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Sun Valley Appoints Australian to Head Mountain Operations
Peter Stearns has helped oversea the forest health initiative on Bald Mountain, in addition to other duties.
Tuesday, July 26, 2022


James Grant has been named the new director of Mountain Operations for Sun Valley Resort, succeeding longtime Mountain Operations director Peter Stearns.

Stearns will be transitioning into a new role as Mountain Strategic Advisor at Sun Valley Resort, taking the lead on mountain capital projects. He will also mentor Grant as Grant assumes responsibility for day-to-day mountain operations, including Snowmaking, Grooming, Ski Patrol Lift Operations and Maintenance, Mountain Vehicle Maintenance and Dollar Mountain.

Grant comes to Sun Valley from Heavenly Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe where he was vice president of Mountain Operations since 2012. Before that, he was director of lift operations. He has more than three decades of mountain experience.

Pete Sonntag, Sun Valley’s vice president and general manager, praised Grant’s extraordinary service to guests as he promoted him while at Heavenly. And he indicated he expects the same for Sun Valley.

“James brings such a wealth of knowledge and expertise in not only the ski industry and in operations but also in guest experience and supporting the local community,” said Sonntag. “I feel honored to be able to work alongside him again, in an industry that we both feel so personally passionate about and connected to and at a resort known for its distinctive and special qualities. I know he’ll work hard to create the best possible experience for our employees, guests and community.”

Grant was born and raised in Australia’s capital city of Canberra. He studied at the University of New South Wales in Sydney before taking his first ski industry job as a lift operator at Mount Blue Cow, Australia, in the early 1990s. He moved to Heavenly as a lift operator in the 1992-93 season.

He and his wife Allison have a daughter Teagan and son Cameron.

Grant said he looks forward to joining Sun Valley Resort—ranked America’s top ski resort by SKI Magazine two years in a row--and the Sun Valley community come Oct. 3, 2022.

“I'm excited to join the team at Sun Valley Resort, a resort that embodies the best of the ski and outdoor industries,” he said. “I was lucky enough to work with Pete Sonntag during my time at Heavenly, and to be working alongside him and the Sun Valley Resort mountain and leadership team is a dream come true.”


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