When Jessica Milligan came to the Tetons from New York in 1996, she began working as Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s retail director. She is now the resort’s vice president and chief of product sales and services.
“The resort looked a lot different then,” Milligan says. “We operated out of a multipurpose room in a run-down building at the base of the Bridger Gondola.”
Today, she manages and develops the resort’s ancillary activities and operations, working closely with Bill Schreiber, director of engineering and planning.
“We are always scheming,” she says. “Our owners have a strong vision, and Bill and I have fun helping make it happen.”
Their newest project is the new Solitude Station. The 13,000-square-foot, family-focused space will recreate the beginner experience.
“Coming to Jackson is a badge of honor for many,” she says. “We are trying to attract the adventurous family, which is the fastest growing demographic in the ski industry.”
Milligan believes the resort is at a crucial point in its evolution since fulfilling its master plan. With an eye to the future, she envisions the expansion of the popular Casper Restaurant and the summer Via Ferrata, as well as the potential installation of a zip line from the top of the Bridger Gondola to the base.
While she spends her days planning mountain development, Milligan hasn’t always lived among high peaks. Originally from the Midwest, she met her husband, Corey, in the dining hall her freshman year at Miami University in Ohio. After a number of years where she worked as the resort’s retail director, the family migrated to Ventura, California, for a time while she was opening stores for Patagonia.
“I felt a pull back to Jackson when we had our daughter Ruby,” she says. “The community is hard to replicate. I was fortunate to walk right back into the job I left.”
Since moving to Jackson, the three Milligan kids have grown up skiing at recess and serving as product testers for new resort additions. Ruby, 14, and Buck, 12, are Nordic skiers with the Jackson Hole Ski Club, while 10-year-old Lucas is an Alpine racer. All three kids are also avid whitewater kayakers. They are also happy to help out by trying new resort experiences.
“My kids model for resort photo shoots. Lucas did the drop tower 150 times once,” she laughs.
Milligan also gets outside whenever she can, and she’s dedicated to getting out on the slopes.
“There is nothing better than a ski day,” she says. “It’s my favorite thing to do with my family.