By Karen D. Lorentz
Editor’s Note: This is part of 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.
Korey Kubricki’s route to Killington was a little different from that of other KSRM grads who had been ardent skiers or riders and chose the KSRM program for their college education because they “loved” their sport.
Kubricki, who hails from Little Egg Harbor in southern New Jersey, attended Pinelands Regional High, a small school located in Jersey’s Pine Barrens. Noting that he had “set my sights on attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland,” Kubricki began his first semester at USNA in June 2011, soon after his high school graduation.
His initial career plan was to study chemistry and become a chemical researcher, but shortly after having entered the prestigious academy, he was injured in a training exercise and found himself “pressed with the decision of switching my career focus and finding a new school.”
He told The Mountain Times that he had had an offer for academic scholarships at Penn State and Green Mountain College and decided that, “GMC would be a great fit.” Oddly enough, he had only skied a few times before this and really didn’t know exactly what he would do. But he did know that he didn’t want to delay his college studies.
“The people drew me here,” he said, noting that GMC honored their offer. So he left the naval academy and “12 hours later was in Killington” ready to begin the KSRM program.
A month after his arrival, however, he was riding a bicycle when he crashed. It was after Irene and the street lights were out, so he didn’t see the pothole that caused him to break his leg. That’s how he became a snowboarder, he explained, noting he found “ski boots impossible after the accident as they hurt too much.”
He stepped into the softer snowboard boots and found a sport that was “natural for me as I had grown up surfing and skating on Long Beach Island.”
Commenting on the unlucky breaks and serendipity to his life, Kubricki added that although the KSRM program originally had not been his first choice, it “ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. My entire experience living in Vermont thus far has been beyond a rewarding experience and has probably shaped who I will be throughout life,” he said.
Q&A with Korey Kubricki
Mountain Times: Can you explain why/how the KSRM program worked for you?
Korey Kubricki: The KSRM program offers a decently rigorous academic curriculum; however, I found the true value of the program (for me) to lie within its ability to create networking opportunities for those students who wish to pursue their careers early on. I was immediately introduced to the executive board at Killington through the program and have since used those contacts to build a strong professional network and a peer group whose focus and personalities are much like my own.
MT: What was the route to your current position?
KK: I began my professional career earlier than most. The first year I worked in retail. Then, during the early part of my second year in school, I was introduced to Chris Coughlin, the KPSRP budgeting manager and the lodging controller, who was a guest speaker in our class. After some additional networking and interviews, he offered me the job of lodging accounting coordinator—the first position with major responsibility that I have had in this industry. I worked in that position for three and a half years and was able to hone my professional skills as well as learn new subjects such as budgeting, financial reporting, and conducting audits.
MT: Your current position?
KK: Recently I have expanded my horizons with a new role and have moved my focus into learning the intricacies of food and beverage. As a member of the Hotel Food and Beverage and Banquets Team, I supervise in this department and help maintain the administrative flow behind our decently sized operation. I also am a team member for our corporate office projects and will be traveling to the West Coast to assist in a franchising operation between Killington’s parent company Powdr and another one of our corporate partners.
MT: So does riding fit into the picture now?
KK: Although I had done some light skiing on various trips with family, I didn’t “grow up” skiing, so the culture as I know it today was somewhat of a surprise once I moved to Vermont. I learned to snowboard through friends my very first year up here and have fallen in love with the sport, the atmosphere, and the participants I meet on the slopes. Snowboarding for me has become an escape and a way to happiness; it is one of the primary things I look forward to each year.
MT: What about the mountain lifestyle of work and play works for you?
KK: This industry and the people who partake in it as both guests and employees are the type of people I enjoy surrounding myself with. Whether I am in the office, out in the field, or on the slopes, it brings me great joy and pride to work and live in a place where the culture and desire to create a wonderful experience is so prevalent. Being able to adventure in the mountains, live among happy folks and pursue constantly enhancing career opportunities is more than I could ask for, and living in Vermont, Killington specifically, has truly broadened my perspective on life and shown me that a little effort goes much further than a long way.