Fortune Friday

Posted October 7, 2022

Hello all,


Just like that, our summer operations have come to an end. We had so much fun seeing all of you, and we’re grateful that you chose to join us on our mountain through these awesome summer months. Thankfully, Mother Nature and first responders helped keep the Mosquito Fire in check and it didn’t continue to affect us too much after those hazy weeks we experienced in September. We were excited to be able to continue our operations for the last few weekends as planned.


Of course, none of this would have been possible without our employees and our leadership team. Smooth operations are no easy task, but everyone here at Heavenly works tirelessly to accomplish just that. October is generally a calmer month at the resort and is a good time to recuperate as we prepare for the rush (and fun!) of ski and ride season. I am so thankful for the incredible team here that supports our mountain and our community.


Despite foot traffic subsiding a bit at our resort this month, October is an important time as we begin preparations for winter. Our teams in the field continue to be super busy doing the annual maintenance that is required to operate a big ski resort. Performing this annual work is a reminder of how close we are to winter, and how excited we are to get back to winter ops.


The work on the North Bowl lift has also continued, and is coming along nicely. New towers were installed last month and the lift overall, including terminals, is really taking shape. We still have work to do as we look towards the end of construction – most notably, lift the cable and hang all of the new chairs. When this terrain opens for the season, I think you will all be happy with the outcome and the final product. This new lift just plain looks incredible!


Finally, in this week’s spotlight, meet Andy Nook, our Manager of I.T. here on the mountain. Andy has been in his role for more than eight years, and has a ton of unique duties around the mountain. Learn all about him below!


Have a great October, we’re only six weeks away until the first turns of the season.



Andy Nook Selfie

Q: Hi Andy! Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Heavenly, and how long you’ve been here?

Hello! I am the I.T. Manager at Heavenly and I have been with the company for 9 years, including 8 ½ in my current role.



Q: What inspired your career path?

Whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon! I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and spent a summer guiding float trips in Glen Canyon before I finished college. That summer - and the following 10 summers - changed my trajectory. Instead of accepting a job on the General Motors design team in Michigan, I opted to go back to Arizona to become a river guide in Grand Canyon for $4.25/hour... This was an unpopular decision with my father (as you can imagine)!


I worked my way up over the next couple of summers and got my first shot at a down river trip. My title was ‘Swamper.’ I did the dirty work on 8–14-day motor trips, and on 18-day oar trips in Grand Canyon. I learned to drive 37ft S-Rigs that hold 15 people plus crew, and row 18-foot oar boats on the fastest navigable white water in the northern hemisphere. Eventually, I was certified and licensed by the National Park Service to operate motor and oar boats and became a 2nd pilot (Boatman) and ran my own boat over the next several summers.


At any given time, there are probably only 100 people who hold active guide cards for both motor and oar boats. I was pumped! After about six summers I took my dad on an 8-day trip and he pulled me aside saying that he wished he had done something similar when he was my age. I decided that I wanted to make sure that ‘fun’ was a priority for my career path, and with a few bumps in the road I found my way to Vail Resorts where having fun is a core value!



Q: What are some of the responsibilities you have that might surprise people?

Most people think I.T. jobs are behind a computer. While we do spend plenty of time there, we also are responsible for all the network and telephone infrastructure on the mountain. This includes about 50 miles of buried and aerial fiber optic as well as copper communication lines. We spend a lot of time on the mountain digging, locating our utilities, splicing fiber and copper, etc. It truly is a unique job! Most people with I.T. jobs need laptops and a cubicle to do their job. We have trucks, UTV’s, snowboards, skis, and sunblock to do ours. It’s a really fun place to do I.T.!


Q: What are the various roles your team members have?

Our team consists of a PC Technician group and a Networking group totaling six people. We work together on projects and break-fix incidents for all aspects of the resort, as well as our local lodging and retail businesses. The PC Technician group currently has a PC Technician, a PC Specialist, and a Supervisor who handle a large majority of resort incidents and help tickets, and keep the resort running from a point of sale and back-end computer standpoint. The networking group has two Sr. Analysts who handle all of the cable plant, the network architecture and its redundancies, the servers and network appliances, and the phone system. The I.T. team at Heavenly has the unique opportunity to call every department and every employee our customers. We help everyone that works at Heavenly, so they can help our guests!


Q: What do you love most about your job? And about Heavenly?

In short, I’d say the people. The ski industry is a fun place and so are the people who make it!


Q: What unique or special skills are needed to do your job? 

The I.T. field can be siloed or compartmentalized a bit. However, in this job, you need to have the aptitude to do a variety of things within I.T. We work on applications, servers, networks, fiber optics and cable plant, telephone systems and customer support each day. A lot of other IT professionals work on one individual aspect of I.T. each day, while we work on all facets of I.T every day.


Q: What or who inspires you most?

My wife Maggie inspires me most. I met her when I was living out of my truck working in the Grand Canyon; she was an executive at the time. I’m not exactly sure how I was able to convince her, but here we are! I’ve had the fortune of watching her lead people and make business decisions for over 20 years, making her an amazing role model for me and my career. She has worked her way up to Vice President at her company and I am amazed and inspired every day by her leadership abilities.


Q: What are you most looking forward to this ski and ride season?

The views never get old. I spend a lot of time on the bike trails, but you really can’t get the same vantage point as you do from a lift. I always enjoy the wintertime views and try my best not to take them for granted.


Q: Do you have a favorite run at Heavenly?

My favorite days on the mountain have been spent riding the Boulder, North Bowl and Olympic chairs and doing laps in the trees back down to the Boulder chair. The friends that showed me this route when I was learning to navigate the mountain told me, “stay as left and as up as you can.” Wow, they were right on a good powder day!