Exodus of Experienced Employees From Sunshine Village

The Facts
On December 29, 2010 Sunshine Village fired the Mountain Manager, Avalanche Forecaster, Lift Operations Supervisor and a senior ski patroller.

In the 4 months since that date, Sunshine Village has seen an unprecedented mid-season loss (through more firings or staff quitting) of many long-term senior operations and maintenance staff with direct safety-related responsibilities and duties. This list does not imply any individual motives for departure. It simply records the total attrition, regardless of reason or motive.

The total loss since December 29, 2010 to date includes the following:

  • Mountain Manager
  • Avalanche Forecaster & Snow Safety Supervisor
  • Lift Operations Supervisor
  • Senior Ski Patroller
  • Dispatch Supervisor
  • Dispatch Supervisor (replacement)
  • Snowmaking Supervisor
  • Terrain Park Supervisor
  • Snow Safety (avalanche control) specialist (1)
  • Snow Safety (avalanche control) specialist (2)
  • Snow Safety (avalanche control) specialist (3)
  • Full-time Ski Patroller
  • Part-time Ski Patroller / Paramedic
  • Security and Risk Management Supervisor (notice given for May 4th, 2011)
  • Assistant Lift Maintenance Supervisor

Sunshine Village Corporation Public Relations Position

In the midst of this on-going exodus of experience, an unamed Sunshine Village spokesperson stated on the Sunshine Village Blog that “Sunshine Village is operating in a fully safe manner, and is closely supervised by appropriate authorities. Contrary to what you may have read, we have safety staff on duty with decades of experience.” (11 February, 2011)

On the same blog Sunshine Village VP Operations and GM, Ken Derpak stated that “Today, we have a more cohesive, cooperative and customer-focused resort as a result of the difficult decisions we made in December”   (March 03, 2011)

“This is all about running a safe, efficient and effective ski resort.” said Al Matheson, the new Mountain Operations Manager (March 03, 2011).

We would like to believe Mr. Derpak and Mr. Matheson but it’s a difficult safety management strategy to understand, as it seems to involve a rapid and considerable loss of long-term experienced key-players and leaders for whatever reason.

Public and workplace safety are key considerations of public concern for any company operating within Banff National Park. Sunshine Village is no exception to that concern.  Sunshine Village Watch extends an open invitation to any representative of Sunshine Village to provide an explanation of the safety strategy at Sunshine Village and how the loss of so many senior staff impacts that strategy. Comments may be made directly to this post or use the contact form and we will post the comments here.

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