Douglas Holler

Director of Dartmouth Skiway

What makes the Skiway special?
“It’s got a storied past. We’ve turned out—I’ve lost count—quite a few Olympic champions and dozens of national champions.”

As you prepare to retire after 18 years, what will you miss most? 
“I truly enjoy the hours I spend in the groomer. You know what you’re supposed to do, and it’s evident when you’re done. And nobody typically bothers you—no constraints, no other things pulling at the cords, as it were.”

What’s been the most difficult part of your job?
“It’s a challenge for us when everything breaks down, and it only breaks down in the winter when you need it most, on a Friday night before a long holiday weekend. I believe it was 2008 when our chairlift’s gearbox broke. I got in the truck on a Thursday, drove down to South Carolina, picked up a new gearbox, and came back Saturday night. It was running by Sunday.”

What parts of your job have changed the most through the years?
“I guess what has really shifted is changes in the weather, changes in skiing equipment, and our on-hill operations. The changes to operations resulting from the 2008 gift from the Dupré family [four sisters who skied at Dartmouth and whose father, Herman, was a snowmaking entrepreneur] were very positive. Snowmaking capacity and efficiency increased dramatically and we dramatically lowered our carbon footprint.”

What’s most challenging about unpredictable weather?
“Sometimes we get rainstorms, and we have to recover from that. You have to make a choice, whether you try to make more snow on top of the frozen rain or to just grind up what you’ve got.”

What does your ideal ski day look like?
“A crisp, cool morning with the sun coming up and two inches of fresh powder. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s excellent.”

Portfolio

Alumni Books
New titles from Dartmouth writers (July/August 2020)
Sanctuary
Eden Abram ’94 advocates for animals.
The Italicized Life of Frank B. Wilderson III ’78

The author, filmmaker, professor (and former stockbroker, elected official and urban guerrilla) abides by his publisher’s credo: Read. Write. Revolt.

John J. Donahoe ’82
The CEO of Nike on just doing it

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