Deep in the heart of the business office at Loon Mountain lives the sales office – a windowless mecca with cream colored walls, six desks and a very impressive refrigerator – five staff members stir about juggling phone calls, emails, and employees just stopping by to say “Hi”. Its a few minutes shy of 7am. After getting up at 4:45am to walk the dog, shower (a necessity in a small office with no windows), we get to the South Mountain parking lot to catch the shuttle to work. Eager to get to our other office (with WINDOWS!) where we greet groups, shuffle reservation forms and pre-printed tickets, pack our bags, and head out.
I have been at Loon for six amazing years and have learned more than I had ever expected in my life. Sure, I can field calls and book groups and work on wedding contracts and everything else that comes with a “Resort Sales Position”, but I have also learned how to whip up an amazing steak and cheese, change frialator oil, scoop soup, fit rental boots, process rental forms, teach a few ski lessons here and there, sell tickets and season passes, and operate the incredible vacuums we use at Loon Mountain to clean the lodges at the end of the day. It’s something we refer to at Loon Mountain as “job sharing”– exhausting, entertaining, fulfilling, and exciting, to say the least.
Today started out much like any other weekend day at Loon Mountain, except for my “not so little” golden retriever who woke me up a little earlier than expected to go for a walk. It’s never a great feeling when you wake up BEFORE your alarm goes off at 4:45am. So, I bundled up and we headed out for our morning stroll. While my dog is eagerly sniffing snow banks 10 times the size of her, I’m thinking of what I need to do to start the day; V8 Splash and toast, shower, and find socks that match. Then it’s off to South Mountain Parking Lot. There’s always that moment in time when you cross over that bridge and HOPE there is a bus waiting, not pulling out of the lot. For me, that’s a huge relief. Park the car, say hello to the parking attendants who really deserve a medal of honor (or courage) for standing out in the frigid morning temperatures, and board the bus. The bus ride in to work is probably the most relaxing part of my day (depending on who the driver is). I get into the office around 6:30am (on a good day when the morning “commute” goes well), check voicemail and email, and then it’s off to the other office I go. Our other office is at the Governors Lodge, really a “ticket annex” or a hallway if you will, where we greet groups, print tickets, and spend A LOT of time waiting. It has windows – three to be specific – so we kill time “people watching” and fielding questions. Around 8am, my cell phone rings. It’s someone from Food and Beverage, guaranteed. They have gotten quite skilled in calling early for assistance during the lunch rush. Sure enough, I’m right. My detail today: Governors Lodge grill area at 11:30am. Shortly after, our groups flow in steadily and, remarkably, on time. We divide and conquer – two people out greeting buses to welcome them to Loon, hand out trail maps and wickets (or metal hangie thingies, whichever you prefer), and bring the group leader to our little annex to collect payment and print tickets. I’m usually on ticket duty – since I’m the one that reconciles the accounts, I like to be responsible for any mix-ups or the like. It can be very complicated, but it’s also very rewarding to be able to work with such amazing group leaders who have become great friends over the years. Today was typical for a Saturday – 12 buses and a few U-drive groups. By 9:30am, everyone is on their merry way- or en-route to the rental shop and my phone rings again. It’s a 7-4-5 exchange, so I know it’s a call from someone at Loon – usually with a problem or question. This time, it’s the rental shop. The line is out the door and they are in dire need of assistance. Lucky for me, I have spent the past six Christmas Days helping a large group and other guests at the rental shop, so I have learned the skill (not mastered, FYI) of processing rental forms. I leave the annex and head over to the rental shop – maneuvering my way through the line of anxious guests in need of equipment rental. I log on to the POS (Point of Sale Unit- just learned that lingo, too) and start assisting guests. This is no McDonalds. The menu is varied with helmet rental add-ons, damage waivers, lesson upgrades, ticket sales, you name it. There’s no “#7 hold the cheese” type selection, so it takes time. We want to get everyone out quickly to enjoy the fabulous snow, but it’s not as easy as you would think. About 20 minutes into it, the line is manageable and I move over to the boot area to fit boots. Another 20 minutes there, and the crunch is over. WHEW.
