Salt of the Mountain
Greg Goddard & Jen Karnan
As many of you know, Gunstock just celebrated our 80th Anniversary in 2017. It was a huge milestone for us, and we're proud to be one of the oldest mountain resorts in New England and in the United States. We couldn't have done it without the tireless effort of numerous people, and we're infinitely grateful for the folks who have contributed to our growth and success over these eight fun-filled decades. Among our current staff here at the mountain, there are many individuals who have been here for ten years, twenty years, and some even for thirty plus years. We're a tight-knit group here and view our workplace more like our home, and our staff more like our family. That being said, when we lose one of our own, the pain reverberates all over the mountain. In the case of this particular loss, we are collectively devastated.
Our Operations Director, Doug Irving, was viewed by many as the heart, soul, and backbone of Gunstock Mountain Resort. He solved problems, put ideas into motion, supported our progress, oversaw planning and development, and kept things running smoothly. Some of us would giggle when he referred to himself as "Office Doug" over the radio, because he was rarely ever in his office, but rather popping up where needed at various locations on and off the mountain.
We could construct a huge list of the contributions Doug has made to Gunstock's success over the course of his long tenure here, but that amount of data would probably require a spreadsheet. Instead, our General Manager, Greg Goddard, would like to share a few words about his friend:
"The Gunstock family suffered a devastating loss yesterday with the unexpected passing of Doug Irving, our Director of Operations. Doug had been with the resort for over 44 years, and lived, breathed and bled Gunstock that whole time. Doug had a hand in all the improvements to lifts, trails, buildings, snowmaking and base lands since the early 1980s. He was a tireless advocate for the resort and its guests, and had an unmatched passion for his work. He was an outstanding role model, mentor and coach for countless managers who worked for him. He was firm but fair, serious but fun-loving, tenacious but tender-hearted. He knew every inch of Gunstock like the back of his hand. We spent many a night together fixing things before the guests got here the next day, and I know he spent many more without my company. Day or night, weekend or holiday, it didn’t matter to Doug. If the resort needed him, he was there.
He was equally passionate about his family and his friends. He was deeply devoted to his life partner Debbie, his two sons, Debbie’s kids and especially his grandchildren. I had the pleasure of watching his two boys grow up into fine men in their own right. I also had the privilege of knowing his mom and dad, and over the years I’ve gotten to know his siblings and their families. It was obvious their family ties were strong and deep.
Doug loved Gunstock for everything it was (absent the politics, which he couldn’t abide). He was especially committed to being a good land steward. He worked closely with the Belknap County Conservation District, the Belknap Range Trail Tenders, and numerous other naturalists and environmentalists to protect the beautiful landscapes, vistas, streams, woodlands and wetlands which make Gunstock such a special place. He was highly regarded by officials at the many state and local authorities he dealt with on a daily basis.
Mostly, Doug was just a great guy. He had a huge heart and a warm soul. He was truly one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable. It would be impossible to have a better friend than Doug. He will be sorely missed but fondly remembered by all of us."
In this time of loss, we'd like to remind everyone to hug your loved ones, or give them a call to remind them that they're loved. Ponder the short time we have here on Earth and make the most of it by having a blast. Get outside and enjoy nature, and take care of it like you would take care of yourself. Help others, be kind, and leave things better than you found them. In short, live like Doug.