2015 Ski Season Goal Setting

Athletes set goals. Not just high-level generic goals but specific, measurable, relevant goals with a quantifiable deadline. They may implement the “Kaizen” practice of continuous improvement; significant results can come from many small changes accumulated over time.

However, the problem is that my goals didn’t seem to fit in the traditional goal setting model and certainly not using the term “athlete.”  You see, this season I don’t particularly want to shave off any time. I am perfectly content to enjoy my nice easy turns on the beautifully groomed runs at Deer Valley Resort.

I simply love skiing at Deer Valley. Don’t get me wrong, I have set goals the past three seasons of my serious skiing career (I was a beginner in 2012.) Now if a run has a blue square next to it, I am on it!

This year, enjoyment is the only goal I can think of.  Well unless you count “skiing as often as I can.”  Anything wrong with that? I don’t think so.

Athletes set goals and I completely respect that, but I am wondering if this year I should simply set enjoyment and happiness as my ski goals?

Seems perfectly reasonable to me.  If I did set some happiness targets, these would be on my list:

  • Eat more Turkey Chili – not all at one sitting. “Eat Turkey Chili more often” would be how I should word it180 Deer Valley Turkey Chili
  • Sit on “The Beach” at Silver Lake Lodge while basking in the sun with a beverage in my hand more often
  • Enjoy each one of Deer Valley’s restaurants (not all in one day of course)3
  • Ski with a beginner
  • Ski with an 80+ year old
  • Try out new Rossignol skis at the Yurt at Empire Lodge
  • Enjoy S’mores at the Montage and pet Monty the Bernese Mountain dog
  • Invite more friends to ski with me
  • Wear my ski pants to Mass on Sunday mornings and then go directly to Snow Park Lodge
  • Put on my Ibex or Smartwool layers and ski when its 5 degrees outside so I can experience the frozen air sparkling like diamonds from the lift
  • Take more selfies and post them with #SkiTheDifference on social media2
  • Sign up for the Women’s Weekend with a friend who has similar ability
  • Ski backwards
  • Listen to more music during Aprés Ski on the upper deck at Snow Park Lodge
  • Stand on top of (and ski down) Little Baldy, Bald Eagle, Bald Mountain, Flagstaff, Lady Morgan, and Empire mountains all in one day
  • Ask a mountain host to map out a “suggested ski day” for me based on my ability4
  • Take the hosted ski tour with other intermediate skiers
  • And so on…

What do you think of my goals for the season?  Any additional happiness suggestions? What are your goals for the 2015 winter ski season? Let me know on Twitter @Nancy_MoneyDiva or @Deer_Valley.

If you are more serious about setting goals than I am, here is a resource for goal setting from the U.S. Olympic Training Center; Setting Smart Goals – resource  U.S. Olympic Training Tips for Athletes and Kankyo Kaizen Starter Kit – Simpleology

Bryan Almond’s Deer Valley Difference

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Bryan is another first year staff member working as an assistant in the Human Resources Department. Until recently he was a member of the Utah Opera and has performed all over the world. He is also one of a select pair of Deer Valley male employees who come to work daily, wearing some form of neck-wear. Bryan distinguishes himself by wearing a bow-tie!

JF: Bryan, what was you occupation before joining Deer Valley Resort?

Bryan: I was performing with the Utah Opera and was also working for the Marriott Hotel Corporation while attending Medical School. I dropped out of Medical School because I found out that it wasn’t really for me. I did a lot of searching and concluded that I wanted to be involved with people, that I needed to use all my customer service and hospitality experience and found that Human Resources was probably the best bet for me. I started looking for some internship or entry level experience involved with human resources and that’s what landed me at Deer Valley Resort.

JF: How was your experience as an Opera Singer?

Bryan: I was raised in an Air Force Military family so I grew up moving all the time as a kid. Before I went to college, I actually visited India; you see, travel is in my blood. Then I went to school to be a music teacher. In order to get my scholarship, I had to take private lessons of some kind and eventually interviewed with the Chicago Symphony and, much of my surprise, was accepted as the youngest person in their chorus. That’s where my singing career took off and from there, I did internship, composition, conducting and I ended up in Germany for a while.

JF: What did you like about singing?