It’s now only 10:30am. I have just enough time to run back to our windowless office and reconcile some accounts, check voicemail and email again, and get ready for the next job sharing adventure. My cell phone rings again. Another 7-4-5 exchange. This time, it’s just a question about a mysterious voucher at one of the ticket windows. Luckily, I actually know the answer and walk the amazing ticket sellers through the transaction. Done. Off to the Governors Lodge. This is the point in my day that I actually somewhat regret giving up Red Bull. I have never been able to acquire a taste for coffee, so for years the Red Bull WIINGS got me through the day. Thankfully, a nice Doctor named Dr. Pepper provides me the caffeine I need to push through thethird leg of my day without the jitters or the price tag of a Red Bull. I grab my apron, my Dr. Pepper, and head over to the grill area. Today’s job – expediting. Yes, I’m the one who asks what suits your fancy and if you want fries with that. Then I repeat it and it magically appears hopefully just 30 seconds later. Sure, it may sound easy and sometimes it is, but I also need to learn “the lingo” and set up plates in advance. Because the chef is busy making sure the burgers are done to perfection (and they are, let me tell you!) and the grilled cheeses are cooked to a golden brown – they don’t want to hear all the “jibberish” that goes with an order. So, if you want a hamburger with fries, you yell “hamburger WITH”. (Kitchen short-hand) I love it. You also need to set up each plate; corn-dusted bulkie rolls with crisp lettuce and a very large and juicy tomato slice and pickle spear. It may sound easy, but when you “send” (kitchen lingo again) a few hundred cheeseburgers, it can be a daunting task. Today’s emergency: we ran out of pre-cut lettuce for the burgers. Its high noon and lettuce is a necessity for these amazing burgers, so I ran downstairs to the walk-in, grabbed a case of lettuce, and started chopping. Just another thrill of job sharing.
The lunch rush was somewhat over around 1:30pm, but the cooler was bare and we needed pudding cups STAT. The amazing soup guru and incredible salad assembler, Jackie, got me all set up and gave me a brief overview of filling these “hot items” of the Governors Lodge. 24 pudding cups later, it was another emergency; the grill area was out of sliced tomatoes. Back downstairs I go, grab a case of tomatoes and the slicer, and it’s slicing time! I am easily entertained, so spending 20 minutes slicing tomatoes in this high tech slicer thing is just pure enjoyment.
It’s 2pm. The special of the day at the Governors Lodge is Mac and Cheese and garlic bread. I have a lot of food allergies that keep me away from the amazing mac and cheese, but I can (and did) enjoy a few incredibly delicious slices of the garlic bread before heading back to the office. Adam has just completed his job share duties serving soup, so we grab some “to-go” containers and march back to the geographical center of Loon Mountain aka the Business Office. A few more voicemails and emails to tend to, prepare for tomorrow’s groups, and finish invoicing the groups from today, and an hour later, we’re on the move again. This time: to bid farewell to one of our international schools visiting from the UK. They are heading out to North Conway to do some tax-free outlet shopping after a full day of skiing and lessons. Shortly after, we also head on a bus – this time to the South Mountain Parking lot to pick up our cars and come back to the resort. We have a great event going on tonight – the North Country Center for the Arts Auction and Dinner. The shuttle bus ride is generally a sign that our day has come to an end, but this time, it has just started the second (or third, maybe fourth) phase of our day. It was relaxing while it lasted, but we find ourselves back at the Governors Lodge just 20 minutes later.
This time, it’s not expediting, slicing tomatoes, filling pudding cups, or serving soup. We need to take ALL of the tables out of the lodge and bring in round tables and folding chairs, linens, china, silverware – the whole nine yards. We’re under a time constraint and the challenge is more fuel than a few cans of Red Bull, that’s for sure. I’m not going to lie – its fun. We flip the lodge and by 6:30pm, we’re guzzling water and the chefs are cooking up a MAD feast for a great cause. By 7pm, my “dogs were barking”, so it was my time to head home to a very literal barking dog, eager to go for our evening walk and play in the snow. It’s now 9pm, I have checked messages again, replied to emails, and walked the dog AND wrote this blog, not really a job-sharing duty, but it really is just as enjoyable as slicing tomatoes with that really cool high tech tomato slicer. It’s time for bed. Tomorrow is another day and WHO KNOWS what excitement that will bring! Just another weekend day in the life of a Loon Mountain Sales Manager.
Until next time,