Dave Fields: The face behind Snowbird

By Tom Kelly Dec 2, 2019
Episode 1 - Dec. 2, 2019 | Growing up in Salt Lake City, Dave Fields loved to make turns in Utah’s fluffy powder. After an early career as a journalist, he saw how excited his wife was to work at a ski area. He quickly realized, ‘hey, that’s what I want to do!’ He signed on as an assistant in the Snowbird PR department and his pathway began.
Dave Fields: The face behind Snowbird

Episode 1 - Dec. 2, 2019

Growing up in Salt Lake City, Dave Fields loved to make turns in Utah's fluffy powder. After an early career as a journalist, he saw how excited his wife was to work at a ski area. He quickly realized, 'hey, that's what I want to do!' He signed on as an assistant in the Snowbird PR department and his pathway began. Now, nearly two decades later, he's the president and CEO responsible for running one of America's greatest ski resorts. 

Ski Utah's Last Chair will take you inside Dave's life on the mountain from overseeing a dedicated team of mountain ops professionals or giving out sunscreen to happy Fourth of July skiers in the tram line. You might be surprised by his choice of on-mountain lunch or favorite beer. And you just might learn a few tips on where Snowbird's boss likes to ski. 

Listen in on this week's Last Chair with Snowbird leader Dave Fields to learn more as we take you inside the story of the Greatest Snow on Earth.


Dave Fields Profile

Episode 1 - Transcript

00:00:13- It's that time of year we all anticipate snow starting to cover the Wasatch, dusting off your boards passes on hand. Just a matter of time before the lifts are spinning.

00:00:23- Hi, I'm Tom Kelly, your host for last chair from Ski, Utah, telling the story of the greatest snow on earth. Last year, we'll take you inside Utah's resorts, putting a face on those who make it possible for us to engage in the sport that we all love. It's about the mountain life we experience across the ridge lines of the Wasatch. To kick off the season, we've headed up a little cottonwood to Snowbird. What are the world's most magnificent alpine resorts? From Peruvian golds to the Ghad Valley and up to hidden peak, swooping off the tram down into Mineral Basin or dropping a line into the Sirk Snowbird is a unique cultural experience in our sport. Seems like just a few months ago we called it a season, one of the biggest snow years ever across Utah. Get this last year's snow Berg recorded one of its best years ever with 690 inches of snow. That's nearly 60 feet of fluffy white Utah powder. And joining us for the debut edition of Last Share is snowbird president and general manager Dave Fields, who just concluded his first year at the helm. Dave, welcome to Last Chair. Great to have you on.

00:01:24- Well, thank you, Tom. It's an honor to be with you today.

00:01:27- Well, you know, Sir Dave, your first year as the boss, you bring in nearly 60 feet of snow. It's going to be a tough act to follow this year, isn't it?

00:01:34- Yeah, that's a lot to live up to. Last year was an amazing season. It was so fun to have that be my first year as president general manager. And I would take a year like last year. Every year was awesome.

00:01:46- Well, people are gonna be come to you looking for you. The secret sauce and how you did that last year. But it was an amazing year in Utah last year with the skiing we had. So I got to ask you before we get into the details on a little bit on your background. Were you out there on July 4th? And if so, were you in costume?

Dave and Melissa Fields in front of Mount Superior

00:02:01- I was out there. I was not in costume. I'll tell you a funny story about the Fourth of July. That was the third time in my 19 years at Snowbird that we've been open on the Fourth of July, and you'd never really know what it's going to be like. And I went up early to see what conditions were like. And then I was coming down the tram and I saw cars and people everywhere. I could not believe how many people turned out. We were trying to figure out how are we going to get all these people up the mountain?

00:02:31- The canyon was backed up all the way outside of the mouth of the canyon. The line to buy tickets was winding all over the plaza deck and then the line to get on the tram went all the way to the top particuarly. So by 10:00 a.m., we stopped selling lift tickets because we just couldn't fit any more people on the tram. It only carries eight hundred people an hour. So you do the math and at some point you got to stop. And I really wasn't sure what to do. There were so many people. So I walked up and down the line at tickety with a bottle of sunscreen and talked to people. And the vibe was so amazing. I mean, I don't like lines and I couldn't believe how happy people were to be standing in a two hour tramline because it was so novel to be able to ski on the Fourth of July. And that's why we do it. We make more money selling T-shirts than we do lift tickets. But it's a celebration of the season if you make it to the Fourth of July. It has been an amazing season and people are so stoked to be able to come up. Most people just took one run, hike back to the tram, rode the tram down and called it a year. And it was a great way to finish an amazing season where it really was.

