Ski season is finally here! Time to start haunting the weather app and planning your time off around good powder days. For some Utahns, though, time on the mountain is spent on the clock. Gonzola Artola, a supervisor in the lift operations department at Northern Utah’s Snowbasin Resort, is entering his fourth winter as a liftie.
What it’s like to work at Snowbasin Resort?
I asked Artola what it’s like to work at Snowbasin. He said he starts his day with a morning meeting of all the lift operators before his team heads out to their stations to make sure everything is ready to go. Artola explained, “That entails sign placement, shoveling snow that has fallen overnight, communicating with lift mechanics and ski patrol for opening time, and checking to make sure our areas are free of ice. Throughout the day we keep our station operating to the best of our ability and take as many laps on our rotations as we can.” After the last chair of the day, they clear the line and get the area ready for the next day.
But those logistical details don’t really capture the magic of working on the mountain. Artola said, “There is nothing better than working in one of the most beautiful offices out there.” Snowbasin’s top to bottom lifts give access to 3,000 acres and 3,000 vertical feet. From the top of the highest lift on a clear day you can see five states. For Artola and his fellow lift operators, the mountain has become much more than a way to easily tell which direction is east. He said, “It’s amazing how much you get to know the mountain.”
Forming lasting friendships
The mountain isn’t the only one these lift operators get to know. Artola said, “I was really surprised about the amount of people that I have met while working here. I have friendships that I keep to this day with people that I met on the mountain.” Many of those friendships grow from the typical interactions lift operators have with skiers and snowboarders. Artola said, “I greet every guest that comes through my lift. I try to help them ease their mind about the different terrain they can go check out to enjoy their time on the mountain to the best of their ability.” All day, Artola’s goal is to “talk to all the guests to make sure they are having the best day ever.”
Go for it!
I asked Artola what he would say to someone who wants to try skiing or snowboarding but is afraid to try. He said, “Definitely try it. It is easier than it looks and a lot of fun. I highly recommend taking a lesson to boost your confidence and enjoy this sport to the max.” Artola knows what it’s like to start from scratch. When he saw the lift operator job posting, he was far from experienced: “I love the outdoors, and I had never skied or snowboarded, but it seemed like something I could enjoy. So I just went for it and have kept coming back.”
Snowbasin has season passes, programs for first-time skiers and snowboarders, free events, Olympic runs, and some of the best grooming in the ski industry. And when you come up, Artola and his team will make sure you have your “best day ever” on the slopes.
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