Former Steamboat Ski Resort President Chris Diamond died Thursday at 76 years old |

Former Steamboat Ski Resort President Chris Diamond died Thursday at 76 years old

Diamond led the resort for 17 years, later writing a book about his 40-year career in the ski industry

Chris Diamond, former president of Steamboat Ski Area, died on Thursday, Jan. 12 at the age of 76.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Chris Diamond, the president of Steamboat Ski Resort for 17 years before he retired in 2015, died on Thursday, Jan. 12, according to the Yampa Valley Funeral Home. He was 76 years old.

Ski Area Management Magazine reported the cause of death was pancreatic cancer.

According to newspaper archives, Diamond never set out to run ski resorts. He told the Steamboat Pilot & Today following his retirement that “it just happened that way.” After starting out as a bartender in Vermont, Diamond spent most of his career in the ski industry, eventually ending it in Ski Town, U.S.A., two years after the resort’s 50th anniversary.

“We embarked on this journey for the love of the sport and Champagne Powder Snow,” Diamond wrote in a 2013 column thanking the community for its contributions to the resort over its history.

Certain he would be drafted during the Vietnam War, Diamond enrolled in a Reserve Officer Training Corps program at UMass Amherst, allowing him some control over his destiny. He was told to report to active duty just before Christmas in 1969, but that was postponed.

That allowed him to break into the ski business with his first job writing news releases for Killington Ski Area in Vermont for $25 a day and a free ski pass. He came to Steamboat Springs in 1999 when the resort changed ownership.

During his time at the helm, the Steamboat Grand was built, but the resort also went through a series of financial troubles that led to selling off property around the base area.

However, his leadership is also credited for significant changes at the resort, including installing the ski area’s first six-pack chairlift in 2007, completely changing the experience of Gondola Square in 2011, the addition of Four Points Lodge in 2013, among others.

After his retirement, Diamond would go on to write two books about his 40-plus years in the ski industry, the first titled “Ski Inc.,” chronicling the failed sale of the resort in 2002 and other highlights. He was eventually inducted in to the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame in 2017.

“From the first visionaries such as Jim Temple and John Fetcher to local powderhounds pressing glass on a special day, the passion and joy for skiing/riding and for this community keeps taking us to new heights,” Diamond wrote in the column. “Anything is possible in Steamboat.”

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.