SEATTLE — In a blog post published Wednesday, Vail Resorts announced that Tom Fortune, general manager at Heavenly Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe, California, will serve as the new interim general manager at Stevens Pass. He replaces Tom Pettigrew.

The much-loved Cascade ski area on Highway 2 has come under mounting pressure in recent weeks, with nearly 40,000 skiers and snowboarders signing a petition demanding that Vail sufficiently staff the mountain to open the 60% of terrain that has remained closed since the ski season started — or refund season passes.

“I am glad to be coming home, even if just temporarily,” Fortune wrote in the blog post, “to support this period of transition at Stevens Pass.”

It’s not Fortune’s first run at Stevens. In his own words, “I grew up at Stevens Pass and my ski career started here, too.” He worked at the ski area as a teenager in the 1970s and ultimately spent two decades there, leaving his post as director of operations in 1999 to run operations at a number of ski resorts across the country.

Acknowledging that Stevens is a “complex” operation, Fortune wrote, “I understand how special Stevens Pass is. I also know many of you are frustrated — and we’ve heard you.”

A representative from Vail confirmed the authenticity of an internal email to Stevens Pass staff, leaked Wednesday, on Instagram stating that Pettigrew was released from his post as general manager and announcing Fortune’s hire “to support this leadership transition and focus on addressing the challenges facing Stevens Pass more broadly.”

“Over the last few years, Tom has played an important role integrating Stevens Pass into the Vail Resorts family,” states the email. “We thank him for his contributions and wish him the best going forward.”

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