American Skiing Co. has hired an insider with a track record of innovation to be its new senior vice president of sales and marketing.
Chip Carey was promoted Wednesday from vice president of marketing and communications at The Canyons in Park City, Utah, to oversee marketing for all seven of ASC's ski areas. ASC is the parent of the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.
Carey replaces Jim Lacey, who left the company in April.
The announcement of Carey's promotion comes a little more than a month after ASC parted ways with chief operating officer Mark Miller. Miller had been with the company for almost five years, most of that time as chief financial officer.
"It was a mutual decision," ASC spokesman Erik Preusse said of Miller's departure. "The company is endeavoring to cut costs. Mark was doing a great job as COO, but we eliminated that job."
Miller was named chief operating officer after Betsy Wallace joined ASC in December 2002 to become chief financial officer. Miller had joined ASC in December 1998 and was instrumental in arranging Oak Hill Capital Partners' investment in the company in 1999. Then, in September 2001, Miller played a major role in the financial restructuring of the company, an effort that, among other things, arranged more favorable terms for ASC's heavy debt load.
Carey came to The Canyons in 1997. He had spent the previous 26 years at Sugarloaf/USA in Maine, where he also was involved in sales and marketing.
Carey said he has been charged with driving more revenues for ASC, and one of the ways in which he intends to do that is by reorganizing sales efforts in New England. He also plans to bring all of the company's resorts together to contract with an outside marketing and communications agency.
The change means that Steamboat will work with the same agency as Killington, Vt., and The Canyons. The goal is to achieve more continuity in those efforts.
"Within that agency there will be separate marketing teams for each resort, but they'll be working under one roof with clear goals and objectives," Carey said.
Carey said he intended to find ways to allow the marketing executives at the seven ski areas to work together more closely than they have in the past.
"I want to bring all of our resources together," Carey said. "We have a lot of talent, and I want to get the best and most out of them."
Steamboat Vice President of Marketing Andy Wirth said Carey had "a great understanding of western ski destinations" as well as knowledge about the northeast.
"He's going to be a great guy to work for," Wirth said.
Carey was recognized this year by the North American Snowsports Journalists Association. He received the Bob Gillen Memorial Award presented to an individual corporate member for setting high standards in snow sports communications.
Carey made his mark at The Canyons when he helped to engineer 18 days of live broadcasts by NBC's Today Show from the resort's hotel during the 2002 Olympics. The Canyons and other ski resorts in the Park City Area all enjoyed post-Olympic growth last winter in spite of often marginal snow conditions.
During the 1970s and '80s, Carey was among the first ski area marketers to use fax machines and computer database technology to improve the flow of information from resorts to media outlets.
He achieved notoriety when he hot-wired a photo transmitter to a telephone pole in order to transmit race photos to The Associated Press on deadline.
Carey started WSKI TV, a closed-circuit cable TV station. Later, he unveiled one of the early ski area Web sites during the big Boston Ski Show, touting it as a way to get updated snow conditions directly to the skiing public.
Skiers in Maine remember Carey for starting the Sugarloaf Reggae Fest in 1992. The spring ski party now attracts as many as 11,000 people.
Carey was not available for comment Wednesday. Preusse said he would be spending a significant portion of his time this fall and winter in New England to work on specific promotions.
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