Bryan: I liked that I was good at it [chuckle]! It’s something that came naturally to me and because I traveled so much as a kid, it wasn’t difficult for me to move around, so people and travel where the areas I enjoyed most, more so than simply performing.

JF: And what didn’t you like?

Bryan: Opera singing is a very unstable profession, especially if I wanted to stay in the United States. Unlike Europe, there isn’t a great need for Opera appreciation in America, it’s more of a status thing. It also got to a point when I became tired of traveling, just because I had being doing it for so long. I had it with my romantic bohemian experience!

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JF: What put you in contact with Deer Valley?

Bryan: I was looking for an entry-level human resources type job, because I was working on my professional certification and that experience was something I needed. I searched all over the places in the hospitality industry and the Deer Valley opportunity got my attention, I applied and obtained the position!

JF: What attracted you to Human Resources?

Bryan: People! I really like people, I like to help others, I like to be of service.

JF: What did you do with Marriott?

Bryan: I worked in the front office, worked at the front desk, checking in guests, working the phones, doing errands for special people, solving problems nonstop!

JF: Where did you live when you heard about the Deer Valley opportunity?

Bryan: Salt Lake City. I sill live there. Yet, at first, I wasn’t sure about the commute. This wasn’t the most convenient location for me, and in actuality, I had never set foot in Deer Valley before the first day I came to work. No one had ever met me in person!

JF: So, you were hired, sight unseen?

Bryan: You could say that.

JF: That’s amazing! Did you have a Skype interview?

Bryan: No. We just did everything over the phone!

JF: You must have sounded perfectly right; congratulations!

Bryan: Thank you!

JF: How much did you know about the ski industry prior to taking that job? Were you a skier?

Bryan: I didn’t know much about the ski industry but I skied a lot while I was in Seattle getting my Masters.

JF: What are your day-to-day job responsibilities?

Bryan: I aid in the hiring process, I help new hires get oriented, I help with employee appreciation programs, all day, I answer the phone and questions about the various positions or the benefits. It never stops. I never had to memorize so many names in my entire life!

JF: When you got on board, what were you expecting?

Bryan: Even though the position was a bit different than what I had imagined, I liked what I found. I definitely found that HR was the right place for me, I didn’t expect the position to be as busy as it is though, but this is because we’re seasonal, yet the job is very enjoyable, I work with a great group of people who makes it fun!

JF: What kind of welcome and support did you receive from your co-workers?

Bryan: From day one it was so different from the other jobs I had before. It was overwhelming in a good way, everyone wanted to help, and all made me feel comfortable. Everyone was also so approachable. My birthday was soon after I stated working, so they made me a cake and it made feel so welcome!

JF: What are the most important things you’ve picked up since you’ve been working with Deer Valley?

Bryan: That there was a big difference between helping guests and helping my fellow employees. Since I’m mostly in contact with our staff, I sometimes have to say “no” to some of their requests. “No” had never been a part of my professional vocabulary and I have found this adjustment a bit difficult.

JF: Since you’re now fully immersed within the Human Resources Department, what would you say are the key qualities required from those who wish to work at Deer Valley?

Bryan: I think they definitely have to want to be here! I don’t ski, so I’m not here for the snow, but I like the experience, the environment and my co-workers are the main reason for me to want to be here.

JF: When you hire people, what are you looking for?

Bryan: Usually you can tell if someone is willing to learn or if they enjoy learning, but I would say that having the right attitude is the most essential quality!

JF: So, Bryan, now that we know more about you and your remarkable career path, what in your view makes the Deer Valley Difference?

Bryan: Part of the Deer Valley difference is helping our guests but it’s also helping each other. The position I’m in focuses on the “helping each other” aspect. Deer Valley is extremely supportive of its employees, there are many of people who have an “open office policy” and in my daily work, we’re constantly working on employee appreciation programs, adding policies on how to improve benefits, to make everyone fully appreciated, and to keep on nurturing a wonderful group of people!

 

The Snow Alchemists

When you tell friends about your Deer Valley ski vacation and before you start explaining the resort famed “corduroy”, nine times out of ten, they’ll ask you: “How was the snow?”  Today, I’m spending a few moments with Scott Enos, Deer Valley Resort Snowmaking Manager, one of these experts, with a quarter of a century experience in producing man-made snow that  guarantees a unique ski experience.

