The appointment follows the announcement last month that longtime Whistler Blackcomb chief operating officer, Dave Brownlie, was stepping down and to pursue other endeavors after a nearly 30-year career at the resort.
“Pete brings more than three decades of experience in the ski industry and has held a variety of senior leadership roles with Vail Resorts at Heavenly, Vail, Beaver Creek and Keystone in addition to his current role overseeing our three Tahoe resorts, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood,” said Pat Campbell, Vail Resorts mountain division president. “Over the course of Pete’s career at our company, he has had the opportunity to focus on both winter and summer operations at several of our resorts, a perspective that will continue to be invaluable to the team and guest experience at Whistler Blackcomb. His knowledge and strategic thinking and leadership in creating a complete resort experience, both on and off the mountain, will drive the resort’s continued success and world-class reputation.”
Sonntag has been the senior vice president of the company’s Lake Tahoe region since 2015, serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Heavenly Mountain Resort with oversight of Northstar California and Kirkwood Mountain Resort. He was appointed to lead Heavenly in 2010. Prior to that, he was director of the Vail Mountain Ski & Snowboard School since 2009, where he was responsible for all operations of the world's largest ski and snowboard school. From 2007-2009 he was director of the Ski & Snowboard School for Beaver Creek Resort and from 2005-2007, director of skier services at Keystone Resort. Sonntag began his ski career as an instructor for the Beaver Creek Ski & Snowboard School while working summers as a greenskeeper at the Beaver Creek Golf Club. He eventually worked his way up to supervisor and private lesson manager for the Beaver Creek Ski & Snowboard School in 2000 and was promoted to adult ski and snowboard school director in 2001. Sonntag spent from 2003-2005 as director of the Copper Mountain Resort Ski & Ride School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Albany (New York) and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Vermont. Sonntag currently serves on the board of directors of the Tahoe Fund and the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.
Sonntag, his wife Carol and their three children, will relocate to the Whistler community this summer and they already have a strong connection to British Columbia as Sonntag’s eldest daughter is entering her senior year of high school at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, British Columbia and his son will be an incoming freshman there this fall.
“Pete’s commitment to, and the relationships he has built across, the Lake Tahoe community have been paramount to his leadership and success in his current role. I’m confident he’ll bring that important perspective, passion and dedication for the community in which he serves to the leadership of the world’s most iconic resort,” said Campbell. “We’re thrilled to have someone with Pete’s caliber of expertise leading the talented team and exceptional guest service at Whistler Blackcomb. He will undoubtedly continue the world-class legacy that the resort is known for and will lead a high bar of re-imagination, innovation and commitment to the resort, employees and the local community for seasons to come.”
Brownlie will continue with Whistler Blackcomb through mid-summer to ensure a smooth transition for the resort and surrounding community. The search for Sonntag’s successor will begin immediately.
Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading global mountain resort operator. Vail Resorts’ subsidiaries operate 11 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Perisher in Australia; Stowe in Vermont; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. Vail Resorts owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is www.vailresorts.com and consumer website is www.snow.com.
About Whistler Blackcomb
Whistler Blackcomb, the official alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, is situated in the Resort Municipality of Whistler located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia 125 kilometres (78 miles) from Vancouver, British Columbia. North America’s premier four season mountain resort, Whistler and Blackcomb are two side-by-side mountains which combined offer over 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls, three glaciers, receives on average over 1,170 centimetres (461 inches) of snow annually, and one of the longest ski seasons in North America. In the summer, Whistler Blackcomb offers a variety of activities, including hiking and biking trails, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and sightseeing on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. www.whistlerblackcomb.com.