Steamboat Springs resident Charlie Mayfield is one of the top candidates to become the new president of Colorado Ski Country USA, according to the outgoing chief, John Frew.
Mayfield worked at the Steamboat Ski Area for 25 years as the vice president of marketing before joining Colorado Ski Country. He's been there for just more than three years. Frew, who will step down in September, said Mayfield's local ties have made all the difference at the state organization.
"It's so instrumental to have someone with roots planted in Steamboat working here," he said. "Charlie continually reminded the staff to keep aligned to our essential duty: to promote the resorts."
Mayfield, who has been commuting between Denver and Steamboat since he began working at Colorado Ski Country, explained why sometimes his colleagues needed reminding:
"It's always amazing to leave here on a Sunday or Monday in the winter and head into Denver; it's winter up here, and it's very temperate in Denver. It's not the snow conditions themselves that determine how the season goes, but the perception of snow conditions. When it's 55 or 60 degrees in Denver, it's hard for people to imagine that it's actually winter just 75 miles west."
Mayfield said he is "very interested" in the Colorado Ski Country position, and said he would bring well-developed marketing and executive leadership skills to the top post. But he knows the direction chosen by the board of directors, as well as who the other candidates are, will ultimately determine his chances of succeeding Frew.
"Whatever the board decides, Colorado skiing will continue to be challenged by other leisure, non-skiing activities. We need to continue to generate visibility for Colorado," he said.
Ralph Walton of Crested Butte is head of the board of directors. He said the Colorado Ski Country USA board will decide between a candidate with legislative and legal experience and one with a strong marketing background. Although the board is not ready to make its direction public, board member and Steamboat Ski Corp. President Chris Diamond said the board has a clear sense of how it is going to proceed.
Whoever is chosen is going to have to have a thick skin and a sense of humor, Frew said.
Frew, the seventh president in the 37-year history of Colorado Ski Country USA is resigning after five years at the helm. He said the change is normal and not a reflection on his inability or lack of desire to tackle the challenges facing what has become a flat ski industry. But he admitted the job is a tough one.
"It's really intense," he said. "Five years is a good period of time. The organization doesn't want someone who becomes stale or bored. If you do the job right, there's a certain period of time while it's still fun and challenging. In these kinds of positions, you know when it's time to move on."
Nevertheless, Frew said it is going to be hard to walk away in September.
"It's a position of high trust and distinction. I'll be forever indebted to the board for appointing me to occupy this position, but I am also honor-bound to leave when I know it's time."
Having said all that, Frew believes that the challenges facing the ski industry right now flat skier numbers and poor snowfall will only make the job for a new president more exciting:
"We put a lot of marketing things in place, but there's still a long way to go."
As president, Frew said he sometimes feels like a home-plate umpire.
"I have to be fair. I have to apply the same standards to Howelsen Hill as I do to a resort like Vail or even Steamboat. And no one cheers for the umpire. But if he does his job right, fans remember enjoying a fair game, and not every call that was made along the way."
Walton said the board hopes to a have a new president in place as soon after Frew leaves as possible.
To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org