Ski swap, new Eaglecrest GM & master plan update


Matt Lillard, Eaglecrest General Manager

Thursday marks the beginning of the 59th Annual Ski Sale in Juneau. The event is a fundraiser for the Eaglecrest Ski Patrol and Juneau Ski Club, which is the youth ski team.

Folks planning to sell their extra winter gear can check it in this evening, tomorrow afternoon and Saturday morning at Centennial Hall. The actual sale is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, go to juneauskisale.org.

Meanwhile, Eaglecrest’s new general manager is on the job.

Matt Lillard, his wife and two-and a half-year old son just made the move across America from Londonderry, Vermont, where he worked for Magic Mountain Ski Resort.

Lillard says the two ski areas have some similarities:

“Size wise they’re actually quite similar, 700 acres is where I come from, and two lifts as opposed to four here, but we both pride ourselves in having some great terrain and great community,” Lillard says.

He’s settling into the Juneau ski area, learning the lay of the land as well as the bureaucracy of Eaglecrest, owned by the City and Borough of Juneau. But Lillard says the biggest challenge in the ski industry is always the weather.

“The New England weather is different from Southeast Alaska weather so I think getting a good grasp of that and how that works will be the biggest challenge,” Lillard says, “and after that just a lot of learning curve to pick up in a short amount of time.”

Weather permitting, opening day at Eaglecrest is December 3rd. Snow is building up, with about 7 inches at the base and 41 inches on top on Thursday.

Lillard answers to the city and the Eaglecrest Board of Directors, which sets ski area policy. The board has contracted with a local research firm and international ski area planning company to write a 20-year master plan to guide its decisions.

The first of two public meetings on the plan was held last week, and as KTOO reported, a random telephone survey shows hiking and biking trails and summer tourist attractions to be very important to the future of the area. The telephone survey questions are similar to a current online survey (skijuneau.com), which will be live until the end of November.  Click on the audio for more on the master plan study.

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