Behind the scenes of the seasons fun and games

When winter welcomes locals and visitors to ski our mountains, skate our frozen ponds, and enjoy all our other snowy activities, we sometimes take for granted the wonderful people that make it happen. Let’s highlight the folks who work hard to maximize the fun during this chilly winter season. 


Ski patrollers have a tough job. Accidents happen, every single day on the mountain. Ski patrollers are the mountain's white blood cells, acting fast when there is something wrong on the mountain, and making sure slope enthusiasts are safe, secure, and get the help they need. Not only helping with rescues, they are proactive in preventative measures, closing off dangerous trails based on snow conditions, weather, and other on-trail hazards. Make sure to thank these seasonal and volunteer ski patrollers when you see that distinctive black and red jacket on the slopes!

Ski patroller in a red coat skiing through the trees


Snow! It’s the base of many of our winter passions, quite literally. But with climate change having an impact on the snowpack patterns we see year after year, the job of a snowmaker has become much more crucial. Snowmakers extend our season, both on downhill ski slopes like Whiteface Mountain, and on cross-country trails like Mt. Van Hoevenberg

Instructor and guides

It’s where many of us started, on the bunny hill being guided along by that bright and knowledgeable ski and board instructor. It takes a lot to make the leap, and learn from someone, especially when it can feel vulnerable to be completely new to something. A good instructor at the ski hill can instill passion in a new winter recreator that’ll last a lifetime, and that’s powerful. The same is true for the area guides, who are out leading locals and visitors on memorable ice climbing and snowshoeing trips. 

Three people posing after a ski lesson.


The unsung heroes of our ski hills, lifties are the true sentinels of the mountain, standing at their post for hours on end so that you can have a safe and smooth ride to the top. When you’re out there warming up with those deep turns on pow days, remember the lifties, and throw them a warm smile, or even a quick conversation before they send you off!

A liftie helps people onto a chairlift.


If you’re ever driving by Whiteface Mountain at night, chances are you’ve spotted some bright lights moving slowly across the mountain’s skyline. Each night, while skiers and riders are dreaming about their morning turns, groomers are out on the slopes and the cross-country trails crafting those perfect corduroy runs we all love. You may never see a groomer while you’re out at a local cross-country ski center or on the slopes, but rest-assured they work hard so you can play hard. 

A large snow-grooming machine works its way down a snowy mountain.

Ski techs

Let’s take a step back. Prior to the start of the ski season, there’s no doubt you needed your bases repaired, edges tuned, or skis waxed. The ski techs at our local shops are staples of reliability, and without them, our turns wouldn’t be as sharp, or our kick glides as smooth! Stop by one of the many great shops in and around Lake Placid that offer ski repairs and tune-ups.  

A ski tech helps someone fit a boot.


If you’re interested in being a part of making winter happen, consider taking a volunteer opportunity at an event like the Empire State Winter Games, or look into Whiteface Mountain’s host program!

Well, what’re you waiting for? The snow is here, you should be out playing in it! Don’t forget to thank all of these people on your adventures outdoors, and tell your friends about them during dinner and a warm apres-activity drink in town.