How Killington partners with a Vermont college to staff the ski resort

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 5:55 PM EST
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KILLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Skiers from around the world are heading to Vermont for the Killington World Cup this weekend. Of course, you can’t put on such a big event without a hardworking, dedicated staff. And Killington recruits many of its employees right from its own backyard.

As Killington prepares to host the World Cup for yet another year, we are taking a look behind the scenes at the people and the programs that help make the event a success.

“I’ve been a skier my whole life, so it made sense to be in the ski industry,” Calvin Merrill said.

Merrill writes the daily snow report for Killington, but he’s not even out of college yet. The Williston native is a Resort and Hospitality major at Castleton University.

“Getting a very applicable business degree with hands-on experience throughout the college program just made the most sense,” Merrill said.

Castleton’s accelerated three-year program partners with Killington to give students paid experience while they earn their degrees. Dozens of graduates of the program have made careers here. That includes Amy Laramie, the resort’s director of communications and events, who was hired full time out of college as wedding and conference coordinator.

“The majority of our executive team were all promoted from within. And that is something we are proud to say we are doing a lot here at the resort,” Laramie said.

Laramie says Killington’s partnership with Castleton helps the resort be sustainable into the future while allowing students to fill the jobs needed to run day-to-day operations.

“They’re not only here for that job, but they are here to get those college credits, so we know that they are a really hard worker,” Laramie said.

And it’s not just Castleton making its mark on the industry.

“The mountain resort industry is one of those opportunities where you can make other people’s lives better just by being there,.” said Sean Doll, an associate professor of outdoor education, leadership and tourism at Northern Vermont University, which has the longest running resort management program in the United States. “I am absolutely on speed dial for almost every resort manager in the Northeast and across the country.”

But as the stage is set to host the World Cup, some students say Killington is the place to be.

“There is no better place to learn about ski resorts and the ski industry than right here,” Merrill said.

And the employees get a front-row seat for an international event that hosts some of the best female skiers in the world.