On the weekends, it isn’t unusual to find your local ski resort packed with enthusiastic, young skiers, but in Central Vermont, one student has taken her lifelong passion for skiing and made a career out of it. Hartley Bingham, a senior at Montpelier High School, is a lifelong skier who has landed an internship at Ski Vermont.
Growing up in Connecticut, Hartley Bingham first hit the ski slopes at Sky Top ski resort in Pennsylvania when she was just 3 years old, but it wasn’t until she moved to Montpelier, Vermont, in sixth grade, that Alpine skiing became a weekly pursuit. When she was in seventh grade, wanting to try something new, Hartley began volunteering for Sugarbush’s adaptive program for skiers with disabilities. As a “blocker,” Hartley helped form a bubble around the skiers with disabilities to protect them. “So if any idiots were barreling down the mountain, I would have to take the hit,” Hartley explained.
Her freshman year, Hartley discovered the Junior Ski Instructor Program at Sugarbush South. Having begun instructing day lessons for vacationers, Hartley is excited to start her second season as a Mini-Blazer coach. Last year, as a coach, Hartley taught a group of six youngsters agds 4 to 5 both Saturday and Sunday all season long. “I enjoy being a Blazer coach because I get to see the kids really improve throughout the season—watching them go from skiing green circles to black diamonds,” Hartley said. “Once they get it, it’s very rewarding.”
This November Hartley is starting an internship with Ski Vermont, a nonprofit association founded to help create a legislative, economic, and social environment in which the ski industry can grow and prosper. Ski Vermont addresses issues, including environmental integrity, and helps to promote the state as a destination for winter tourism. (Additional information about Ski Vermont is available at skivermont.com.)
This fall Hartley has been involved in creating Ski Vermont’s Fifth Grade Passport program. Passports can be attained through Ski Vermont and the holder will be able to ski free at any member ski resorts four times throughout the season. As an intern at Ski Vermont, Hartley is excited to get hands on experience writing press releases and learning about marketing and advertising.
Hartley’s internship with Ski Vermont has opened her eyes to how she might be able to make a long-term career out of her love of Alpine skiing. “Before I got my internship with Ski Vermont, I wanted to do something with public relations or marketing in the communication field because that’s always interested me. Now I see that I can make a career out of it (my passion for skiing), if I want to, which is really exciting.” Hartley will be applying early to Boston College where she hopes to play club soccer and pursue her interests in the field of communications.
Looking toward her career goals, Hartley is worried about how the warmer winters in Vermont will affect the economic vitality of the ski industry. “It’s very nerve-wracking,” Hartley explains, but she is optimistic about the upcoming season for other reasons. “I’m excited that I’m going to have the same kids that I had last year. We formed really great relationships, and they’re amazing skiers, so it’s going to be fun. It’s just like skiing with friends that are 6 years old.”
A note from the author:
Like Hartley, I am a senior at Montpelier High School, and I have a passion for the outdoors. I enjoy hiking, mountain biking, skiing, canoeing, and running. As someone who selected “undecided” for a major when I applied to college last week, I was inspired by Hartley’s ability to take a childhood passion and turn it into a career. My name is Daniel Grosvenor, and I will be writing for Vermont Sports’s Under 18 column for the upcoming school year. Here’s to a great ski season and a very stormy winter!