On February 14, 2023

Killington Resort celebrates its team with Beast Week, Feb. 11-17

By Brooke Geery

With winter operations in full swing, it’s an exciting time to work at Killington Resort and Pico Mountain. Every department is churning at full steam to provide an incredible experience for guests. From ticket sales to the rental shop to the Killington Grand Hotel, something is happening 24 hours a day. During this busiest time of the winter season, the resort celebrates Beast Week over Feb. 11-17, 2023, to say thank you to the hardworking people who make it all possible.

The seven-day long celebration is packed with special events such as a private K/P employee film showing at the Paramount Theatre, a glow in the dark party at the Wobbly Barn and a night for employees only at the Tubing Park presented by Bubly. The team is treated to gifts, free food and too many other perks to list.

It takes a lot of people to keep The Beast running. In fact, Killington Resort is one of the largest employers in the state of Vermont with over 1,500 employees during the winter season. The jobs are as varied as the people who hold them, and for ticket supervisor Josh Reed, that’s one of his favorite parts of working here.

 “Everyone I work with has a backstory,” he says. “In ticketing, one of our ticket agents is a retired Navy captain. Another one of our agents was an attorney his whole life. One was a stockbroker on Wall Street for 30 years. All these people have lived all over the world, they’ve done all these neat and interesting things and we all sit together. We’re just selling tickets, but we have pretty good personalities because of the lives we’ve lived up until now. Long story short, I just enjoy the people I work with. They’re funny, engaging, and we have great conversations. People are sharp here.”

Reed’s own background includes many years in software sales and marketing for companies in Phoenix, Arizona, Los Angeles, and Austin, Texas. He continued to work in that field after moving to Vermont about seven years ago and joined The Beast team in October 2021. After a stint in group sales, he moved into his current role. 

Although he works full time, Reed considers himself retired, focused mostly on raising his three children and living a life that includes lots of skiing, a little mountain biking and tons of time outdoors. “If this lifestyle is important to you, this is the job for you,” he said. “If you’re looking to go skiing and mountain biking and have a great time outdoors and meet new people, this is definitely the spot.”

Ryan Kania discovered just that when he moved to Vermont from Warwick, Rhode Island in November and took a job in Resort Maintenance.

“It’s the first job I’ve really ever had where, today’s my Monday, and I was excited to come here,” he said. “I’m not used to that. I’ve had some good jobs, but this one, every day I look forward to being here. Even on my days off, I’m still up here, whether I’m on the mountain or whatever. I like the ski culture, snowboarding culture, everybody’s kind of a family up here and it’s just something I’ve never experienced.”

Working in resort maintenance, Kania does a little bit of everything, which he said he also likes. “You never know what the day is going to bring. We do electrical, we do carpentry, we do plumbing, snow removal, and basically help out every department.”

While he’s working hard, he said he agreed with Reed that it’s all about the lifestyle. “If you like the wintertime and you want to go to the kind of place that winter’s worth it, come here. I wish I did it years ago.”

Killington has a way of attracting and keeping people, no matter how far away they started. Now a front desk supervisor at the Killington Grand Hotel, Roberta Hefner is originally from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She first came to Killington in 2004 on a J-1 student visa. Her first role was working in the K-1 cafeteria, and she liked it so much that she came back for another season. She tried out housekeeping and lift operations and met her now husband before returning home to South America. After five years of long-distance romance, she finally decided to make it official in 2011, and moved back to the area to find her ideal role working at the hotel.

“I went to school for hospitality back home, so this is definitely the best job,” she said. “Here, it’s different every day, you don’t know what you’re going to get. Some days are very stressful, some days are very fun.”

Over in the Mini Stars room at Ramshead Lodge, Nicholas DeMaio said there’s a lot less stress than one might expect as he spends his days teaching 4- to 6-year-olds to ski and snowboard. He originally came to Killington to snowboard with friends and was immediately hooked. A season later, he was working in lift operations, but with a background working at camps, he made the transition to the snow sports school.

“I realized that working with kids was a little more my speed,” he said. “Working in here is one of those spaces that is more rejuvenating than anything. You get to see someone learn really quickly and you get to see someone fall in love with the sport. It also teaches you to be more patient with your own riding and skiing because you’re not really going to have a choice but to build your skills while you’re doing it. It’s a great place to learn and get better for yourself.”

He also enjoys the laid-back culture in the snow sports school. 

“I like that it’s not all about getting every single thing done right now,” he said. “You can take a break and go snowboarding, clear your head and everyone is on the same page that not everything is about work, it’s about enjoying what you’re doing every day.”

Working at Killington Resort has many perks and getting to ski and snowboard at work is obviously one of the best. It’s what sign shop technician Myles Liddell said has kept him moving up the ranks.

“Having a season pass is a great thing,” he said. “It’s just wonderful being able to ride every day on my lunch breaks. Being able to clock in, clock out and ride snowboards and mountain bikes.”

Originally from Downsville, New York and Columbia, South Carolina, Liddell also started in lifts in 2020 but now is part of the marketing department, creating the signs you see around the resort. He said it was easy and rewarding to switch between departments.

The Beast is proud to promote from within whenever possible and that’s how Shannah Connell scored her dream bartending gig. She started as a waitress in Snowshed nearly a decade ago, and when a job opened up behind the bar, she was a shoo-in. Now she spends most of her winter days in the new K-1 Lodge Pub, and summers behind the bar at the Snowshed Umbrella Bar.

“I like that it’s daytime and it’s fun!” she said. “It’s not really a ski lodge because you see a lot of regulars that come in every week.”

Connell is originally from New Jersey, but like so many that now call Killington home, she learned to ski as a kid at Pico Mountain.

“As a kid my parents used to rent a house on Alpine Drive every year and my high school trips were up here and then my friends started moving up here and I just thought I’d try it for a season. Here I am!” she laughed.

Over at Pico Mountain, the job descriptions are the same, but according to Pico rental shop supervisor Madison Scott, everything else is different. Originally from Manchester, Scott is a graduate of the Resort Hospitality program at Castleton University. She spent a couple years working in the rental shop at Killington as part of the school co-op program, but had stepped away to pursue other opportunities, when the offer to run the Pico shop brought her back. 

“They are two very, very different places,” she said. “My experience at Killington was a lot more fast paced. Here it’s like being at home. Even the guests that just come up for the weekend, they are very hospitable. They’re very understanding, they’re not looking for the rush. It keeps me wanting to come back.”

Wanting to come to work every day is a great thing and everyone agrees: working for either Killington or Pico is so much more than a job. 

Hefner summed it up: “I think it’s a great place to work. I’ve made many friends here, the community is great, I like to work where people come to vacation. I think that’s the best part.”

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