Employee spotlight: Randy Veeneman
Here are three things to know about Randy Veeneman before you even know him: he was born and raised in Breckenridge; he’s worked for the ski resort for 29 seasons; he loves his life.
The guy is a ski bum, pure and simple.
And yet, Randy Veeneman is no stereotypical ski bum. For one, he’s married with kids. At 52, he’s thoughtful about the opportunities that come from his unique life. He doesn’t take things for granted.
When I reached Randy on his cell phone, he was driving a cat up toward Imperial Lift, as part of the post-season crew digging out roads on the mountains that make up Breck. The cat’s motor roared, and I could hear wind whistling through his open windows.
Over the cacophony he shouted, “You want that I shut the windows so you can hear me better? It’ll get really hot, but that’s OK!”
No thanks, Randy. Tell it to me like it is, as you do it.
Here’s what he had to say: “You should see the view I’m looking at right now. It’s amazing.”
That view is of the Ten Mile Range, the link of Rockies that make up Breckenridge Ski Resort, is home to a handful of 14ers (peaks whose elevation clocks out above 14,000 feet), and a playground for anyone who likes to ski, hike, mountain bike, fish, camp, hunt, or otherwise get away from civilization.
Which is kind of how you might describe Randy—in the nicest, most non-curmudgeonish way.
“I just love the mountains, always have,” he said. “They always look different. It depends on the way the sun sets or how the snow melts. It always changes. It never gets old.”
Randy’s family moved to Breck in 1968. He attended Breckenridge elementary (where his sons are now matriculated), graduated from Summit High, and then moved away for college at Montana State University in Bozeman.
Then he boomeranged back home and never left. That was not his original plan. It just worked out that way.
These days Randy is the Supervisor for the Swing Shift Grooming squad, the team that starts grooming slopes when the lifts stop running until about midnight. During the summers, he cuts trails for new slopes and does routine maintenance. It’s year round work in a place he loves, and he’s definitely not complaining.
“I’ve got the best job on the mountain,” Randy said. “I like the serenity of it.”
And he likes his community even though “it used to be so small and now, oh my God you wouldn’t believe how much it’s changed.”
Back in the day, he knew everyone on the mountain and in town. There was no nearby grocery store. Now there’s a Whole Foods in town.
Again, he’s not complaining. He said he appreciates change and fully avails himself of the resort improvements, such as the opening of Peak 6.
“What an expansion!” he said. “And to pull it off in one year—installing two lifts, all the cutting, wow. What a job they did.”
And by “they” he means “we.” Nice work, Randy.
– Rachel Walker