New general manager brings ski and travel industry experience to Powderhorn

A man with more than 18 years of experience in the ski and travel industries has been hired as the new general manager of the Powderhorn Ski Resort.

Daren Cole is expected to assume his new duties on Oct. 24.

Daren Cole

Cole most recently served as vice president of sales and marketing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, where he helped to earn 2010 National Ski Areas Association awards for best overall marketing and guest services.

Cole also worked in a number of positions with Vail Resorts, including director of national sales, as well as with Purgatory Ski Resort.

In addition, Cole was owner and president of Synergy Sales Solutions, a firm that specialized in business development and strategic sales planning for the active lifestyle travel industry.

Cole holds a degree from Colorado State University in commercial recreation and tourism with an emphasis in marketing and sales.

“Daren is a natural fit for Powderhorn,” said Andy Daly, co-owner of the resort and himself a more than 40-year veteran of the ski industry.

“With our knowledge of resort operations and his knowledge of boosting the image and sales of Colorado mountain resorts, Powderhorn is sure to have new-found success.”

In addition to his industry experience, Cole has ties to the Grand Valley. Three generations of his family come from Palisade and his father, Denny Cole, still lives in the area.

Located on the Grand Mesa a 45-minute drive east of Grand Junction, Powderhorn offers 600 acres of groomed trails and terrain parks served by four chair lifts.

Daly, along with brothers Ken and Tom Gart, purchased Powderhorn and about 700 acres of undeveloped land for a total of just over $1.4 million. The three bring considerable experience and financial resources to their venture.

Over the course of a career that began in 1970, Daly has managed nine ski resorts and once served as president and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

The Gart family has been synonymous with sports in Colorado for more than 80 years in operating Gart Bros. Sporting Goods and Specialty Sports Venture. Today, Gart Companies develop and manage a variety of real estate holdings as well as operate a private equity investment firm.

In a September interview with the Business Times, Ken Gart said Powderhorn will continue to cater to Grand Valley skiers and snowboarders even as a more regional resort is developed.

The long-term vision for Powderhorn, Gart said, includes the potential for new chair lifts and terrain on the mountain and additional development nearby.

A half pipe feature stretching 300 to 350 feet with 13- foot-high walls is planned for the coming ski season.