Dec 1, 2013 | Marmot, Winter 2013

Cathy Saflin IN PROFILE

Finding a short definition of her job title as Accommodation Manager at Slopeside Accommodations at Bear and Deer Lodge draws Cathy Saflin up short.

For the veteran of the hotel industry, it’s different working with property owned by individuals at both lodges, located near the Alpine lodge at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. The lodges are not quite in a classic rental pool, not quite a traditional hotel, and in an alpine atmosphere featuring unique weather patterns in the winter.

Suites at Deer and Bear Lodge are rented privately, sometimes in a combination of use by the owners, or else not rented out at all.

“I try to accommodate each individual owner’s requirements,’ says Saflin, who is working her sixth winter at Mount Washington. “That’s a big part of it, and acting in their best interests.’

The lodges operate similar to a hotel in that there are check-ins, checkouts and reservations made through the Resort’s central booking call centre.

Saflin works with the individual owners in each building, puts together packages to ensure guests receive the best value for their holidays, and finds ways to attract new visitors.

She has been involved in the community with a former seat on Tourism Mount Washington, works closely with the Resort’s human resources committee and sits on an informal strategic planning community too.

“When I took on (Slopeside Accommodations) it was so different than hotels because I have all of these owners I have to be accountable to; at the same time the guests’ experience and how to make it work for everybody,’ she recalls.

“It was pretty overwhelming at first to get my head around the difference from corporate hotels in Victoria.’

Saflin grew up in Comox and graduated from Highland Secondary School. After graduating she ended up in Banff, Alberta working her way up in the housekeeping department of a hotel in Banff National Park.

When she returned to Vancouver Island she settled in Victoria and worked in half a dozen resorts “doing everything from front desk to reservations, accounting, sales. Basically everything except kitchen or maintenance,’ she says.

She worked at the Hotel Grand Pacific, Laurel Pointe Inn, Chateau Victoria and Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites, where she was in charge of booking conferences for organizations around the Pacific Northwest.

Saflin and her husband returned to the Comox Valley when she was pregnant with twins. She thought she would be a stay-at-home mother, but before the twins were two, she spotted an ad for the job at Mount Washington. She is able to work flexible hours, working on location Thursday through Sunday and telecommuting whenever she is not on site.

Saflin has always loved Mount Washington Alpine Resort, and she still skis when she can. Her office at Deer Lodge looks out at the Coaster run,

“I’ve had a connection to Mount Washington, and I have a passion for it,’ she says, gazing out her office window and up at the snow-covered Coaster run. “I believe in the potential of the mountain.’

When Saflin is not working at Deer and Bear Lodges, she is a full-on mom who sneaks in quiet time when she can. “I am supportive of all my kids’ activities,’ she says. “Something that I realize I need is solitude. I do enjoy reading (but) I also like being active.’

She runs and works out in the gym, two places she can reflect and take some adult time. She plays slo-pitch in the summer and loves to camp. “It’s actually ‘glamping’ because we have a 31-foot trailer,’ she adds, laughing.

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