Deirdra Walsh is back in her element after returning to work at the very place where she first strapped on a snowboard. But these days, Deirdra is on the mountain in a different capacity — she’s the vice president and chief operating officer of Park City Mountain. In her new position, which she started in May 2022, Deirdra will oversee the largest ski resort in the United States.
Deirdra got where she is today by working her way up the ranks. She started at the resort as a banquet sales coordinator in 2007, eventually becoming the senior director of food and beverage. After leaving to run Northstar California Resort in Lake Tahoe in 2019, she returned to Park City in 2022.
“I have always loved the outdoors and the hospitality industry,” says Deirdra. “I have two young kids — we love to hike, camp, and love to spend time socializing and enjoying a good meal. I am not by any means the world’s best cook, but I do love the dining experience. I also like being involved in the community any way I can.”
Deirdra did not grow up on the slopes, so her love for winter mountain sports came later. She was raised in the Midwest and started her journey in Utah working for a travel company. Eventually, she landed her first job at Park City Mountain and has since become something of an expert on the resort and the industry.
“It has been fascinating returning [to Park City]. There are so many things I love about this community: It is incredibly generous, kind, beautiful in so many ways. It’s a great place to raise a family,” says Deirdra. “Coming back as the leader of the resort has been really gratifying. Part of what I am hoping to do, and [want to] bring to my role, is to always focus on listening and learning. I think that it is such an important part for any leader, but certainly for me at a ski resort with nearly 3,000 employees that work for us in the winter, and who all come with great ideas. I want to make sure they are heard.”
Patrons are sure to notice some immediate changes on the mountain this season. Canyons Village is opening a new ski beach that will run from the base of the Red Pine Gondola to the base of the Orange Bubble Express. The beach will have heated pavers, fire pits, and seating areas. Nearby, the Red Tail Grill will boast a new outdoor patio with a snow melting system that can seat up to 100 people.
In lower Canyons Village, a new development under a master lease will offer 441 affordable housing units for Park City Mountain employees. To keep the units affordable, the resort has committed to two, five-year renewal options through a partnership between the Canyons Village Management Association, Summit County, and Columbus Pacific.
“This is a game changer I think for us and it’s really exciting to be able to bring this employee housing in partnership with the county and partners out of the Canyon Village,” says Deirdra. “It is the first time we will have a master lease within Park City and the neighboring community for our employees. To be able to bring on such a transformational housing complex is really exciting. It is near a bus route, and the units are different sizes and really flexible.”
Between the new employee housing development and a handful of resort upgrades and changes — including a parking policy that will allow visitors to reserve a space in advance — Deirdra has a busy season ahead of her. But if she’s proven anything in her years of working for the mountain it’s that she’s got it covered.