New Granby Ranch COO known for spearheading changes at A-Basin ski area
With over 20 years of experience, Greg Finch knows the ski industry.
He played a crucial part in the purchase of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area by Dundee Resort Development and its subsequent improvements in facilities and lifts, also attracting major races to the ski resort. So it’s no surprise that Granby Ranch tapped him to be their new chief operating officer.
“The ski business is not easy, but it’s fun,” Finch said. “I’m excited to be back in it.”
Finch, who is originally from Toronto, previously worked for Dundee Resort Development at Beaver Creek and Bear Valley Mountain Resort in California before moving to A-Basin. He retired from Dundee in 2015.
He had been working on a duplex project at the base camp of Granby Ranch called Townhomes at Base Camp when he was approached by Marise Cipriani, owner of Granby Ranch, to be the next COO.
“Three weeks ago she called me and asked if I could stop by and I thought maybe she was going to tell me she didn’t like the color of the garage doors or something,” he said with a chuckle. “Then she said, ‘We had been talking about maybe you’d be a good guy to run this place,’ and I just about fell off my chair.”
Finch said he wasn’t hesitant at all to come out of retirement because he can’t stand to be bored and looks forward to the many duties of COO. He also knows the area since he and his wife own a home in Grand Lake and he felt the position was a good fit.
His duties include operating almost everything, such as the ski area, the golf course, restaurants and the club, but he won’t be involved in the real estate aspect of the resort, at least at first.
For his first couple of months, he plans to really get to know the resort from the inside and ask a lot of questions. He said specific goals will come later once he has the basic knowledge down.
“The first thing is just getting to know the property as an insider, getting to know what are the resources I have, what are the resources I don’t have,” he explained. “Get to know the people, listen to them, what they think this place needs, what they think the opportunities are, that will be the first month or two months.”
However, he said that his previous experience working with the resort as an outsider will help him see his position from multiple perspectives. He also plans to learn from his past experiences at ski resorts, particularly from the challenges he faced.
“I see things that I probably learned the hard way at Arapahoe Basin and Bear Valley, not necessarily things that are done wrong, but things you can change,” he said. “(Bear Valley) may be more similar to Granby Ranch in some ways. The vision was bigger.”
Currently, Granby Ranch is up for sale. Finch said there are interested parties, but no decisions have yet been made.
Instead of worrying, he said the sale makes his new job more exciting and looks forward to working with new owners to take the resort to the next level.
“I think bringing in new energy, new capital is going to be a huge thing for Granby Ranch,” Finch said. “I think new energy, new focus, new eyes is a really good thing for the timing.”
He expects there to be a lot of changes down the road, particularly growing the real estate, but believes the ranch could prosper under someone who shares the Cipriani’s vision for a multi-faceted property with many assets.
Finch begins his position on Oct. 1.
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