SOS Outreach participates in ‘Industry Day’ at Heavenly
Earlier this spring, members of SOS Outreach enjoyed a day of adventure and learning at Heavenly Mountain Resort.
The kids were introduced to potential careers right in their own backyard — from ski school to mountain operations, snowmaking to ski patrol, and lift operations to maintenance.
Dubbed “Industry Day,” the event was possible thanks largely to the participation by Heavenly.
“On behalf of Epic Promise and Heavenly Mountain Resort, we couldn’t be more thrilled to have the opportunity to host SOS Industry Day on our mountain,” Mike Allen, senior director of skier services. “Having grown up learning to ski in a similar program, I can speak first hand at the incredible impact of connecting with the ski industry through the leaders who work on our mountain. The kids get to see ‘how it’s done and who does it’ and how they can get involved.”
SOS Outreach, a national youth development organization founded in partnership with Vail Resorts 25 years ago, empowers more than 4,000 youth each year to reach their full potential through an intensifying curriculum comprised of positive adult mentors, outdoor adventures, and long-term life skills and leadership development, according to a press release.
The day began at Lakeview Lodge at the top of the tram where 10 SOS participants and their mentors gathered to meet.
The group then headed to the Upper Shop to their first clinic with mountain operations, grooming and snowmaking.
Bryan Hickman, senior manager of snow surfaces, was first up to meet with the kids and spoke to the details and complexities of grooming a mountain as large as Heavenly.
The kids then learned about snowmaking on-mountain.
The next stop was with Steve Martensen, snow safety specialist, where they learned about what it takes to keep guests safe on the mountain even during the busiest days.
Following lunch, the group skied over to Sky Patrol to visit with ski patroller Colton Terry, and a few other members where they saw patrol dogs in action during a training to locate and uncover a buried person in the snow. The final stop of the day was at the base of Canyon Chair with James Kayser, general manager of children’s ski and ride school.
Reflecting back on the Industry Day, SOS’ Regional Director Theresa Papandrea said she was thrilled to see a high level of engagement and interest not only from the SOS participants, but also from the speakers, exclaiming.
“We feel so lucky to have such wonderful partners in Vail Resorts, and that they are so willing to step up as leaders for our kids to look up to!”
Angel Velasquez, a freshman at South Lake Tahoe High School, summed up what being a part of the Industry Day meant to him: “It was very interesting learning all the different jobs and opportunities for the future. It was cool to hear all the stories of their backgrounds and how they got started.”