JF: Before we explore the key role you play at Deer Valley, tell me, why do we need man-made snow in the first place?

Scott Enos: Man-made snow is not necessarily the snow you want to ski on, look at it as a “primer.” It’s a base layer upon which we accumulate natural snow by starting from a safe base, covering rocks, twigs and terrain irregularities. Once this layer is in place, our ski season is secured.

JF: What does it take to make snow?

Scott Enos: It takes lots of water and obviously, huge amounts of electrical power, because our snow guns all run on electricity. So with all that water, compressed air and the right temperature and humidity, you can make snow.

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JF: But how do you actually turn water into snow?

Scott Enos: You need a snow gun and we have two types of them. The first type is called “fan gun” and is used on the lower part of the mountain. It has a barrel with a large, 25 HP fan inside; this creates a column of air into which we inject water. To “seed” that water, there’s also a 10 HP compressor that transforms the mixture of air and water into a plume that turns into snow as soon as it hits the frigid air.

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JF: What’s your second type of snow gun?

Scott Enos: It’s a compressed air system that directly mixes water and compressed air. We connect it to our slope-side hydrants and both elements are mixed inside a nozzle that blows snow on the ski run.

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JF: Are all ski runs receiving the same depth of snow?

Scott Enos: Years of observation and experience, slope grade and traffic patterns define how we lay the snow. Steeper pitches, sun exposure, high skier traffic and terminal areas generally require deeper coverage than average slopes.

JF: What is the warmest temperature at which you can make snow?

Scott Enos: Technically speaking it’s 28 degree Fahrenheit. When we’re talking about snowmaking we refer to “wet-bulb temperature” which indicates the factor of humidity in the air, as opposed to “dry-bulb temperature” which is more like the actual temperature we measure. For instance when the wet-bulb temperature is 28, the dry-bulb temperature could be as high as 36 degrees. This means that high humidity conditions makes snow making less efficient.

JF: Are you saying that the output is greater when the weather is dryer and colder?

Scott Enos: Certainly! Here at Deer Valley we can pump 7,000 gallons of water per minute; which equates to about 10 million gallons per day. As the temperature decreases and the air remains dry, our volume increases to the point that we can’t move the equipment fast enough and have to reduce our water use.

JF: How has technology evolved over the past 25 years?

Scott Enos: Tremendously! Monitoring system used to be non-existent; today, we have multiple weather stations on the mountain that we monitor in real time and integrate automatically with our pumping system. Some of our fan guns are now fully automated and equipped with telemetry that allows us to control them through my office computer. Our new machines are also much more efficient; the new air-water guns have nothing in common with the old ones. Over that quarter-century it’s fair to say that our capacity to make snow has increased one hundred fold!

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JF: Early in the season, I see those big mounds of snow that you call “whales”, piled up on some runs, I often wonder “How can the snowmakers tell when they have made enough snow?” How do you measure your output?

Scott Enos: Sorry to disappoint you, but we don’t take any sophisticated measurements; Experience simply tell us “we’ve got enough snow!”

JF: Why do you let these big “whales” sit for some time before spreading them on the trail?

Scott Enos: We always let them sit for a while before we break them; they “cure,” so the excess water contained in them can fully drain out. We want snow that is consistent, without frozen water inside. We let them sit at least a day before the snow cat breaks them up and we’ll let that snow sit for another day. We take the time to make it right!

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JF: Let’s talk now about water, your main raw material. Can you tell us where your main storage facilities are on the mountain?

Scott Enos: We have several storage ponds. Three large ones are at Snow Park between the Deer Valley Plaza and our parking lots. Then, on Deer Crest, as you’re skiing down Jordanelle and pass the last bridge, you’ll see into the side of the hill a concrete station that pumps 25 millions gallons of water that we purchase from the Jordanelle Special Service District. This water comes from the Keetley mine before it’s cooled through a treatment plant, as it comes fairly warm from the ground. Finally, for the upper mountain, we have a reservoir that sits at 8,813 feet, by the Homeward Bound run. We buy this water from Park City and it also replenishes itself through the year.

