- Associated Press - Sunday, May 7, 2017

ALTA, Utah (AP) - Alta Ski Area general manager Onno Wieringa is retiring after 29 years as general manager of one of Utah’s best-known resorts, leaving a legacy of only lightly tinkering and modernizing slopes that remain largely the same as they were when Wieringa first came to the mountain with the ski patrol in 1972.

Wieringa’s tenure officially ended last month with the end of the 2016-17 season, the Salt Lake Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/2qGtkkB ).

During his time, Alta was able to put a bend in the Collins lift, install a snow-levelled conveyor belt known as “magic carpet” and form the “Altabird” partnership with Alta’s longtime rival and neighbor, Snowbird.

Snowbird President Bob Bonar, who was been at Little Cottonwood Canyon since Wieringa’s time, said the resorts have tackled important issues such as canyon transportation and avalanche control.

“Through his experience with ski patrol and his snow-safety work, Onno really became an industry leader in avalanche control and the use of military weapons and explosives,” Bonar said. “Onno’s one of the top guys.”

Despite the changes, Wieringa said Alta remains the same mountain that he remembers from 1972.

“It still has great terrain. It still has great snow,” Wieringa said. “It’s still a beautiful setting. So it hasn’t changed.”

Resort employees gave him an engraved casing from a 105 mm howitzer, the artillery piece used to bring down avalanches so skiers can get from the Ballroom area to Devil’s Castle area safely.

Wieringa also received an engraved slice of wood of an Alta tree. It is a tribute to Wieringa’s work to establish the Alta Environmental Center, an organization which worked to promote sustainability in Alta.

“Onno took care of the mountain to a new level,” said resort spokeswoman Connie Marshall, who has been at Alta for about as long as Wieringa has.

Alta veteran Michael Maughan is taking over the resort, Wieringa said. Wieringa and his wife are returning to their native Montana.

In a recent interview, Wieringa said he has no fixed retirement plans.

“I’m going to finish the circle . and live out the 30 to 40 years I have left,” he said.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, https://www.sltrib.com

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