No Snow Job
Envy Rob Katz. Not because, as a junior partner at private-equity firm Apollo Advisors in 1991, he was elected to his first board of directors seat before his 25th birthday. And not because, after a decade doing billions of dollars in deals for his first boss, the legendary financier Leon Black, Katz all but retired at age 36. He left New York City with his wife and two young sons soon after 9/11 and bought a big house in Boulder, Colo., where he spent much of the next four years indulging his passion for cycling.
Don't even begrudge him for returning to work last year when offered $1.4 million a year and a ski pass to become chief executive of Vail Resorts, the ski resort juggernaut where he previously served as lead director. Nor for the fact that, despite relocating the company's corporate headquarters from Vail to Broomfield, Colo. (near Denver), Katz logged 30 days on skis last winter and expects to do 40 this season.
No, envy the man who has everything he wants and can now stroll five blocks down the hill to sip a lusciously rich bowl of Italian ribbolita zuppa at restaurants like Jill's, at the swank new St. Julien Hotel & Spa.
"The only thing I was concerned about moving from New York to here was the food," says Katz, sinking his fork into two freshly grilled jumbo lump crab cakes bathed in tomatillo salsa verde, avocados, and chipotle aioli. "But that's solved itself."
Katz, soon to turn 40, would almost certainly have done better financially if he had stayed in New York. Indeed, just last month his former colleagues at Apollo scored $37 billion in acquisitions and opened a new $12 billion private-equity fund. Yet he remains sanguine about his life choice. "I've never looked back," he says.
This story appears in the January 29, 2007 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.