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JF: So when environmentalists question the wisdom of using so much water for just making snow, how do you respond?

Scott Enos: We take water that runs in late fall and early winter and that can’t be used for say, agriculture. So, we take that water and conserve it under the form of snow so it can melt later, just like the rest of our mountain snow pack.

JF: Let’s now talk about your people, the ones who make all that snow…

Scott Enos: The snowmakers are an eclectic group of people. There’s 36 guys and girls and me!

JF: Is it all night work?

Scott Enos: More than that, it’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The crews work in teams, with a swing shift and a graveyard shift. The shifts start at 1 a.m. and at 1 p.m. They sign up for five days a week, weather permitting, and at any given time, we always have 12 to 14 snowmakers on duty on the mountain from the end of October through the end of January. When we’re done making snow, many crew members will be doing something else. Some are snow groomers, ski instructors, bakers or snow plow drivers, as snow-removal is another task our department handles.

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JF: What does it takes to work as a snowmaker?

Scott Enos: This type of work is physically demanding. The hours are long, the work is hard. These people have to deal with all kinds of adverse conditions; in fact, the tougher the conditions, the harder the work. It’s just remarkable that a large core group of people come back to us season after season!

JF: What do you do in summer?

Scott Enos: We prepare for the following snow season. We start implementing our capital improvements that are a yearly occurrence. Deer Valley is a resort that really understands the value of snowmaking and what it means to its guests. We strive yo make our slopes more fun to ski on, more user friendly and there is no end to our commitment to improve our guests’ experience. Good snow year or bad snow year, we keep on upgrading our systems, investing in our infrastructure that grows incrementally year after year.

JF: Since you’ve worked here 25 years, you’ve seen many different winters. Is there any relationship between natural snow and the quality of skiing?

Scott Enos: If you want to come out and ski the kind of groomed runs Deer Valley is famous for, even if it’s not a snow record breaking year, you’ll end up having a wonderful time. For instance, just now, the mountain is as good as it ever gets. We may not have knee-deep powder today, but it’s going to come soon anyway. I have a very good feeling about that!

The ever Evolving Face of Rental Equipment.

ToddDainesThis interview with Todd Daines, Rental Manager at Deer Valley Resort, sheds a new light on the new array of options made available to skiers and families who are considering renting their equipment.

 

 

 

JF: How long have you been renting ski equipment, Todd, and how have you seen this activity evolve over the years?

Todd Daines: I’ve been here for 31 years in Deer Valley. I’ve seen quantum changes in terms of ski shapes, lengths, composite materials and of course performance! Predictably, at the same time, I’ve seen our rental activity grow exponentially with the resort and as our rental equipment has gotten better and better!

JF: As you are gearing up for a new ski season, are you renewing your fleet of rental equipment?

Todd Daines: New is the name of the game with us, as we change our equipment every year. We have five categories of skis that we renew either yearly or bi-yearly. As a full-line Rossignol shop, we focus on their Premier products which are the high-end Rossignol skis and boots, with something for everyone, from Junior to Adult!

JF: So, what’s new this winter?

Todd Daines: Skis continue to improve in terms of shapes and construction materials. The new ski that will probably be the most popular this year, the one that’s also the most versatile, is the Rossignol Soul 7, we have those in our Premier line.

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JF: Let’s say, that I’m a skier who loves groomed runs, what ski do you have for me?

Todd Daines: I’d get you on the Rossignol Pursuit. It’s a wonderful ski for making large, arcing turns!

JF: The buzz today seems to be all about “rocker skis;” what do you have in this category?

Todd Daines: The rocker technology is build into almost all of the skis that we offer, here at Deer Valley. Some are more extreme than others in terms of the shape they take while some are more qualified for different type of skiing; for instance, we have rocker skis more geared towards groomed runs, other for tree skiing and of course, powder snow.

JF: Do you offer gender-specific skis?

Todd Daines: We certainly do. We offer both women and men specific skis. When women skiers come in and want to try a lighter ski or something more suited to their style, we have it for them.

JF: What are the options for kids and juniors?

Todd Daines: We see kids coming to us at the age of two and a half, three years old, and we get these new skiers on ski length starting at 67 cm and into boots starting at size 7 that are just perfect for them. We have a full line of brand new Rossignol skis, boots and bindings that covers all needs from toddlers to teens, all the way to 140 or 150 cm skis.

