Corey Peterson - Steamboat, CO
Submitted on 01/08/2014 - 1:42pm
COREY PETERSONSteamboat, CO
Snowmaker since 2005
Corey: +8⁰ F wet bulb
SAM: FAVORITE TEMPERATURE?
Corey: Work hard, lead by example, be fair, think outside the box, and always search for ways to make improvements.
SAM: WHAT'S YOUR LIFE PHILOSOPHY?
Corey: My first gun run ever. I had no idea what this job was going to be like. Conditions were perfect, the guns were crushing, and I instantly fell in love with this job. Everything changed, including my direction in life, after that night.
SAM: WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE GUN RUN?
Corey: As soon as we start finishing our summer projects and start setting up the guns I begin to get those butterflies in my stomach, and I know snowmaking is just around the corner. I would have thought that the excitement would start to wear down after several years, but instead the anticipation continues to be just as high as my first year.
SAM: WHAT GETS YOU FIRED UP FOR SNOWMAKING IN THE FALL?
Corey: The best thing for me about snowmaking is the team I am privileged to work with. There is a lot of camaraderie and teamwork up here, and we are always watching out for each other. It tends to give us a unique bond. I also love the hard work, challenges and diverse situations we run into on a daily basis. I could not imagine having a boring job, or even a normal one.
SAM: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT SNOWMAKING?
Corey: I was lucky my first night of snowmaking. I had dreamt of moving to a ski town and I had finally made it! I grew up on a farm in the flatlands east of Greeley, by Kersey, CO. After careful consideration I decided snowmaking seemed like the best fit for me. I had seen the guns running a few times while visiting resorts, but had no concept of how big a system it was, its importance to the mountain, or how much snow one could make.
SAM: WHAT WAS YOUR "I AM" MOMENT? THE EXPERIENCE THAT MADE YOU SAY "I WANT TO BE A SNOWMAKER?"
Temps were in the single digits. We had also received a good amount of natural snow in early October. So, after completing the necessary training, my foreman’s first task for me was, “jump on that sled and follow me.” Awesome! We get to Snowmaking Control, and Scotty is running around going nuts. “It’s single digits, we are crushing!” he yells. Scotty is our controller and one of the best snowmakers I know. At that point I didn’t quite understand why someone would be so excited about freezing temps, but I would soon find out. All I knew was that Scotty and the rest of the veterans were like kids on Christmas.
After going over the game plan we began my first gun run ever. I will never forget that first time I stood under a gun at single digit temps! It was amazing! Not everyone would get the satisfaction I was receiving from being blasted with man-made snow, but I loved it. It is something only a veteran snowmaker can explain. It was like we were stepping in for Mother Nature. As Scotty still says, you could not wipe the smile off my face.
I have always been able to get a sense of gratification by working hard, but this was completely different. As the night went on I saw the piles build up. We had to work extremely hard to make the process happen, but it was worth every bit of effort. The most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen began to light up the massive whales we had made on our shift. As I admired our progress I knew this job was different than any other I had. I knew I had stumbled upon my dream job! I was having so much fun, the shift was over before I knew it.
It didn’t take long for me to realize I AM A SNOWMAKER. I knew that whatever I was doing for the summer, it would have to end for the snowmaking season, and I made sure I planned it that way. I gave every ounce of effort I had to snowmaking, and was fortunate enough to land a year-round management position. I love being a part of this team, and the opportunity I have received to lead and mentor so many uniquely talented and hardworking individuals.
Snowmaking is a very dangerous job. It is imperative for me to promote safety while continuing to increase production. I do this by being dedicated, working hard, leading by example, and making safety the top priority while still maintaining a fun atmosphere. I was taught by the best—I consider my boss, Steve West, a snowmaking genius far ahead of others in the industry. He has set me up for success in this unique field.
I love the summer work just as much! Laying new pipe, working on pumps and compressors, and improving the snowmaking infrastructure have become part of my snowmaking passion. I could never imagine watching those guns run from town and not being a part of it.