By Deb Everts
HoliMont Ski Resort has found its next leader following last winter’s retirement of Dave Riley, who had served in the position for 18 years.
The board of directors at the resort officially named Ed Youmans as HoliMont’s new general manager, a position he began in mid-June.
With over 34 years experience in the ski industry, Youmans said he’s been in the business since 1984 when he was a 20-year-old lift attendant working at Mountain Creek, a ski area in northwestern New Jersey. He rose through the ranks and became chief operating officer at the same resort, formerly called the Vernon Valley/Great Gorge ski area. Since then, he has never held a full-time position in any other industry.
“Ski area employment has been really good for me because it changes all the time and there are always adventures and other challenges,” he said. “I also like people. In this business, I get to meet and talk to lots of them all the time.”
Youmans, now 54, has become a seasoned manager and has held key positions at several ski resorts all over the country. For 15 years, he was employed as the general manager at Diamond Peak on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. He did a two-year stint as the mountain maintenance manager at Timberline Lodge up on Mt. Hood in Oregon, where they run skiing 11 months out of the year. Most recently, he was vice president of mountain operations at Purgatory Resort in Durango, Colo.
Youmans said when the position for general manager at HoliMont was posted, he started doing research. The more he looked into HoliMont, the more he became interested in it.
When asked why he made the decision to take the position, Youmans said HoliMont is a great opportunity because it’s a very unique place — he said there’s really nothing like what’s going on at HoliMont and the organization has been remarkably successful.
“There are a lot of long-term staff at HoliMont and that says a lot about an organization,” he said. “The private club models for skiing haven’t worked very well for most organizations around the country and HoliMont has pulled it off, so that says a lot about what they’ve done, so far, and the kind of organization they run.”
With a strong background in ski operations, both in the office and on the slopes, Youmans hopes to share his knowledge and mentor the staff at HoliMont. He believes the staff is the resort’s most important resource and they need to know they are an important part of the club’s success.
“HoliMont is an excellent opportunity for me,” he said. “It’s a place where there are huge opportunities for me to do a lot of things that can make a big difference in a smaller organization … and I like that.”
Youmans said other goals are to streamline the processes, evaluate their offerings and provide products and services with the best value possible for members and guests. He said the HoliMont board has much to offer and he looks forward to working with them and channeling their energy into the organization.
Among the improvements he envisions is the relationship HoliMont has with the local communities.
“We need to rebuild and re-establish that,” he said. “Long-term success has everything to do with our local communities.”
Youmans, his wife, Kim, and 8-year-old son, Edward, currently live in Ellicottville on HoliMont property. Originally from Fredon, N.J., he caught the “snowsports bug at age 9” which, he said, is kind of funny because he’s the only one in his family that does any skiing, snowboarding or other winter sports. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham campus in New Jersey.
A thrill seeker, of sorts, Youmans enjoys taking part in extreme sports and other similar activities. He was owner and operator of Daydreams Paragliding for over eight years and offered foot-launched scenic tandem paragliding flights over the north shore of Lake Tahoe. He has since sold the business, but said he hopes to find a place to fly in Western New York.