JF: What happens if, during my stay, I needed to change gear, from say hard-pack skis to powder boards; is there a way I could switch?

Todd Daines: Most definitely, we have two locations on the mountain, you can just sneak into one of our shops and swap your skis for something that works better for you or the snow conditions at that time. There’s no additional charge to the customer, there may only be a short waiting time, but since we have all your information on file, you’ll be on your way before you know it!

JF: Besides skis, boots and poles, what else do you rent?

Todd Daines: We also rent helmets, of course, and those are designed to fit the smallest child the the full size adult!

JF: If I’ve never rented ski equipment with Deer Valley Resort before, what are my options?

Todd Daines: You can call in or register on line, give us or fill up the information and submit it to us. Depending on how early you make your reservation, you’ll be sent a bar-coded ticket, which contains all your information. Just bring it into one of our rental locations, you can bypass all the lines, go straight to your gear and you’ll be out of the door. If you didn’t have time to get your bar-coded information, you come in, we print out a small ticket, you receive your skis and boots and you’re done.

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 Deer Valley Rental Shop Website 

JF: How long does the process take?

Todd Daines: Since we have such a large fleet of equipment and so many fitting stations, the rental process can be as short as 5 minutes if you have your ticket ready. It might take you up to 15 to 20 minutes if you rent a new pair of boots and want them to fit you perfectly. If you’ve rented before with us, that time can be much shorter because we have your information on file. We also have what we call a “Grab and Ski”, where you can call in, give us all your information and agree to the size of the gear you want. Since it’s all preset, you just come in, okay your rental paperwork and you’re off the door. You only need to take one single step into the rental shop, you bypass all the lines and your skis are ready to go!

JF: So why should I rent skis from you instead of bringing my own equipment?

Todd Daines: It’s such an easy process! When you rent with us, you don’t have to worry about carrying your equipment ever. You can walk up to the shop in your tennis shoes, grab your gear, leave your shoes in the locker and slide on the snow. So once you’re here, you don’t have to leave the resort, you don’t have to call a room delivery service to come bring the gear to you in a van. We’ll take care of it all, right here!

JF: What do I do with my equipment at the end of the day?

Todd Daines: After you’re done with your ski day, you can leave your skis in the coral; likewise, you can leave the boots with us in our boot check. Then, you can then either go to your car, walk to your hotel or take the bus back to your condo. Today, with the breadth of inventory we offer and the kind of high performance equipment we have available, you can experience with us the latest technology in skis and boots and never have the need to purchase anything!

 

 

 

 

 

Heidi Voelker’s First Run of the Season.


Congratulations to our friendly neighbors celebrating their 50th year ski season, Park City Mountain Resort. Opening day was a great success and snow conditions were great. The excitement of locals and kids could be felt in the lift lines and all over the mountain! It was a wonderful way to start the season and ring in their 50th year. Bravo.

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You would think the night before opening day in my house would be a bit like hanging your stockings up on the mantle waiting for St. Nick. Not so much this year. There were no ski boots, ski pants or gloves by the door. Partially my fault for not getting them out of the winter storage, but of course I thought I could quickly do it the next morning in no time.  I’ve only been doing this 40 plus years. I assumed I could whip it together.

What I didn’t anticipate was that I had to whip it together for four people with the kid’s continuous negativity. The morning routine was all but routine. It started first thing in the morning with sighs of,

“Are we skiing today?”

“I don’t want white goggles.”

“I‘m not wearing my new warm-ups, they are too big.”

“I don’t like my new coat.”

“We need hand warmers.”

By this point my blood pressure was maxed out. I needed to get to the slopes. I instructed everyone into the car as nicely as I could, especially after I loaded four sets of skis and poles to the car.

We arrived to Park City Mountain Resort and took our first chairlift ride of the season. I pushed off, buckled my boots and made my first run. There’s something to be said once you let go and get the adrenaline going. I went back to my zen spot. For the rest of the day my blood pressure went back to normal, and I was able to enjoy watching everyone ski. I didn’t care if someone’s coat was too small or the color of goggles.

