September 2, 2022
Written by Hudson Rice, Lodge Operations Staff
For the last three years, I have worked at Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre as a rental technician, and it has been among the most enriching and beneficial experiences of my life.
At the most fundamental level, being a rental technician has allowed me to work with the instruments of a sport and culture I truly love. Skiing and snowboarding have been among the most important and beneficial parts of my life over the last few years, and the opportunity to familiarize myself with the literal nuts and bolts of the industry is something I am grateful for. I love teaching customers about the gear and how to use it, talking to more experienced customers about the sport, and seeing customers use my advice to improve as a rider.
The opportunity to develop a level of functional expertise with ski and snowboard equipment is especially valuable because it has applications beyond Snowflex. When riding at other mountains, I can diagnose and solve problems with my gear, which has proven quite valuable. I can talk with other riders and rental technicians with confidence, which leads to more enriching conversations and relationships.
Snowflex has provided an opportunity to develop my professional abilities, but the most impactful and beneficial feature of working as a rental technician has been the relationships made with my co-workers (and the depth I have learned to seek therein). I truly believe that there is something special about the atmosphere created by the Snowflex student staff. Maybe it’s the work environment, which necessitates active communication and collaboration. Maybe it’s the community that skiing and snowboarding tend to attract. Maybe it’s as simple as the proximity to something as cool and engaging as freestyle riding. Whatever it is, with three years under my belt at Snowflex, I have yet to find a place equivalent in its facilitation of deep, meaningful friendships.
The friends I’ve made here are passionate, interesting, fun-loving, kind, and intelligent. This makes them exceptional employees, yes. But it makes them even better co-workers. Much of my time at Snowflex is spent in direct collaboration with these people, a privilege that makes my days here enjoyable and fruitful. It is an atmosphere I value deeply and take seriously; I will not soon forget the way it welcomed me so readily and made me feel valued.
Now, my days at Snowflex are numbered. I am entering my senior year, and the fact that I cannot work at Snowflex forever is becoming increasingly real. Bittersweet, sure. But to say I am grateful for the things Snowflex has given me would be an understatement. It trained me to find a deeper love for skiing and snowboarding. It allowed me to develop indispensable interpersonal and professional skills. It encouraged me to seek depth in my passions and my relationships. But most importantly, it allowed me to form relationships with really good, really cool people.
I cannot quite put my finger on what makes the student worker community at Snowflex so special, but I can point out some contributing factors. Snowflex is an extremely unique facility that provides a tremendous opportunity for learning and developing as a freestyle rider. At its core, it is an extension of the broader ski/snowboard freestyle culture, which is rooted in creativity and community. Frequently, our association with Liberty University works in tandem with these influences, infusing them with an even greater degree of care and love. All this combines to create an environment made wonderful by its comprising influences. A place characterized by creativity, community, care, and love.
And so, the people attracted by this culture and the people that find as much meaning in it as I do tend to stay. They tend to invest in it and protect it. There is something rare here, something worth preserving and celebrating. Something worth investing in. Because I am not alone in finding meaning, community, and a love for depth and understanding here. I only hope to have contributed to the culture in the way it deserves.
Impacted by Hudson’s story and looking for a job on Campus? Visit our employment page to see our job openings within Campus Recreation!