Columbia Valley Origins: Pontus Carlsson

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One fall day some years ago, Pontus Carlsson day tripped to a small ski hill outside of Stockholm, Sweden, his hometown. Get out of the city for a day. Remove himself from the humdrum torpor of working the nine-to-five life for a corporate non-profit. Work there came after a stint working in television production and, before that, recruiting at a human resources company – a job that his human resources degree got for him.

Age: 34

Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden

Occupation: Manager, Mountain Outfitters (Panorama Mountain Resort)

Columbia Valley arrival: December 2014

Hobbies: Golf (109 rounds played 2020), mountain-biking

Fateful was that trip out to the ski hill. A manager of a ski rental shop stepped outside just as Pontus was walking by and asked if he’d like a job. Flatly, Pontus said yes. Taking that job was the first step Pontus took toward reorganizing life on his terms. “It’s what started me on my path,” he said. For the next two years, Pontus cut his teeth working at that shop. “That job made me realize that being a part of the world of skiing could be more than just a hobby.”

But after two years, still, he was ready for something new. “I’d had a dream of returning to Canada to be a part of its ski industry.” His first experience skiing in Canada was a winter spent as a Whistler ski bum. A winter in Whistler the root of his Canadian ski dream. “That was when Whistler was pre-Olympics, pre-Vail, pre-all of that. Incredible experience.” Pontus started looking for jobs in Canada.

Soon Pontus found a company that made their business setting up people with working-holiday visas around the world. Through that company, Pontus was directed toward a job fair. At that job fair, he met Adam Hopper, a representative from an interior B.C. ski resort called Panorama Mountain Resort. “I told Adam that I wanted to work with skis and learn everything there was to know about tuning them and so on.” It was then Pontus first heard of a burly old Swiss guy who’d been doing it for a while up at Panorama. He goes by the name of Peter Lustenburger. A worthy teacher, Pontus was told.

A couple of weeks later, Panorama got back to him. You’re hired. “There were ten or twelve of us from Sweden who all got Panorama jobs that winter.” They flew out together. “We had a few days in Vancouver then hopped on an eastbound Greyhound.” At six in the morning, the bus rolled into Golden. The sun was rising, and it was Pontus’ first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. “I thought to myself, holy this is rad!” In Lusti’s (the former name of Mountain Outfitters), Pontus found exactly his kind of ski shop. “The whole vibe, the spirit was special. At Lusti’s, at Panorama, there was such a tight community. Everyone was there for the same reason: to enjoy the mountains.” In 2018, Pontus took the managerial reins from Lusti.

James Rose, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer

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