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Pitou named new director of Ski Utah

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Kip Pitou, former vice president of K2 Corporation and chief operating officer of PreSki and a former Park City resident, is the new executive director of Ski Utah.

The official announcement was made today by Bob Wheaton, president of Deer Valley, and Larry Jackstein, marketing director of Snowbird and head of the search committee."Kip will bring a vast amount of marketing expertise and experience with him," said Wheaton. "He has great insight into all different aspects of the ski industry. His presence will be welcome and I think we'll see some innovative direction to making Utah skiing more visible both nationally and internationally."

He replaces Mark Menlove, who resigned last month to return to school. Ski Utah is the marketing arm of the Utah ski industry. Last year, Utah recorded nearly 3 million skiers days at its 14 ski areas and contributed more than $500 million in direct revenue to the state.

Pitou says he sees great opportunity for Ski Utah to grow, "and get some of the recognition it has not had in the past, but should have. I have a lot of marketing experience both domestically and internationally. I intend to stop all this talk of Colorado Ski Country and focus on what we have in Utah. There's more opportunity here than most people realize.

"I think that living in Utah, we get sort of a myopic view. We don't realize what a great thing we have. I think you've got to go outside and take a look back to really appreciate it. This is a unique place and people living here don't always recognize that."

He said that with the Olympics and the growing market, he wants to make sure that Ski Utah plays a prominent role. "And what this position needs is someone who can get in and mix it up to see that it happens."

Pitou came to Utah in 1983 as executive vice president and COO of Kastle USA, which distributed Kastle alpine and cross country skis and Kastle bikes.

When he took the position, Kastle was selling fewer than 300 skis in the local market and fewer than 30,000 in the United States (eighth in the market).

In 1989, Kastle sold more than 80,000 skis (fifth in the market) and more than 3,000 pairs locally.

When the company was sold in 1991, he joined K2 ski company and took over the marketing of Pre Ski from its Park City headquarters. Under his direction ski sales went from 28,000 to more than 40,000 domestically and more than 20,000 internationally.

In 1994, he became president and COO of K2 Bike Inc. in Vermont. Under his direction, sales jumped from $15 million to more than $40 million.

Before joining the ski industry, Pitou was with Beconta Inc., a $100 million firm involved in the sporting goods industry, for nearly 20 years.

Pitou, who currently lives in Seattle, will return to Utah in early July with his wife, Abby. His sister, Penny Pitou, is a two-time silver medalist for the U.S. in downhill and giant slalom.