Interview with Marilyn Stinson, Chief of World Cup Volunteers

Marilyn 2013 World CupMarilyn Stinson is Deer Valley’s Tour and Travel International Marketing Manager. Yet before, during and just after the annual FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup, she becomes the Chief of Volunteers for this acclaimed sporting event. Marilyn has been assigned to that event position since 1999. During that period of time, she has gone through one Olympic Games, two World Championships and every single World Cup event. Currently, she is responsible for around 220 volunteers without whom the event wouldn’t be possible.

What is your main role in this position?

My main role is signing up the volunteers and putting them in their appropriate area of expertise. This represents a lot of preparation before the event and some constant coordination as the competitions unfold. It carries on until the festivities are over, into the tear-down of the hill that is conducted jointly by our volunteers and Deer Valley’s staff.

How do go about recruiting volunteers?

They seem to come to me directly. I don’t need to do much recruiting. We built a great database of those interested in volunteering from the 2002 Olympic games. Volunteers seem to enjoy the Deer Valley experience. In fact, we have a wait-list of people who want to volunteer with us for next year’s World Cup.

So is there more than your nice smile and your pleasant personality to attract these volunteers?

I hope that’s part of it (chuckling…), but I think we want to make sure the volunteers are respected and know that their time is very important to us, in making that important event happen.

What makes a good volunteer?

Someone who’s timely, has a great personality, is always positive, has a flexible schedule and likes Deer Valley Resort.

So if I wanted to be a volunteer, what qualities would you be looking for?

Where I always seem to be short is for most on-hill positions, that includes our mogul and aerial events. I definitely look for someone who is a strong skier, capable of getting down the steep mogul course, or who doesn’t have a problem chopping the hill on the aerial course. But also important is somebody that is positive and happy!

So you need someone with strong legs and arms?

Good legs, good arms and a good smile!

Marilyn Hard at WorkBut, you’re not just doing the job of Chief of Volunteers all year round; what’s your regular position at Deer Valley?

My full-time title is Tour and Travel International Marketing Manager for Deer Valley Resort.

That’s a lot of hats to wear!

Yes, but we have a great team at the marketing department and we all step-up when it comes to World Cup!

Do you learn things during your World Cup job that you can apply to your normal position?

It’s a totally different activity for me; it’s essentially making sure that our volunteers are assigned, checked-in, in the right place, fed and are all happy!

Do you look at the World Cup as a break from your normal routine?

I wouldn’t call it a break.  It’s a change, because while doing the volunteer position, I’m also still doing my regular job.

So you’re doubling up?

I am doubling up!

Are there skills that you use in your regular job that you can transfer into the Chief of Volunteer position?

Yes. I think it’s mostly working together and enjoying the friendship that develops over the years with all the volunteers, many of whom have been with us since the beginning. It becomes an on-going relationship. Everyone knows what to do, when to be there and the whole process seems to flow easier and smoother, year after year.

2174_63757777058_1146_nWho are your volunteers, where do they come from?

Our volunteers come from all walks of life. Some are retired, some are military personnel from Hill Air Force Base. Others drive from as far as Ogden or Provo, year after year, day after day. Sometimes they show up at Snow Park Lodge at 6 a.m. to volunteer following over an hour of driving. Especially with the snowy weather we experienced just before this year’s events, it puts them through the test of being an unflinching volunteer!

Now, what do the athletes think about this World Cup event?

They really love to come to Deer Valley Resort. They’ve always told us that Deer Valley is the best stop on the Freestyle World Cup circuit and they’re so appreciative of our volunteers. With our team of volunteers, there’s no drama, and everyone makes the event happen in the Deer Valley way and the Deer Valley style.

Now that the Word Cup is over, how would you assess this year’s event?

The events this year went very smoothly. We, once again, had great volunteers who have been with us for many years and are all of them are greatly experienced. We had a volunteer thank-you dinner to recognize all of them.  We’re already thinking about next year!