PCMR leader will click in at an extraordinary moment
Bill Rock in three weeks will start a job that will be closely watched in Park City and, likely, in the North American ski industry.
Vail Resorts on Thursday said it has appointed the industry veteran as chief operating officer of Park City Mountain Resort with oversight of Canyons Resort. He will assume the post on Nov. 1. Rock is expected to oversee the two resorts as Vail Resorts links them into one property under the PCMR moniker as early as the 2015-2016 ski season, putting him in a critical position during a period of transition. PCMR is anticipated to be the largest mountain resort in North America once the link is completed. The chief operating officer position is comparable to the role of a president and general manager at other mountain resorts.
Rock, who is 49 years old, is currently the chief operating officer of Northstar California Resort, another Vail Resorts property. Rock’s experience in the ski industry includes time as the president and chief operating officer of Snowshoe Mountain Resort, which is in West Virginia, and as the chief operating officer at Durango Mountain Resort in Colorado.
"I think that’s the opportunity and that’s what makes this so just exciting, not only for me but for all the employees of both resorts and for the city of Park City. I think this is a moment in time that is just going to be amazing as we look back," Rock said.
He said his top priority will be preparing for the upcoming ski season, which will be the first at PCMR under the ownership of Vail Resorts. He said both PCMR and Canyons Resort are world-class resorts with staffs that have "just tremendous reputations."
Rock said he has been to Park City several times, including visits during the summer and winter. He said he wants to engage the community.
"It’s been clear that, you know, our company has really valued Park City as a town and the city, and all the people in it, over the years," he said, adding, "One of the reasons this is such a compelling opportunity is that the town and the mountains are separate and the town has just this rich history and amazing, smart people."
Rock arrives in Park City four years after playing a key role as Vail Resorts acquired Northstar California Resort. In a prepared statement announcing Rock’s appointment in Park City, Rob Katz, the Vail Resorts chairman and chief executive officer, said he "was instrumental in our integration of Northstar in 2010, including overseeing a $30 million capital program and building cultural and community engagement and alignment." Northstar California Resort, located near Truckee, Calif., in the Lake Tahoe region, stretches through approximately 3,200 acres
Rock said he is unable to discuss what sort of resort changes will be pursued in Park City. He said he wants to study PCMR and Canyons Resort this winter before crafting ideas about upgrades.
Rock, meanwhile, indicated it is early to discuss details about the plans to link PCMR and Canyons Resort, saying other figures at Vail Resorts, such as planners, will play critical roles. Linking the resorts, though, will "be the big challenge, just physically connecting them."
"I haven’t even started day one of the job yet, so I don’t have an opinion yet about what lift configurations should be," he also said, adding, "It’s kind of hard to envision, right now, where all the challenges or opportunities might be, other than the macro-opportunity . . . to create the largest resort in the United States."
The flow chart
As chief operating officer of PCMR with oversight of Canyons Resort, Rock will report to the president of Vail Resorts’ mountain division, Blaise Carrig.
Mike Goar will remain the general manager of Canyons Resort and report to Rock.
Vail Resorts will not appoint someone as general manager of PCMR. Rock will oversee PCMR.
Carrig has been the interim head of PCMR since the Vail Resorts acquisition in September. He will return to his role as the president of the mountain division on a full-time basis when Rock arrives in Park City.
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