At work with...Gary J. DeFrange
Waking up to a bear on the deck, a yard full of fresh powder and a workday that includes hitting the slopes suits Gary DeFrange just fine. In 1997, DeFrange left his job in finance to head the City and County of Denver's only ski property, Winter Park Resort—a change that means he visits the slopes 80 to 90 days a season. “Sometimes it just makes sense to take the chairlift to a meeting or ski down the slopes to view the guests and their experiences, which is what it is all about—the experience,” he says. His work reminds him of growing up, when he helped out on his cousin’s farm. “Working on a farm is a lot like running a mountain. The grooming machines are giant tractors, and both industries are labor-intensive, capital-intensive, and both are certainly weather-dependent.” No doubt DeFrange will continue to find pleasure and purpose in one of Colorado’s most fabulous playgrounds.
“Both my parents were musicians, and I learned music theory at an early age. I started a swing band at age 19, The Gary DeFrange Combo, and although the band no longer exists, I still play the accordion for my own enjoyment.”
“Years ago I heard about a program at Winter Park Resort where you can volunteer to teach blind children to ski. Joining this program as a volunteer transformed my life and rearranged my career goals. I now also serve on the board of the National Sports Center for the Disabled.”
“I have always been a ‘car guy’. My favorite trips are over Berthoud Pass. I know owning two corvettes is pretty impractical, as I can only drive them a few months of the year, so they get pampered for six to seven months in my garage.”
“The Fraser Valley has incredible golf courses, and any day on the green, no matter what the score, is a beautiful day to me.”