Photography

Adam M. Sutner

October 5, 1960 ~ April 4, 2022 (age 61)

Obituary

Adam Morris Sutner, 61, died of a heart attack on April 4 at the Crystal Mountain ski area in Washington, where he was vice president of business development, skier services and sales and marketing.

He was born on Oct. 5, 1960 in Brooklyn, N.Y. His late parents, Charlotte and Robert F. Sutner, took him shortly after his birth to Mexico City, where the family was living at the time before moving to Vancouver, Montreal and then New Jersey.

Adam lived and worked overseas in the advertising and tech business in Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Paris, Tokyo and Melbourne. He also lived and worked in advertising and the ski industry in New York City, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and in Vail, Colo., Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Greenwater, Wash.

He lived the life he wanted to live. 

He was widely known for working hard and being a leader in the ski industry profession he loved, often starting work before dawn.

Adam loved French Martinis, fast cars and motorcycles, high-speed skiing, music, reading literature and non-fiction, wok cooking, James Bond and art heist caper movies and smoking his beloved cigarillos. He was an ardent fan of international soccer and rugby.

He liked to pick up and drop off at the airport the steady stream of visitors who he accommodated, with utmost hospitality, at his various well-appointed homes. He collected watches, fine art and mid-century modern furniture and accessories.

He was a witty storyteller, entertaining family and friends with tales of his lifelong travels and adventures. He had an acerbic sense of humor and keen intellect. 

Adam traveled regularly for work to Mexico in recent decades. He spoke Spanish and admired and collected Mexican art.

After a few decades in advertising in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia, he switched careers and moved into the outdoor sports world as a top marketing executive at Minnesota-based Polaris Industries, a snowmobile and ATV manufacturer.

Adam quickly became expert in marketing outdoor sports. After four years at Polaris, he went to work at Vail Mountain in Colorado as sales and marketing director of the iconic resort.

At Vail, he brought big-name pop bands to various winter outdoor venues in and around historic Vail Village, something he was proud of and he loved producing live music.

After nearly four years at the resort, Adam opened his own marketing strategy consultancy and spent a year marketing the town of Vail and Snowshoe Mountain ski resort in West Virginia, among other clients.

In 2013 he became chief marketing officer at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming. He helped transform the famous ski mountain and backcountry adventure sports mecca into a prestigious international destination with innovative marketing strategies including alliances with other elite ski areas.

At Jackson Hole he founded the annual Rendezvous Spring Festival, bringing top-flight music acts to the town square in Jackson that attracted thousands of revelers.

He moved to Washington in 2019 to work at Crystal Mountain. At Crystal, the largest ski area in the state and owned by Colorado-based Alterra Mountain Co., he had recently received a promotion in which he assumed responsibility for sales and marketing in addition to his business development duties.

At Crystal, Adam worked closely with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, planning and administering with Louie Ungaro, a Muckleshoot tribal council member and chairman of the Tribal School Commission, an educational program for Muckleshoot students from fifth grade to high school. 

Adam taught regular classes about marketing to Muckleshoot students and established a dedicated yurt at the base of the ski area that serves as the tribe’s schoolhouse and campus at the mountain, which is located on the flanks of Mount Rainier and is part of the Muckleshoots’ usual and accustomed hunting and fishing territory.

He also was a key architect of and instrumental in administering Crystal’s nationally recognized and successful bus transportation program designed to reduce traffic and congestion to counteract the negative environmental effects of automobiles in the region. 

Even as a top executive, Adam regularly loaded Crystal’s buses in a public parking lot in Enumclaw, the nearest big town, in the Seattle suburbs, and pitched in directing traffic and shoveling snow in Crystal’s busy parking lots.

Adam was a stellar youth and college athlete. He was starting goaltender for Division 1 and Ivy League NCAA soccer teams at University of Connecticut and Columbia University, from which he graduated with a degree in art history.

He was an avid and fearless skier, and owned a condo in Chamonix, France for many years.

He was a devoted uncle and kept in close contact and visited regularly over the years with his surviving siblings -- Arianne Sutner of Portland, Ore., Joshua Sutner of Vail, Colo., and Shaun Sutner of Worcester, Mass. -- and their families.

He also leaves his beloved niece, Josie John of Norman, Okla.; and beloved nephews Samuel Sutner of Jersey City, N.J.; and Bix and Errol Brotherton of Portland, Ore.

We who loved him will miss him like mad.

The family asks those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to the Feed Seven Generations tribal food sovereignty nonprofit organization for an education scholarship fund in Adam’s name. 

Feed Seven Generations, P.O. Box 1165, Enumclaw, WA 98022

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