Kim Clark new Bluewood General Manager, Big Thanks to Dayton Chronicle for the story.
You name it, he’s done it, from flipping burgers to parking cars to scrubbing the latrines, at the numerous ski resorts at which Kim Clark has worked during his career.
DAYTON—Kim Clark’s introduction into ski-area employment, which eventually led to positions of responsibility at big-name ski resorts in the Pacific Northwest, began in an unlikely way: Clark and a handful of his buddies got kicked off of Magic Mountain ski area in Idaho.
“The only way I would be allowed back on the area would be to do something positive,” Clark, an Idaho farm boy, remembered, “like work.”
Of the eight guys to be booted from Magic Mountain, four or five made careers of skiing. Clark, 58, now adds general manager of Ski Bluewood to his resume.
“There are a lot of things we’re excited about,” Clark says of the coming ski season, including a renewed commitment to encouraging skiers from Dayton, Waitsburg, Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities. “That’s our back yard,” he said.
There will be new programs and ticket offerings to help the area with its goal of satisfying “one guest at a time.”
“I love the area,” Clark says of Bluewood. “It’s a small, community-based area with some challenges. I relish challenges.”
Clark is encouraged because of the “excellent staff and strongly committed ownership,” and is intent on tackling two projects of importance: power and wastewater treatment.
If electrical power could be either brought in or if the present diesel-powered generator could be relocated to a separate building away from the lodge, ski guests’ experiences would be more enjoyable, and other avenues for revenue would be opened. “For example, Bluewood would be a wonderful venue for a wedding, except for the generator,” he said. “Summer activities are limited with that generator roaring in the background.”
Two other areas in the Pacific Northwest have onsite power, Clark said, and it is possible to locate the generation plant so it’s not noticeable.
Bluewood’s oil-based waste system, and its unpleasant aroma, is another improvement that Clark is working to implement. Plans that will be submitted to the U.S. Forest Service are being developed, he said.
Clark’s college career centered around his passion for skiing. He won a scholarship that would’ve allowed him to attend any Idaho college, but he chose Boise State University, because it was 16 miles from Bogus Basin. “That made my decision,” he said.
Working with his father custom farming during the summers, where they hayed up to 13,000 acres, fit well with his school schedule and life until he was 28, when he went into the ski industry full time, year around.
After college, he worked a year at Magic Mountain and another area. Then he decided to “get serious” and found a job at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There Clark worked under the tutelage of Olympic Gold medal skier, Pepi Stiegler. “I learned more from the mountain than I did Pepi,” Clark said.
There he started diversifying his talents, getting into racing, coaching racers and other ski-area practices, such as avalanche control. He started telemarking and Nordic skiing, partly to advance his skills and partly to earn a living.
In the last two of his four years at Jackson, Clark began skiing during the summer, heading to Bend’s Bachelor Mountain and Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge.
He hired on at Northstar Tahoe as the children’s director and lead trainer and coach for the ski school. “I’ve always been a children’s specialist,” Clark said. “That’s where my passion has been. I love getting them wound up and then sending them home with their parents.”
A two-year stint at Timberline wrapped up with Clark, tired of travel, taking a position as Ski School Director at a Connecticut ski area with an 80-90 day season and a 415-foot vertical. “The last year we did 85,000 visits, 123,000 race starts,” Clark remembered. “It was a factory, open day and night.” Hartford was very close and New York City was an hour and a half away.
Clark’s next stop was with SKI magazine, where he designed, promoted and implemented the SKIwee program, which standardized how children are taught nationwide. He traveled the United States recruiting ski areas, selling sponsorships, developing the program, on a plane every weekend from Thanksgiving through April. “It was fun and I treasured all I got to see,” Clark said, “but I really missed working at a ski area.”
After a barrage of phone calls and contacts, Clark went to work at Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Id., making his first foray into upper management at a ski resort. Silver partnered with Hagadone’s Coeur d’Alene Resort to successfully promote skiing and hotel visits.
Clark’s ambition is to be on the mountain as much as possible. “I believe that we need to be experiencing what the guests are experiencing,” he said. At his last job, there were 2,600 pass holders and Clark knew over half by name.
“You’re shooting in the dark if you don’t know what they’re talking about,” Clark believes. “The only way to know is to be out and be a part of the product.”
Clark has skied at 142 areas during his lifetime, in the U.S., Canada and New Zealand. “I’ve seen the best of the best, and the worst of the worst,” he said.
Last year, at his previous area, Mt. Ashland, “celebrated its 50th anniversary by not opening,” Clark said. Southern Oregon and northern California were hardest hit by the drought. The community-owned, non profit area couldn’t keep Clark employed, and he subsequently chose Bluewood. After a phone interview, Clark and his wife Tracy drove to Dayton for a look around, wrapped up negotiations with ownership and he started July 7.
He lived in a camper at the area for a short stint. The couple recently bought property on the Wolf Fork.
Check out this great news we just received!
Update from 4-7-14: We wish to thank our many loyal passholders and wonderful guests for a fun-filled season at The Wood. The ski area is officially closed for the 2013/14 season.
I also wish to thank our team of dedicated, skilled and passionate staff members for their excellent efforts throughout the season. Bluewood is extremely fortunate to have such a talented group of individuals
Please remember that our early-bird, most-deeply discounted SEASON PASSES are on-sale NOW for the 2014-15 season...definitely the absolute best deal on the mountain! Deadline for lowest pricing of the year has been extended to May 9th. A season pass to Bluewood is practically paid for in just over 5 visits to the mountain, plus we have some "added value" with other regional ski areas which provides nearly $400 worth of FREE skiing at Mission Ridge, Lookout Pass, 49 North and Loup Loup next winter as well. A super-sweet deal for YOU and YOURS, so don't delay ~ get your passes today! Save some serious dollars and get some free lift tickets, too!
If you have not already, you definitely should check out the below video of BASH Weekend put together by Peak Media - very, very nice!! Sweet Snow + Great People = Good Times at YOUR Mountain!
If you are looking for some additional GOOD TIMES here in the Dayton area following a day on the slopes, make sure to check out our BLUEWOOD BUDDIES for discounts on lodging, eats and other services....thanks for the support to all of our community partners!