If you’ve ever been to Loon Mountain for a day of skiing or riding, you probably noticed some red jacket-wearing individuals waiting near bus stops and lodges or helping people to unload and carry their equipment. These unsung heroes are the Resort Hosts – and they’re more than just a valet service – they’re the helping hands and smiling faces that keep visitors happy on and off the mountain!
I sat down with Resort Host Manager Lisa Philbrick and Assistant Resort Host Manager Kristin Thistle to learn about what Resort Hosts do and why they’re so important to the Loon experience.
First things first, can you tell me what a Resort Host does and run me through a typical day?
Lisa: The Resort Host’s basic function is to help the guest on the mountain. We probably help parents the most because they’re the ones who have little children and are trying to carry their skis and their gear – and even their children sometimes. But we’ll help anyone – and in the morning from about 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., we help people carry their skis and unload their cars. After that we take a little break before going out on the mountain from about 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to look for people who may be lost or need assistance. We always observe while we’re on the mountain to always be looking out for anyone who might need help and we’ll also help ski patrol keep areas clear if there’s an injured person. Then in the afternoon we’ll do the same thing we do in the morning and help people get off the mountain and on their way efficiently.
Kristin: Basically, we just try to diffuse a bad day and make it better – whether that’s with a hot cocoa coupon or just helping people unload or carry their gear – we try to help them and make sure their stay is good.
What would you say is the hardest part of the job?
Kristin: Manual labor?
Lisa (laughing): No, I like the manual labor because it keeps us in shape! But honestly, I can’t think of an aspect of the job that I don’t like. I think what defines the Resort Host department is the fact that we were hosts before we were hosts.
Kristin: I can’t think of any negatives. We all love our jobs and we all love to help.
On the flip side, what’s the most rewarding part of the job for you?
Lisa: Helping the guests is definitely the most rewarding part of the job for me. In my first or second year as a resort host I noticed a mother in the lodge who looked ready to cry, so I went over there and started talking to her. She said she was there with her kids who wanted to ski, but she couldn’t ski and was trying to learn, but she just seemed broken. I sat with her and reassured her while we drank some hot cocoa – and the next year I saw her at the lodge and she gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you for talking with me that day, because now we’re a ski family.” It’s stories like that one make this job so rewarding.
Kristin: I love helping the little kids – whether it’s helping them on and off the lift or talking with them on the ride up – they’re just so sweet.
Are visitors ever surprised that there are dedicated employees to help them carry their gear?
Lisa: Oh absolutely! When a family pulls up to the curb with 3 or 4 children and we approach them they usually say they don’t need any help because they think that we’re asking for money to help, so we explain to them that we’re Resort Hosts and it’s our job to help them get out onto the mountain as quickly as possible at no charge. Then they’re usually more than happy to hand over their skis and other gear.
I’m sure most people are pretty grateful for the help.
Lisa: Definitely, and I think having a service like the Resort Hosts sets Loon Mountain apart from other ski resorts. And we all love being there to help!