What about your time on the Nordic Team – how did that impact your personal and professional growth?
I made the team in ’88 mostly because I was the only one who didn’t crash when skiing down the Upper Cirque at Snowbird in leather lace-up boots. I didn’t know as much as some of the other candidates, but I could ski.
Many of those early years on the national team are a blur; so many experiences at so many resorts. One thing I did that paid off was to never turn down any opportunity. I remember many nights I slept in my truck in a parking lot just to have the opportunity to get up in the morning and give a clinic.
Personally, being a member of what’s now called the PSIA-AASI National Team exposed me to some pioneers. Max Lundberg, Mike Porter, Chris Ryman… the list goes on. Those individuals impacted how I viewed ski/snow interaction, as well as how to run a clinic, and sometimes how I didn’t want to run a clinic. Professionally, I still use all of those experiences from the teams every day at work, tapping into contacts in every corner of the globe, and learning from the successes and failures I’ve seen firsthand.
Looking back, the one skill that really stands out for me, and it seems simple, is the ability to present information in an understandable fashion. Frankly, it’s public speaking. It started as an instructor presenting a lesson plan to students, then taking part in a PSIA exam giving an on-snow presentation. After that, it’s mostly a shift of roles – as a supervisor explaining to staff how a lineup would run, as an examiner how the task would be scored, as a manager explaining a performance review, as a director describing how you would make budget, as an operations VP discussing the steps in installing a lift, as a resort executive defending your million-dollar miss last week, and the list goes on. You better have your content organized, but the delivery is key. There is really not that much difference between presenting a lesson plan to a student and explaining your financials to the Alterra Financial Officer at the corporate office.
Public speaking skills are critical and it’s a matter of:
- Intro, content, summary.
- Breaking things down into meaningful chunks.
How would you describe what you do now?
As a vice president of operations, with 1,000 reporting staff, I would describe my job as finance, project management, crisis management, and human resources. A majority of my day is spent physically looking at the mountain and facilities, taking good notes, and following up.
How does teaching inform the work you do now?
It’s a bit like movement analysis, distilling down all of the noise and trying to find the root issues. Staff can bring you endless things they perceive as problems in business, and you have to ask yourself, “What are we trying to solve?”