It’s in his nature – A Profile of Craig Panarisi
By Courtney DiFiore
If there’s a Richter scale for adventure, you’ll find Craig Panarisi registering an 11. But what Stratton’s vice president of mountain operations loves just as much as dropping into the next chute or gliding off the highest peak is sharing great outdoor experiences ranging from mellow to the extreme.
With a passion for the outdoors instilled at a young age, Panarisi grew up loving nature. “My grandfather enjoyed trout fishing and taught me everything he knew about fish and their secret underwater lives,” recalls Panarisi. He went on to talk about his increasing curiosity and need to share personal experiences with others. “From there, my passion exploded and I began working as a backcountry ski guide, ski instructor and white water river guide,” shares Panarisi.
He jump started his career teaching telemark skiing at Purgatory Resort in Southern Colorado. Quickly he began jumping through the ranks of PSIA, eventually reaching level 3 a few years later. It’s no surprise that Panarisi then became an Examiner and successfully made the National Team where he went on to travel and work with amazing people worldwide. “It was on this team that I gained a tremendous amount of experience,” says Panarisi, “I traveled to nearly every skiing nation in the world to learn, share and shape the future of ski instructions.” While he has traveled the world in search of fresh powder, elusive trout, wind and water, Panarisi feeds his need for adventure from his southern Vermont home base.
“Like any great mountain town, Stratton has the lifestyle that most envy. Outdoor based, healthy food straight from the farm and sincere friends and neighbors,” explains Panarisi. Claiming to be opposite of a ‘gym guy,’ Panarisi says he focuses on a destination to keep him in shape. “A destination can be anything you want. Hiking to the summit of Stratton can be your destination. Some destinations take serious planning, fitness and execution to make a reality. I enjoy them all.”
With plenty of experience under his belt, Panarisi is definitely someone to learn from. Filling his free time with activities like paragliding, fly fishing and mountain biking, Panarisi finds joy in adrenaline claiming “every day is an adventure.”