Opening day is easily the most anticipated day of the year for any snow enthusiast. The site of snow guns firing all over the mountain means the new season has finally arrived. What you don’t see is all the work put in by a number of people who get the resort open so you can snag that first chair of the year. On hill maintenance never seems to end, building improvements need to be made, season pass information needs to be processed, the kitchen needs to be prepped, and the list goes on. I could go on for hours if I listed everything that had to be done before the lifts started spinning, so I’ll just focus on the things that my departments are responsible for…

The rental shop, what did I get myself into? This is my first year working in a rental setting, so why not start out as manager and jump right in with little to no training. Solid, let’s do it. But, even with all the stress and learning from my mistakes, I’m absolutely loving it. Who would of thought I could get paid for working on skis and helping people enjoy the sport that I love so much? But back to my main point, the work needed to get done before we open. The biggest task in front of me and my guys is waxing, tuning, and testing EVERY single ski and snowboard in our shop. That’s about 400 pairs of skis and 110 snowboards, awesome. We’ve been at this for about a month now and we’re just getting a view of the finish line. Aside from this obviously huge chore, the shop needs to be cleaned up, fixed up, and painted. Seasonal rentals need to be set up and filed. Group preset rentals need to be put into a computer, organized, and filed. Staff needs to be hired and trained. Customer skis and boards need to be sharpened, waxed, mounted, and adjusted. Reps need to be contacted to update inventories. You might now see why I’m asking myself, “what did I get myself into?” I know, however, that all the work being put in before the season will be well worth it when we help the thousands of renters who will come to the ski area this season.

As for the terrain park, this is more of my comfort zone. I’ve been the terrain park manager at Togg for the past 4 seasons. I’ve been lucky enough to have a great group of guys who have helped me setup, change, and maintain the park every year. Without them practically volunteering their time year after year, Togg would not be able to lay claim to one of the best terrain parks in New York.  The biggest task for myself and the park crew is making, repairing, and prepping all the features that will be used in the park during the season. Every feature needs to be sanded and painted. Many need minor repairs such as welding, cutting, and re-skirting. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, many features need major repairs or complete rebuilds. On top of all this, you need to keep the park fresh with new features every season. Other pre-season tasks include maintenance on the park sound system, taking inventories on park signage and safety materials, and scheduling events and finding sponsors. Next year, we will be taking on a huge upgrade of our parks, moving the locations of the two current parks and adding three more! We’re really excited about the project, but the amount of work involved is insane. Hundreds of trees will be cut, earth will be moved, snowmaking will be upgraded, and the sound system has to be moved. Can’t wait for next summer! More info on this project will come in future posts…

All of this work comes together throughout the fall months so that the resort can open once the temperatures drop and the snow flies. Hopefully that gives you a little more of an idea about what goes on at a resort during the off months. So when you get to the mountain for your first day of the season, be sure to thank someone who worked hard to make that opening day possible. Good luck getting first chair, you’ll need it to beat me there! Cheers to the ‘09-’10 ski season!


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