I did take time to remind the group that they were still behind me skiing. It was just my way of saying, “the morning departure wasn’t as I planned, but I’m still Mom and nothing has changed with skis on my feet.”

Now it is time to look forward to Deer Valley’s opening on Saturday, December 7th. My lesson has been learned. I will be more organized on Saturday. I have no choice, but to get everyone out of the door on time because it’s the Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest. I have to try and defend year after year racing the guys (Phil and Steve Mahre and Tommy Moe).

Also on Saturday, Stefan has tryouts for DEVO. Tim and Lucas will be at a lacrosse tournament with his 212 Park City team. We will need to rest up the night before, as I get to host Nicole Miller. Yes, the one and only Nicole Miller, my favorite designer. She and I might be able to exchange tips on skiing and fashion. How did this come about? My mom always told me ”if you can read and ask questions you can do anything”. My friend owns a store in Salt Lake City named JOLI and carries Nicole Miller. I knew Nicole was coming to the event so I simply asked her to come early to meet JOLI clientele and Nicole Miller agreed. I guess my mom was right.

Again, congratulations to Park City Mountain Resort. Thanks for making our first day of the season first–rate.

Now with only one day until Deer Valley opens, what are you doing to get ready for the ski season? Let me know your tips and tricks for getting ready for ski season in the comments below. Let’s hope for big snow, many ski days, and lots of smiling faces. I’ll see you on the slopes.

Leaving My Son in the Dust

Nancy and RickSons have a special bond with their mothers. Well, at least when they are little since when most kids enter high school they are embarrassed to be seen with their parents.  I remember begging my mother to park down the street when she picked me up from school so I didn’t have to be seen getting in the car with….gasp…my mother.  She refused, of course.  I dreaded the time when my kids didn’t want to be seen with me.

It didn’t happen in high school with my youngest son, Rick (now 23).  He seemed to actually like having me around. In fact, he would even dangle his arm over my shoulder at…gasp….the mall! I thought we had bypassed the “my mom is embarrassing” stage until he came home from college saying things like “You aren’t going to wear THAT, are you?”  I guess certain things are unavoidable in life.

We came full circle recently when he came to visit. He is now a college graduate and a contributing member of society. He is also a snowboarder but wanted to switch it up and ski with me at Deer Valley.  His last memory of me skiing was not a good one – it was well over a year ago when we first moved here and before all my lessons!  He even took embarrassing photos of me traversing back and forth across the run and falling since my technique was so poor. He and his brothers ditched me after one run.  Who could blame them?

Nancy Rick JayThis time was different.  He was on skis instead of his board and I had been practicing, taking lessons and attending clinics. He started off on the Wide West run using the “magic carpet” people mover to get his “ski legs” since it had been 12 years since he had been on skis. Once he had the basics down, we headed up the Carpenter Express chairlift to Success.

I planned on taking the Rosebud cut off since it would be a bit easier for him for his first run.  He didn’t see me and stayed on Success where the bottom is a tad steeper.  I caught up with him and as anticipated, he had some initial challenges and stopped halfway down.

This was my opportunity – one that rarely comes and I wasn’t going to lose it. You see, Rick is a good athlete, and I knew he would quickly pass me up.  I wanted to show off my hard work and newly found mad ski skills.  So I did what any self respecting mom would do — I executed a controlled sideways slide then an abrupt hockey stop spraying him in the process.

With a straight face, I said, “Let’s face it, I am better than you.”

Then I took off.

Nancy and Rick SPWe had a great laugh as he told the story to family and friends at Snow Park Lodge.  Rick and I skied the rest of the afternoon with my friend Michelle and in no time, he was skiing beautiful turns, enjoying himself and waving at me as he passed me by. His wave, however, was one of respect.

It takes hard work and determination to learn to ski especially when you start after age 50. To be able to spend the day skiing with my son and have him dangle his arm over my shoulder again is a wonderful feeling and definitely worth the effort.

Thank you, Deer Valley.

Peeking Into a Lift Operator’s Life

In any skier’s typical day, each chairlift or gondola ride always involves a Lift Operator. This key employee is constantly making sure that everyone is safe and well cared for. The constant interaction between Lift Operators and skiers has perked up my curiosity and prompted me to know more, and understand better, what motivates these seemingly tireless mountain workers.

