BARTLETT — John Lowell, 67, has announced that effective Nov. 1, he is retiring from his post as vice president/general manager at Attitash Mountain Resort.
Lowell sent out an email Oct. 1 to ski industry friends, telling of his pending plans.
In a followup interview Tuesday, Lowell said, “It’s bittersweet to be leaving after all my years in the ski industry, but I am happy to be passing the torch to younger individuals with a long-term vision for Attitash and Wildcat. It’s been an honor to be involved with the valley and the industry, and I am forever grateful for that opportunity.”
He has been succeeded by Greg Gavrilets at Attitash and Josh Klevans at Wildcat, both of whom are now in place as general managers. Klevans replaced Brian Heon, now general manager of Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine. Gavrilets formerly was GM at Hidden Valley Ski Area in St. Louis.
Ben Wilcox, general manager and president of Cranmore Mountain Resort of North Conway, said, “When John returned to Attitash and Wildcat, I was pleased that someone with an understanding of our community was taking the helm. On behalf of everyone at Cranmore, I congratulate you on your retirement and contributions to the ski industry.”
A native of Bridgton, Maine, and a 1975 Dartmouth College graduate, Lowell has been in the ski industry for 27 years, the last 17 being at Attitash. He and wife Carrie have three children and four grandchildren and live in West Center Harbor, where they own a horse farm.
Prior to joining American Skiing Co. in 2003, Lowell was director of hospitality at Waterville Valley Resort 1993-2003 and director of guest services for Castle Springs in Moultonborough from 1991-93.
From 1986-90, he was owner/operator of the M/S Mount Washington Cruise Ship on Lake Winnipesaukee, worked for Ed Clark at the Hobo Railroad in Lincoln and facilitated Clark’s purchase of the Winnipesaukee Railroad in 1991.
He served as GM of the Grand Summit Hotel at Attitash for the American Skiing Co. from 2003-06 and as Attitash’s general manager from August 2006 to April 2007 prior to its sale to Peak Resorts in 2007.
He then served as director of lodging at Mount Snow in Vermont.
In fall 2010, Peak acquired nearby Wildcat Mountain to combine the sales and marketing capacity of both local resorts.
In 2011, Lowell was brought back as general manager at Attitash. In 2013, he was promoted to president of both Attitash and Wildcat.
In 2009, Attitash opened its Nor’Easter Mountain Coaster, an alternative to its Attitash Alpine Slide that was installed in 1976. In 2014, under Lowell’s tenure, Attitash opened its two large ziplines — the Flying Bear Zip, just under a mile in length, and the Attitash Aerial Zip, measuring 2,196 feet.
Snowmaking improvements were made during Lowell’s tenure at both resorts. As the Sun reported during the 2018-19 season, some Attitash passholders were upset by persistent problems with the then 33-year-old Summit Triple Chair.
Lowell posted a blog update to keep customers informed on efforts to repair the lift. Repairs were done prior to the start of the 2019-20 season. That season, however, was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with resorts nationwide shutting down in March.
All areas are undertaking new protocols for the upcoming season due to the pandemic and safe social distancing guidelines.
In September 2019, Attitash and Wildcat were acquired by Vail Resorts. The $264 million purchase of the two local mountains were among Vail’s acquisition of Peak Resort’s 17 ski areas across the country.
Based in Broomfield, Colo., Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) acquired Peak’s assets for $11 per share. With the acquisition, Vail’s portfolio of resorts now numbers 37 worldwide.
Lowell's new role under Vail was as vice president and general manager of Attitash.
In his email earlier this month about his retirement, Lowell said he is looking forward to spending more free time skiing and with his grandchildren.
“Working at Attitash and for Vail Resorts has been an experience of a lifetime for me. Today, I am announcing my retirement effective Nov. 1, 2020. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support over the past 17 years that I have been involved with Attitash. It has been a pleasure working with you, the community and the various organizations to which we are affiliated. But, as time marches on, I must face the reality of what I want to do with the rest of my life. Bonnie Raitt said it well when she sang, ‘Time gets more precious, the less you have to waste.’”
He continued, “I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, my grandchildren, ice boating, walks in the woods with my wife and dog, cross-country skiing with my brother, finishing the restoration of my 1965 Century Resorter motor boat, fly fishing and skiing without a radio.”
He lauded Attitash’s assets and role in the community, noting, “Attitash is a gem, and the resort is very lucky to be with Vail Resorts. With all the depth of leadership talent, I am sure that there will be a high-performing, high potential leader in place very soon.
"Soon, when COVID is behind us and when we can sit down together and have a beer, I look forward to reminiscing about all the characters, the fun times and the special moments that make Attitash so special. I have confidence the future is bright for Attitash. Please help me celebrate my 27 years in the ski resort industry.”