Some call Mammoth Mountain West General Manager Pam Murphy cantankerous. Her boss, CEO Rusty Gregory, says she's "ballsier than any guy I know." Murphy, shown with the California resort's Wooly Mammoth, punched tickets here in 1973. Today, she oversees operations for the $33 million resort¿and is the only female GM of a major ski area in America.
Born September 14, 1953 (age 47)
The First Time "I learned to ski in Mammoth. We had 10 kids in our family, and 'patient' is not a word I would put near my dad's name. He would just point us downhill until we hit something and stopped. You know¿the liftline, other people, whatever. It was just chaos."
The Firing Line "After high school I started working for the U.S. Forest Service as a fire-prevention technician. In the early Seventies, women weren't on firelines. They drove buses, set up tents, stuff like that. But I had the same training as the 'Hot Shot' crew. There was a big fire, and I went. When I came home, I was surrounded by the media. I was 19, a tall, thin, blonde girl. They said I was the first woman on a fireline in California. Once I got over the surprise of that much attention, it intrigued me. It was a big part of my life learning."
Mammoth Challenges "Resort founder Dave McCoy is so forward-thinking, but in the past he just didn't believe we needed to market. He'd much rather have built a chairlift. And Mammoth was a male-dominated, operations-driven company. They thought if they added more chairlifts or groomed better, people would come. For a long time it was three steps forward, two steps back to get management to focus on training and service, on working with the employees and listening to the guests."
On Being Cantankerous "If I believe in something, I can be pretty darn ornery until I get others to believe, too. Maybe in my other career I should have been a minister!"
Rage Against The Machine "I'm proud of my ability to get the management team to look at things differently and to be open to change. It says a ton for Dave and Rusty that they've been supportive of this woman GM talking to them about guests vs. machines."
Value Added "Women bring a lot to the front line because they look at things with a totally different eye. And in two years I've been able to have an impact. Our scores have gone up in friendliness, service, quality and atmosphere. Rusty and company were brilliant to take the chance."