July 27th, 2021
The Gears of a Resort
Lift Maintenance is a team part of mountain operations that few very people truly understand what they do and just how important their work is to keeping ski resorts running. So, when I found out that I was tasked with creating a video to highlight a member of this crew as part of the “Rise Up Challenge”, I didn’t really know where to start. I began with the basic facts about the up-and-comer nominee – Eric Barela has worked at Taos Ski Valley for almost 20 years starting when he was only 18. 14 years of his tenure was with Lift Operations, then he moved to the Lift Maintenance team 6 years ago as part of the Line Crew as a lead mechanic. This team has some unique challenges in their job that others may not face because Taos Ski Valley has both old and new lifts. So, the crew had to become experts in both. The older lifts are easier to maintain but harder to find specific tools and parts for fixes which means the team ends up building a lot of their own tools.
While their multi-faceted expertise makes them a great group of skilled mechanics, what makes this crew so unique is that they are more of a family than simply a good team. Most of these guys had grown up living just down the street from each other and going to school together. Their roots are deep in Taos and at the resort. Some even mentioned that they were second or third generation working for Taos Ski Valley in similar careers.
Taos Ski Valley’s connection to the local community is special. It allows us to have guys like Eric who are incredibly smart and hard-working as part of our team for a long time. It also allows guys like Eric to work in an environment where he is around family every day.
Eric is now a finalist in the “Rise Up Challenge.” I’m asking everyone I know to help us help Eric win the education grant by asking them to vote daily until August 4th. Check out the video here to learn more about this amazing team.
By Jonah Sutton, Content Manager