Who Are The Unsung Heroes of Ski Resorts?

Riley McDonald | | Industry NewsIndustry News


ski lift
Ski Resort, picture: Holly Mandarich

Who are the unrecognized heroes of ski resorts? The votes are in! According to 183 Facebook comments on the SnowBrains Facebook page in response to the question: “Who are the unsung heroes at a ski resort?” there are three close finishers. The top three unsung heroes all finished within a couple of points of each other: Lift Maintenance, Lift Ops, and Patrollers.

And the winner is…Patrollers! Ski Patrollers were voted to be the unsung heroes at a ski resort by one point. However, if you deduct points for the few comments claiming Patrollers to be the villains, then Lift Maintenance/Mechanics take the gold! Also, let’s not forget the very close fourth-place finisher: Snowmakers. 

ski patroller
Ski Patroller hard at work, picture: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Facebook

Without any of these departments, the resort would simply not run. Lifty’s ensure you make it on and off the chair safely, which is a much more important job than you may think. They answer the majority of the tourist’s questions and take a lot of blame for things out of their control. Lift Mechanics are the reason you have never had to hike up the ski run; anytime something goes wrong lift mechanics will be there to save the day. They are one of the few resort employees that work year-round to ensure the best experience for the guests. 

Snowmakers are the reason the resort can open. Without man-made snow, the majority of seasons would start well after our expected ski season kickoff. These snowmakers work tirelessly around the clock to blow snow and distribute it around the mountain.

snow blower
Snow Blowing, picture: Deer Valley Resort Facebook

Patrollers, the unsung heroes, are dedicated to guest safety. While you may think they are a hindrance and the “cops of the mountain,” they go through extensive training for weeks before the resort opens to make the mountain as safe as possible. Typically, patrollers go to EMT school or certify in Outdoor Emergency Care at a minimum. Many resorts’ avalanche mitigation teams are Ski Patrollers, and Ski Patrollers are the ones who come to the rescue no matter how unique or dynamic the emergency is. 

All Mountain Ops teams are heroes of the mountain. All mountain operation jobs are there to serve the guest, their tireless work makes the resort come together. They are expected to work as much as mother nature demands; this includes obscenely early mornings for the employees whenever there is snow or excessive wind. Remember to be kind to your local mountain operations team, they do more for you than you know!

lifty's at snow basin
Lifty’s getting ready for work, picture: Snow Basin Resort Facebook

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