Okemo Owners Celebrate 20 Years of Success

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Okemo Owners Celebrate 20 Years of Success

Tue, 07/23/2002 - 8:00pm -- tim

August 2, 2002 will mark a very special anniversary for Tim and Diane Mueller, owners of Okemo Mountain Resort. An anniversary that will commemorate 20 years of ownership, vision, planning, implementation and growth – a true success story in the snowsports industry.
Okemo first began operating in 1955, but the ski area’s greatest growth and success came about in 1982 under the ownership and management of Tim and Diane Mueller. Over the past 20 years, the Mueller’s have invested over $100 million dollars in the mountain to create a successful and award-winning mountain resort. Entrepreneurial spirit, paired with sensible hands-on management and a commitment to deliver the finest quality experience in an atmosphere of guest service and satisfaction, are key factors in Okemo’s incredible success story.
While the Mueller’s were no strangers to resort development and operations, operating a ski area was completely new territory for them. Tim’s introduction to construction and development began in 1972, where he worked building roads, houses and other facilities for Powder Mill, a second home development in Londonderry, Vermont. From 1975 through 1982, Tim and Diane built and operated Point Pleasant, a destination resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands that Diane’s parents owned. But, in the spring of 1982, Tim and Diane were eager to return to Vermont to raise their two children, Ethan and Erica and were looking for an Inn business or lodge in the recreation/tourism industry --one that would have good growth potential. The Mueller’s knew from the beginning that Okemo had what they were looking for.
On August 2, 1982, Tim and Diane took over the controlling interest of Okemo Ski Area and changed its appearance dramatically with the redesign and restructuring of the mountain facilities. Utilizing their skills and background in construction and development, Tim and Diane surrounded themselves with a management team of solid professionals and created a master plan that called for upgrading and expanding the facilities and constructing slopeside residences. Since 1982, they have added 70 new trails (complete with one of the largest snowmaking operations in the east), a modern and efficient lift system, award-winning children’s and ski school programs, first-class slopeside and mountainside residential units and an 18-hole championship golf course and facility. Skier/rider visits increased dramatically from 95,000 to 600,000. But the Mueller’s didn’t stop there. By combining the very same quality service and quality mountain product (a trend in the industry they are known for), they replicated their recipe for success at Mount Sunapee (NH) when they took over the operation of the mountain from the State of New Hampshire in 1988. With the addition of Okemo Valley Golf Club, Okemo’s vision for the future was realized. As a four-season destination, Okemo would promote economic growth and vitality in a manner that would also support sound environmental protection.
Okemo’s success is not based solely on new lifts, trails, lodging and snowmaking, it takes competent management skills and employees who are dedicated to provide outstanding customer service and products for our guests, as well as willingness to work with the local community and local and state government officials. Tim and Diane have always credited their staff as their inspiration and for helping to set a standard of excellence in the operation of a first-class resort. It truly spells the difference between Okemo and other eastern ski resorts.
The Mueller’s vision for the future is to create a four-season recreational facility that will promote economic growth and vitality in a manner that supports sound environmental protection -- Okemo’s Jackson Gore expansion is an integral part of their overall vision. As Okemo continues to evolve, the Muellers stay focused on meeting the needs of their guests and to utilize the technology and facilities to do so. But, the expectations for perfection on the slopes comes with a high price tag as the industry has moved closer to 100% snowmaking coverage and increased services and amenities. Visitors to the region are searching for more diverse experiences and more year-round opportunities. Because people’s lives are hectic they seek more solitude, so the season is no longer just winter, it has become year-round which forces resorts to increase their summer offerings. Tim and Diane realized that Okemo’s overall success and identity, as a tourist destination was dependent upon an increase in its offerings and services and amenities.
After 4 years in the permitting process, Okemo is finally launching its Jackson Gore expansion for the 2002/2003-winter season, with the addition of 6 new trails (complete with snowmaking) and a new highspeed detachable quad chairlift. Plus, the Jackson Gore residential units and new base area is expected to be complete during of fall of 2003. Upon completion, Okemo’s Jackson Gore will not only offer a tremendous amount of recreational opportunities, it will help the Okemo/Ludlow region to maintain a vibrant economy.
As for Tim and Diane, they aren’t going anywhere else soon. They are looking forward to many more years of enjoyment and success in the Okemo/Ludlow region.