Each winter, Mt. Cain employs teenagers from across the North Island.
Mt. Cain is a small, community-run ski hill that is known for its deep, untracked powder skiing.
It is two hours north of Campbell River – along the highway towards Woss then up a bumpy longing road. The ski hill has two T-bars and a bunny hill tow-rope. It is only open on weekends, allowing the snow to build up all week.
The majority of the paid positions on the hill (Mt. Cain has a strong volunteer base) are filled by youth. They work in the rental shop, the ticket office, the snow school and as “liftees” and ticket checkers.
Working at Mt. Cain “is a unique opportunity,” according to Ken Griffith, the liftee superviser. “[Youth] learn about the machinery of the lifts and have to interact with people.”
The minimum age for being a liftee is 14, so it is often a teenager’s first job. They get a free season’s pass, gear rentals and accommodation (at a members fee of $25) so it makes skiing and boarding affordable and easy. It gives kids a chance to get up in the mountains, often a very different environment from what they are used to. It also offers a taste of independence; they are looking after themselves for the weekend and are responsible for their meals, getting themselves up in time for work, and being prepared for cold and snowy weather.
Every fall, as soon as the ground is covered, a group of youth head up to Mt. Cain for a training weekend. If you are interested in working for this great ski hill, check the website in October.
For more information on the mountain, go to http://www.mountcain.com.