Halley O'Brien

Media Professional
Mountain Creek, N.J.

Six-word bio: "Family, friends, passion = recipe for success.”

Mountain Creek’s Halley O’Brien is a tour-de-force of personality who has helped this small, New Jersey-based resort achieve one of the most-trafficked social media profiles on the East Coast in just two short years.

These days, social media and young people are like peas and carrots—they go together so well it can be tough to find one without the other.

Given that, a young person excelling in the medium might hardly seem reason for recognition. But many people don’t realize how difficult it is to execute social media well, and with success. Fans don’t flock to Facebook pages on their own accord, and getting traction with videos can be even tougher.

It’s in this heady arena that Halley O’Brien has managed to win over some of America’s toughest crowds—New Yorkers and New Jerseyites.

The 25-year-old was, until June, the PR and multimedia manager at Mountain Creek resort in New Jersey, a medium-sized ski area located just under 50 miles from New York City. She remains affiliated with Mountain Creek in a freelance capacity and has also been hired by the National Ski Areas Association to produce videos for its events as she pursues media full-time as a private contractor.

From the start, O’Brien quickly made a name for herself in the resort industry, boosting Mountain Creek’s profile tremendously since she joined the team. Joe Hession, VP and GM, Mountain Creek, says, “She is extremely talented and driven, and I think it’s only a matter of time before she winds up hosting her own television show,” he says. “It’s actually a shame Regis is the one retiring, because she could take over for Kelly Ripa in a heartbeat!”

Since O’Brien started working with the mountain resort in 2009 (following her first job as snow reporter at Mount Snow, Vt.), the resort increased its Facebook fans from 800 to 24,000 and launched a video series on YouTube that has generated over 400,000 total upload views on the resort’s brand channel.

O’Brien kicked off her career at Mountain Creek by launching an original video series, Halley’s Rapid Play, and now does up to three videos daily to keep up with the demands of social media in the busy winter months. “If we’re getting a foot of snow, we need to tell that story as quickly as possible,” she says.

Through this season, she was up in the wee hours of the morning to do snow reporting—a role she started in but one she continued to do to keep a consistent voice across all communications, she says.

O’Brien admits that she’d love to the be “the Chelsea Handler or Kelly Ripa of snowsports. Producing video, being on camera, entertaining, then taking that video and editing it together, it’s my baby. I do it all myself and it’s really fulfilling. I get to post it and people comment and say how entertaining it was, it’s a cool role that I’ve carved out of this job,” she says.

O’Brien’s videos are funny, genuine and through their sheer volume, offer an authentic glimpse into Mountain Creek’s culture and spirit. And they do well; video views of 500 to 5,000 are common.

When asked how she has achieved so much success at such a young age, O’Brien says she thinks it’s her raw enthusiasm combined with enough humor to catch people’s attention in the wild world of social media.

“My passion for the sport is genuine, my excitement comes through in my videos and my writing and sarcastic undertone brings it to a new level. There’s so many of us, we’re. . .let my personality hang out, that’s when my best content comes out.”

—Katie Bailey