Whitings continue Christmas cookie tradition


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  • The chair lift operator on the top of the Sugar Slope at Mountain Creek is happy to receive his gift of Christmas cookies.




  • Buffy Whiting delivers homemade Christmas Cookies to the lift operators at Mountain Creek in appreciation for their work




Far too often the workers on the front lines do not get the recognition they deserve, especially those who find it necessary to work on Christmas Day.

This is not true at the Mountain Creek Ski Resort. A tradition begun several years ago by die-hard skiers Buffy and John Whiting of Vernon was again practiced this year. Homemade cookies delivered by Buffy Whiting to the lift operators and mountain operations staff on Christmas day again acknowledges the hard work done by the Mountain Creek staff to ensure that everyone has a fun visit to the resort.

For several weeks prior to Christmas Buffy was busy making batches of chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin and sugar coated pecan crescent cookies and packaging them in colorful Christmas packages. On Christmas Day she donned her reindeer antlers, Christmas sweater and grabbed her skis and headed for the mountain. Her mission was again to deliver her homemade cookies to the lift operators and other friends on the mountain operations staff at Mountain Creek before hitting the slopes to do some runs.

Thousands of visitors come to Mountain Creek during a ski season and are greeted by the friendly smiles to the Resort’s outstanding staff. Too often these dedicated workers, many of whom are local Vernon area residents and others who come from other countries like Brazil, Chile and Argentina to work at the Resort, arrive at the mountain before it opens to the public and remain until closing at 10:00 PM are not recognized or given thanks for their efforts they deserve.

Mother Nature appears to like that the Mountain Creek Resort is under new management by providing cold weather and some snow to get the Resort open for skiing, riding and snow tubing nearly 3 weeks ahead of last year. The decision by Resort Owner, Jeff Koffman to bring Vernon native Joe Hession back to run the winter sports as President appears to have had an early impact. Hession, who grew up in Vernon, had his first job at age 14 working as a parking lot attendant at Mountain Creek. It was at the resort that Hession learned his trade as he moved up to become the Resort’s General Manager.

Subsequently he moved to Colorado to startup his company SNOW Operating along with his wife Halley O’Brien. The company quickly gained respect in the industry with over 40 resort partners in the United States, Canada and China providing services to major clients such as Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Aspen Snowmass and the Killington Ski Resort.

It would seem that fate had a hand in the decision by resort owners to bring Hession back to the town where he grew up, learned the trade and has special ties to Mountain Creek Resort. Since returning as Resort President in September, Hession said he has made improving employee morale at Mountain Creek a priority along with ensuring visitors have fun, decide to return frequently during the season and have a safe on snow experience.

It is the hope that the gift of Christmas Cookies on Christmas Day will let the staff know they are important to the mission of the Resort, will brighten their day and let them know that they are appreciated. Visitors to Mountain Creek soon release that whether they are skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, or riding the Mountain Coaster and Soaring Eagle zip line they will be greeted by a smiling staff dedicated to ensuring they have a safe and fun time.

For more information on the fun activities and events at the Mountain Creek Resort and options regarding the purchase of lift tickets with the most economical for frequent skiers and riders being a season lift tickets visit the resort’s web site at www.mountaincreek.com and visit and “Like” the Mountain Creek Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MountainCreekNJ.

— Photos and story courtesy John Whiting



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