking and grooming, and a better guest experience. The result is that Jackson Hole enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the best ski resorts in the world. In recent years, Jackson Hole has been ranked first among American ski resorts by Ski Magazine and by Forbes.

As owners the Kemmerer family has reinvested the overwhelming majority of the resort’s profitability into building a stronger, more stable and sustainable resort, focused on creating a superior guest experience and a welcoming and safe environment for employees.

Community Benefit: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort employs 1,900 permanent and seasonal employees, making us the largest private employer in Teton County and the region. Our commitment to be a great employer with competitive compensation and generous benefits ensures a strong economic base for the community and employment opportunities in a great industry.

 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is also a leader in employee housing construction at Powderhorn, Rabbit Row and other sites; in transportation initiatives through bundling START passes with season ski passes, and through our collaboration with Teton County and others to create the Teton Mobility initiative and secure a major Federal BUILD grant; in making air service to western Wyoming possible through our leadership in funding the JH Air alliance with other businesses in the community; and in supporting community groups with mountain access and with support for initiatives in Jackson’s vibrant non-profit sector. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort strongly supports its role in maintaining a strong, sustainable community.

A Green Resort: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has been a leader in the ski industry in reducing energy consumption, recycling consumables used by our employees and guests, and treating the spectacular natural habitat which surrounds us with vision and care. Years ago we were one of the first ski resorts to secure ISO 14001 status, and received the National Ski Area Association’s Golden Eagle Award for environmental excellence. Today the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is 100% powered by green (renewable) energy.

Health and safety: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is deeply committed to keeping its guests and employees safe. In the last year and a half, coordinating closely with the Teton County Health Department and the state of Wyoming, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort took steps to protect our employees and guests from the COVID pandemic — requiring masks indoors and in lift lines, putting a cap on the number of skiers per day, limiting the number of riders on the tram and Bridger and Sweetwater gondolas, and ensuring social distancing. Today the resort’s policy is to recommend strongly that all employees and guests be vaccinated. Any unvaccinated employee is required to wear a mask at all times, and all are required to wear masks indoors within 6 feet of others, regardless of status.

For many years we have had the privilege of lending our efforts where we could and of watching Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s outstanding leadership and management team build a spectacular resort with a global reputation. We have been extremely fortunate as a business and as a community to have the sound and patient stewardship of the Kemmerer family, a family with deep Wyoming roots that has extended that stewardship to major support of nonprofits and community initiatives in Teton County and throughout the state.

We state with confidence that Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a forward-looking, community-oriented organization that is committed to best-in-class guest experiences and work environment to our employees, to protecting the environment, and to keeping guests and employees safe. We have seen what a wonderful asset this is for our state and our community, and we know the ownership, the board, the management team and the employees of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort are committed to making it even better in years ahead.

(This originally appeared in the Jackson Hole News and Guide)

John Carney, Robert Grady, Eric Macy, Dennis Nau and John Valiante are independent (non-owner, non-employee) members of the Board of Directors of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Guest Shots are solely the opinion of their authors.

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