SKI, INC.—Chasing The Dream All Career Long.

For anyone who came up through skiing in the 1960s and 1970s, a new book chronicling the career of Chris Diamond, a ski resort management legend, SKI INC. provides the quintessential insider’s look at what chasing the dream of working in the ski business was really like.

From being an assistant to the president of Killington in 1972, Chris Diamond went on to Mount Snow, which Killington had acquired in 1977, as VP and GM, then president. From 1994 to 1996 he served as the vice president for business development and president of the Vermont resorts for S-K-I Ltd., Killington and Mount Snow’s corporate parent.

He became president of Steamboat under Les Otten’s American Skiing Company (ASC) in 1999, where he continued under owner Intrawest until retiring in June 2015.

Having worked for the first three largest ski conglomerates — S-K-I Ltd, ASC, and Intrawest — it occurred to Diamond that he had had an unusual experience, which caused him to write SKI INC. My journey through four decades in the ski-resort business, from the founding entrepreneurs to mega companies.

His comments as to the challenges, mistakes, and bright spots provide a fascinating backstory for those of us who experienced skiing’s amazing history — like Mount Snow’s “clickety clack” chairlifts dripping grease — while his look at some of skiing’s key personalities, resorts, and organizations is as enlightening as it is entertaining.

This is the first book of its kind and is notable for Diamond’s insights as to what has and has not worked as well as his prognostications for the future.

Mt Snow 1950s scene with pool and sundeck above, a clever innovation for a ski resort.

Regarding his Vermont years, Diamond writes: “Looking back at these early experiences at Killington and Mount Snow, there is one clear regret I have relative to their status today as regional resorts versus ‘what might have been.’ While the outside perception of the ski business insists that the core financial driver is real estate, nothing could be further from the truth. Well-run resorts make money on operations. That said, real estate is very important for destination ski resorts in that it can support or enable the strategic vision.”

Explaining that skier demands have changed since the 1970s, Diamond bemoans the lack of modern base villages at Mount Snow and Killington, opining the resorts are at a competitive disadvantage that has caused their skier visits to be off former records. “No other major area in the country has seen that happen,” he said in an interview, expressing regret that “windows of opportunity to reset the base areas” at the resorts were missed.

Chris Diamond has some clear opinions about where the ski business is going.

While Diamond praises ASC founder Les Otten for his many contributions to skiing, he laments the spending spree that cost Otten his company and made Diamond’s job at Steamboat a nightmare of sorts. He explains Steamboat’s revival under new owner Intrawest, providing a look at what was then North America’s largest ski conglomerate until the bottom fell out of real estate.

Having known the players at Vail Resorts, Diamond also offers an analysis of their success, including ramifications of the Epic Pass and his view “it’s just a matter of time” before Vail enters the Northeastern market.

SKI INC. is great reading for anyone interested in how the ski industry has gotten to where it is today and its future; available through and at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *