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The Saviors of Skiing

Arialle Hess
Every month, the Bear Creek team likes to inform our guests about current news that's happening on our slopes, but this month we would like to give you an inside look at what it took to open the ticket windows this December. This month's blog is a special edition, reflecting upon the staff that made it all possible; the saviors of skiing.
 
Preparing a mountain for skiing is no easy task. Any attempt to control mother nature is an attempt to control madness. But that’s just what a bunch of our Mountain Ops employees do every single night.
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We are well into winter and you can hear the hustle and bustle of the employees at Bear Creek. Every morning you see the groomers out on the hill, finishing up a hard night’s work. This team isn’t just a bunch of glorified snow shovellers, moving massive amounts of snow with fancy equipment. They must manage all the snow on the hill. They are held accountable for storing the snow, knowing how and when to push it out and understanding how to make the best possible surface for our guests. Some of the names who have put in countless hours already for the 2017/2018 winter season include: Anthony DiFiore, Josh McLeod, Dave Roberts, and Nick Mctish.
 
Of course, to be able to make the stellar terrain park features or the fresh corduroy, the Grooming team needs all their equipment in brilliant shape. They rely on the Vehicle Maintenance team to make sure everything is functioning properly. The VM team has hundreds of pieces of equipment to maintain, along with getting trucks, snow plows, salt spreaders, and shuttles ready for when we open. Some of the names who have put in countless hours already for the 2017/2018 winter season include: Bill Kiefer, Mike Shoemaker and Austin Evans.
 
Lastly, all the downhill fun would be a bit tiresome without the lifts. The Lift Maintenance team has a responsibility bigger than most would probably think. They do routine safety checks along with state inspections to ensure that our guests make it to the top safely and smoothly. We put our lives in the hands of a team of people who accept this tremendous responsibility, so that we can enjoy the way down. Some of the names who have put in countless hours already for the 2017/2018 winter season include: Joe Milnes, Zach Rhodes, Levi Maykuth and Kevin Yurkovich.
 
As you can see, there are many parts to our well-oiled machine, but one gets all the glory. The snowmakers.
Whether you are a child or an adult, there is something magical about seeing the white glistening snow float gently down onto the ground. However, this notion isn’t so romantic to those with frozen faces and sleepless nights.
 
Kevin Jennings, Assistant Snowmaking Manager, spoke about few team members who helped him and Brad Heintzelman, Snowmaking Manager, with the big push to open for the 2017/2018 ski season.
 
Joe Mullan- “Snowmaking Supervisor, aka Cheeseburger Joe, is the backbone to our department and one of the most passionate snowmakers Bear Creek has ever had. His attention to detail, intelligence, and analytical style has yielded creative ways to generate more and more snow every time. He takes our old manual guns and finds ways to make them top performers in the fleet. We have to beg him to come in to take a break, and when he does, he comes through the doors looking like a brick of ice. If there's a problem with a snow gun, just call ‘Joey Maintenance’ and he will be there to troubleshoot and get your snow gun up and rolling in no time.”
 
Chris Jost- “Grounds Maintenance employee turned Snowmaking guru within the past 2 seasons. After making snow last year, being heavily involved in the off-season maintenance, and attending off-season training at Jiminy Peak, Chris has become a key component to the night crew. His drive to learn, thirst for knowledge, and passion for snow has lead him to become one of our top snow machine mechanics and is heavily relied upon on a nightly basis.”
 
Drew Sweinhart- “It is now Drew's 5th year making snow. After 3 seasons on the day shift/ filter crew, Drew has returned to the night crew for the first time since his rookie season. For him, it was like riding a bike. He stepped right back into his previous role without missing a beat. Because of his experience, there has never been more snow in the Tube Park at this time of year than there is now!  Drew keeps his ears glued to the radio and if someone needs help, he's the first one on the scene to assist a fellow teammate. Although quiet, he's the life of the party, and lightens the mood by just being Drew.”
 
Chad Force- “Chad has been a part of the day shift/ filter crew for 2 seasons. This year we've seen him step up and take it upon himself to lead a young group of rookie Snowmakers and seasonal helpers during the big 24-hour push to get open. He has also trained our newest filter crew members and continues to find ways to improve processes and become more efficient. Without his fast paced, upbeat, get-the-job-done attitude and leadership, we would have had a real tough time during our 24-hour run.”
 
The 2017/2018 opening was a record year with our team blasting the entire mountain open in 80 hours! Groomers were pushing piles across the entire mountain in just one to two nights with little downtime. Other mountains cannot compare to the amount of work our Mountain Ops team put in so far this year. Aside from the aforementioned employees, there are additional hard-working employees that still deserve recognition in helping the Snowmaking team get the mountain open for the 2017/2018 ski season.
 
Dustin Yeager- Electrical/ Year round
Jesse Schlappich- Electrical/ Year round
Jordan Force- Grounds/ Snowmaker/ Year round
Harry Burnett- Snowmaker/ Seasonal
Nate Fick- Grounds/ Snowmaker/ Seasonal
Caleb Levan- Grounds/ Snowmaker/ Seasonal
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The slopes have been covered in white ever since December 16th and it is all due to the hard work, resilience and dedication that our Mountain Ops employees exude. Without them, our lifts would not turn, the ticket windows would be closed and our lodge empty. The individuals who work together to uphold the season of winter fun are truly the saviors of skiing.

Check out #thankasnowmaker to join all the action!

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