Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, Nev.
Six-word bio: "If you love it, do it.”It’s been said if you water a garden, it will grow. Josh Bean literally started his career watering the grass at the ski area, and his career’s been growing ever since.
“I got my start in the summer, watering grass,” laughs Las Vegas Ski And Snowboard Resort’s (LVSSR) Josh Bean, when asked how he first started in the ski industry. Bean parlayed his horticultural skills into a position as assistant mountain manager, where he oversees slope and terrain park maintenance as well as all vehicle maintenance.
“He is an integral part of our success,” say general manager Kevin Stickelman. “His experience and ability to connect with our guests and staff helps to raise the bar at the mountain, which we would sorely miss if he wasn’t here.”
And Bean has been there. For 15 years, to be exact.
“I took over snowmaking in 1999, and five years ago took over slope maintenance,” says Bean, who, among other things, has been instrumental in changing the resort’s approach to its park and pipe offerings and tapping into the youthful snowboarding culture that drives snowsports in nearby Las Vegas, a city that’s not often associated with skiing, snowboarding and snow.
“That in itself is the biggest challenge,” admits Bean. “We have great snow, and getting the word out to Las Vegas that we have great snow can be tough. But that’s part of being a ski area in a non mountain-oriented town.”
Other challenges that Bean has met and mastered include getting resort management to buy into the pipe and park movement, an essential addition to the resort’s modest offerings and one that’s impacted the bottom line.
“That’s been another big challenge,” says Bean. “To get the resort to buy into terrain parks, and continuing the growth of snowboarding here at the resort. We needed a quality park for the kids so they didn’t have to travel. In the past it was a really hard push, they [resort management] didn’t care for snowboarding and my goal was to make this a fun place to ride, a place for people to come so they didn’t have to drive to the Lake Tahoe areas or go to Utah.”
Bean’s obsession with park skiing as well as his age—30—might lead one to believe he’s a single planker. But that’s not the case. “I’m a skier,” he admits. “I love to build and ride the park, but we have a lot of great backcountry skiing here, too, and we get amazing powder snow. People just don’t realize how good it can be.”
With a crew of eight, Bean says he and the rest of the resort management are always looking to grow, despite the challenges of being a bit off the beaten path, and the hard work that it entails.
“Josh is a key employee with an innovative attitude, and his enthusiasm permeates throughout everyone he works with,” says Stickelman. Perhaps that’s due to the most influential person in Bean’s life, the current director of mountain operations at LVSSR.
“I have been lucky enough to work with my father for years,” says Bean. “He’s been a big influence.”