By Karen D. Lorentz
In 2022, Glenn Reinauer was voted ambassador of the year by his peers, a great honor as there can be many nominations among the 200-plus ambassadors each year.
Killington ambassadors are dedicated volunteers who enjoy skiing or snowboarding so much that they commit to spending at least three weeks (21-23 days) working nine-or-more-hour days at the mountain to assist guests so they can have a good experience. Part of that dedication stems from a desire to share their own delight in the alpine spirit.
Ambassador Program Manager Pete Duffy notes, “They are passionate about the mountain, the sport, and they want to help people.”
The comments in the nominations for Reinauer mentioned his positive attitude and dedication. “While there are a number of worthy ambassadors for the award, Glenn stands out for the extra efforts he has put into making the program better,” one nomination said, “When he volunteers he does an outstanding job whether he is assigned as a hill captain, tour guide, or regular ambassador. He takes care of the ambassadors that he oversees, he has excellent communication skills, and goes out of his way to help customers.”
One of Reinauer’s unique contributions to the program was to address problems that both the former program manager and the ambassadors experienced with the daily assignments. He developed a computer program that enabled the assignments to be rotated and also take into account ambassador skill levels. The computer program also made a big difference in enabling the manager to arrange the 50 or so daily assignments more quickly and easily (no longer handwritten).
Asked about his route to becoming an ambassador, Reinauer, who hails from Connecticut where he spent 35 years working at a major aerospace company as an ocean engineer, said, “My master plan was to retire to Florida, live on my boat and be a beach bum. But when my mother died, I inherited a ski house in Pittsfield.”
That led to his decision to try living in Vermont when he retired in 2000.
“I wasn’t a very good skier and my wife had just started to learn to ski. I wanted to find a volunteer organization that would allow me to help others and keep me both physically and socially active. I talked to an ambassador while riding up a lift one day, and he convinced me to look into the program,” Reinauer explained. He added, “I knew I didn’t have the skiing ability to handle a lot of the trails at Killington, but I figured I would improve by skiing every day.”
In addition to enjoying helping guests, Reinauer has appreciated socializing with other ambassadors and their wives.
“The women took my wife under their care, helping her to ski and adapt to Vermont,” he said, noting, “We also joined the Vermont Adaptive Snow Sports program as a means to further help people.”
Reinauer didn’t completely give up beach bum idea, noting they “live on our boat for several months a year at Block Island.”
However, he adds, “In the 12 years that I have been an ambassador, both my wife and I have fallen in love with the mountain and Vermont. I really do believe the ambassador program was the catalyst to changing my goal now to be a ski bum.”