Changing of the guard for Mountain Operations

Jamie TattersfieldAfter 43 years in the ski resort industry — 22 of those as the mountain operations manager for Sun Peaks Resort Corporation (SPRC) — Jamie Tattersfield will retire at the end of this season.

Tattersfield said the time was right to step down: “Well, I turned 65 and there’s still many things to do.”

The role of mountain operations will be filled by Erik Meertens, SPRC’s current outside operations director and a former mountain operations manager for Mount Washington ski resort on Vancouver Island.

Tattersfield has had a long and strong career in the industry, getting his start as a snowcat operator in Whistler in the 70s. Over four decades, Tattersfield had the opportunity to be on the front lines of western Canada’s fledgling ski industry as it evolved into a multi-million dollar operation and a major economic driver for regional B.C.

“It’s been a really good time to be in the business,” Tattersfield said. “I’ve really been privileged to work in this industry right from when it was a Mum and Pop style of business — a few enthusiastic guys trying to make something go — through to a more corporate level, big business.

Other highlights for Tattersfield included the opportunity to travel to the world’s leading ski areas and learn about their operations.

“I can tell you, the way the industry has evolved in western Canada, we’re absolutely world leaders in terms of the service we offer and what the sport is to us.”

Tattersfield fondly remembers his first visit to Sun Peaks — then simply known as Tod Mountain, more than 20 years ago.

“When I took the job here I had never been to Tod Mountain. I went to see Darcy (Alexander, Vice President and general manager of SPRC) in Kelowna and we had a chat and I decided to take the job.” Tattersfield recalls.

“My first mistake was turning up the hill from Heffley with less than half a tank of gas, not knowing there was no gas station up here.

“When I got up here, it doesn’t look anything like it does today. The Burfield Lodge was here. Burfield Drive was here, but only built out about 25 per cent of what it is today. Basically nothing from Burfield Drive up was built, it was just a road that got progressively smaller until it disappeared into the woods.

“The Bento’s parking lot was a long slot cut into spruce trees. There could have been tumbleweeds blowing through. The door to the Shuswap Chair motor room was hanging open and there was oil leaking out of it, and I thought — oh my, what have I done?”

Over the next year, work was underway at a rapid pace.

“In that first year we built an awful lot of stuff, including the Village Day Lodge, the Sunburst Chair, the Village Platter, half the Sundance Chair – and that pace didn’t really slacken much until well into the 90s.”

Tattersfield said he looked forward to seeing the future development of the resort.

“It’s a very different place than it was 20 years ago, and I imagine 20 years from now it will look very different again.

“We’re starting to see the things that are coming, and as the traffic comes, I’m sure the lifts will follow along.”

Tattersfield also credited the Sun Peaks community and his colleagues as a reason he remained in the role for so long, and said he expects to continue to be a part of the community in the future.

“I’m certainly not going to make myself a stranger around Sun Peaks. I’ll be around.”

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  1. Just the best memories of doing weird and wild stuff with Jamie: putting a case of dynamite in the small creek at the bottom of the green chair to create a pond for snowmaking. Or hanging on to the snowcat with a toboggan strapped to it while Jamie drove from the garage all the way up the edge of Boomer Bowl, hanging off the edge of Harmony Bowl all the way to the Glacier bowl so we could rescue a guy in the West bowl!!! Or the real heart stopper, surfing a landing craft on to the beach in Grise Fiord in huge waves after being abandoned by the mother ship in a huge Arctic storm!!! He has a way with machinery, and special people skills!!

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