All is not right with the world.
There are plenty of things to which we could attribute this. For instance, it could be the fact that the Philippines is still reeling from the Typhoon (current death count is 5209 people). Or it could be the continued deterioration of the Fukushima nuclear plant damaged in the Earthquake and continuously spewing waste into the surrounding ocean. Or perhaps it’s the steady collapse of our own government under the weight of its own morass.
But none of them are what is making me feel mournful and disappointed.
My alarm, as always, went off at 5:30 AM this morning. There was snow on the ground, a solid inch or two, and the chill had kicked on the heat. My desktop and warm air humidifier, both running overnight, conspired to keep me cosy beneath my comforter. Typically, on a day like today, I would be blinking away the last remnants of sleep, crawling into the shower, and gathering my gear to head up to the mountain. Coffee, breakfast, and that slow, satisfying climb to elevation are things I cherish on cold, snowy mornings.
Indeed, Eldora turned on the lifts today and welcomed skiers. Except for us instructors that is.
On Wednesday, an email came down telling us not to report until Monday. The reasons cited ranged from referencing the white line of death (limited early/late season ski terrain), a lack of work, restricted employee skiing, and the fact that our instructor locker “rooms” (read trailers) aren’t fit and functional yet. They’re all good reasons. They’re all reasonable reasons. Yet none of them make up for the fact that, for the first time since I started at Eldora, I am not there opening day.
Instead of rapidly crawling beneath falling water and lathering up in preparation for shaving, I slapped my alarm off, crawled back beneath my toasty covers, and slipped back into slumberland. Now, I’m sitting in my PJs, pecking away at my keyboard and wondering if this change, one which destroyed a matter of personal pride (I have worked or attempted to work every opening and closing day I’ve been able), is endemic of more.
Returning hire orientation changes each year. Three years ago, they gave us blood born pathogen training. The following year, it was replaced with sun damage and cancer recognition training. Last year, we had a new guest services video. This year, the new training was about keeping a positive attitude in the face of change.
The big changes aren’t all obvious due to the restrictions being on federal land places on the organization. We have a new General Manager (the old stepped down to focus on our expansion plans), yet it’s our owner Bill Killebrew. Multiple management positions besides that have changed, though they’re mostly down lower on the totem pole. We have new snowmaking equipment in preparation for the coming expansion (at the cost of our old locker room, which isn’t a huge loss). Our pass options have changed minorly, which only people in pass sales (or receiving complaints) would know. And our inclusion on the Epic pass has changed things pretty significantly for us employees (though it’s still unclear how it will affect business or our patrons.
But those are all systematic changes, and even if they affect me directly, none are at the core of my Eldora experience.
When I say that all is not right with the world, it’s because something is missing. Right now, that something is me.