After more than 40 years at Leitner-Poma of America, Rick Spear is stepping away from his role as president. Daren Cole, a 25 year ski industry veteran, will lead the company’s next phase of growth. Over his decades with the company, Spear was integral in transferring ownership and moving the North American headquarters from Vermont to Grand Junction, Colorado. “It is time to move over and let younger minds and bodies take over,” said Spear. “In total agreement with ownership I am scaling back and will be actively involved in strategic aspects of the company as a member of the board of directors with a focus on urban ropeway opportunities. I know that I am leaving LPOA in good hands. Daren has shown a level of dedication and leadership to the company that will successfully transition into the future.”
Cole joined Leitner-Poma in 2014 in business development and quickly added strategic planning to his roster. He has been responsible for sales strategy and process that has led to an increase in sales. Daren started his career at Purgatory as national sales manager and then was promoted to director of sales. He spent more than a decade with Vail Resorts in several sales and marketing positions. As vice president of sales and marketing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Cole increased skier visits by 10 percent, and both resort revenue and net promoter scores had double-digit increases. He then went on to lead Powderhorn Mountain Resort as general manager in charge of all resort operations. While running Powderhorn, he championed several key initiatives to impact the resort’s bottom line including a new point of sale system, a guest service training program as well as a new website and focus on social media.
“I am honored to take the helm and serve our customers and our employees at Leitner-Poma,” said Cole. “The right equipment for the right job is the exact solution we provide. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff is unrivaled in the industry and I look forward to working with them to continue to move our company forward.”
Leitner-Poma of America is the North American subsidiary of Poma S.A. of Voreppe, France and a sister company of Leitner AG with headquarters in Sterzing, Italy. Last year was one of the firm’s strongest ever in North America and included the debut of three groundbreaking DirectDrive lifts at Copper Mountain and Winter Park Resort. Leitner-Poma is already off to another packed summer building new lifts across the United States and Canada.
On a personal note, Daren was an early and ardent supporter of mine as I grew this website and I am grateful for his help. I wish Daren and the entire LPOA team success as they enter this new chapter.
The biennial Interalpin conference kicked off today in Innsbruck, Austria with alpine technology brands showcasing their latest and greatest to customers. I am just following from afar but this year’s show is already proving to be monumental with major new products and initiatives being unveiled.
Leitner launched a redefined 2S gondola which is being positioned as an economical middle ground between a monocable lift and a 3S. The reimagined bicable gondola utilizes standard monocable drive components, tensioning systems and cabins but with a single track rope added. This allows lifts to traverse much longer spans with more cabins than a standard gondola system.
The terminals are of modular design with the exterior designed by Pininfarina. A new carriage utilizes synthetic rollers and takes cues from the popular LPA grip. On the lattice-style towers, sheaves are isolated for vibration dampening and track ropes rest on synthetic profiles. Leitner has also developed a new system for track rope slipping which it calls “simple, safe and time saving.” I find this product exciting as 3S gondolas are simply too expensive for many operators, as evidenced by their complete lack of adoption in the United States.
Leitner also showed off its next generation premium chair called Evo. It comes with three bubble color options, three bar styles and two different kinds of upholstered seats.