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The PR Maven Podcast

The PR Maven® Podcast is the combination of traditional networking techniques combined with the power of social media to build your personal and professional brand. The podcast features interviews with industry leaders, top executives, media personalities and online influencers about public relations and their personal brand. Each week, Nancy connects with a special guest to talk about their career, and business or organization, as well as the latest news and events that will give listeners a unique perspective on the world of public relations, marketing and personal branding, including actionable takeaways.

Mar 5, 2024

In this episode, Karl Strand shares the path his career has taken to become the general manager at Sugarloaf. Karl explains how his parents’ love of restaurants led him to a career in food and beverage operations, which also led him back to Sugarloaf, where he discovered his love of skiing in his younger years. After working his way up, Karl became the general manager at Sugarloaf. Nancy and Karl reminisce and share stories as well as talk about the powerful Sugarloaf brand and community. Karl also talks about plans for the future.  

00:00 Introducing Guest: Karl Strand  

01:45 Introduction to the PR Maven Podcast 

02:46 How Karl’s Parents’ Love of Restaurants Led to His Career Path 

06:25 The Benefits of a Well-Rounded Background in a Leadership Position  

07:32 The Sugarloaf Community 

12:14 How To Engage Audiences of All Ages 

14:22 The Legend of Paul Shipper 

17:05 Sugarloaf’s Powerful Brand Symbol  

23:35 Instilling Company Values in Employees 

30:10 The Values of Surveys for Decision-Making 

33:12 Sugarloaf’s 2030 Plan  

39:00 Helpful Resources 


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About Karl  

After graduating from Bryant University, Karl Strand entered the lodging industry and soon discovered his passion for food and beverage operations. This led him to work in fine dining venues in nearly every region of the United States, and toward his completion of studies at the Culinary Institute of America. Karl began his career at Sugarloaf and Sunday River in 2004 when he was hired as Vice President of Lodging and Property Management for both resorts. He has held a leading role in managing key segments of Sugarloaf and Sunday River's operations. In April 2015, Karl was promoted to the position of Sugarloaf’s general manager.  


Bonus Q&A 

1. Tell us about your expansion plans on West Mountain and where you stand in the process currently. 

Bucksaw Express and the West Mountain Trails opened on February 16, 2024. The ribbon cutting and opening to date have been a tremendous success with lots of positive feedback. The addition of nine new trails and a high-speed quad increases our capacity and helps spread out the number of guests we can accommodate both in terms of trails and lift lines. It’s notably the largest single-year terrain expansion done in the East, at least since the 1970s.  

The new zone provides opportunities for future growth, including summer weddings at Bullwinkle’s and real estate development. 

All trails as part of the West Mountain Expansion were intentionally designed for those who like to cruise and keep it mellow. All are green circle terrain except two, so it bodes well for families and those just learning to ski or for those that prefer easier terrain It’s unlike anything we have at Sugarloaf and changes the way we ski/ride our mountain.  


2. What is it about Sugarloaf that continues to draw more and more skiers and snowboarders every year? 

Community. The community and varied terrain It’s a real skiers mountain, and with the addition of West Mountain, we truly have it all.  From above tree line skiing to now wide-open mellow cruisers, Sugarloaf has the opportunity to attract even more people here and keep them coming back.


3. What events do you have planned for 2024 that you are most excited about? 

Resort activations have been building off the excitement and success of our annual Spring Reggae Festival by adding new events like EDM (Electric Dance Music) in January, Fire on the Mountain, a weekend totally dedicated to Grateful Dead music in February and now, adding a Country Music Weekend to the line-up in March.  This year's Country Music Weekend will be completely free all weekend long.  

A once-in-a-lifetime event is coming right up with Sugarloaf being right in the path of the solar eclipse. We are anticipating an influx of Sugarloafers and first-time visitors, so we are planning a weekend full of music and events during the first-ever Sugarloaf SkiClipse, taking place from April 5-8, 2024 Sugarloaf will be in the path of totality on Monday, April 8th at approximately 3:30 p.m. It’s going to be unreal and an event not to be missed.     

In May, we kick things off with our annual Sugarloaf Marathon which is a Boston Marathon qualifier, then head right into the summer as we welcome back the International XTERRA running event over Labor Day Weekend.  We’ll have plenty of mountain biking and golf activities as well, so be sure to check out for the growing calendar of events.  

Lastly, as I previously mentioned, as part of the West Mountain Expansion we are also exploring the next phase of real estate offerings. We’re looking forward to helping more and more Sugarloafers build the home of their dreams and settle here in the Carrabassett Valley.