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Late this season, one early morning, just before his shift, Kevin Combs, one of the many Deer Valley’s Lift Operators, took the time to listen to my questions and shone a rather enthusiastic light on his daily life:

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JF: How long have you been a lift operator?
Kevin: This actually is my first year.

JF: What was your occupation before that?
Kevin: I was a machinist, back east, in Massachusetts. I moved to Utah in November.

JF: How do you like working with Deer Valley Resort?
Kevin: It’s fun. It’s a great experience being here, lots of great people to work with, everyone has a smile on their face and always ready to serve our guests and makes sure everyone has a great experience, whether we’re talking about guests or fellow employees.

JF: Were you a skier before you came here?
Kevin: Oh, yes! I have been skiing since I was 12 years old.

JF: So, I guess you learned and skied in New England?
Kevin: Oh yeah, I skied the ice, which is something you have to learn on the East Coast. I can guarantee that it makes a good technical skier out of anyone who learns over there!

JF: How often to you get to ski?
Kevin: That’s what makes the job so exciting: I get to ski every day; whenever I get a break, I ski, it’s great!

JF: Even on your days off?
Kevin: You bet, I ski every day that I can, I wouldn’t miss a beat!

JF: Where, on the mountain, do you work?
Kevin: I am working out of Empire Canyon. I either work on Empire or Ruby Express chairlifts. I also help around on the mountain when another lift is short of people. I’ll rotate as needed.

JF: Since this was your first season, have you visited other Utah resorts?
Kevin: I’ve almost skied them all; the only ones I think I haven’t skied yet are Solitude, Powder Mountain and Snowbasin.

JF: When you’re skiing Deer Valley, what’s your favorite run?
Kevin: I’m into extreme skiing so I love to ski a lot around Lady Morgan, because of its great tree skiing and its cliffs. I’m particularly fond of Centennial Trees, and of course, I ski off Empire Express in places like Daly Bowl and all the surrounding Daly Chutes. When I happen to find an untouched area, I just “drop-in…”

JF: Are you skiing alone or with buddies?
Kevin: I do a lot of skiing by myself. This said, I have a lot of friends who ski with me; I do my own things in the morning, and then I hang with them in the afternoon because sometimes they can’t quite follow me. But I like to ski with everybody and together, we always have a great time; I guess that’s what skiing is all about!

JF: What would you say are the skills required to do your job well?
Kevin: Before anything, you need to be a great people person. You need to be concerned about skiers’ safety and comfort, especially those who are less advanced and aren’t always familiar with riding lifts. Sure, it also helps to know a little about things mechanical, the lift itself, because it’s a big piece of machinery. For instance I pay attention to noises that may come from the lift; with my mechanical background, I can alert Maintenance to a problem if there seems to be one. Of course, the job also demands that one is a decent skier so you can ski to and from work, can relate well to our guests and have a wonderful interaction with them.

JF: Does a healthy passion for skiing help?
Kevin: Oh yes, most definitely! If you work as a Lift Operator and are not really here for skiing, you miss out a lot. Of course you can take the job just for the love of the mountains, but a passion for skiing shows and makes all the difference. Working no longer feels like work!

JF: What would be your next professional goal with Deer Valley Resort?
Kevin: I’d probably love to move up to Ski Patrol, because I like to help people and be on skis. For me, being outside and helping people are the two main reasons why I love with my life at Deer Valley!

JF: If people reading this blog were interested in a position like yours, what kind of advice would you give them?
Kevin: Don’t be scared by the responsibilities and by all the impressive machinery; the work is totally doable. The training Deer Valley provides is great, everything is fluid, all the kinks have been purged, and of course, there’s all the skiing!

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JF: What will you do this summer?
Kevin: I’m planning to get a job with an online sport equipment supplier in the Salt Lake Valley. During my spare time, I also plan to mountain bike a lot here and around Moab!

JF: Sounds exciting! So, you’re looking forward to another winter season with Deer Valley Resort?
Kevin: I think so; I’m now convinced Deer Valley is the place to be. It’s a lot of fun here. We’re surrounded with lots of great, helpful people all the time. I’ve never had a bad day here, which is simply… amazing!