We bid a fond farewell to Bob Wheaton, who is stepping down as president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort after a 38-year run. He started as building maintenance manager the year the resort opened in 1981 and worked his way up through the ranks. Though his beefy moustache and quiet smile suggest more teddy bear than taskmaster, Wheaton has firmly guided the resort from a fledgling experiment—unheard of in the ski industry at the time (serving roast baron of beef at lunch on real plates? Tissues in the lift lines?)—to host of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, to the sale of the family-owned resort to a national conglomerate in 2017.
Thanks to a calm demeanor and commitment to community, Wheaton has a reputation as a highly respected leader in the ski industry worldwide, and, more importantly, as the beloved, down-to-earth guy who runs a resort known for being luxurious; it’s not uncommon to see him jump into the dining room fray busing tables or storing skis when things get busy. He says Deer Valley is “in the very best of hands with Alterra,” and his gentle guidance will continue as strategic advisor to the board of Deer Valley’s new parent company.
Of the countless accolades the resort has garnered under his watch (such as being named no. 1 ski resort in North America eight times), Wheaton says he’s most proud of his coworkers. “[I’ve enjoyed] being able to watch their personal and professional growth over the years. I won’t miss working 12- to 14-hour days. I will miss my friends.”
The man who has worked every winter for his entire adult life is hitting the beach in Panama and Costa Rica for his first-ever winter vacation come January. Aside from his travels, he looks forward to “hunting, fishing, being on my horse, putting up hay [at his 400-acre ranch in nearby Woodland], and spending more time with Marion [his wife of 40 years]. Not necessarily in that order.”
And, not to worry, we’ll still see Bob (out of uniform) on the mountain this winter. “After all these years, I’ll never tire of skiing or Deer Valley turkey chili.”