00:03:41- I love your approach on it, too. I was I was here that day. And my my buddy Tom Straight and I went up and skate and I said, pick me up in Park City at 6:00 is a why we don't. So earliness said kind of a feeling we're going to want to be there. And we got in the parking lot by 7:00 and we made first tram and we were up the mountain, I think. Tram up at 7:45 and we made our first run and we came back down and we were in the parking lot just having a beer and relaxing at 8:45, 9:00 and watching all the people. But it was such a celebration of the sport.

00:04:11- It really was. And one of the funniest things I saw and I took a picture of it actually as once everybody was done. But I got to the base of the little cloud lift about 8 o'clock, 7:30 that morning. We hadn't loaded one person on the tram yet who is a customer, just employees trying to get ready and the head of mountain operations and ski patrol. And I skied down to the base a little cloud and there was a guy standing down there with a beer bottle. And I thought, how in the heck did he get here and what is he doing? But it gave me a little sense of what we're in for, for the day. And it was just a really fun day. We had a great time.

00:04:48- Great. Well, thanks for your commitment to that. It just is a real celebration of the sport. Let's talk a little bit about you. And how did you end up in this position then? I have to I have to say, I saw a picture recently that I think you had taken of all of your name tag or Europe, your position, tags and name tags at Snowbird over the years. And you really served a lot of roles here.

00:05:07- Yeah, I actually got to know Utah, Tom, probably 23 or 24 years ago, I was the sports at a. For the Park Record newspaper in Park City, I met my wife. There she was, the arts and entertainment editor. But she moved to Park City Mountain Resort and was the communication manager there. And I got to see the ski industry a little bit from that side. I had grown up at Alta. My dad worked there for 30 years. So I knew a little bit about the ski business. But it was never my intention to get into the ski resort world. But I watched my wife in her role and I said, I've got to get into that. So I went down to the University of Utah. I worked in their communication department. But then a job came up here as the assistant director of public relations at Snowbird. And I thought, that's it, that's the job I want. So I pulled out all the stops. I called everybody I knew who knew anybody at Snowbird. And I said, tell them I'm the guy for the job. And I got in luckily started working for a guy named Fred Rollins, who was a veteran PR guy. He taught me a ton about the business and I just worked my way up through Snowbird. And I've been assistant director of public relations. The director of public relations. The Director of PR and advertising. Director of marketing. And then I spent seven or eight years as the vice president of resort operations. And that's where I really got to know the operational side of this business. And then two years ago, I became the general manager. And when Bob Bowen are retired after working here for 48 years, I became the president and general manager just over a year ago.

00:06:47- Great. Are you up on the mountain every day in your role?

00:06:51- Most days, I think it's a. What I like to do and I feel really lucky to be able to get to get paid to ski. But it's also an opportunity to see how things are going to see what's happening with the employees, with the equipment, with the grooming, and talk to the guests and see what they're how they're feeling. And the people are really what energized me about this job, whether it's the employees or the customers. That's where I get my energy. I didn't get into this to sit in meetings. It's how I spend a lot of my day. But really, the marrow of this industry is outside interacting with people.

00:07:33- How have you seen things change over the years in terms of the ski industry itself and how it impacts the guests you have here at Snowbird?

00:07:42- Well, the industry is in an incredibly dynamic phase right now. A lot of the resorts have changed hands. A lot of the ticket products, how people access your mountain have changed. But at the end of the day, whether it was Dick Bass and Ted Johnson who founded this place or our current owners, John and David coming, it's about families who are dedicated to Snowbird. That has been a consistent theme throughout our 48 years here at Snowbird. And you know, what I love is that I was raised in a family of skiers. I'm raising my family as a family of skiers. I work for people who were raised here as part of a family of skiers. And so when we're making decisions about this place, it's not necessarily through the mindset of what about quarterly earnings? It's about this is a generational thing. What are we doing that will protect this special place for our kids, our grandkids? And that's how John and David Cumming think about this place. It's how I think about this place. We're stewards of an incredible place here that's so much more than an asset or a holding. It is someplace we grew up and we want our kids and grandkids to be able to grow up here just like we did.

