This winter, Jay Scambio steps into the corner office as Loon’s new president and general manager. It’s a move that brings his career full circle.
In 1998, Jay – then a Plymouth State University student – began working at Loon as a snowboarding instructor. After graduating in 2002, he became the resort’s terrain park manager. In that role, he brought Loon’s innovative terrain parks to national acclaim in just a few short years.
In 2007, Jay was promoted to direct terrain park development for all of Boyne’s resorts. In 2015, he was named director of mountain sports development for Boyne, a job that included leadership of snowsports schools and programs, as well as summer and adventure activities.
Here, Jay tells us a little bit about himself, his history with Loon, and his plans for the resort’s future.
How does it feel to be Loon’s new president/GM?
It is a little surreal. I grew up at Loon both personally and professionally and I am truly honored to be at the helm.
How did you get your start at Loon?
When I was at Plymouth State I was working here part time to get a pass and make some money. I got into coaching private lessons, and our Junior Seasonal program, and was asked if I would develop a specialty program with Junior Seasonals. When I graduated, Ralph Lewis [Loon’s director of skiing operations at the time] called me up and said “Hey, we need a guy to run the parks. Do you want to do it?” I said “Sure. Why not? I don’t have a job, so let’s do it.” One thing led to another, which led to this.
So what’s your game plan for your first winter?
There are some things we need to refine and focus on. That aside, we will continue to be aggressive with our snowmaking operation, providing an excellent snow surface for people to enjoy, because that’s what our winter business is all about. It’s all about the snow. But just as important is how we treat our guests. Loon has always been focused on guest service, and we’ll continue to improve the excellent service we already provide.
What are your long-range plans for Loon?
We will continue with our efforts to expand westward – the development of our South Peak beginner area and beyond. We will continue to develop our powerful snowmaking system, and we’ll remain dedicated to offering award-winning terrain parks and providing an even better family experience. Loon will also become more involved in summer activities and adventure sports in the years to come. We know that on a daily basis the Kancamagus Highway is busiest during the summer and fall – much more than during the winter months. Many of those travelers would come enjoy Loon; we just need to provide them with more activities in the summer and fall months. There’s a whole list of them: mountain coaster, mountain biking, canopy zip tours. These will complement our current offerings nicely.
What did you do in your most recent job for Boyne Resorts?
I was director of mountain sports development for Boyne’s nine ski resorts, and the Gatlinburg Sky Lift down in Tennessee. In that role I looked after our terrain parks, our ski schools, and our summer adventure activities. We always need somebody to create consistency across the resorts when you’re spread across a continent. Communication, demographics, the resorts – they’re all different.
So you’re a terrain parks guy. Do you have big plans for Loon’s parks?
I’m sure there are a few people who are kind of like “There are going to be parks everywhere!” I heard somebody the other day say “Oh, the parks guy got the job.” Well, I’m a little more than just the parks guy, but that’s not the intention either. We’re certainly not going to do less, as long as we’re offering a full progression of terrain parks to our young beginners all the way to our pros that cycle through here. We’re really good at it, so why wouldn’t we continue?
You know the mountain, and you know the people that work here. That seems like a recipe for success.
We have a lot of great people here. Our senior team is amazing. I’ve been here for a long time, and I know them all. And then there’s a great set of managers underneath them. So we’ve got a really good thing here and we can make it a little bit better, think toward the future a little bit more, but not much is going to change.
You’ll still be working closely with Rick Kelley, our former president and general manager, who was promoted to senior vice president of ski and mountain sports operations for Boyne Resorts. Did you ever see yourself following in his footsteps?That first year of managing the parks, I remember seeing Rick and Ralph and thinking “Wow, that would be a cool job, running a ski resort one day. I could be into that.” It’s neat to think about that now.