C. Joseph O’Brien – President & Director
You can call him Joey. Everybody does. When it comes to alpine resort experience, Joey’s résumé is like a triple black diamond run…totally unsurpassed. Even as a child he gained significant resort development experience at the knee of his father, Chuck O’Brien, who developed Keppock Mountain and purchased Ski Martock in Nova Scotia. At 19 – an age when most ski bums are oblivious to a future beyond the next snowfall – Joey bought Ski Martock from his Dad. With 250% growth in the first year and 150% in the second, he and his staff of 270+ launched it into the modern era. A skier through and through, Joey has always been on the lookout for bigger, more exhilarating challenges. In 2003, he sold Martock to his key staff and carved a new path as COO of Alpine Canada Alpin in 2004-05. For four years after that, he pursued his passion for coaching at the grassroots level as an FIS and then K1 (age 11-12) and Kinder Program Director for the FAST Ski Race Club (formerly the Fortress Ski and Snowboard Club).
Equipped with many senior level certifications ranging from CSIA Level 4 to CSCF Level 3, Joey has served as an alpine industry consultant as well as an expert for insurance companies and plaintiffs. He’s a graduate of the Ski Area Operations program at Humber College.
Chris Chevalier – Director of Mountain Operations & Maintenance
Sure, he had humble beginnings as a gondola operator in 1980. But with amazing leadership skills on his side, Chris gained rapid prominence in the ski industry in Canada and New Zealand, and it wasn’t long before he was Mountain & Risk Manager at Sunshine Village – one of Canada’s largest alpine resorts. During his 30 years in the business, Chris played a key leadership role that proved instrumental to Sunshine’s success. People at all levels of federal and provincial government know Chris as a stand-up guy…a man of his word and a man of action, adept at navigating the development process with real integrity. He’s also been behind many successful initiatives aimed at mitigating risk and keeping guests and employees safe. Ask any of his staff about Chris and they’ll tell you he’s inflexibly dedicated to their well-being. Theirs and everyone else’s. To Fortress, Chris brings a wealth of insight, contacts and operational expertise in resort planning, development and operations.
Chris Mueller – Snow Services Manager
At 18, Chris kicked off his ski industry career as a lift operator at Sunshine Village. That was 1995. Within a year he’d worked his way into a supervisory position, which he held for five years. In that time, he became involved in developing Sunshine’s Terrain Park program and in grooming. In 2000, Chris left Sunshine to start a tour company called Giddy Goat Adventures specializing in multi-day, multi-resort ski programs plus other charter, custom hiking and biking programs. Seven years later he returned to Sunshine to operate snow-grooming equipment and develop and expand the snowmaking program. A graduate of Selkirk College’s Resort Risk Management program, Chris also spent two seasons as a senior snowmaker at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Rowan Harper – Snow Safety Director
After 25+ years in avalanche public safety programs, Rowan is no stranger to resort and terrain development challenges. As a young ski patroller in the early ’90s, he was chosen to assist with transitioning avalanche program responsibilities from Parks Canada to Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay. After this, Rowan started supervising snow safety programs and heli-skiing operations throughout New Zealand. Other highlights of Rowan’s colourful career: working with the World Free Skiing Championships in Alaska and developing the concept of free ride terrain at resorts. Rowan has also worked with one of the world’s premier avalanche consulting companies. Rowan was Alberta’s first level 3 avalanche forecaster.
Jonathan MacInnes – Snow Services
Hailing from Scotland, Johnny first came to Alberta in 2001 on a family vacation. He Immediately fell in love with the mountains. In 2007 he finally returned to the Bow Valley to begin his career as a lift operator at Sunshine Village. He quickly worked his way up to a supervisory role after 2 years. He is now gearing up for his sixth winter in the Canadian Rockies. With an aptitude for learning he can not wait for another winter working along side his esteemed colleagues.