As the bullwheels begin to turn throughout North America, lift operators are being hired and brought on board to load lifts and hopefully have a great season of skiing and riding. The operating of lifts, albeit at times a boring duty is one of the most important responsibilities within a ski area. Often, the position is downplayed and looked at by supervisors and managers as a low paying necessary evil they have to deal with during the winter, a regrettable attitude for sure.
This period of time, November, and early December is critical to the success of lift operations in my mind. The onboarding process and training provided between now and Christmas makes so much difference in how lift operations perform over the course of the season. Of course, trying to address it now, is a bit like trying to put your finger in the dike to stave off the flood. The importance of a well thought out training program for lift operators is something that should have been planned with the Human Resources department last spring and fully developed over the course of the summer. This takes time and resources, something that management often does not invest in.
The advancement of technology has offered the ability to train lift operators online enabling excellent training before the lift operators appear on the mountain to do their hands-on training. Bullwheel Productions offers a great video online tool, one that enables tracking and testing so that all of your staff are getting consistent quality training. Bullwheel has its genesis in a ski area and the backers of the company are successful ski area operators, they fully understand the need and the value of good training. Here is a great video from the company’s website about Bullwheel Productions. I have no affiliation with Bullwheel, I do know James Dubendorff, creator of Bullwheel Productions and I would receive no benefit from you utilizing this product. To me, it is a good tool and one that should be in every Lift Operations manager’s toolbox.