Guests come to Okemo for skiing and riding and we work hard to provide the best experience possible. The sun comes up, the lifts get turned on, the snow is groomed and presto, guests are skiing. While it is great if it all works that way, there are many moving parts before any one takes “First Chair” and can head out to the slopes. In an effort to give you an understanding of what happens, here is an example of an overview of 24 hours.
Grooming has been going on for 2 hours. There are normally 5-6 snowcats on the slopes who are mountain tilling and power tilling. On a normal day, the grooming will begin in Solitude and get Jackson Gore done and then head towards the middle of the mountain. Late shift Lift maintenance is taking care of lift issues from the day or doing mid-winter annual checks.
Night Manager Brian Boudro has arrived and is having his nightly phone call with Mountain Manager Eb Kinney. Discussion centers on what is happening around the mountain and anything special that needs to be done during the night. Brian, as the Night Manager, will coordinate the grooming & snowmaking and handle snow removal, lost people, fire alarms and just about anything else. If it snows and the parking lot is plowed when you get to Okemo, it is probably because of Brian.
Snowmaking Manager Ray Kennedy is probably calling his night foreman “Junior” to check on what is going on before Ray goes to bed. Many Okemo managers will check in on their operations during their off time to make sure things are going OK. It is a real team mentality to make the guest experience the best possible on the mountain.
Overnight groomers and snowmakers arrive and punch in. They will meet with the 2nd shift or “3pm” groomers and take over where they left off. If the night is normal, then the overnight team will groom from Nor’easter to South Face. Many nights are not normal and the grooming routine will be different. Snowmakers will do the same thing and get the game plan. There may be some gun moving, as well as shutting down and moving to a new trail during the night.
Water operations Supervisor Rod Miller arrives. He will begin testing of the Okemo potable water systems, perform routine maintenance as well as check all the Okemo water well stations around the resort.
The day shift staff and managers begin to arrive. This includes lift operations supervisors, mountain managers, snowmaking management, ski patrol, lift maintenance, lift electricians, terrain park, facilities operation, shuttle operations, road maintenance, vehicle mechancis and others. Snowmobiles are started, trucks get moving and the day operation begins to wake up.
Night Manager Brian Boudro heads home after putting in his day.
Overnight groomers are back at the maintenance shop, have refueled snowcats, and have had their daily conversation with the snowcat mechanics on any issues they had last night.
Ski patrol has looked at all the trails, lift maintenance is riding their lifts (every chairlift is ridden every day), and skiing and riding is happening.
Water operations supervisor heads home.
Noon snowmakers shift have arrived and are debriefing the midnight shift. Gun locations are discussed, trails for night snowmaking are talked about and any issues are put on the board.
Afternoon grooming shift arrives and heads out on the slopes. Night facilities maintenance arrives and reviews issues with the day crew. The night facilities guys will be responsible for maintenance at the Jackson Gore Inn, Okemo facilities and many condo units.
Ski patrol begins sweep of the trails. Toboggans are put away, ropes coiled and bamboo markers put to the side of the trail.
The night cleaning staff begins working in the base lodges as well as begin to unload the food and beverage product and prepare it for transport by snowcat to the summit lodge and sugar house.
The day comes to an end for lift operations supervisors, mountain managers, snowmaking management, ski patrol, lift maintenance, lift electricians, terrain park, facilities operation, shuttle operations, road maintenance, vehicle mechanics and others. Snowmobiles are put away, trucks parked and the day operation wraps up for the day.
So there you have it, a quick overview of what goes on during a 24 hour period at Okemo. It is because of the above mentioned staff as well as so many others that the skiing and grooming is top notch, the lifts operate and are maintained, the trails are patrolled and the facilities operate.
The entire Okemo staff have been working hard to deal with the challenges this year and try to outsmart mother nature. Hopefully you, our guests have realized this effort and have not been impacted too much. Snowmaking continues as we are heading into February. Thanks for your support.
As always thanks for skiing and riding with us. If you want to follow what is going on from my desk, follow me on twitter @okemogm
See you on the slopes.