Meet Kristen Loftis. She wears many hats, and each one gets us a step closer to the perfect ski run. She’s a Lift Mechanic, Snow Groomer, and Revegetation Technician at Homewood Mountain Resort in Tahoe.
“There are so many things I love about my work, I can’t choose a best part! I love where I work. The mountain inspires me in so many ways, and I am so grateful that I have found a way to channel my passion back into the mountain. I love being a part of what makes it all work, and getting to be outside all day is awesome! When I’m operating a snow cat, the happiness I feel seeing people enjoy the terrain I build and groom is indescribable. Watching the chair lifts shuttle thousands of people to the top of the mountain, and knowing they are safe because we are inspecting and maintaining the lifts constantly, is extremely gratifying. My favorite smell is the smell of bar oil, two stroke and tree sap on my clothes after a full summer day of hiking and cutting the vegetation on the ski runs. I help take care of the forest our ski hill runs through, and it has taught me so much about power of nature. I love being alone on the mountain at night in a machine. I love watching the snow fall, how it mutes everything around you. I love the blistering heat of the sun when I’m working outside. I love out thunderstorms and double rainbows over the lake.” -Kristen Loftis
Grooming, lift maintenance and revegetation are all somewhat over looked for the most part. We’re the grungy, behind-the-scenes part of the whole operation. But we do so much, year round, to make everything perfect for the Winter.” -Kristen Loftis
“Slope maintenance is a full shift of operating heavy equipment. I spend all night in a snow cat reshaping and grooming out the snow on ski runs. It can be so much fun, but also dangerous. I’m operating usually with only one other person working on the mountain. Snow conditions are extremely variable, from hard packed ice to wet slushy snow to blizzards and feet of super soft powder, they all have their own specific way they need to be worked out. Sliding down a steep run faster than your tracks can move and even avalanches are real dangers every night, so I have to be constantly aware of the working conditions and how I’m using my machine. The sunrise over Lake Tahoe every morning is a wonderful perk of the job.” -Kristen Loftis
“Lake Tahoe offers so many opportunities to live a magical, adventurous life. I spend all of my free time outdoors, hiking through the forests to different peaks with my dogs, kayaking and swimming in all of the numerous lakes and rivers in the area, rock climbing and camping and stargazing and playing in the snow. It’s a wondrous place and moving here is the best thing I have ever done for myself.” -Kristen Loftis