SHERIDAN — It’s been a long road working toward reopening the Antelope Butte Mountain Recreation Area, with efforts coming from a broad spectrum of volunteers, board members and community. Now, with the finish line in sight, the nonprofit behind the reopening effort will lose a piece of itself.
Antelope Butte Executive Director and Ski-EO Andrew Gast announced Monday his resignation, noting that Friday will be his last day working full time with the organization. Gast will be joining his wife in the Pacific Northwest, where she recently accepted a promotion.
“It just came down to what was best for my family and what was best for me,” Gast said.”But putting your heart and soul into something for a couple years — it wasn’t an easy choice.”
According to a press release, after volunteering with the foundation for about a year, Gast came on as the organization’s first employee in 2015. He helped lead Antelope Butte to its current ownership standing as well as the rebranding of Antelope Butte Mountain Recreation Area.
Gast launched the Bighorn Mountain Brewfest, adding it to the nonprofit’s repertoire of events, which have seen high attendance. Gast’s efforts also helped to double proceeds during the second annual Ullr Ball last month.
Gast said that while details are still being worked out, he’ll stay on short-term with the organization, doing behind-the-scenes work and then consulting as needed.
“We were really lucky with Andrew,” Antelope Butte Foundation President Mark Weitz said. “He came on as a volunteer and just happened to have this great mix of both business skills and recreations skills.”
Weitz said that the board hasn’t discussed hiring a new executive director yet, but he thinks ABF will eventually need someone to lead. If it comes time for that, they won’t be hiring just anyone. He said they’ll be looking for someone not only qualified, but also someone with the sort of passion Gast brought to the job.
Weitz also recognized Gast’s other efforts in the community. Gast was chosen to serve on Gov. Matt Mead’s Outdoor Recreation Task Force last fall and has made connections in the recreation industry on a national level.
Gast said he’s not worried about the board making the transition with his departure.
He noted that with repairs started on the lodge and fundraising in the works the change shouldn’t affect Antelope Butte’s planned opening this year.
While it is difficult to know the opening of what his sons refer to as “daddy’s mountain” is within reach, Gast said he’s happy Antelope Butte will still be there to benefit the rest of the community.
“It all came down to the reason I got involved was because of my kids,” Gast said. “I think that hasn’t changed, it’s about giving people who live in Sheridan a chance to learn skiing or learn mountain biking or taking advantage of the mountains.
“So even though my kids won’t be able to take advantage of it because we’ll be someplace else, I think it’s still incredibly important because the kids and the folks that live here kind of need that asset.”