00:09:08- You know, I think you and I are probably, Billy, a little bit biased on this. But as you look across skiing and compared to other recreational activities and passions that people have are very few out there where it really is that full family experience, that generational experience just gets passed on and people do it together and they do it year after year. I really feel that's unique in skiing and snowboarding.

00:09:31- It's funny you should bring that up. I was at the climbing gym last night with my wife and my daughter and I was saying to them as we walked out. That is one of the only other situations like skiing where you see multiple generations of families participating together. But whenever I'm skiing with my dad, who's 78, and my wife and my kids, I just marvel at the fact that we can all be out there skiing and enjoying the same run and having so much fun together as a family. And Dick Bass always used to talk about that. The ski industry is singular in that way. It regardless of ability. Or age. You can go out and you can ski together and have a great time and enjoy this sport. And I think that's what creates such passionate followers and participants in the industry, is it's a way for you to spend quality time with your family when you're not up here at Snowbird or on the on the skis.

00:10:33- Let's talk a little bit about some of the other passions that you haven't actually had breakfast this morning with one of your dirt biking buddies. So I know that getting on the bike and out in the desert is really important to you.

00:10:44- Well, when I was growing up, my parents said, no way, no how to riding motorcycles. And about 10 years ago, a friend of mine and a friend of yours, Nathan Rafferty, introduced me to dirt biking. And it took. And so in addition to mountain biking and road biking and rock climbing and hiking and all these other things, I've really gotten into riding dirt bikes in out in the desert or on the trails in the mountains. And it's a great way to see a lot of terrain. You can cover a lot of ground. It's very physical, but there's a high adrenaline factor to it, too. So it's been Superfund. Learn about the sport and try to progress and see different parts of the country on the back of the motorcycle. It's pretty awesome.

00:11:33- Are there are there crossovers for you to skiing in terms of finding just that right line there?

00:11:39- Yes. There are a lot of crossovers about how you stand on the pegs and how you corner and you weight the bike like you would the outside edge of your ski. There are a lot of parallels, but it's much harder, much more physical than skiing. It's just incredibly exhausting. I've done a few races and the fatigue you have in a motorcycle race is like nothing I've ever experienced. And I've done Park City point to point and low didja and a lot of those bike events. And still I feel like you get more maxed out riding a dirt bike and you do any of those other things. I never would have guessed that.

00:12:18- How much are you doing? Rock climbing.

00:12:22- We climb indoor momentum a lot. My wife and daughter are getting more into outdoor rock climbing. And I've been with them a few times. But it's a really good way to get a great workout. It's super fun to learn about lead climbing and you can always push yourself. And what I like about the climbing gym is there are old and young. There's skinny, there's fat. There's every age. And it's totally non-judgmental. And you just go in. And if I climb 5, 10, nobody cares. They may be climbing 5:13. They don't care what I'm climbing. I'm challenging myself and having fun. So it's been a really fun thing. Our whole family. I have a son, Charlie, who's 17, and my daughter married at 14. She really got us into it because she took part in a summer program and then grew into it. And we were there all the time. We said, well, let's go for this. And so we cancel all of our other memberships. And we went all in on the indoor climbing so I can leave here. We can go climb after work and then go have some dinner. And it's just a great way to get some exercise and still have some adrenaline to it. When you're 30, 40 feet off the ground, it still feels high.

00:13:40- There's some adrenaline there. There's some adrenaline. Do you ever get up on the rock down and get buttress here in a little cottonwood?

00:13:45- Yeah, I climbed in the gate buttress this summer. It was great.

00:13:49- Good. Let's go back to Snowbird and talk a little bit about that and what the snowbird brand represents to me. And I remember growing up in Wisconsin and looking at the brochures and making that first trip out here, just a magnificent alpine environment. What is Snowbird represent to the guests who come here?

00:14:06- Well, it's interesting. There are obviously the hardcore skiers who whether they live at the mouth of the canyon, maybe they moved to Utah to ski little Cottonwood Canyon. Maybe they are just an aspiring big mountain skier. What I think makes Snowbird so special is that there's amazing fall line terrain. You can step off the terrain. The tram and ski following terrain and 360 degrees. It's all right there for you. So if you enjoy big mountain skiing, there are few places in the world that serve it up as well as Snowbird does. But snowboard is a lot of things to a lot of different people. We have people who come up for Octoberfest and that's the only time a year that they come. We have people who come up for a meeting and that's the only time of year that they come. And then we have kids who learned to ski. Here we have a huge mountain school program and a race program here where kids learn to ski here. And we always say if you learn to ski, it's snowbird. You can ski anywhere in. The world, so I think the place is a very it's striking visually. For some, it's intimidating to ski. But once they understand how to navigate the mountain, it's so exhilarating and rewarding. And you combine the terrain with the snow and there's just very few places like it in the world.

