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Management side of the industry......I need a guidance counselor

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hey everybody-

I'm nearing the end of my collegiate run and reality is about to become painfully obvious (sigh)....what to do? So many options, such tight competition...I could go on forever.

I've been facinated with the ski industry ever since I was 4 years old. I love to ski, I love to teach, I love to do tech work...I have a passion for the sport.

I'd love to land a job in the industry; whether it be in Resort Management, sales, I don't care...I just want it to be rewarding. So for those lucky people in management positions; how did you get there??

My degree is in Industrial Management and Marketing (operations management type stuff) and focused on not only manufacturing, but ALL business applications.

Any advice as to how or WHERE I could get into the industry?? Where could a person with a good understanding of Supply Chain, Marketing, and Operations Management fit in?

Any thoughts are welcomed here. Thanks a billion,

Kyle

P.S. And uhhh, if any of you lucky people out there need an intern for this summer...you know where to find me
post #2 of 22
Hi Kyle,

I am an employee development professional in my "spare time" ...

My best advice to you is the following:
- identfy the larger ski resorts companies (ASC, Booth Creek, Intrawest, etc)
- go to their websites and contact their HR departments to find internship, college recruiting, and hiring information
- if it's possible - try to do informational interviews

also - locate family-owned resorts of interest and contact them directly

you may also want to be in touch with "adventure/travel" companies as another option.

to market yourself - you want to not just tell them how much you love the industry, but convince them why you're a better person to hire than another guy who seems to be just like you. what makes you different? better?

good luck!
kiersten
post #3 of 22
Intrawest has an excellent management internship for recent college graduates. It's competitive, but if you are lucky enough to be selected for the program, it will give you some excellent insights into the industry. DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Intrawest but have friends who work for them.
post #4 of 22
Pick a resort, start at the entry level and work your ass off. The whole internship thing is b.s.
Be ready and able to do whatever is required.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Everyone is saying to pick a resort. Any resorts you guys can think of (preferably U.S.) that are "up and coming"?
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by BSR:
Pick a resort, start at the entry level and work your ass off. The whole internship thing is b.s.
Be ready and able to do whatever is required.
Can you explain why? I've heard excellent things about the Intrawest program. It apparently exposes a person to many aspects of the ski resort business (operations, marketing, future development, etc). I've met some of the interns at Snowshoe, our local Intrawest resort, and they all seem very pleased with the program. I don't think it is fair of you to dismiss such programs out of hand without explaining your reasoning...

[ November 20, 2003, 09:10 AM: Message edited by: West Virginia Skier ]
post #7 of 22
Bottom line ...pick the resort first... IMHO.

Up and commers? ...any of the large corporate resorts.

Keep an eye out for seasonal verse year round resort opportunities.

I think... Internships aren't necessarily a bad thing but they do usually come with some caveats. Eg. The company may perceive that they're doing you a favor by providing this program and in return you'll make less $$ and you might be asked to move to a resort that you don't desire working at like Intrawest Resort, Mountain Creek in NJ?

On the flip side, when you come out of a program like that at the "top of your class" so to speak, the recognition will probably propel you up the ladder quite a lot quicker than the person who decided to start at the bottom and work his arse off.

My strategy 8 years ago was to pick the resort and take a lower level job so I could be an internal candidate for my current position. It worked for me because it only took 4 months to get to the level I wanted. I also had 13 years of honing my particular craft. Your situation is a little different because you're a recent graduate with little industry experience.
post #8 of 22
There is no such thing as a ski industry. Skiing is a sport. There is a hotel/real estate industry that depends upon skiing as an amenity, but even there, demographic trends suggest that golf will soon be more important than skiing. If you want to work in that industry, get real estate or hotel management skills.
Unless you can compete with Bode Miller or Jonny Mosely, you cannot earn a decent living skiing.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by John Dowling:
There is no such thing as a ski industry. Skiing is a sport. There is a hotel/real estate industry that depends upon skiing as an amenity, but even there, demographic trends suggest that golf will soon be more important than skiing. If you want to work in that industry, get real estate or hotel management skills.
Unless you can compete with Bode Miller or Jonny Mosely, you cannot earn a decent living skiing.
John- Thanks for the encouragement

I'm not suggesting I make a decent living skiing. I'm suggesting I make a decent living being associated with the sport of skiing.

If there is no skiing "industry" so to speak, where to skis come from?? Most of us know it as the "industry", but perhaps there's a better term?

Anyway, Intrawest is a hard egg to break but definantely worth a shot. I was just hoping for some stories from the guys sitting atop thier "skiing related companies".
post #10 of 22
Another approach might be to choose a profession that allows you to live near good skiing. The law enforcement, education, and medical professions are the obvious ones but there are others. The home construction and remodeling businesses generally do well in ski regions as do restaurants and hotels.

Logging a lot of ski days per year is a function of geography but also time and money. A job in a city within a decent drive of skiing that pays a decent wage and allows you to take a lot of time off in the winter could be better ski-wise than a lower level job near or at a ski resort. I'd rather log 10 days a year of local skiing and 10 days in Europe or out West than spend 40 days at a single ski resort--especially if my day job is more interesting than a day job I could expect to work in at a ski resort. "Do you want fries with that burger, mam..." You get my drift.
post #11 of 22
My first post was unnecessarily cranky. WVS said it better than I did.

