Beyond the Snow: Hillary K., Stratton Mountain
Across each snowbound mountain destination on the Ikon Pass, there’s always more than meets the eye going on behind the scenes. Mountain wide – from before the sun rises until well after it sets – these activities and actions are rarely seen by guests. Yet, they are experienced day-in-and day out, constantly making the on-mountain experience something special and unique.
Beyond the snow, it takes motivated, passionate people to move mountains. These are the Ikon Pass employees who have demonstrated what it takes to keep things running, stepping up in hard times, and forever showing love for their mountain communities.
Hillary K. - Ticket Scanning Supervisor / Golf Services Manager at Stratton Mountain
“Hillary is a gem, plain and simple. She puts a smile on your face, even if it's through a mask, she cares fiercely about her employees, and she embodies what it means to be an East Coast skier/rider.”
At the age of two, Hillary K. set foot on her first pair of skis in southern Vermont. From that moment on, she knew that was where she wanted to be. Fast forward to 2021 and Hillary holds the roles of both Stratton’s Ticket Scanning Supervisor and Golf Services Manager. Applying her background in web development and design, and her understanding of the importance of data collection, Hillary jumped at the opportunity to combine her love for the mountains with her experience in tech and customer service.
With a crucial role in providing data for the daily skier visit report, Hillary is stoked to have a job she loves that also involves spending the majority of her workday outside. Having worked in a cubicle before, Hillary has a special appreciation for the fresh air, the views, and the endless opportunities for year-round adventure. Sunrise snowmobile rides to transport operators to lift shacks, snowboarding to each lift to check in on her teammates, and driving the golf cart to make sure the course is running smoothly in the summer are just a few of her daily work explorations.
"One really cool experience was being a part of the Snow Bowl splice this past fall. The haul is the cable that is carrying all of our guests. Over time, that cable is stretched and needs to be cut and shortened for optimal tension to maintain the performance of the lift. First, all the chairs are removed from the lift. Next, they de-tension the rope and take the cable off a few towers so they can work on the ground as they shorten the rope. A lift cable is made up of multiple wire strands, wrapped one around the other. Inside each strand are numerous individual wires. Once the cable is cut down enough, they determine the new midpoint for the splice and unwrap the strands at two ends. One at a time the strands from either end of the rope are braided together to create a seamless cable. Once that is complete and the rigging is removed, tension is reapplied and the rope is strung back on the towers. This was a wild process and I tip my hat to all of our mechanics!"
Hillary plays an essential role in maintaining operations and the community at Stratton. Valuing the importance of guest relationships, Hillary is grateful to be on a first name basis with so many Stratton guests who love the mountain just as much as she does.
“Not only does Hillary thrive in her position on the mountain ops team, which is typically a male-dominated field, but she also takes the time to brighten everyone's day. Whether it’s a beginner looking for some words of encouragement, or a seasoned veteran looking for a high-five on a powder day, Hillary is always there for their next run. Placing a smile on everyone's face in just the amount of time it takes to scan their ticket.”
Building community is also an important part of the success of Hillary’s team. Her favorite thing about Stratton? Her co-workers.
"My co-workers are 100% team players which makes coming to work every day very rewarding. In operations, the goal is to create and manage repeatable processes that keep the organization functioning at its highest level. I love that each day is a new chance to iterate, fine-tune, and improve."
Hillary’s co-workers think the same way.
“Without Hillary, Stratton’s light would not shine nearly as bright.”