00:15:34- To someone just looking at the mountain, you see this big towering alpine peaks. You wonder, well, is there going to be enough terrain for the kids who are just getting started? But actually, you have amazing beginner and intermediate terrain here, too.

00:15:47- There are a lot of places that aren't immediately obvious to people, whether it's baby thunder or just some of the groomed runs off, get to or chips run or getting back into Mineral Basin. So we have a great mountain school here who teaches people how to ski this kind of terrain.

00:16:06- But we also have a host program with 95 mountain hosts who spend their time showing people around this place because we feel like if you get a good introduction to Snowbird and you know where to go based on your ability that you'll have a great time and you'll be back and you'll be a convert. So we think it's really important that if people haven't skied here before, that they interact with one of us and we'll show you where to go and how to enjoy this place, because there's a lot of big terrain right off the top of the tram.

00:16:40- You know, with the mountain of this scope and size, management of the mountain is a challenge, I know for you, particularly managing the snow, avalanche mitigation and so forth. Can you give us a sense of the challenge at managing this mountain and how you guys have used your years of experience to make this mountain safe and enjoyable for the guests?

00:17:00- Well, fortunately for us, we have people who have been here for 30, 40 years. We have an annual recognition dinner coming up next week where we'll recognize people who been here 10, 20, 30, 40 years. And I was just looking at the list and we have eight people we're going to recognize this year who've been here 40 years. And every year.

00:17:22- And the reason that is important is this is a complicated place, whether it's the avalanche control or it's working with you, dad, on the canyon, whether it's firing howitzers to do avalanche control work on the mountain or in the canyon. You need people who have experience and know what they're doing. And frankly, that's how I sleep at night, because if I had to know everything about this complicated place, I would never sleep and you could never do it. But what gives me confidence is the amazing people we have here who are incredibly knowledgeable about what it is they do, but they're equally dedicated. And a year like last year is fun and it's amazing and it's what we live for. But it also means that there's a lot of people who I call at four o'clock in the morning and say, OK, the roads can close at 5:30. We've got to get going. And hundreds of people get out of bed, come up here, start plowing, start shoveling, start running routes, start preparing food. And it's hard. A lot of people work really hard. I'll give you one example. Our director of public safety is a guy named Jay Jensen. He's been here 40 years and he will come up here at 10:00 at night. If it's snowing hard and he'll jump in a snowplow and he'll start plowing and he will work all night with Dan Lucas and our other plow drivers and then he'll work all the next day. And I've seen him do this back to back to back. And these people are plowing nonstop because it can snow two or three inches an hour when it's really get going. And they will work all night long. So the plot, the parking lots are ready the next morning because he can't plow once it's full of cars. And I'm just staggered by that level of dedication from our team here. And it's just an honor to work with people like that. I mean, there's nothing I can do to thank them enough for what they do to provide this experience for our customers. And I'm just eternally indebted to them.

00:19:40- You know, same thing to those who have to go up on that mountain in the darkness in the early morning hours to make sure that that mountain is ready. That's that's a tough job, isn't it?

00:19:51- Well, it is. What makes this mountain so special is it's big and it's steep and it has a lot of nooks and crannies. There are still places on this mountain I've never been. But it's also complicated. It takes a lot of really experience people to do the avalanche control work on this mountain. And. It takes time. Here's the other thing. You know, we sequence our opening, we open Ghad Valley and then we open Proving Gulch and we open Mineral Basin. And these people are working really hard to make sure that the mountain is ready for our customers. And what we do is a lot of them say to themselves, OK, what I put my family on this slope and if the answer's no, we're not going to open it or we'll take another pass and we'll run it again and we'll put more hand charges or avalanche arounds or whatever it needs. But that's the test, because we all have families. We're all raising our families here. All of our kids are up here skiing. And so when it's ready, they'll put they'll give us the green light. And if it's not, we back them up and we said, we'll take another pass make when you're comfortable. We're comfortable. And it's a big mountain, has a lot of snow on it. And that's what makes it great.