I've worked at a ski area for 9 years, and I've only seen the mountain manager ski once. OTOH I see cops, firemen, local real estate agents and bartenders skiing all the time.
post #12 of 22
I'll echo jdowlings' comments. I know people who work as managers at mountains and I ski and bike much much more then they do but then I'm self-employed. "Hey boss can I have the day off; there's powder!"

"OK - go ski. You've worked hard and deserve it"
post #13 of 22
"I don't think it is fair of you to dismiss such programs out of hand without explaining your reasoning..."
My reasoning comes from 21 years in the SKI INDUSTRY which Mr. Dowling says doesn't exist.

Dowling: No such thing as a ski industry who told you such a stupid thing.

Who do you think manages the lifts, grooming, patrol, snowmaking, F&B etc?

Every ski area I have worked at (4) has had a parade of wannabes who show up with some kind of business degree and can't understand why they aren't the new Mountain Manager. They last about as long as a snowball on the grill. The ones who make it (make it is a term that describes a rewarding job) start at the bottom, work hard, do what it takes, can think on their feet and work their way up by learning THE SKI INDUSTRY.

[ November 20, 2003, 06:38 PM: Message edited by: BSR ]
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by BSR:

Every ski area I have worked at (4) has had a parade of wannabes who show up with some kind of business degree and can't understand why they aren't the new Mountain Manager. They last about as long as a snowball on the grill. The ones who make it (make it is a term that describes a rewarding job) start at the bottom, work hard, do what it takes, can think on their feet and work their way up by learning THE SKI INDUSTRY.
Not only do those wannabes have a business degree, they have one from an Ivy League school.

Regards, John
post #15 of 22
Not only do those wannabes have a business degree, they have one from an Ivy League school

That and 2 dollars will get you a Latte decaf with a shot of espresso.
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Good point WVS, about having a job near skiing. Who out there has followed this approach? Any interesting stories would be great reading material for the up and comers who havn't yet established themselves with families etc.

Keep em' coming! This is great!
post #17 of 22
Living in a town close to skiing helps a lot.

I spend half my time in winter in Whistler; and half in North Vancouver. Squamish is right in between.

I can get out of work at 3 most days and be skiing in Cypress; or backcountry in Hollyburn and Seymour within 1/2 an hour.

I can ski at Whistler almost whenever I want since my work requires a cellphone and net connection.

Living where I do; in spring, summer and fall; I can be mountain-biking; hiking; skiing; or doing some trail-work at a drop of a hat. In winter I'm usually skiing or biking.

To contrast I've pretty much given up on windsurfing (not much wind here); surfing (not much surf) and on white-water paddling (couple of near-death experiences).

Almost all of these sports are pretty accessible from Vancouver or Whistler within 1/2 and hour to 2 hours drive and for biking; within a bike ride from home.

I can't think of too many places that have this; Portland? Maybe Calgary?

I started out as a lawyer but now manage money and work pretty much market hours. It's a good living; I had to put in a lot of time when I started out but I liked the work and happened to be good at it.

Just wanted to make the point that there's more than one way to skin the proverbial cat when it comes to maximizing recreational time. Like some other wise person said up-thread; often the people working on the mountain doesn't get to ski a whole lot
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by BSR:
Not only do those wannabes have a business degree, they have one from an Ivy League school

That and 2 dollars will get you a Latte decaf with a shot of espresso.
I just want to say that I've worked with a lot of MBA's and ivy league types from very good schools. Not all of them were dumb or naive but I have to say that my very unscientific sample says that the quality of school didn't seem to correlate with their ability well at all.

Seems to me that a good education in the school of hard-knocks is very underrated. JMO.

Having said that, those good mba schools are great for establishing contact networks. Mind you, working in the "ski industry" might just do the same thing now wouldn't it?
post #19 of 22
An Ivy league education is to the ski industry what a Naval Academy degree is to the Marine Corps:

"It's not going to win you any special points, but they won't hold it against you either." [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #20 of 22
Where you work is not nearly as important as whom you work for.
not the company, the person.
Interview till it hurts arund the area you are looking at & find a mentor. A person who you would want to be in 5-10 years.

Show up & work. I took this approach 10 years ago & am right where I want to be now. I dont ski as much as a liftie or a bar tender but I work with an industry I love & for people I support wholeheartedly. I also have a "real Job" that pays as well as many in the cities. I can ususally ski when its good, but rarely get bell to bell days.
so what part of the "industry" you interested in?
Mountain Opps?
Ski School?
Lodging?
I am sure there are good internship programs out there but mst mountain managers I know are old Patrollers & Most hotel General Managers I know started off @ the Front Desk or schlepping bags.
Get on the phone & treat finding your new vocation like a full time job.
post #21 of 22
Matt, you condensed the ski industry well. Its very small and folks you worked with 10-15 years ago keep cropping up in your career. Mentors and contacts are enormously important. Generally speaking, if you apply for a job on my staff and have worked in the west as a patroller, within 2 phone calls I can talk with someone who I know and who you worked for or alongside. A very small world indeed.
post #22 of 22
Work your ass off.... In all the years of skiing/travel the best occupation i've run across is "Nurse"... needed, portable, flexable - Marketing for most resorts means - PR and thats filled with people that worked way up...

Good luck
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