Edit ModuleShow Tags

Rusty Gregory's iconic rise to the top of Alterra

2019 CEO of the Year Finalist: Rusty Gregory joined Alterra in 2018 to helm the new 14-resort operator


Rusty Gregory | CEO

Alterra Mountain Co., Denver

2019 CEO of the Year Finalist

Rusty Gregory, 66, got his start in the ski biz as a liftie at Mammoth Mountain in California in the late 1970s. “I was making all sorts of other plans,” he laughs, “of going out and doing something respectable.”

But he stuck with Mammoth and rose to the top. After wearing every hat up to and including CEO, he joined Alterra in 2018 to helm the new 14-resort operator with a pass designed to take on Vail Resorts’ best-selling Epic Pass.

Alterra’s Ikon Pass was an instant hit when it debuted for the 2018-19 ski season, offering access to Alterra’s portfolio and 27 partner resorts. The pass surpassed forecasts by 30% for its debut season, and 2019-20 is looking even brighter: “We sold more Ikon Passes in our spring sale than we sold the entire season prior to that,” Gregory says.

It follows that Alterra is investing big in its resorts: The company announced a five-year, $555 million capital improvement plan in 2018.

Alterra’s portfolio of world-class destinations includes Mammoth, Steamboat and Winter Park, as well as partners like Aspen and Jackson Hole. That’s by design.

“If we don’t get it right, we’re not going to sell passes,” Gregory says. “It also creates a hedge for our guests. They know there’s another 40 resorts that might have great snow.”

But it doesn’t begin and end on the slopes, he adds. “We know it’s about providing an incredible experience for our guests, but equally providing the same thing for our 25,000 employees.”

Gregory swapped the Sierra Nevada for the Rockies for the job. “There was absolute passion and consensus on having [Alterra headquarters] here in Denver,” he says. “I’m definitely a California guy, but I couldn’t be happier living in downtown Denver.”

This article is part of ColoradoBiz Magazine's annual CEO of the Year feature. Read more about this year's winner John Hayes and the other finalists: 


Edit Module
Eric Peterson

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

Get more content like this: Subscribe to the magazine | Sign up for our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

6 Questions with Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee Velveta Golightly-Howell

Throughout her career, working at the local, state, regional and federal levels, Howell has become a role model for other African American women and girls. Currently, she serves as one of twelve appointees to the Robert Wood Johnson-funded Colorado Healthcare Reform Executive Steering Committee and Turning Point Initiative.

Fighting white-collar crime by crunching numbers

The veteran Internal Revenue Service special agent pieces together records to complete a picture of white-collar crimes and bring charges against their perpetrators: financial violations, tax fraud, money laundering, racketeering and more. And through her work with the IRS’ Adrian Project, she’s showing Metropolitan State University of Denver accounting students how number-crunching can fight crime

Executive Living: Lakehouse blends elegance with healthy living

Lakehouse offers the rare opportunity to own a waterfront home just three miles from Downtown Denver. Blending timeless design, extensive amenities and stunning views of the water, mountains and city, Lakehouse delivers sophisticated maintenance-free living in a burgeoning urban location.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags