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Greg Gavrilets

 

 

Terrain Park Manager, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area, Tenn.

Age: 26
Education: B.A. Economics, University of Tennessee; M.B.A., University of Tennessee
First job in industry: ski patrol

Six-word bio: Passionate, hard-working, enthusiastic skier.

The Nomination: 

“Greg is a high capacity individual with a seemingly insatiable desire to excel in everything he does. He is a level 1 PSIA member who is pursuing his level 2 certification. Currently, as terrain park manager, he attends Cutter’s Camp each spring, developing grooming skills for the constant progression of our terrain park offerings, in addition to introducing terrain based learning features. He works with corporate sponsors for assistance in special events and is responsible for social media specific to terrain park activities. In the past two years, he has written for and received a grant from HKD, helped develop a new ski slope, and is working on updating our slope lighting, all aimed at making us more energy efficient. His passion for skiing along with his education ensures he will continue to make a difference in the snow sports industry for years to come.”

—Rick Claude, Director of Operations

The Interview:


How did you get into this industry?
My dad instilled in me a passion for skiing, but my first job happened by chance. My best friend in high school took me to his first OEC class for ski patrol. I started as a volunteer ski patroller and was hooked.

What drives you in your career?
It has been my dream to work in the ski industry since I was a volunteer ski patroller. I try to constantly challenge myself to improve and to make a positive impact on the people around me.

What is it that you love about working at a resort?
I love working in the mountains and being challenged daily in a variety of ways. There is no better way to spend a day than skiing or riding. Seeing our guests learn, enjoy, and progress in the sport makes it all worthwhile.

You manage terrain parks, but also do social media. Do you see yourself focusing on one area in the future?
I really appreciate the opportunity to work at a smaller area and contribute to multiple departments. It has given me a unique perspective on the many layers of operations. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I would like to continue growing and making an impact wherever I can.

Do you take feedback on social media and use it to determine what you build on the hill?
Absolutely. I always talk to the riders and interact on social media to get feedback on which features and events are successful and how to improve. Not every proposed setup is possible to build, but you get a great feel for what people want to ride. Watching what features get used in the park is also important, but social media provides immediate feedback.

What have you taken from Cutter’s Camps and applied to your own area?
The biggest takeaway has been bringing back fresh industry trends and perspectives and trying them. Cutter’s Camp is a great opportunity to learn, get ideas and to progress. I have been able to apply new building techniques to our park as well as event and promotional ideas.

How do you want to contribute to the future of the industry?
I’d like to help our industry grow. That means making it more accessible to young people from all income brackets and encouraging participation through school programs and other on-hill events. I admire the terrain-based learning trend. It’s a novel idea to reshape the guest’s experience on snow.

If you could share one thing about the new generation of resort visitors with the older generation of ski industry employees, what would that be?
Try to make young people’s resort experience as positive and memorable as possible. As in any service business, positivity is contagious. Interaction with young people makes them feel welcome and part of the community, which will keep them coming back.