Powder white snowflakes dance their way to the ground, overhead the sky is banked in white clouds, and a chill hangs in the air. From a distance, one can see the blue jacket of Scott Vukovich zipping down the mountain at Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort—30 miles away in Wisconsin.
As one of the longest serving ski instructors at Wilmot, Vukovich reflects on his time as a ski instructor and how it’s really his family away from home. “This is definitely not a job,” shares Vukovich, “it’s truly a passion.”
“I grew up near Valparaiso, Indiana, home of The Pines—a tiny ski area with a rope tow,” says Vukovich. “As a young kid, Santa brought me skis for Christmas— I strapped ‘em on, careened down a hill by my house, crashed badly at the bottom and was hooked for life.”
His Dad “was a sweetheart,” shares Vukovich, “driving us two hours to the big mountain at Wilmot, waiting for us all day just hanging around the lodge, and then the return trip home.” When Vukovich later found himself living in Illinois 35 minutes from Wilmot, he never missed a chance to ski on a Tuesday after work—a luxury which led the then 28-year old to apply for a position as a ski instructor. “I remember being 13 years old, standing in line to get my lift ticket and watching all of the instructors in the ski school room laughing and joking. They looked like they were all having a great time, and I thought ‘I want to be a part of this someday.’”
At Wilmot, Vukovich designed a system to create his favorite “bumps” as he calls them on the mountain—the mogul run. “I feel privileged that Wilmot has empowered me to have designed a method to create the moguls on the mountain, adding to their organization and rhythm. I believe that it is a ‘feature,’ like the terrain park or the race program that the guests love.”
“When I can take a novice snow plower and get them to match their skis for the first time, it’s such an epiphany that I still get choked up,” says Vukovich. “Or when I coach that junior racer to his first NASTAR award, or get that nervous little girl to safely and comfortably negotiate a mogul run—she’s hooked for life! How cool is that!”
“You need to have a deep passion for the sport and really want to share that with, well everybody,” says Vukovich, “and what a better way to do that than to be a ski instructor.” Recalling a ski trip to Breckenridge, Colorado the passion is evident as Vukovich describes “how the run starts off super steep out of the gate on a 50-degree slope, heads into bowls of foot deep powder, then an awesome bump run, finishing with blue groomers a half mile wide … I just laid down my edges and let it rip. The training I received from all my years on staff (and continue to get and offer) enable me to ski at a level that makes such a run with so many different facets amazing and not terrifying. This is the same training that we offer all of our guests as well.”
For Vukovich, Wilmot really is “where epic begins.”
For more information, visit wilmotmountain.com.