00:21:12- You know, another topic that I know is very important to you. You are up here in a U.S. Forest Service area. It's great wilderness and sustainability and how you manage that, bringing a lot of people up the canyon here and making sure that they have a good experience, but that what they leave behind is a sustainable scenario so they can come back again.

00:21:34- That's exactly right. In the last year, we've been operating as a powder resort or part of the coming and bass family still. But the coming family has powder, which operates 10 resorts around the country. And the term that they use that we've adopted, I really like it. It's called Play Forever. And it's the approach of that is the long game. It's what can we do to minimize our footprint on the planet as we operate. And honestly, we're in a power consumptive business. But everything we can do to minimize our impact, we do. And it's about preserving this place for future generations. And the example I'll give you is the project we're working on right now. We're building a power plant onsite that replaces one we've had in the Cliff Lodge for over 30 years. It's called a co-generation plant and it's how we've powered the Cliff Lodge since it expanded in 1986 and 87 in a year. When this plant comes online, it'll be powered by natural gas and it will create all the power that we consume here at the resort on almost every day of operation other than when we're making snow that will take our emissions down by 80 to 90 percent from that facility. We'll be using natural gas to power the plant. And then through the reason they call it co-generation is we also heat water and steam that then is piped through the Cliff Lodge and that's how we heat the cliff lodge. So it's a very efficient system, but it's very expensive. It takes a really long lens when you're looking at capital investment to invest in that, because it's not immediate payback, but it's in a way it's a way we can minimize our emissions and do our part in making sure that we're not contributing more to climate change than we have to.

00:23:39- And your owners are sincerely committed to this.

00:23:43- Well, they're writing the check and it's a big one. Coming family has had a long term dedication to sustainability, building awareness around climate change and doing what we can at every turn to reduce our impact. And one of the things that we do and we're talking about long term planning and capital investment is we look at what is the environmental impact on every decision we make. And I love it. I'm learning a lot more about climate change. I've been going to lectures and it's really kind of staggering when you look at the next 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 years. And so it's something that really resonates with me as leader of this company and with our employees. They want to know we're doing everything we can. So whether it's getting cars off the road, trying to get more of our employees and guests in vans and buses and shuttles, it's the right thing to do to address the transportation problems we have in this canyon. But it's also good for the environment. The worst thing we can do, and I'm as guilty of this as anybody is driving up alone in our vehicle. So what we're trying to do is get more people to carpool, to ride the bus, to ride shuttles, to ride vans and worst. Heartening to see some progress in that area.

00:25:14- How are you working with Utah Transit Authority UTSA to try to improve the what is already a pretty good bus structure up here, but probably could be enhanced some?

00:25:26- Well, I'm thrilled at what we're seeing for short term solutions in Little Cottonwood Canyon last year was about as bad as it gets in terms of transportation in the canyon. And we have seen amazing response from Udeid and UTSA and other partners in terms of coming up with short term solutions that we can implement right now. So the most exciting thing is UTSA is modifying the schedule and for ski bus service and a little Codman Canyon and we'll have a dramatic increase in the number of buses coming up and down the canyon every day. So midday weekends, holidays, there will be more buses. That's a big step in the right direction. We're also increasing the communication through you there, implementing a Cottonwood Canyon communication coordinator. So we streamline the information so people understand real time what's going on with road closures when we think to the best of our ability, it's an estimate. But when we think the road will open and getting more resources to Udeid so we can get the canyon open faster and we're really working hard on the communication to make sure people have proper equipment like snow tires or chains in the canyon. So the agencies are all working together better than they ever have. And I think people will really see an impact this year.

00:26:55- Great. Well, that's really good to hear. I want to take a step back in time. In fact, let's go back about 100 years or so. This was a big mining area going back into the 19th century. Can you talk about the little bit, a little bit about the root history of the region here?

00:27:12- Well, you're right. In the eighteen hundreds, this was all about mining in Little Cottonwood, Kan. In the town of Alta. It was mining claims that Ted Johnson started buying up in the 60s when he worked it out. He had this idea that there could be a second resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon. So he started buying up mining claims. The mining history is inextricably linked to what we do here. We store all of our water in an abandoned drain tunnel. We have 30 million gallons of water in a tunnel that we then treat and then put out out on the mountain for snowmaking or for culinary. It's a big part of our history is the mining here and you see the symbols of that all around the mountain in the summertime.

