Six-word bio: "All for the love of winter.”Enthusiasm for winter sunrises, the patience required to handle tricky projects, earning and showing respect--these qualities have put Braxmeier on the fast track.
Respect, patience and an appreciation of sunrises. These are, according to Stratton Mountain Lift Supervisor Aimee Braxmeier, the essential ingredients of a successful career in mountain operations. Especially the sunrises.
“The best memories I have of my job are driving to the summit on a sled at 6 a.m. when it’s ten below out and seeing amazing sunrises,” says Braxmeier. “It’s the little moments like that make it all worthwhile.”
Described by peers as having “contagious enthusiasm,” it’s no surprise that Braxmeier can appreciate the coldest of mornings. A snowboarder who readily admits that the reason she got into the industry was to have the opportunity to ride, Braxmeier started her career as a tubing attendant, did a stint as a snowboard instructor, and in her own words, “worked my way up and finally became a full-time paid employee.” It was a journey that took her from Blue Mountain, Pa., to Killington, and finally Stratton and those great sunrises.
Along the way, she’s won accolades for handling tricky projects, such as overseeing the permitting process for Killington’s Skye Peak lift and the associated trail infrastructure with that project. “That’s another one of my best memories,” says Braxmeier. “Being able to work on that project and see it all come together and finished was amazing.”
At Stratton, Braxmeier oversees the entire lift operations and validation staff. With approximately 65 full-time and 25 part-time employees, “it’s a position that requires patience,” she says.
“Managing a wide variety of people of different ages and with different backgrounds is my biggest challenge,” says Braxmeier. She laughs, “The most important part of my job is knowing how to count to 10!”
She attributes some of her numerical expertise to Frank Pauzé, director of the Resort Management Program at Vermont’s Green Mountain College, where she completed a degree in hospitality management. “To this day,” says Braxmeier, “he still guides me.” She also tabs Killington’s director of mountain operations Jeff Temple as a mentor.
“Being in mountain ops as a female, there are a lot of obstacles,” says Braxmeier. “Everyone who works in mountain ops knows the kind of people that do this. Earning respect from the older lift mechanics that have been in the industry for years and years, that’s a challenge. But it’s all about if you give them respect, you get the same respect in return.”