Building Back with Greater Purpose
Building Back with Greater Purpose, Honoring the Legacy of Passed Sierra Family Member John Paul Beran, Director Mountain Operations
It was quiet on the mountain. The lightness of the air suddenly felt very heavy.
General Manager John Rice sat quietly at the Upper Shop. He gathered the operations crew — who were just coming off another victory of accomplishing their next major milestone, and told the team, “I know we have asked a lot of you. Each one of you has been challenged and asked to rise to the occasion which you all have. I am going to ask you to rise again.”
On July 12, 2022, we got a call that no one expected. John Paul Beran, leader, father, mentor, local business owner, and a member of our Sierra-at-Tahoe family suddenly and unexpectedly, passed away.
Paul was a driving force in the growth, culture, and success of the resort, dedicating over 25 years to Sierra. Starting as a parking attendant, Paul’s magnetic personality, passionate drive and natural leadership skills excelled him quickly to higher positions — from zone boss to supervisor and eventually the Director of Mountain Operations for the last 15 years.
No one loved the mountain more or knew it better than Paul. It was his home, his haven and playground and he did everything to protect it. When the Caldor Fire threatened Sierra, Paul was one the last people defending her to prepare for the flames, and before the smoke had even begun to clear, he was the first person to return, to begin putting her back together. Seeing the destruction in the aftermath of the fire was jarring. Many felt fear, loss, extreme sadness, and uncertainty for the future. But Paul saw it differently.
“I remember standing next to Paul, crying the first time I laid eyes on our beloved mountain, and he stood there with a gleam in his eyes and that big ol’ smile on his face,” Katie Hunter, Director Marketing and Sales at Sierra-at-Tahoe recalls. She asked him, "What could possibly have you grinning?” With such child-like excitement, he said “Discovery.” He paused to look around “We get to discover our favorite place all over again — just imagine the showboating on a pow day with those on the chairlifts getting a front row view, new lines, clear landings. Chin up, we’ve got this.”
Paul was the type of leader who led not from the front, not the back, but right in the middle. He embodied compassion, humility, tenacity, and teamwork — a shining example of the values we strive to live by at Sierra. He loved to share in the experiences and stories of our guests. Many of you likely hitched a chairlift ride and were greeted with insider tips and tricks, a fist bump or high five and an invitation take a lap with the man who knew every inch of Sierra. His passion for people, his crew and skiing went hand in hand, and he has laid the groundwork for us to bring his grand plans to fruition.
Hunter continued, "Reopening the “new” Sierra was already my most prudent responsibility, but now, it’s personal – it has even more significance and purpose than ever before. This is for my Paul, my friend, my inspiration — to finish what he started.”
The greatest service we can do in Paul’s honor is to make his vision a reality, a place just waiting to be discovered, again. It’s for you, our loyal guests, it’s for Paul and his family, and it’s for all of us at Sierra, Paul’s extended family. Where first-timers explore and long-time passholders rediscover Sierra in a whole new way. And to do it, as Paul would have. With an ear-to-ear smile, an adventurous heart, a sharing spirit and a never-ending love for sliding on snow.
Never forgotten, in our hearts forever.