By Alicia Dziak
The ski and snowboard season has officially begun, and with it comes the excitement of getting back to the slopes and getting reacquainted with your ski legs. While skiing and snowboarding are much like riding a bicycle—once you learn how, you don’t really forget—they are also sports that are constantly evolving and giving you opportunities to improve. One way to hone those skills is to take a lesson, and Holiday Valley’s team of instructors is ready for you—this year, led by a two-person team eager to share their talents with guests.
Bob Armour has been working at Holiday Valley for six years, serving as Snowsports School Director for the past two. At the end of this season, he plans to retire, handing the baton to his Co-Director for this year, Allie Doro.
Doro graduated from Ellicottville Central and Boston University before heading out west to pursue her love of skiing. She is a Professional Ski Instructor of America Level III instructor. “I taught in Steamboat for five winters and Aspen for one,” Doro said of her instructor experience.
When the position at Holiday Valley opened up, Doro said the “ability to go into a managerial position and the encouragement from the community as I was applying” were huge motivators in bringing her back to her hometown.
For the 2017-18 season, the two will share the position, which Armour said “will assure an easier and successful transition.” Doro and Armour will co-direct the 285-member school, which includes instructors and coaches for the Children’s Ski and Snowboard School, the Adult Ski and Snowboard School, the Lounsbury Adaptive Program, as well the Holiday Valley Race Team, Freestyle Team, Snowboard Team and Master’s Program. Among their numerous responsibilities are training and overseeing the instructors. The thorough training process includes tours, skill development, fundamental movements and board movements for instructors, among other activities that go on throughout the season.
“Bob is incredibly organized and has so much patience with the business process,” Doro said of her mentor.
“Allie brings a more youthful look at things, a great personality and is great with people,” Armour noted. “She’s had experiences in Steamboat and Aspen that are different that Holiday Valley and will bring that here.”
Doro explained that her customer service background serving high level clientele will aid in creating an exceptional guest experience at Holiday Valley.
Both noted that their staff is equally excited about the upcoming season. “Our instructors love the resort and love Ellicottville,” Armour said. “They are not only providing a lesson, but a lifestyle. It all goes back to the guest experience.”
Doro added that in her short time here, she can already tell that “the staff loves skiing and snowboarding and will share that passion.”
Holiday Valley offers a variety of group or private lessons for all abilities whenever the resort is open. “You’re never too old to start and there’s always an opportunity to improve,” Armour said.
January marks the nation-wide Learn a Snowsport month, and as in years past, HV will be offering some great deals for adults. All month long, Learn to Ski or Ride packages (which include a rental, beginner lift ticket and lesson) are half off. The Bring a Friend deal will give your friend half off the Learn to Ski or Ride package and you get a voucher for half off your lift ticket on your next visit. Or, if you stay at the Inn at Holiday Valley Sunday-Thursday, you can get a free Learn to Ski or Ride package.
For those hesitant to start in the first place, Doro said “It’s always worth trying, and our instructors will provide an atmosphere where you feel safe to learn. Learning to ski or snowboard can be transformational for a person or a family, and it will change your whole winter!”
HV’s Snowsports School will certainly be ready when Mother Nature is, and in the meantime, think snow—it’s sure to be a fantastic winter, and one that both co-directors are looking forward to.
“I would like to try and get in a run with all of the instructors,” Doro said. “I’m excited to create 200 new relationships and to encourage learning.”
“I’m looking forward to enjoying every part of my last year here,” said Armour. “I want to provide a thorough and successful transition to Allie. And ski more!”
For more information on lessons available at Holiday Valley, visit www.holidayvalley.com.