By Alicia Dziak
While it’s only October, we know that it won’t be long before the snow flies and the lifts start turning. With the opening of the ski resorts comes the start of lesson season, a time when hundreds of skiers and snowboarders—young and old alike—take to the slopes under the watchful eyes of their instructors. And at the head of it all is Allie Doro, Holiday Valley’s Snowsports School Director.
Doro, an ECS graduate, came home to Ellicottville last year after attending Boston University and heading out west to teach in Steamboat and Aspen for a combined six years. During the 2017-18 season, she served as Co-director of the Snowsports School, sharing the position with Bob Armour, who had served as the sole director for two years prior. Last season, the pair worked together to make this season’s transition seamless.
Doro learned a lot from Armor, complimenting his organization with documentation, his calm demeanor and great listening ear, as well as his ability to teach her specifically in a way that was different than his own way of doing something.
Now at the helm, Doro’s plans include building up her staff, getting them more involved in training and self development, and promoting the school’s new mantra—”Learn to love winter! Let a pro show you how!”
“We’re so lucky to be able to go outside and ski (or ride) any time we want,” said Doro. “I want people to be an enthusiastic as I am!”
Doro thinks this will be accomplished in many ways. First, the Snowsports School hopes to draw in more beginner skiers and riders by offering affordable lesson packages that encourage people to take more than one lesson. The Rip 19 Card is a deal that enables users to purchase a Learn to Ski or Ride package and then receive a discount card for 25 percent off lodging, lift passes, rentals and lessons through December 2019.
January is National Learn a Snowsport Month, with lesson deals all month long. On Jan. 11, Learn to Ski or Ride packages will be available for only $25.
Doro would also like to see more experienced skiers and riders pushing their skills, and thinks a good way to do that is to get them into the terrain parks and race courses with their instructors.
As part of this season’s capital improvements, Holiday Valley installed a 380-ft. “Magic Carpet” on Slippery Streets, which replaces the tow rope. “It’s so much easier to get on and off,” noted Doro.
HV’s purchase of a Piston Bully 100 groomer is smaller in size and able to make tighter turns, which Doro said will aid in learning on the slopes. This machine has a smaller blade and tiller for shaping and maintaining terrain park features and other areas that require finer work including shaped snow learning terrain for beginners.
Additionally, a logging crew came in over the summer months and cleared paths to make way for new “tree trails,” giving guests a fun new challenge. These will be “secret” trails through the woods, marked by bird-themed signs.
As the director, Doro will manage the 250-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.
Of her staff of instructors, Doro said Holiday Valley looks for those who can really connect with the guests. “We want to make the experience really personal,” she said. “We aren’t preaching at guests. We want to know why they like to be out there and how they learn best.”
Doro is also very enthusiastic about the resort’s seasonal programs including Rangers, Falcons, Eagles and freestyle, race and snowboard teams. “We are always looking for new ways to challenge the home mountain students so our capital improvements with the groomer for parks and the tree trails for new destinations are working to do just that,” she explained. “We are also hoping to do more collaborative events among the programs and add some new events. It’ll be a great winter to be involved with our seasonal programs.”
Most importantly, Doro adds, is that “we want everyone to have fun!” (This is quite fitting since Doro is known as “The Queen of Fun” in certain circles!)
For more info on the Snowsports School and lessons, visit www.holidayvalley.com.