Meet Chris Sorensen, the new General Manager and Vice President of Keystone Resort

Keystone Resort’s new vice president and general manager Chris Sorensen is pictured on Tuesday, November 23.
Katie Young / Keystone Resort

Chris Sorensen, who was named Keystone Resort’s new vice president and general manager in May, started off from humble beginnings.

Sorensen began his professional career in a server cabinet in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, programming telephone switches for an insurance company. He also landed a part-time job at Best Buy, where he worked nights just so he could relieve his itch from interacting and communicating with people.

While doing both of these jobs, Sorensen came across an ad in one of Tulsa’s local newspapers that turned his life path 180 degrees.

“The ad showed a snowboarder jumping off a cliff saying, ‘Do you want to get paid to play?’ Said Sorensen. “And I immediately said, ‘Uh, yeah! Record me!'”

From there, Sorensen would attend a job fair at a Tulsa hotel, where he was exhibited at ski resorts across the country. He would eventually be offered a job to come to Keystone Resort to be a ski lift operator.

Sorensen decided to pack his bags and move on Thanksgiving Day in 2004 in order to settle in Summit County in time for his first day on December 4.

Sorensen said he initially came to work one season and was ready to change course if things didn’t go as planned. But after two weeks working at Keystone, Sorensen said he fell in love with the ski resort lifestyle.

“I remember calling my parents in Oklahoma and telling them, ‘I’m never going home, and I’m going to find a way to make this career a career,'” said Sorensen.

Sorensen had one goal in mind when he started at Keystone in 2004: he wanted to one day be vice president and general manager of the resort. Sorensen said he worked on this chimera by raising his hand to do anything and everything to see how the station was able to operate successfully.

After about five years, Sorensen realized that if he wanted to climb higher in the Vail Resorts system, he had to oversee part of Keystone’s revenue department in order to prove that he could manage the operations and systems of income. Sorensen had this opportunity when he became manager of piping and night operations for Keystone.

Sorensen liked the new position because it allowed him to be on top of the mountain, in the sun, facing Independence Bowl. But Sorensen was still eager to climb the corporate ladder.

In 2014 he moved to Breckenridge Ski Resort as Senior Director of EpicMix Photo, Customer Service and Digitization. Sorensen said his stint at Breckenridge was short-lived as he landed his first job as general manager of Vail Resorts in Mt. Brighton outside of Detroit the following year.

Sorensen moved in with his wife, whom he had met in Keystone, as well as his two new stepchildren.

After three years in Michigan, Sorensen and his family moved to Hastings, Minnesota to run the Afton Alps Ski Resort. He would only stay in that position for one season before being promoted again, this time to vice president of the Midwest region of Vail Resorts, which includes 10 resorts.

Then, in June of this year, Sorensen began his new leadership role at Keystone.

“Vail Resorts is delighted to welcome Chris Sorensen as the new vice president and general manager of Keystone Resort,” Keystone Resort spokesperson Loryn Roberson said at the time. “… Chris has a long history with Vail Resorts. He joined the company in 2004 as a Lift Operator at Keystone and quickly expressed his dream of one day becoming the Managing Director.

Sorensen said his latest title “came full circle” to the position he dreamed of 17 seasons ago.

“I am so proud of how this resort has developed since I left,” Sorensen said. “And being back in that role at the helm of this station where I started my career means the world to me.”

Sorensen said he returned to Summit County with essential new experience on how to interact with different cultures and build teams from scratch. This season, Sorensen said a lot of his energy and focus will be spent on family.

“The Keystone brand is family owned, and it will continue to be family owned,” Sorensen said. “We will continue to generate activations around the family skier. The overall vision is to continue making it the # 1 family resort in the world, adding a lift service terrain to increase uphill capacity and improve the employee experience.

Sorensen noted that Keystone is planning a big expansion to open next season that will allow families more access to explore the resort. The Bergman Bowl expansion will provide over 500 new lift-serviced acres with 15 trails to give visitors easier access to one of Sorensen’s favorite places on the mountain to explore.

Sorensen said Keystone is also expanding and developing its base area over the next three to four years.

Although Sorensen spends the majority of his time in meetings, he said he enjoys spending at least five days a week on the Hill to see the end product of the hard work and dedication of the employees.

Sorensen said he expects a strong ski season with visitors coming to get out and explore the mountain.

“Our expectations are that there will be a demand,” Sorensen said. “People will want to be here, they will want to go out, and we’re excited to be able to offer them a product to do that. Hope people have fun and laugh with their friends, family or themselves if they are powder dogs.


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