Returning to His Roots: Ski Ops Grad Lands Job at Hometown Mountain
Dallas Zamora is returning to the mountains he grew up on, and bringing his career with him. Thanks to his degree in Ski Area Operations and three years of professional experience on his resume, Dallas landed a job as a Terrain Park Cat Operator at Powder Mountain in Eden, Utah—just 40 minutes from his hometown.
In 2019, Dallas graduated from Colorado Mountain College Leadville with his Associates Degree in Ski Area Operations and two certificates in Slope and Trail Maintenance. Thanks to the curriculum requirements and hands-on nature of the Ski Area Ops program, Dallas had accrued three years of work experience in Colorado before graduating.
“While I was living in Colorado and going to school, I worked park crew for Vail Resorts,” says Dallas, originally from Layton, UT, “I was hand crew so basically I was putting the finishing touches on all the features.”
While in school, Ski Area Ops students are required to get a job in their field for at least a full semester. The real-world experience jump starts their ski industry career – boosting their resume with relevant experience while getting paid and earning college credit. Dallas worked for Vail Resorts for more than three years, before deciding to take his passion back home to the mountains he grew up on.
As a natural hands-on learner, it’s no surprise that Terrain Parks and Snow Vehicle Maintenance were two of Dallas’ favorite classes. Small class sizes and close connections with instructors also contributed to his success at CMC. Professors became friends, extending their professional network and opening new opportunities at resorts around the world.
“I took advantage of every resource and networking opportunity while going to school at CMC,” says Dallas, “I asked if my instructors had any connections to Powder Mountain and they helped me get my foot in the door. Thanks to those connections, this winter I will be setting features and building terrain parks at Powder Mountain.”
Though Dallas will be returning to Utah, he shares fond memories of his time at Colorado Mountain College Leadville.
“I loved living on campus,” says Dallas, “It was so much fun having your brand new friends all in the same building. Getting to ride in the backyard park, hit the climbing wall or play pool whenever you wanted. It was definitely a really fun experience.”