00:28:04- That water storage is really innovative. It's a story that I don't think many people know, but a great repurposing of those mine tunnels and really helping again to be sustainable and preserve this asset.

00:28:17- Yeah. They were so creative when they came up with that idea to block up what was a natural drain tunnel that had it wasn't natural in that it was built to drain the hundreds of miles of mine tunnels in this canyon. But it was there in place when skiing replace mining as the main industry in this canyon. And so by plugging up both ends, it gave us a below ground storage system for the water here. And it continues to work incredibly well. It regenerates and it's out of sight. We don't have above ground water tanks. And I will just say that our forefathers were very creative. They had to be ingenious to make it work up here in this canyon. That was a great example of it.

Dave and Melissa Fields

00:29:10- Let's fast forward now to a little bit more modern times. But the vision of Ted Johnson and the support of Dick Bass, really two amazing visionaries going back 50 years or more to really come up with this idea from scratch and then to implement it.

00:29:28- Well, they had the vision and the drive. They worked so hard to make it a reality. Hoping opening a ski resort is a big undertaking. Opening snowbird is even bigger given the terrain. What they accomplished in two seasons of construction, building the tram and multiple lifts in the snowbird center, the largest snowboard. I just cannot believe how much they got done in a very short period of time. And a lot of us get credit for how cool this place is. But Ted Johnson had the vision for what this could be, and almost everything that we enjoy about this place was his vision. Then he brought in Dick Bass and Dick Bass. Fell hook, line and sinker for this place and provided the money and the resources. The story goes that Ted told Dick it would cost $3 million to get this place open. And Dick had originally just signed on to try to find investors. He was an original investor with his brother in Vail, so they were tied up. And after taking Warren Miller movie around, showing the beautiful potential of Snowbird. Dick was hooked and he said, Okay, I'm in. I can try to raise $3 million. Well, by December of 1971, that number when we got open was $13 million.

00:30:55- And their backs were against the wall for many years trying to make this viable. But Dick stuck with stuck with it and they made a go of it. And it's I'm just so thankful that they stuck with it because there were many days that they came close to losing the resort.

00:31:17- But. As Dick.

00:31:21- Started dealing with the impacts of pulmonary fibrosis. He was able to sell majority interest of the resort to Ian coming. Then passed it on to his sons, David and John coming. And it feels so good to work for a family that shares your commitment to this place. And as we've started working with powder over the last year, they continue this idea that each of the resource should be the best version of themselves that they can be. They're not trying to make Snowbird be something that it's not. And as a long term snowbird person, that's what you want to hear. And whether it's the one star campaign or just embracing how we message this place and talk about this place, we're not trying to be something we're not. We can be a lot of things to a lot of people, but we embrace who we are and we're unapologetic for the kind of place that it is. But yet we also realize that in a highly competitive ski business, guest service has to be at the top of that list. You can have a great mountain covered with five or six or seven hundred inches of snow, but if you don't treat people well, they're not going to come back. You're not that good. And so that's what we're really focusing on, is investing in the food and beverage, investing in the infrastructure, doing things that make snowbird even better than it already is. It's really nice to have the support of these two families, the Bass family and the coming family.

00:32:57- I was speaking with John and David Cumming recently and they were talking about this thing. We're talking about the motivation that their family had because this is where they grew up as kids. They grew up skiing here and they wanted to make sure that this resort was preserved as they knew it as kids.

00:33:13- That's right. And again, it just goes to the family and the connection people have to a place like this. If they grew up this skiing here, if they grew up skiing with their family, you know, my memories of skiing at Alta with my dad are so ingrained in me. And you know, that that was a really special time for me. I have all my season passes from my childhood sitting in the office. And you don't lose that. It kind of defines who you are. So if you end up working in this business and that was your upbringing, it feels really lucky because when you drive up to Canyon, you don't feel like you're going to work. You feel like, hey, I get to drive up here and I get to be in this place and I get to work with people, whether it's there are employees or customers who are stoked to be here. That's pretty special.

00:34:11- Yeah. It really is. What what is the future? What's the next great chapter for Snowbird?

00:34:18- I think it's continuing to make long term htis decisions about this place that preserve the amazing resort, continue to invest in the guest experience, making sure we're providing the guest the best experience we can and also doing things to reduce our impact on the environment.

