I've read this forum for awhile now and thought this would be a good time to introduce myself, share a bit of my own thoughts, and to commend you on putting this all out there....er, even if some of the posts are simply wrong or untrue. I have worked for ski lifts inc. for about fourteen years starting off back in the day when the cross-country operation was settled at the Fir, when things were seemingly more simplified under family ownership and when a hamburger didn't cost over nine dollars. Today I continue on as part of the management team of the Summit. Some of you on this forum may know me, some may not; I don't believe I have any enemies of those who KNOW me, yet I can't help but take certain posts on this forum personally because of my role.
I am a passionate skier and began making turns on the pass when I was three years old. I made the trip nearly every weekend, winter after winter, grade school through high school to be here. When I moved from Tacoma to Ellensburg to attend college I started working pt for the area to pay for my skiing. When I finished up school I headed to the mountain full time. I was aware then, as now, that career riches were not to be had but I took the trade of mountain living with endless skiing and have been here ever since. To anyone who has worked in the industry you know it is for the love of something other than money--sometimes the work is downright thankless, but sometimes there is nothing more rewarding. I hold my own views about corporate ownership within the ski industry (heck in all industry for that matter), but the bottom line is that the money has to come from somewhere to improve infrastructure and we all know it wasn't exactly pouring back in before the corporatacracy hit our mountain. I will be the first to admit that things sometimes move slow to change, too slow, but you can't always blame the big bad wealth that holds the deed (or the management lease), sometimes it comes down to the complex relationships of running a business on public lands and sometimes you just have to blame the weather (if you don't think the poor snow years have hurt think again) of course it is easiest to blame the guys at the local level who have to try running the place on peanuts.
After managing various departments and operations for the Summit over the years I returned to managing the cross-country operations along with Summit East (which I will always know as Hyak) two seasons ago. Working with a tattered budget left over from the 04-05 season, a lodge in need of major renovations and upgrades, and a fickle balance between Hyak enthusiasts and a very vocal and a sometimes un-neccesarily cynical Nordic community - I too share many of the passionate senitments posted on this site; however I won't get discouraged and I'm certainly not about to give up.
Despite the ski area not owning much of the base area, I know that improvements ARE coming to Hyak in the near future. I look forward to the day when the community and the ski area make realizations TOGETHER of what the area is and can be. I would like to extend an open invitation to anyone who has direct questions about the ski area's intentions with Hyak to ask me directly--if I don't know the answers I will find out for you.
In terms of the staffs at Hyak that have worked the lodge and the lifts for the past couple years; I was sad to see Ward go last season, he was an icon and a friend and in the lodge I am proud to say John has done only good things for the Nordic center keeping things together. The crew has been skeleton, but then again the business has been a difficult one to justify at times, but I believe that trend is changing. The shoulder seasons and off-season maintenance have been slow to reestablish, but even that is coming along too (mowing with the aebi and spider isn't cheap). I mowed myself a bit preseason last year and I will be at it again shortly in the next few weeks.
A note for this season: YES the area is again only running the lifts on Saturdays and Sundays, though the Nordic operation inside the lodge will run Fridays....makes no sense to me either why the chairs don't turn that one extra day; perhaps together we can change that. In terms of the upgrades to the lodge, the bar, etc...I personally am very excited by the opportunites for infused capital from CNL -It seems if you do your homework Boyne has the capacity to get the money they need from CNL and improvements seem imminent, just be patient.
I've said my peace, please be kind. Again, I invite questions, comments, concerns, suggestions and er, donations? I hope to see some of you around the base area this winter, but honestly it would be way more fun to make some turns with you. prybka