By Karen D. Lorentz
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth story in a series on graduates of Green Mountain College’s Killington School of Resort Management (KSRM) program, the nation’s only three-year bachelor’s degree program in resort and hospitality management.
Originally from Hampshire, England, Oliver Hardy moved to the states at age 15 and attended Lenape Valley High School in northern New Jersey. His father, who worked at Camelback as an instructor, introduced Hardy to the sport and lifestyle of snowboarding and Oliver soon became a snowboard instructor, too.
“Camelback became my home very quickly because of how much I enjoyed it,” Oliver Hardy told The Mountain Times.
He also visited Killington with his dad, “coming up for Killington’s famous early season openings and late season closings. Killington was always open way before and closed way after Camelback so it made it easy to come up and ride,” he added.
Of his route to Green Mountain College and the KSRM program, he said, “I honestly did not want to go to college. I just wanted to be a snowboard instructor in the Poconos. But at a college fair I came across a small banner that advertised the KSRM program stating that I could get a degree working at a ski resort in resort management. It was the only college I applied to and was the only place I wanted to go.”
Q&A with Oliver Hardy
The Mountain Times: What subjects did you study?
Oliver Hardy: Other than the ordinary classes that you had to take, I took all the KSRM program classes such as Intro to Operations, Marketing, Retail and Leadership. All the KSRM classes are really interesting and give you the inside look and experience of the industry because it’s people who work, or who have worked in the industry or at Killington, teaching you.
MT: What were your winter term internships?
OH: I worked in the rental shop my first year, which was a great introduction to Killington and the way this mountain runs. My second year I moved into the snow sports department to continue my passion and interest in teaching people to snowboard. For my third year, I was offered a lead position in the rental department, which I could not refuse.
MT: Your job now?
OH: Once I graduated in 2014, I continued in the position that I got during my third-year internship. I am currently a supervisor for the rental department and couldn’t be happier. The KSRM program prepared me for life after graduation almost too well because once I didn’t have to deal with any school work or any of my lodge duties I could put all that energy into my work.
MT: What did your student lodge duties entail?
OH: As assistant manager of The Lodge where students live, I was responsible for helping Rick LaRose, Lodge manager, basically run The Lodge. This included ordering supplies. Looking at electric and oil usage was also something the other assistant managers and I looked at to see if the college could save any money or be more sustainable.
MT: And your current job duties?
OH: I work at Snowshed during the season, but preseason I will sometimes be in the rental shop at K-1 and at the end of the season when it’s just Superstar going I’ll be in the K-1 shop as well. It’s my responsibility to assist in supervising daily operations of the rental department and to make sure that the other three rental shops that Killington has are operating as efficiently as possible.
MT: What is the biggest challenge to your job?
OH: The biggest challenge is trying to help the massive amount of people that come through the rental shop. It can be a bit overwhelming on our busy days, but I always do my best to make sure that our guests have the best possible experience.
MT: Was school a lot of hard work or was there time for some fun?
OH: While I had a lot of schoolwork to do as well as my job, I still found time to get out on the mountain and snowboard. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it into the 100-day club except for the season I was an instructor. [Killington gives recognition to every skier and rider who rides the mountain over 100 days during the season.] But I have set myself a goal to make it 100 days on snow this winter even if it requires hiking up the mountain after work or before Killington is open and after it closes.
MT: Any insights for high school juniors or seniors?
OH: At the end of the day the biggest thing I always hear when people are applying for jobs outside of college is the classic “not enough experience.” At KSRM you get a minimum of three years of experience before graduating and you get paid while you do it, which is a bonus.
The KSRM program preps you to be a very hard working individual, but make sure you don’t work too hard. What I mean by this is don’t get too carried away with your work — remember to get out on the amazing mountain we live on and make sure you truly enjoy the job you are doing.