Slouched slightly in his chair and an easy confidence, Jeff Brier described the new snowsports school tactics that Hogadon Basin will implement under his leadership.
He plans to add a new mini half-pipe and banked turns to help novice riders, said the new executive director. The changes are some of many additions to Hogadon this year, which include a new lodge and Brier himself.
“... In terms of guest experience, those are huge,” Brier said. “The programs are there, maybe they’re not branded, but the path to follow is there. We’re kind of focusing on building on that community from the ground up.”
Brier turned down a job in Breckenridge, Colorado, in favor of his new position in Casper. Hogadon was open to improvement, he said, and he could use his experience to make a difference.
Brier started teaching in 1996, has been skiing for 35 years and snowboarding for nearly as many. He has been coaching and teaching snowsports for 21 years and has moved across the country to various resorts from his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“I’ve done everything job-wise in the industry. Instructor, supervisor, training, attaining all the highest levels of certification available,” he said seated inside the new Hogadon Basin lodge. “Whatever aspect of the industry there is, I’ve kind of seen and been in all those dark corners.”
Hogadon Basin Ski Lodge manager Chris Smith summarized the feeling for a lot of skiers and riders this winter about the resort.
“This is an exciting year for us,” Smith said. “New lodge. New ski school director. We expect big things and we’re excited Jeff’s on board.”
The new lodge has massive windows on nearly every wall offering views of Casper and the mountain. It also has a much larger commons area, complete with big screen television and larger fireplace. It is also two stories, opening up room for the Mountain Sports rental shop and snowsports school on the bottom floor while the lounge, bar and conference room with offices sits upstairs.
In addition to the new terrain that Brier pushed for Hogadon to implement, the resort will also host a Rail Jam on Feb. 10.
The Rail Jam will be open to skiers and snowboarders alike.
“It’s going to be something that is very cool for people to stand out on the balconies and watch people throw themselves over metal features for a couple hours,” Brier said, “and it will be fun opportunity for people who like that activity.”
There are also plans for a class for women who are new to skiing or riding, ending with a happy hour in the lodge’s new bar and a fashion show with advice on how to layer clothes for warmth.
Still seated in one of the new chairs, occasionally staring back at the Christmas tree in the corner, Brier’s vision is starting to come to fruition in just his short time as executive director.
“Every day here is a big ski and snowboard party,” Brier said. “We throw a party for people every day with the aspect of becoming better skiers. We want try to create that learning community and fun atmosphere for everyone.”