How Castleton hospitality students are getting firsthand experience

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KILLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Castleton University is debuting its new Resort and Hospitality Management Program and Lodge. Our Olivia Lyons was in Killington to learn how students are getting more hands-on experience.

After many renovations, the Butternut Inn and Pancake House at Killington Mountain is now home to 30 Castleton University students. It's the new home for Castleton University's resort and hospitality management program.

For nearly two decades, it belonged to Green Mountain College, but when the college closed last spring, Castleton adopted the three-year business major.

"I think that the students are going to see some really wonderful enhancements to the program in our newly designed Bachelor of Science degree," said Karen Scolforo, the president of Castleton University.

Similar to an apprenticeship or a residency, the students go to two or three classes each day. Those classes are held at the lodge being leased by the university. It used to be the Butternut Inn and Pancake House.

When they're not in class, students are getting real-world experience working for the Killington resort.

"We never shut down. So, Christmas is just another day," said Frank Pauze, the coordinator of the resort and hospitality program. "Labor Day, we had classes, Martin Luther King Day, we'll have class. So, welcome to the industry; when everyone else is playing, we're working."

That includes Thanksgiving weekend when Killington once again hosts Women's Alpine World Cup action.

For some, living and learning this close to the mountain is more than ideal.

"We're living the dream!" said Torrey Caporelli, a first-year student. "I mean this is a skier heaven, this is snowboarder heaven. You go to school for three years, come out with a fantastic resume and business degree. It's just the whole package basically."

The lodge, which also is serving as a dorm, can house up to 60 students. Castleton says it expects to hit capacity over the next couple of years. A lodge and program, redesigned.