Resort gets new manager

Andrew Farron, general manager, Marquette Mountain

MARQUETTE — Marquette Mountain has a new general manager as of Monday afternoon.

Andrew Farron, a mechanical engineer and winter sports enthusiast, is replacing Frank Malette, who took over operations on Marquette Mountain in May.

Farron said changes are underway and hopes to have the community’s continuous support.

“I know everyone’s excited and it’s really mind-blowing,” he said. “There are going to be great things going on, but they’re not going to happen overnight. We hope the community can be patient and have realistic expectations of what we’re doing.”

Farron said two big changes include Kristian Saile, who was the race director, has been promoted to mountain operations manager, and the shop manager Alex Alagon has been promoted to events coordinator and marketing director.

Farron is a Traverse City native who moved to Marquette with his wife about two years ago. Although he’s never managed a ski hill before, he’s snowboarded at Marquette Mountain for about 15 years.

In a letter to the community, Farron said he left his engineering career and has gained the confidence of Marquette Mountain owner Peter O’Dovero “to turn this place around.”

“We will need your patience to continue and believe we must first take a step back before we can move forward. Season pass holders will no longer require a ticket. Terrain park and border cross will be developed and properly maintained. Areas of the fencing will be removed to increasing parking,” the letter reads.

And The Carp River Saloon, which Malette rebranded from the TBar, will once again be the TBar. Farron said the TBar and cafe’s menus will be revamped.

“Jim and Ray will once again be playing at the TBar,” Farron said. “This summer we will be busier than you’ve ever seen before. We will redesign and replace the snowmaking infrastructure. We will finish the lighting project and promise to have everything energized for next season. We will catch up on heavily neglected maintenance on our machinery and snowmobiles. We will operate a complete new business of gravity mountain biking.”

There are dozens of additional summer projects, Farron said, including glading out new areas of the hill, building a safe, progressive freeride bike trail down one of the ski hills, building more patios and outdoor hangouts areas, and so on.

“To complete these types of projects, we will be calling for your help. At the end of the day, THIS IS YOUR MOUNTAIN. Yes, somebody owns it but your livelihood is heavily affected by it and you have plenty of power to change it,” the letter states.

“Understand that it is my job to figure out how we can make this investment turn a profit. If we can’t achieve that, it will always remain unfulfilled potential. We can’t be a charity but are incredibly willing to partner in any way possible to promote the growth and accessibility of our sports.

“We need to host big races. We need huge season pass sales. We need bus loads coming up from Appleton. We need the community to support us. That includes both on social media and on the property. Share some pictures, memories and stories. Leave us a positive review (once we are deserving of one). Thank a snow maker. Buy a beer at the TBar before you head home. And please keep your expectations reasonable.”

In December, hundreds took to Facebook as an unofficial page for Marquette Mountain was created where people have expressed their views and concerns about issues at the mountain. The group currently has over 900 members.

Farron said the support he’s received from the community has been overwhelming.

“It’s pretty darn amazing to see. There’s been people sending letters and messages on social media,” Farron said. “There’s been a huge support noted and Peter O’Dovero has been in every morning and has been very surprised and impressed.”

Farron said he hopes the mountain will be open for business tomorrow as crews have been busy scraping ice off of equipment after Monday’s historic ice storm. However, the TBar will be open at 1 p.m. today.

“It’d be cool if people want to stop by and bring coffee, hot chocolate for our guys busy knocking ice off equipment to get the mountain open for the community to enjoy,” he said.

For more information, anyone can email Farron at gm@marquettemountain.com.