Chris Rogers: How to Thrive in the Face of Adversity

Like many of you, my season came to a screeching halt in mid-March, scattering client bookings, the tail end of instructor certification training, end-of-season exam plans, National Academy, and Team Selection.

After an extended eight-month offseason, I was looking forward to the 2020-21 season. However, the excitement to return to snow with my friends, clients, and clinic participants was balanced with the apprehension of many unknowns.

Here are a few things I’ve observed in my first few weeks back on snow:

  • The mountain environment lends itself to keeping individual distance and maintaining a personal bubble and people have been fairly respectful of wearing masks and not crowding.
  • Resort employees are doing a good job of kindly reminding people to keep their masks up in lift lines and enclosed areas, and that seems to have encouraged individuals to remind their neighbors as well.
  • The mountains are doing everything they can to stay open, this means a lot of new policies, procedures, and changes. You will likely experience changes you aren’t happy about, so it’s a great time to practice your people skills. Our People Skills Fundamentals say that great instructors can identify, understand, and manage our own emotions and actions, and recognize and influence the behaviors, motivations, and emotions of others. This is a great season to put those skills on display.
  • Expect the unexpected. This probably goes without saying, but every time we think we know what’s going on, it seems to change again. Rather than letting this stress you out, aim to make it an adventure and find the silver lining.
  • Get used to saying “I’m not sure… but I can help you find an answer.” When I am a guest somewhere, there are few things that frustrate me more than an employee telling me they can’t help. This season I’ve made it a goal to not just direct guests to someone who might have an answer, but to walk them there so I can hear the answer as well.
  • Without seeing faces I’ve found it challenging to remember names. I’ve had to focus on name games and memory tricks to associate names with jackets, helmets, and goggles. On the upside, I think I’m actually getting better at remembering names.
  • This is the season for innovation. Whether it’s clinics and training online or new tools to help you teach your guests hands-free, I don’t think I’ve ever seen our industry so ready to embrace new ideas, new tools, and new ways of doing business.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things, to share your ideas with others, and use others’ ideas and feedback to continue to improve your ideas!

I’m thrilled to be on snow teaching guests and leading trainings. I’m lucky to have found my passion and purpose 16 years ago when I started teaching snowboarding, and I’m thankful to the ski area personnel keeping the snow guns going, lifts spinning, and groomers grooming so that we can do what we do and share our passion for skiing and snowboarding.