It’s said that Utah has the greatest snow on earth. Snowbasin’s new general manager, Davy Ratchford believes it to be true. Ratchford replaced long time GM, John Loomis in May of this year. Ratchford has a long resume working in the ski industry, including resorts in Colorado, California and Park City. The Ireland native also spent many years working for Real Salt Lake.
Now a Morgan resident, he’s set his sight on continuing to create an excellent experience for guests at Utah’s award-winning resort. “There’s a lot to learn and a lot to pick up on, but I’ve got a great team that are fantastic and care about the guests,” Ratchford said. Although Ratchford has gone through plenty of winters at other resorts, this will be his first one at Snowbasin.
The ski industry wasn’t Ratchford’s initial career path. According to him, he’s lucky to have ended up there. Born in Ireland, Ratchford came to the United States as a young child. “I was the first one to go to college, and I seized whatever opportunities I had. I didn’t have much,” he said. “I started my career in college, doing the job, and next thing I know it’s been 20 years. It’s crazy.”
Ratchford said he fell in love with the mountains, the outdoors and making people happy. “I wish I could say I grew up wanting to do this, but it just happened. I had no idea about the mountains while in Ireland,” he said.
Working at the resort requires a lot of skiing, which is good for Ratchford because it’s an activity he enjoys. Even though most of the skiing he does is work related, he’s still able to take some time to hit the slopes with his family.
According to him, it’s the best part of the job. “My son will come with me on the weekends, and for him to be able to go with his friends on the mountain, and for me to see them or take a chair lift ride with them, it’s so cool because it’s rare in this world.”
Because Ratchford and his family have moved around for his different jobs, he and his family have had to get used to the varying cities. But he says that living in Morgan has been fun for them, and Snowbasin has helped make connections. “For us to learn Morgan and this area, the mountain has allowed us to do that. The mountain is the great unifier.”
Comparatively, Ratchford has found that Utah stands out from the other places he’s lived. According to him, Colorado has mountains that are just as big, but as far as snow goes, Utah is the place for skiing and snowboarding. “I don’t think there’s a more beautiful setting than where we live. The scenery is breathtaking. There’s something spectacular about living here,” he said.
John Loomis held the GM position for six years, and because Ratchford was friends with Loomis, he feels that he needs to maintain the environment Loomis created while still growing and advancing as the resort needs. “I just want to make sure I do right by him and the owners, they’re very good people,” he said.
So far there aren’t any major changes happening yet at the resort as Ratchford needs to learn the position more. “What I can do now though is double down on our focus on service and enhancing the guest experience. We want to be one of the safest resorts and give back to the community,” he said.
One project Ratchford will get to see finished for this season is the expansion of an area off the John Paul lift. The project involved leveling out an area of the slope so that more intermediate skiers and snowboarders can have access. “This is great because more beginner and intermediate skiers can see the John Paul lodge,” he said.
Overall, Ratchford’s focus is more on the community and less on himself as a GM. He plans to leave his mark on Snowbasin and Morgan by caring about the community and representing the mountain in a positive way. “During my time, I want people to make memories here. If I can be a part of that in some small way, it’s humbling. I just want to do right by the resort.”