Veteran PCMR Director Was Born Same Year As Resort
Tom Pettigrew was born in 1963, the same year the Park City Mountain Resort opened. The irony is not lost on Pettigrew, who has worked at PCMR since 1982. He was just 19 years old when he got a job as a ski instructor at the resort, then called the Park City Ski Area. He’s worked there every winter since. "It only recently dawned on me while I was talking to some people about our 50th anniversary coming up. The resort opened as ‘Treasure Mountain’ on December 21, 1963. So I’m only a couple of month older that this place."
Pettigrew is Director of Skier Services at the resort, in charge of the ski and snowboard school, rental and repair, parking and transportation, Gorgoza Park, winter activities and the mountain host program. Now in his 32nd year, Pettigrew says he’s loved his job (actually many jobs) since day one. "It does have its perks. I get to ski a lot," he grins.
Growing up, Pettigrew lived throughout the coastal West. He lists several small mountain towns in northern California: Chico, Paradise, Redding and Hayfork. "My father worked for the U.S. Forest Service, which meant moving every two years or so like a military brat," he explains.
An only child, Pettigrew was born into an outdoor-oriented family. "I have many great memories of camping, hunting and fishing," he says. "In particular, I recall fishing with my grandparents on Shasta lake in northern California."
His love affair with snow began early. "I have a vivid memory of the first time I skied," he says. "I was 11 years old and we were visiting my aunt for Thanksgiving, who lived in the Salt Lake valley. My cousins took me up to Alta. On the chairlift I asked them how to get off and stop. They said, ‘it’s easy, just stand up and make a wedge with your skis.’ Somehow I came to a stop at the end of the ramp without falling. That was the last time I saw my cousins until the end of the day."
Pettigrew was 14 when the family moved to Orofino, a tiny logging town in northern Idaho. "That was a great place to be a teenager," he recalls. "I did a lot of motorcycling, hunting, fishing and skiing. I skied every weekend at a small club hill called Bald Mountain, complete with a T-bar and a rope tow." He got pretty good at it.
Fresh out of high school, he moved to Utah in 1981 to attend college and ski. He moved to Park City in 1982 to teach skiing at what was then called the Park City Ski Area. "The ski area was giant in my eyes," he exclaims. "There was a lot less teaching and a lot more skiing in those days. Most any day there were several hours of free skiing or instructor clinics and training."
Off-season, Pettigrew worked as a wild land firefighter for many years. In the mid-1980s he trained to become a smoke jumper, parachuting into remote areas to fight fires. He has logged over 100 jumps and is a licensed parachute rigger. "I’m actually a third-generation Forest Service employee," he says proudly.
Pettigrew met Dori Pratt, a long-time Park City local, in 1985 while taking his Professional Ski Instructors of America full-certification instructor exam. She was one of his examiners during the three-day process. The pair became friends the following winter when she taught at the Park City Ski School. Nature took its course and they were married in 1990 at the historic Treasure Mountain Inn. Their son, Skylar, is in his third year of college. Pettigrew proudly describes him as a "typical Park City kid who enjoys the mountains and the outdoor lifestyle, skiing, camping and living the good life."
There’s no off-season anymore for Pettigrew, who now oversees summer operations at PCMR. The veteran director is bullish on his co-workers. "I have a great group of managers who are tremendous successes in each of their respective roles. I truly enjoy working with them and helping to create wonderful vacation memories for our guests."
The "youngish" 50-year-old shows no signs of easing up. "I’m still passionate about making the best ski turn possible. It’s the rhythm that drives my life. I am also passionate about being the best that I can be in my personal and professional life," he shares.
This week, as Park City Mountain Resort celebrate its 50th year. Pettigrew reflects on his 30-plus-year career there. "I am blessed to have been able to be on snow, skiing over 125 days every winter. I love working in the ski business in what, at the end of the day, is one of the best ski towns in the country."
- Favorite activities: ski PCMR, "especially on Widow Maker and Assessment," golf at the PC
- Favorite foods: "Pesto on handmade pasta with fresh green beans and new potatoes; fresh sockeye salmon, garden fresh tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil; huckleberries in buttermilk pancakes on Saturday mornings."
- Favorite reading: Clive Cussler, Ann Rice and "flavor of the day" on the best seller list.
- Favorite music: Alternate country/Americana and electronic/new wave. Robert Earl Keen, Drive-by Truckers, John Hiatt, Lloyd Cole, New Order, Vampire Weekend
- Bucket list: Helicopter ski in Canada; see Paris and the Mona Lisa; play golf at Pebble Beach and the old course at St. Andrews, Scotland; two weeks in Tuscany; a private raft trip down the Grand Canyon
- Animal companions: Shelby, a border collie; Scout, an Australian Shepherd; Mojo and Spiffy, "our two cats that act like dogs."
Historian preserves Reed Smoot’s conservation efforts that led to the forming of the National Park Service.