How did you end up in Aspen?
When I finished grad school, I got a job with an adventure course provider in their training department. When they ran out of work for me, I got an installation job which brought me here to Snowmass to help build the canopy tour. My boss at the time told me that Aspen had an opening with the Lost Forest. One week later, I had the job at Snowmass.
What do you tell your friends that you do for work?
I am a Course Manager for the Lost Forest aerial department. I handle any maintenance issues on the challenge course as well as guest relations. I can usually be found setting up guests for success at the Lost Forest HQ. Winter presents a lot more activities. I run the coaster, the indoor Limelight climbing wall, and the tubing hill. I also assist at the ski corrals, help people on buses, help run picnics and coordinate employee parties.
What is your favorite part of the job?
It’s awesome how everyone hangs out; you have friends rather than just co-workers. I love that people come visit me on their vacation. I have a fun job, and if it’s ever not fun, we make it fun. If we’re stressed out, we’ll go ride the coaster or rock climb. There’s also a major bike trail network here, so I’m starting to get into mountain biking, too. We recreate for work!
What do you find most challenging about your job?
Overall, trying to keep summer and winter tasks separate. The two jobs are very different, but they are still connected. I’ve got to stay on-top of my own work while keeping guest service tasks organized, and keep my team members in the right place to help guests.
What skills or characteristics would you think your job requires?
You’ve got to be able to pay close attention to detail and be organized. It’s good to be approachable and relaxed for the guest to deliver the best service, but you also need to know when to be firm. You need to know our different products and prices to enable the best experience for our guests.
What makes Aspen unique?
I would say that although Aspen is a big company, it does not have a corporate environment. It is fairly easy to move up within your department, and our products are expanding which provides even more opportunity. I’ve seen folks that just got hired on as an attendant this year, and they are already going to be a lead this winter. If you’ve got the right skills and show that you want to progress, you can move up. All the managers are very approachable and understanding; they are always going to make time for you.
I also really love that on any given day, there’s something going on in the valley. If there’s not an event in Snowmass, then there’s something happening in Aspen or somewhere down valley. It’s a recreation capital and that's what really brought me here.
How do you make living and working in the Roaring Fork Valley work?
Employee housing helps a lot; the housing lottery system can make it much easier to get access to affordable housing to buy. Also, the bus system is incredible, a free bus from Snowmass to Aspen, and just a few more dollars to get down valley. I rode the bus the entire winter.
Our guide wage is twice as much as what guides were making back home in Pennsylvania. Granted, our course is one of the most difficult courses to run in the country, but we’ve got the tools to be successful. The wage is very liveable and taking advantage of employee housing in Aspen is the way to go; I have my own room and I don’t feel like I’m in a dorm. Health insurance is really nice to have; it wasn’t offered at my previous employers so I have year-round benefits which is new for me. Our pro deals are awesome, too! I’ve gotten tons of clothes and camping gear. Now I take the few hour trip out to go camping in Moab, Utah.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career or a season in Aspen?
Go for it! This place makes me really happy. If you’re not happy with where you’re at, then you should definitely change it. Out of all the places I’ve traveled to in my previous work, this is the place that kept me. It’s definitely not just the job that keeps me here. I mean, the job is a big portion of it, and working with these guys is awesome, but there is just so much stuff to do, it's impossible to be bored here.
Aspen Skiing Company is a great place to start a career, and if you’re comfortable living in the valley, then you can turn that into a lifetime career.
What makes you proud to work at Aspen Skiing Company?
I’m proud of the Give a Flake campaign that we do. I like that we fearlessly pick a cause and roll with it. Aspen is also one of the most accepting places I’ve ever been to, and they are willing to work with you. If you put in effort, managers and coworkers will help you with whatever you need. The management here is very supportive and they encourage us to be ourselves.