On December 22, 2021

Meet Okemo’s John Boudro

By Karen D. Lorentz

It’s interesting when a person who is responsible for overseeing the grooming of ski trails has never skied. That’s the case of Okemo’s grooming and trail maintenance team leader John Boudro who has long answered the call of the mountains in another way.

By Max Grudzinski/Okemo
John Boudro

Born and raised in Windsor, Vermont, Boudro graduated from high school in 1978. He had already started working part time at Mount Ascutney in 1976 as a liftie (lift attendant), and during the summer worked for a tree care company until the mid-80s. He worked in mountain operations for several years before starting to groom in 1988 and then joined Okemo in 1990 when Ascutney was facing bankruptcy.

“I was interested in Okemo’s grooming and it was recommended by my brother, Brian, and Eb Kinney,” Boudro said of the move. (Brian Boudro, Okemo’s senior manager of mountain operations, has worked at the area year-round for 26 years and part-time before that. Ed Kinney left Ascutney for Okemo in 1990 and became mountain manager in 2009 and senior director of mountain operations in 2018.)

John Boudro worked seasonally in grooming until 1992 when then Mountain Manager Barry Tucker asked him to work full time, running heavy equipment summers. With 32 years of Okemo experience, Boudro still operates grooming machines in winter in addition to his other duties, has been part of the ski area growing to a major year-round resort.

“I have seen a lot of transformation in my years working here,” he noted.

Q&A with John Boudro

Mountain Times (MT): What are your job duties and responsibilities?

John Boudro (JB): As grooming and trail maintenance team leader my job duties are to take care of all the ski trails and make sure we have the best snow conditions possible. I organize cat operators and assign tasks at hand to make the best quality skiing possible. I also train new recruits to become the best groomers possible and give them the spark and fun of the groomer life.

MT: What type of grooming machines and implements do you have in the fleet?

JB: We have eight cats — one 500 hp machine called the Beast and six Bison cats and one winch cat for grooming steeper trails. Two cats are park cats for grooming our features in the terrain parks. The cats are all Prinoth machines.

We have a Zaug 18-foot pipe cutter to shape our halfpipe, and we also have a tubing lane cutter for the tubing park. What is exciting to see is the new technology coming around with hydrogen powered and electric battery powered cats.

MT: What does it take to become a good groomer?

JB: Somebody who is self-motivated and performs to the best of their ability. They need to be willing to learn, to work nights and in all types of weather, and they have to have a passion for the outdoors. It is a bonus if they are able to ski and ride their finished product.

MT: Do you have any female groomers?

JB: We have one female operator now; we’ve have had several in the past and I have enjoyed working with them and showing them this side of the ski business.

MT: How many shifts do you have?

JB: We run two shifts — one grooming 4:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m., the second 12:30 – 9 a.m.

MT: What’s a typical workday like for you?

JB: A typical night is coming in and getting info from the trail sheet and from the night manager about snowmaking and any projects that need to be taken care of — like pushing snow in certain areas, then giving assignments to the cat operators.

MT: What do you like about your job?

JB: What I like is the satisfaction I get from the team’s sense of pride and accomplishment when they produce the best quality snow surface possible for our guests.

MT: What are the challenges?

JB: Challenges are Mother Nature and the mountain itself and changing conditions… Training new talent for the future of grooming at Okemo can have challenges, too, but be very rewarding.

MT: What changes have you seen?

JB: The biggest change has been technology. It has advanced so much compared to the early years when I first started working in the ski industry. From snowmaking to snowcats and the way passes and lift tickets work now, it’s just unbelievable.

MT: What advice would you give someone who wanted to work at a ski resort?

JB: Finding a mentor can be a big advantage. Barry Tucker, one of my favorite mentors, taught me a lot.

MT: And to be a successful resort?

JB: It takes a lot of teamwork to make this system work and come together.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Large turnout for Hartland school budget info session

May 23, 2024
By Curt Peterson The May 21 Hartland school budget information session may be the best-attended school board gathering in recent history — an estimated 40 people attended in person at Damon Hall in Hartland, and another 41 tuned in online. Hartland voters had already approved the $11,040,567 budget 320-311 on April 2. But a petition…

Slate Valley school district to hold fourth vote on district budget

May 22, 2024
In response to the results of the last vote on May 9, and valuable community feedback during the school board meeting on May 13, the Slate Valley Unified Union School District will hold its fourth vote in an attempt to pass the budget on May 30. It will be a revote on the third FY25…

Where is the road construction this week? 

May 22, 2024
The Agency of Transportation produces this weekly report of planned construction activities that will impact traffic on state highways and interstates throughout Vermont. Hartford: Monday, May 20, through Friday, May 24, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., multiple concrete mixers will be moving in and out of the project area at either end of the…

Superstar’s iconic spring skiing:a party, a community, a family, a pilgrimage

May 22, 2024
By Victoria Gaither For spring skiers, Killington’s Superstar is like honey to bees. Skiers come from all over to bump that one strip of trail that starts in November and ends in late May or June 1, when possible. A gathering of personalities hanging out at the Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar, many occasionally popping up…