Mike Klein in profile...
Ask longtime Mount Washington Resort employee Mike Klein what his job is, and he’s likely to reply, “I’m still trying to figure that out.”
Klein has been a hard worker at the Resort since 1981, and has a list of responsibilities as long as his arm. He began as a lift operator, graduated to Village Transport driver, groomer, lift maintenance worker, operations manager, Director of Operations and now into his present role.
When Jay Oddliefson left to start a whiskey distillery in Black Creek, Klein assumed Oddliefson’s duties as Director of Planning and Development. “I’m more or less the risk manager for the hill now,” he said. “I’m doing big picture stuff, too. Like planning the next lift – whenever that will be.”
Klein has two employees working with him, maintenance manager George Truesdell and operations manager Eric Meertens. Truesdell looks after utilities, and Klein took over the insurance and liability side of the business.
Having spent so much time at the Resort, in so many different roles, make Klein a perfect candidate for director of planning and development – he knows the mountain like the back of his hand.
“I’ve pretty much hiked it, drove it, rode it and skied it,” he says.
And that helps in planning the big picture. “I have a pretty good idea if we change something, what will happen. Even wind patterns - if you take out trees, it changes wind direction,” he says.
Klein said it’s the people that have kept him at Mount Washington all these years. “They’re a good bunch to work with,” he said.
One of the benefits of his job, he says, is being able to interact with people from departments he otherwise would never have met. “It’s taken me into the inside operation – that’s the biggest change for me,” he says.
While he loves the challenge of his new job, Klein says his favourite role in past years was as groomer – “just because you could look out the back of the Cat and see what you’d done. You’d get a good feeling every day that you had created something. “What I didn’t like about it was nights.” Besides the other thing that keeps him here is the location – “playing in the outdoors, all that stuff.”
In his spare time Klein loves to mountain bike, all over B.C. “Cumberland’s my favourite,” he says. “I ride up from Royston and it’s downhill all the way home.” His other hobby is renovating old houses. “I like to take down walls, open them up and refinish floors – all that fun stuff,” he says.