Beaver Creek dedicates run to beloved leader Gary Shimanowitz, who played a vital role in Breck’s Peak 6 expansion

John LaConte
Vail Daily
Gary Shimanowitz skiing as a young man.
Beaver Creek Resort/Courtesy image

For the 2022-23 season, the run formerly known as “Double Diamond” has a much more appropriate namesake.

The run will be called “Gary’s,” Beaver Creek announced Wednesday, in honor of Gary Shimanowitz, a 32-year veteran of Beaver Creek and Breckenridge ski areas who died in February.

Shimanowitz moved to Colorado at age 7, started skiing in junior high school, and started working for Beaver Creek in 1990 as a member of the ski patrol. He worked his way up through the company, moving to Breckenridge for eight years where he oversaw the Peak 6 expansion and became vice president of mountain operations before returning to Beaver Creek as vice president of operations.

Beaver Creek COO Nadia Guerriero said the naming of the run in Shimanowitz’s honor is a fitting tribute to his legacy. Guerriero, at Shimanowitz’s celebration of life in March, described Shimanowitz as her partner and teacher.

“Gary shared his kindness and humor, as well as his intelligence and motivation, with everyone at Breck,” she said. “And then in 2017 it was time for Gary to return home. He came back to Beaver Creek as the vice president of mountain operations and seemed right in his world. Gary loved Beaver Creek, and he poured his heart and soul into this mountain and this community.”

Guerriero was with Shimanowitz on the day of his death, a sudden and shocking event that rocked the foundation of Beaver Creek Resort during the 2021-22 season. Shimanowitz collapsed and died on Feb. 25 after his participation in the resort’s “First Tracks” early opening.

“From the moment he stepped onto the mountain as a diamond in the rough ski patroller, to his final moments skiing First Tracks, he loved his mountain, and he loved the people of his mountain,” said Shimanowitz’s sister, Sandy Krieski, at Shimanowitz’s celebration of life in March. “He was doing exactly what he wanted at a job, and getting paid for what he loved to do.”

Beaver Creek’s trail map for the 2022-23 season. The run formerly known as Double Diamond has been renamed “Gary’s.”
Courtesy image

Krieski also reminded attendees of something for which many in attendance fondly remembered Shimanowitz: “He had an interesting sense of humor sometimes,” she said.

In this way, Shimanowitz finds himself memorialized well, as the run Double Diamond was always something of a misnomer at Beaver Creek. The trail, located below Spruce Saddle Lodge alongside Addy’s and Helmut’s, is not a double diamond at all — rather it was a single diamond run on the map.

Nevertheless, the run was one of Shimanowitz’s favorites, Beaver Creek announced in the news release it issued Wednesday.

“Gary’s” won’t be open on Beaver Creek’s Opening Day Nov. 23, Beaver Creek confirmed on Wednesday, but when it is open, a dedication event will be held on the newly renamed run for Shimanowitz’s friends, family and loved ones.  

“We hope every guest who visits Beaver Creek and skis this run feels Gary’s spirit,” Guerriero said.

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