Canaan Valley Resort's new Ski and Snowboard School Director Joe Darmofalski has a full slate of goals aimed at enhancing guests' snow sport experience. Since taking the job in November, he has been working to increase the skills and knowledge of instructors, strengthen the children's ski and play program and build on airboarding activities.
Canaan Valley Resort General Manager David Bostic is excited about what Darmofalski has to offer.
"I see Joe bringing professionalism to Canaan. He will be training staff and providing staff with a new level of education which will be passed on to guests," Bostic said.
Darmofalski holds a Level 3 certification with the Professional Ski Instructors of America, the highest such ranking that can be obtained, in skiing and snowboarding instruction. He is crosstrained to teach both sports and plans to guide his instructors for crosstraining as well.
"I believe it is important for instructors to know both sports so they can better help guests," Darmofalski said. "I will be holding clinics and workshops for Canaan's instructors to increase their knowledge and skills."
Darmofalski took up the sport of skiing when he was 12 years old and living in Connecticut, but he didn't have a ski instructor.
"I started out on wooden skis. I would walk up a hill behind the house and ski down through the woods over and over," Darmofalski said. "I taught myself. When I was old enough to drive, I drove to a nearby resort and took lessons to improve."
Owing to his own experiences of learning to ski, Darmofalski is interested in assisting Canaan's younger guests in enjoying snow sports.
"I am planning a multi-kids program. Ski and play will operate seven days a week," Darmofalski said.
The ski and play program will be divided into two age groups. One group will be for children ages 3 to 6 years, and the second for ages 7 years and older. For the younger children, lessons will be designed to give them the ability to walk, ski, snowboard and use their gear and equipment. The older children's lessons will focus on getting the kids to spend more time on the mountain. Darmofalski wants the older students to know how to handle changing types of terrain.
The airboarding program at Canaan Valley Resort will also fall under Darmofalski's duties. The snow sport which involves riding an inflatable air sled has been offered at the resort through the ski and snowboard program. Darmofalski and Mountain Manager Mike Chaney want to increase the number of slopes guests can use for airboarding. Additionally, Canaan Valley Resort will be offering airboarding races for the first time this season.
"We will have world-class airboarding professionals coming in February for a race," Darmofalski said. "We are still putting that event together. On March 2, we will be hosting an airboarding race as part of Wild Thing weekend."
When the snow melts, Darmofalski will also serve as Canaan Valley Resort's golf professional for the summer golf school.
"I really enjoy both sports, but skiing is my passion," Darmofalski said.
Prior to coming to Canaan Valley Resort, Darmofalski worked for nine years at Wintergreen Resort in Virginia. He was a supervisor and trainer for Wintergreen's ski and snowboard school.