This month we chatted with Hallie Holland, another Alta Ski Area employee realizing the dream of living in Alta for the winter. Hallie is a manager in the Alta Ticket Office, where she is one of the first people visitors to Alta meet when they get to town.
ACVB: So tell me about yourself–where’d you grow up? Did you grow up skiing? How’d you get to Alta?
Hallie: I grew up in Boise, ID and went to college in Portland, OR. I’ve been bouncing around the West since I graduated. I work on rivers in the summertime; I started guiding commercially on the Salmon in Idaho and now work mostly for NOLS on the Salmon, Green, and Yampa. It’s pretty neat to have a gig that fills out the rest of my year.
I’ve skied my whole life, my parents started teaching my brother and I when we were 2 or 3 years old, but I didn’t love it until high school. During college I stopped buying a pass and skied almost exclusively in the backcountry for several years. Coming to Alta has totally changed the way I ski and how I view skiing. My dad and his siblings were around Little Cottonwood Canyon in the 70s. I grew up with the stories of Alta and Snowbird at that time and felt like I needed to come and see it for myself. It definitely lives up to the hype!
ACVB: And now you’re here–how long have you been here? Describe your role at Alta Ski Area.
Hallie: This is my third winter at Alta, and second living in the Canyon (which is a crazy, unique experience). I’m one of the ticket office managers. I think most people would be surprised at the variety of tasks my department does: we sell tickets and fulfill web orders, but we also do things like making sure all the live ups get their mail, we’re responsible for rectifying all the receipts, we update the snow phone, we handle all the cash for the shops and restaurants, help employees get tickets when they visit from other resorts, manage traffic and ticket sales at Sugar Pass (between Alta and Snowbird), print season passes, troubleshoot a lot of digital ticketing issues, and answer most of the general inquiry calls and emails that come in. In a lot of ways, we would be the first people that someone visiting would interact with, maybe even before they are physically on the mountain.
ACVB: Describe a normal workday for you. When does it start? What is your ski time like?
Hallie: On a normal day, I’m in the office at 7:45 getting the computers set up for sellers to come in, making sure there are no loose ends from the day before. We get maps and ticket stock filled up and start selling between 8-8:30 am. We stay pretty busy until lunchtime on a normal day, then let the half-day employees go home, maybe send someone out on a ski break around that time and try to rally back together before Skiing at 3:00, especially on the Albion side. We generally close at 4:00 and I try to get out of the office in time to grab the last chair home. Holidays are something else entirely in terms of the ebb and flow of traffic. We might be in the office early or quite late. I don’t ski every day, but I try my best to get out of the office, even if it just means skiing to and from work or being on the skate track or hiking in Grizzly Gulch when my day is over. Having a solid crew that’s stoked on skiing makes it easier for everyone to get out; my boss does an awesome job of putting together a great team every season.
ACVB: What’s your favorite part of your job?
Hallie: Definitely the people I get to work with! Not just in my department, but across the company and the town. I live on the mountain in employee housing and never thought I could enjoy sharing space with nine other adults as much as I do. It’s exceptional to live in a place and with people who care so much about skiing (I just got back from skiing Baldy with my roommates). Between skiing Alta, touring and ACE events there’s always something fun to do with good people. This community is unreal.
ACVB: What’s the most frequently asked question you get at the ticket window?
Hallie: Hahahaha. Being the equivalent of the Alta Info Desk, there are a lot! “Do I need to pick up a separate ticket if I have an Ikon pass?” “Where are your lockers?” “How do I use this ticket?/What happened to the sticky tickets?” I think there’s a lot of nostalgia attached to that one. There are so many people who have skied here for many, many years or learned to ski here a long time ago. There’s so much that hasn’t changed here in a long, long time, but a few critical things that have; tickets are one of them. People miss the physical souvenir of the wicket ticket, the custom messages that changed every day.
ACVB: What’s the one piece of information new Alta skiers should know before they get here? What/how can new Alta skiers learn from locals or folks who’ve been coming for years?
Hallie: I guess I would say “Alta’s a little different.” The best metaphor I can think of is that its kind of like visiting another country. Maybe you have some sense or expectation of what it’s going to be like, but there are probably going to be surprises. The terrain here is different, how you access it is different, the culture is different. If you can put aside your expectations and keep an open mind, you will get so much out of coming to this mountain. Expect great skiing; that’s about it!
Want to read more of our Day in the Life Series? Take a look at past interviews!