Employee Spotlight: Doug Pierini, Vice President of Skier Services
Doug Pierini has been part of the ski industry long before he began to earn a paycheck. Breckenridge’s Vice-President of skier services grew up with parents who were part-time ski instructors in upstate New York. He ski raced all through childhood, and after graduating from college, he followed in the footsteps of ski bums everywhere and migrated west—to ski towns, naturally.
His first stop was Jackson Hole, where he spent a decade working in a variety of roles in ski school, management, and more for the ski resort there. Then it was off to Tahoe. In the interim, he held three terms on the Professional Ski Instructor Association national team, where he not only helped develop ski technique and training programs, but also traveled around the world representing the United States and “training the trainers to train the instructors,” says Pierini.
“It was an incredible opportunity,” he says of that time. “We were writing the curriculum and manuals, and driving the whole teaching industry.”
That impressive background made Pierini a natural choice to helm the skier services department at Breck. The job entails managing the Ski & Ride school as well as overseeing all “guest-facing” departments. No small feat for a resort as large as Breck.
“I think of myself as the person who empowers others to do their jobs well,” says Pierini.
As for the sheer scope of the work? That’s what attracted him to the job in the first place. The opportunity to work for Vail Resorts meant joining the industry leader, says Pierini.
“Everyone in the industry looks to Vail for its leadership, and when this opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance,” he says. “There are so many people at Vail Resorts who are the best in what they do, and to be around that caliber of people was an enormous professional opportunity.”
It didn’t hurt that the job was located in Breckenridge, which Pierini calls “such an authentic community.
“There’s a lot of character in Breckenridge and a very strong community presence. It’s beautiful, and there’s plenty of culture, which you don’t always find in ski towns.”
Since joining the Breckenridge team, Pierini has also developed an intimate understanding of the mountain’s services. He lauds the ski and snowboard school for its ability to retain expert instructors, noting, “the level of experience is unbelievable.
“There are people who have done this for their entire life and they are doing it with a huge amount of passion,” says Pierini.
Breckenridge, he notes, is one of the best learning mountains, thanks to its range of terrain, from beginner to high alpine expert.
As for who’s teaching his two kids, ages 7 and 9, Pierini is quick to point to the experts he manages.
“Our kids know us too well,” he says. “I leave it to the terrific instructors. The kids can’t push their buttons the way they know how to push ours.”