Posted on: August 11, 2020
Air Date: 8/11/2020
Karl was promoted to the position of Sugarloaf’s general manager in April of 2015. Strand has held a leading role in managing key segments of Sugarloaf’s operations, as well as those of its sister resort, Sunday River. He began his career at the resorts in 2004, when he was hired as Vice President of Lodging and Property Management for both resorts. Most recently he was the Vice President of Mountain Operations at Sunday River.
Karl has been a Sugarloafer since 1987 and first realized his love for skiing during his early years when visiting Sugarloaf and areas throughout Maine and Vermont. After graduating from Bryant University, he entered the lodging industry and soon discovered his passion for food and beverage operations, which led him to work in fine dining venues in nearly every region of the United States, and toward his completion of studies at the Culinary Institute of America. That experience and education introduced him to opportunities for various executive positions in the restaurant and resort industry. In 2004, his desire to be in the mountains of Maine led him to Sugarloaf and Sunday River where he has become seasoned in nearly all aspects of resort operations. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Carrabassett Valley Academy and is the President of Ski Maine.
In the episode:
2:46 – Karl describes his career path, stemming from his parents’ love of visiting restaurants.
6:01 – Karl talks about the benefits of having a well-rounded background while in a leadership position.
7:30 – Karl gives an analogy of how the Sugarloaf brand is like running a small town.
10:32 – Karl talks about his transition from studying hospitality management to becoming the general manager at Sugarloaf.
11:41 – Karl describes how Sugarloaf is engaging skiers of all ages and what platforms they use.
13:37 – Nancy and Karl reminisce about Paul Shipper, who never missed a day of skiing for more than 20 years.
16:09 – Karl describes how the Sugarloaf logo is used and how it is a powerful symbol for the brand.
18:14 – Karl shares a story of when Sugarloaf changed its name to Sugarloaf USA.
21:56 – Karl explains how Sugarloaf’s values are instilled in employees during orientation and are reinforced through the way the business is operated.
24:18 – Karl talks about how COVID-19 has impacted Sugarloaf.
27:58 – Karl describes how surveys are used to ensure employees and stakeholders are involved in decision making.
30:59 – Looking ahead, Karl talks about Sugarloaf’s 2030 plan.
35:58 – Karl shares some of his favorite resources that have helped him in his career.
“It’s really just running a little town, which is exciting. It creates such a sense of community, which I think is what Sugarloafers are all about. They’re so passionate about being a Sugarloafer and not just about the mountain, but the whole community there.”– Karl Strand, general manager at Sugarloaf
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