Deer Valley founder passes torch
After 35 years of helping to steer Park City’s destiny as a world class ski resort, Deer Valley founder Edgar Stern is stepping aside from his role as chairman of the board for the resort’s parent company, Royal Street Land Company. His influence, however, will be carried on by his son, Lessing Stern.
According to an announcement on Wednesday by Deer Valley Resort President Bob Wheaton, Lessing Stern is assuming the duties of Chairman of the Board "with our esteemed founding partner Edgar Stern serving as Chairman Emeritus."
Edgar Stern who is now 84, first became involved with Park City in 1971. At his urging, Royal Street joined forces with United Park City Mines to buy and operate the ski area now known as Park City Mountain Resort.
Ultimately though, Edgar Stern had his sights set on creating a new kind of ski resort, one that treated skiers like luxury hotel guests, even while they were out on the mountain. After getting the Park City Ski Area well established with additional chairlifts, several condominium complexes and expanded facilities at the base, his company sold its share of the resort to Alpine Meadows and he turned his attention to the slopes south of Old Town, now known as Deer Valley.
From his experience gleaned in Aspen, Stern set high standards for everything from trail design to gourmet dining and the formula proved to be successful, not only for Deer Valley, but also for Park City. Deer Valley eventually earned first place in several national ski resort surveys and its strong reputation helped to win Utah’s bid to host the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
According to Wheaton, the recent announcement formalizes a shift that has been taking place over the last few years. Edgar and Polly Stern still visit Park City but their primary home is located in the San Juan Islands in Washington. In the meantime, Lessing Stern, who lives in Park City, has been very active in the company.
In Deer Valley’s announcement Lessing Stern said, "At this phase in their lives, it is only natural that my parents would like to travel less. Having served as Vice-Chairman of the Board for more than a decade, the transition into my new role has evolved easily over the course of the last few years. As Chairman, I plan to function as their ‘keeper of the vision’ by lending my eyes and ears in overseeing the operation of Royal Street."
Wheaton added, "Although there has been change in structure at Royal Street’s Board level, it will be business as usual at Deer Valley with continued and unchanging focus on Edgar’s vision and dream; delivering classic, consistent and quality service to our guest. Edgar and Polly will continue to take an active role in all decisions affecting Deer Valley."
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Park City at the start of 2021 is preparing for the return of numerous special events, something that could help reignite Park City’s tourism-heavy economy and re-create some of the energy that was lacking in 2020.