“I intend to listen and learn from the stakeholders in the area and help create an economically and environmentally sustainable organization,” Riley, 45, said in an interview Tuesday. “What I really enjoy is creating a fun team and creating exceptional guest services.”
Prior to his 14-year tenure at Mount Hood, Riley worked in the ski industry at Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico and Jackson Hole. Riley began his career in the ski industry at Keystone after graduating in 1986 from Mesa State College in Grand Junction. Riley is currently a member of the National Ski Areas Association and is also past chair and a current board member of the Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association.
“We are extremely pleased to have Dave Riley join as our new chief executive officer,” said Telski Owner Chuck Horning in a press release. “I am impressed with his broad ski industry experience, proven leadership, and the passion he brings in terms of customer service. Moreover, Dave is clearly focused on keeping Telluride on the leading edge of responsible environmental stewardship. This is a solid move for the resort.”
Ken Stone, executive vice president of marketing for Telski, echoed those remarks.
“I think he going to bring a tremendous amount of experience from his past work,” Stone said in an interview. “I think he is going to bring those qualities and bring those assets in working with the community to the team here at Telski as we continue to become a world class ski resort.”
While holding his post at Mt. Hood, Riley was a leader in resolving complex environmental issues, according to the Telski press release. He represented the ski company in a successful collaborative process with at least 13 environmental groups that eventually had positive outcome for all parties involved.
“It was a negotiation and collaborative process dealing with the north side of Mount Hood, the alpine icon of the state,” Riley said in the interview. “We came up with a creative solution to expand the wilderness on that side of the mountain and to protect the cultural sites. This settlement was a really big deal for the entire community and the state. This project is now the centerpiece of federal legislation and is being introduced in congress to add 120,000 acres of wilderness and several miles of wild and scenic river designations.
“It was a very rewarding project,” he added. “People talk about sustainability and this was truly that balance of economic, social and environmental issues in a way that made everybody happy. I don’t come to Telluride with any preconceived agendas and I intend to learn from the stakeholders to help create an environment that we can all agree on.”
For Horning, Riley is the future of Telski.
“The quality of our lives in 10 and 20 years will be a result of the efforts and training we undergo each day of our lives going forward,” Horning said in a letter addressed to Telski employees introducing Riley. “It’s my desire to provide you with solid support, training and leadership as we face global warming, poor snow years, recessions, and other daunting challenges facing ski communities in the future, and to secure a better quality of life for you and your families. I believe David Riley will be an integral part of achieving this end.”
Riley is the first CEO to be hired at Telski since Raymond Jacobi suddenly left his post in February 2005 after a mere 10-month tenure. Jacobi was the first CEO hired by Horning after Horning’s acquisition of the ski area from Hideo Morita in February 2004.
Riley will be moving to the Telluride area sometime next month with his wife Noreen and 11-year-old daughter Alex.