We’re excited to announce and welcome our new Vice President & General Manager, Charles Blier back at Mountain Creek Resort. I got the chance to chat with Charles about his past and what’s to come in the future for him as he rejoins the team here at Mountain Creek and is ready to kick off summer 2019 with a fantastic team by his side.
Check it out here:
Wacky Jackie: Charles, welcome back to Mountain Creek! First order of business. Do you ski or snowboard?
Charles Blier: I have been skiing for 49 years and did try snowboarding 20 years ago to get a sense for what the feeling was all about. My wife and both sons snowboard, and both my sons learned first at Mountain Creek. My 21-year-old Charles is an adaptive snowboarder. He actually knows Nicky, the young paraplegic man around whom the Adaptive program was built at Mountain Creek. In some funny way, because my entire family snowboards, I call myself the ugly little duckling of the family!!! LOL
WJ: Awesome - at least you gave snowboarding a try! Can you tell us a little bit about how or where you learned?
CB: My first time was when I was 10 (oops, just gave away my age!!!) in the Eastern Township up in Quebec. I never looked back. I won a season end race the winter I started skiing. I also ski guided in Europe for two winters so that sealed the deal. I am a skier for life and I love mountain living!!!
WJ: Wow Europe must have been quite the experience! You’ve been back at Mountain Creek for a few weeks now, how is the transition going?
CB: Beautifully well. What Joe Hession and the rest of his team have accomplished in just 18 months is truly world-class. This is an amazing team doing amazing things and caring for each other. It’s impressive!!!
WJ: Agreed - an awesome team to be apart of. We know this isn’t your first time working with Mountain Creek but, can you tell us about your past at Mountain Creek and what brings you back to New Jersey?
CB: I managed Mountain Creek from 1999 to 2006 under Intrawest. A lot of great things happened back then but, in some way,, things were a lot simpler back then: ski & snowboard, waterpark and the start of mountain biking. Now there are a lot of moving parts which makes it exciting. In March 2019, I left a senior North American sales position with Prinoth, the world leader in snowcat manufacturing where I underestimated the impact of traveling on the work-life balance. It was an amazing company with amazing people yet the draw of coming to work with Joe, Mike and Kelly and the rest of the team Joe has assembled was just too good to pass up. Lots of new people and businesses to learn about. That too excited me, a lot!!!
WJ: It's awesome to look back and see how far Mountain Creek has come. We're thrilled to have you back and to show you everything about the new Mountain Creek! What other resorts have you worked at?
CB: I started at Tremblant north of Montreal in 1988 and was there till 1997 as Director of Mountain Operations. I then managed a small ski and golf resort north of Ottawa, Canada’s national capital, Mont Ste Marie as the General Manager then. Following that, Intrawest asked me to move to New Jersey in 1999 to manage Mountain Creek which I did with Marc Tremblay for two years and then on my own till 2006. The next two years I consulted all over the world with a significant assignment in the old Russian republic of Kazakhstan where a group of consultants worked on modernizing a resort called Medeu near Almaty in preparation for the 2011 Asian games. After that, I landed the Executive VP and General Manager at Camelback and Camelbeach where I led the resort’s growth from 2008 to 2017. Another amazing assignment!!!
WJ: So you've been all over the world and have seen a lot of different resorts. Do you have a favorite destination resort? (Can be for work or pleasure.)
CB: Whistler will always be the Mecca for me in North America and Val D’Isère-Tignes in the French Alps takes the cup in my eyes on the world stage. I worked there for two full winters from 1984 to 1986 as a ski guide so I have to say, I have a personal bias.
WJ: Two amazing places that are both unique in their own ways. Let's hop back to NJ. What’s changed here since the last time you were at Mountain Creek?
CB: So many more moving parts and a strong entrepreneurial spirit. From mountain biking to weddings to banquets to Spartan races, Oktoberfest, ski, snowboard and terrain parks, golf, lodging (The Appalachian opened the year I left), water park. Oh and the Biergarten! You gotta love that!!! Need I say more??? And the quality of the team is truly outstanding.
WJ: What is your favorite part about being back at Mountain Creek so far?
CB: Joining forces again with the amazing team Joe has assembled. And it is energizing to see the momentum the resort has.
WJ: Do you have any short term and long-term goals for Mountain Creek?
CB: For now, my focus is on re-learning everything there is to re-learn about the team, the operations and the business context in general. When I get all that under my hat, in alignment with the vision Joe Hession has for the resort, I will set my eyes on how I can support the resort’s growth and support the team in making the future happen. Regardless of what the specifics of all that are, it’s going to be a great and fun ride!!!
WJ: I think I speak for majority of our team when I say we're just so excited for the future and with you onboard we have no doubt that our future is bright. Is there anything that specifically excites you about this upcoming summer?
CB: The weather forecast!!! Hot and dry!!! The magic ingredient for a water park. Also, just seeing all the resort divisions run on all eight cylinders. It’s an exciting time to be back here!!!
WJ: How do you feel about the direction Mountain Creek is currently going?
CB: I am so impressed with the quality of the people. It shows how when you care for a team, the team will give it back to you, 1000 times over. And I can see this is what is happening!!!
WJ: Alright, now let's have some fun. One thing most people don’t know about you?
CB: Happily married for 20 years to the love of my life, Isabelle, and my life revolves around my family and my work. Oh, I also love golf. Just can’t find the bloody time to get better at it!!! I guess it’s a lifelong pursuit!!
WJ: You and me both. Golf is a tough one. How about a favorite food?
CB: Mexican!!! And Sushi. Both great with good beer and sake!!!
WJ: Two great picks. I have to agree with you on that one. Well Charles, thank you for taking the time to chat and let's get this show on the road. We're stoked to have you back in New Jersey and look forward to many successful years with you as our leader.