00:34:45- This is a long term strategy. We're not making short term decisions. We're thinking about what is going to continue to attract great employees, dedicated customers, and make this company viable for generations to come. So everything we're doing is through that lens. Cool.

00:35:07- Let's wrap it up with some fun stuff. We'll do a little lightning round here and learn learn a little bit more about you. First of all, how many days skiing or riding last year?

00:35:15- Most of the days we were open. I tried to get out on the mountain. I stopped counting a long time ago. But most of the day's favorite run at Snowbird, Mt. Baldy is my favorite run. If I don't ski at least once with my wife when she's up here skiing, she's unhappy with me than you.

00:35:33- That is definitely you're your favorite rider. Silver Fox favorite favorite run outside of Snowbird Greenly Hill at Alta was my favorite run.

00:35:43- How often do you get over there? Not enough, but I still go over and ski with my family a couple times a year. It's a special place. Biggest powder day. Well, it's funny. I've had amazing powder days here, but the sleeper secret is on a big powder day. Go take a few laps on Wilbur because you can be skiing instead of waiting in the tramline. And then the other secret is go over to baby thunder and no one ever thinks to go over there.

00:36:15- And last year, my wife and I ski the deepest poutre, the year in baby thunder. And no one was there. How many inches? You could barely move it. It was almost not steep enough, but it was incredible.

00:36:30- My biggest power today ever was right here at Snowbird. And it was in May. It was in mid-May, probably 20, 25 years ago, one of those 80 inch snowfalls. And we were skiing over in the Ghad side. And I was with a young girl who was a little 8 or 9 year old who was incredible skier. And the snow was much deeper than she was. And I got ahead of her and she lost to ski. And that was a little bit of a challenge in trying to say, well, I ain't coming up there to help you. You're going to have to figure it out. But we had a blast that day.

00:37:02- That's right. I took my daughter into baby thunder two years ago. I think she weighed about 65 pounds and it was one of those big powder days and she couldn't move. So I had to ski ahead of her cutting a trail and she could then progressed down the hill because she couldn't move. It was so deep.

00:37:20- Favorite restaurant on the mountain or at Snowbird?

00:37:24- Well, I can't believe I'm saying this, but my favorite dish was serving right now is vegan meatloaf in our new seventy-one restaurant on the bottom floor of the Cliff Lodge. I'm not a vegan. I'm not a vegetarian, but they are just hitting it out of the park about restaurant. And there's so many dishes there.

00:37:43- I'm loving vegan meatloaf. I know. Is that the right name for it?

00:37:49- I it's crazy, but I love it. It's really good. Favorite craft beer. Well, in my world, the cheaper the beer, the better. So it's a tie between PBR and Coors Light.

00:38:02- Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with that. And you can get that on the mountain.

00:38:06- You know, you can very important take a lot of crap from my friends for that.

00:38:10- But what I like. What's on your playlist? So I'm a Michael Franti guy, Johnny Cash. But I'm listening to a podcast about Dolly Parton right now. And it's just fascinating.

00:38:24- You listen to playlist when you ski.

00:38:26- No, I don't listen to music when I ski. I listen to my radio and my phone.

00:38:31- We got to change that. OK. Last one groomers powder glades, her models.

00:38:39- Well, obviously you can't be run on baldy on a big powder day. But I will say a close second is an early morning light and mineral base and freshly groomed and you've got your carving skis on. That is right there with a powder day. It's a pretty magical experience.

00:38:59- Do you know anyone who would pick moguls as their favorite day?

00:39:03- I get e-mails every year from people who are upset because we have groom down the moguls over on get to. And they live for moguls. Not my thing, but it's theirs. So they they do exist.

00:39:19- Yeah, I'll respect that. But you didn't get that note for me. That's right. Dave Fields, thanks for joining us here on last year from Ski, Utah. Appreciate learning a little bit more and look forward to seeing you up in the mountain this winter.

00:39:30- Thank you, Tom. It was such a pleasure. Well, this winter, we'll be back here at Snowbird, catching the first tram and dropping a line through the pollen. One of the greatest ski areas you're ever going to see in just making some turns to the greatest show on earth. Hilborn, thanks for joining us here on Ski Utah's last chair on Tom Kelly, your host for a season of adventure here in Utah.