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10 Under 30 :: 2016

Written by April Darrow
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IAN NAUDAIN

Title: Water Operator; Slopes/Snowmaking Supervisor, Eldora Mountain Resort, Colo.
Age: 28
Hometown: Louisville, Colo.
Higher Ed: Colorado State by way of University of Oregon
Six-word bio: Take responsibility. Learn everyday. Be compassionate.
First job in the industry: Snowmaker at Eldora.

How did you get here?

After graduating college, I wanted to live in the mountains and be a ski bum for a year or two. I ended up falling in love with the job and the community, and six years later I’m still here. When I started, I had no idea what snowmaking even entailed, but I listened intently and asked a lot of questions. 

A day in the life:

Snowmaking season runs from October through January. After that I supervise our terrain park build and operations. I also help coordinate special events as well as helping run the water system. The great thing about the ski industry is that it’s unpredictable. You never know what that day is going to throw at you.

What’s most challenging about your job?

The natural environment, for one. Trying to maintain a safe and positive workplace when supervising a large group of people is also challenging. We’re out in the howling wind and freezing cold, but we need to try to stay positive, have fun, and be safe at the same time. Snowmaking is an extremely dangerous job. Training people who have never experienced anything like it in their life and keeping them motivated and happy is a challenge. 

What do you love most about the job?

The culture and the people. The people that live in our mountain communities are very unique. There is a culture of adventure and excitement. The people in these communities love to be outdoors and want to adventure in it, but we also want to protect it and be stewards of that environment.

What prompted you to become certified as a water operator?

I wrote my senior thesis in college about U.S. water law. When management mentioned they wanted to get another employee certified as a water operator, I went and got my certification. Now I help run the water system here. This involves maintaining all the drinking/potable water, as well as wastewater. Also, ensuring that our water returning to streams is safe, making sure it’s up to code and treated and tested, documentation, and more.

In 10 years?

Eventually I’d like to be in the mountain ops/management field, working for our mountain operations on a wider spectrum rather than just in singular departments. I’d really love to work on the legal side of things—working with the Forest Service and special interests to find common ground, balancing stewardship of our forest with the ability to run and progress the business of running a ski area.

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Additional Info

  • Author: April Darrow
  • Volume: 55-4
  • Page: 36
Read 33871 times Last modified on Wednesday, 14 September 2016 15:05
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