Record editorial: PCMR’s outgoing leader was a steady figure during difficult times
Mike Goar led Canyons Resort nearly a decade ago, when the ski industry unsuccessfully sought to link that property with Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon via a gondola that was known as SkiLink.
He was there when Vail Resorts acquired Park City Mountain Resort and then merged it with Canyons Resort. And Goar was the figure, after returning to PCMR in 2019, who oversaw the resort during the novel coronavirus pandemic and the challenging crowds of the recently ended ski season.
Goar, essentially, was a leading figure in the Park City business community and the state’s ski industry during extraordinarily difficult and controversial times. It is a testament to Goar, then, that he was in the middle of the fray yet seemed to remain above it. Vail Resorts on Tuesday announced Goar, who is the vice president and chief operating officer at PCMR, will depart Park City later in May to lead a property in Switzerland that is also under the Vail Resorts umbrella.
Goar proved to be a steady leader when Canyons Resort and PCMR, as well as the Park City-area community, needed one. It would have been difficult for someone with a demeanor different than his to accept the broad denunciation of SkiLink that ultimately prompted that project to be scrapped. That fortitude was similarly on display during the tense days of the lawsuit that led to the sale of PCMR to Vail Resorts.
His leadership during the pandemic helped PCMR complete the two most recent ski seasons, even if the 2021-2022 winter was so tough as the resort, like many other businesses, suffered staffing issues. Goar also was expected to play an important role as plans are readied for the 2022-2023 ski season, both the internal ones and those that will involve City Hall.
Vail Resorts on Tuesday also said Deirdra Walsh, who has previous senior-level management experience at PCMR and most recently led Northstar California Resort in the Lake Tahoe Region, will succeed Goar.
We suspect Walsh worked closely with Goar in recent months since a move like the one announced on Tuesday typically is not an abrupt one. Walsh, though, will likely be afforded little time to adjust to the new post since PCMR, even now, is preparing for the next ski season. The resort also has a role in the tense talks about a major development proposal at the base area.
The community should hope Goar’s influence at PCMR remains intact even if he is riding a lift in the Swiss Alps rather than one in the Wasatch.
The crowds headed into Park City will see green, rather than brown, mountainsides, but as the holiday approaches the danger of wildfires is clear to those who live here.
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