The president and chief executive officer of Winter Sports, Inc., which owns Whitefish Mountain Resort, formerly known as Big Mountain, announced his retirement today.
“It’s something I’ve had under consideration for several months,” Jones, 65, said. “I’m at an age where these things happen, and people decide to go off and do something else with their lives.”
In June, Winter Sports, Inc., announced it would change the resort’s name from Big Mountain to Whitefish Mountain Resort in a re-branding effort aimed at differentiating it from Big Sky ski resort ¬– a decision that rankled some locals. In addition to the name change, massive road and chairlift construction is underway this summer at the resort. Amid all the changes, Jones said it was impossible to continue doing the job while considering retirement.
“There was no middle ground,” Jones added. “I was either fully engaged or had to be out of it to do some of the other things I wanted to do.”
What are some of those other things?
“I want to go play,” Jones said.
Jones’ retirement announcement, while unexpected, is unrelated to the name change, spokesman Brian Schott said.
“It was a surprise to the staff, but Fred’s at the retirement age,” Schott said. “He’s such a cool president, he’s going to be really missed.”
Jones will be retained as a consultant to assist with transitions, according to a news release.
“Fred has worked incredibly hard at the role he assumed in a time when the mountain was undergoing significant change,” said Bill Foley, chairman of the board, in a statement. “Fred has been instrumental in a variety of areas that are positioning the resort for the future.”
Replacing Jones as the president of Winter Sports, Inc. will be Daniel Graves, currently the vice president of finance, who joined the company last November. Graves previously worked in management at ski resorts including Keystone and Breckenridge in Colorado, Killington in Vermont and Northstar-at-Tahoe in California.