The Mountain Times

°F Wed, April 23, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Living the mountain life with Scott Harrison

Photo by Karen D. Lorentz
Outdoorsman Scott Harrison has quite a display of turkeys in his office


Snapshot Box
Scott Harrison, Food and Beverage Director for Killington and Pico
Favorite author: John Grisham
Favorite movie: Brave Heart
Leisure activities: hunting, boating, snowmobiling, watching football.
Winter Sport: Alpine skier
Social Media: "Facebook once in a blue moon."
Something that made a difference: "Coming to Killington for a winter."

If ever a person found their happiness at Killington, Scott Harrison would be in the running for top honors.

A "Jersey boy" who began skiing at a young age, Harrison majored in environmental science in college and went into banking and business development (1981) before working for Hilton Hotels in New Jersey. But "looking for the outdoor life," he "came up to ski with my friend Dave Cooper. We practically begged Greg Hiltz to hire us to make snow," Harrison said of their determination to ski bum the winter of 1992-3.   

That job was followed by a summer of painting all the lifts, then work in the lifts department, and a stint as lifts ops manager for several seasons. Later, when Killington switched to base-area operations managers, he did that for ten years, taking on the expansive "responsibilities of operating a unit as a business with its own budget."

This experience led to his becoming food and beverage director, a position he enjoys for its creative challenges and diversity. In 2011 he was promoted to the Executive Team. The "E Team" consists of senior managers who attend weekly meetings to coordinate overall operations, share ideas, and develop ways to meet new and ongoing challenges.

Harrison notes, "Chris [Nyberg, resort president] challenges you with new ideas. We've added so much-the Yurt, the Roaring Brook Umbrella Bars, the Motor Room Bar. Food is an experience here now.

"We've added appetizers to the Wobbly Barn and it's become a classic steakhouse. At Ovations [dining room at the Grand Hotel] there's a revamped menu and a raw bar on weekends, which has added to its ambiance and energy. We've also added a Raclette option [Swiss-styled table-top grilling for vegetables, meats, seafood] to provide for a relaxed, more social dining experience."

Harrison particularly enjoys the variety of work that allows him to be creative - from feeding hundreds of athletes and officials visiting for the Dew Tour or concert series to changing menus with the seasons. "There are many diverse food experiences, including food courts, cafes, and pubs in base lodges, plus the Wobbly and Yurt for a special dining experience, and the newest venues - the Motor Room Bar, on-mountain Dog Sled at Killington and Summit Dogs at Pico.

"We continually massage our menus to adapt to what people are looking for. The food court at Snowshed gives us a venue where we can be the most creative, offering fresh carved sandwiches and wraps made to order, stir fry station, salad bar, etcetera. Hamburgers, chili and chowder will always be bread and butter fare for some skiers, but for the adventurous person, we offer an array of different burgers at Bear Mountain - bison, venison, and wild boar."

Harrison also notes he loves working with people and has a great staff (100 to 250 depending on the season). "The key thing here is the people - there's a family of people here and we love what we do. We love the outdoors, the change of seasons. We want to be here. We take pride in the resort and try to make this place special, both for those of us who work here and for our guests."

Reflecting on the transition from ski bum to a satisfying career, Harrison said the personal rewards of his move include meeting his wife Lori and gaining a stepson Mike. "We spend time skiing and snowmobile as a family.

"One interesting thing is that when Dave and I moved here, our friends came up to visit; three of them met their wives here and relocated to the area.

"I came for the winter, met my wife, and found my home here."


Any recent challenge? 

"The loss of the Superstar Pub due to Irene was a problem given we were replacing the Peak Lodge and had to figure out where we were going to put the 600 people we lost seats for. The two new umbrella bars were a great idea - the ambiance, setting, and view make them a great meeting place."

So there's a silver lining?

"Yes, the two bars and deck offer a perfect place for having a beer or one of our signature hot drinks. We look forward to opening the umbrellas in warmer weather."

Do you still find time to ski?

"I try to get out every Sunday morning with my wife."

Where and when do you hunt?

"My pastime is bow hunting for elk and whitetail deer. I've taken several Pope and Young  record-book animals. The resort seasons work well as they allow me to go turkey hunting in spring and bow hunt in fall. I take trips to New Mexico and Kansas."

Any thoughts for someone thinking about a move to Vermont?

"I have no regrets on moving here. I love Vermont - the seasons, the people. Everyone is interesting. We're from everywhere. I can't think of a place I would rather be. There's plenty of opportunity at Killington."

Tagged: scott harrison, Karen D. Lorentz, Pico