Herman Schneider enjoys the best of both worlds in the Thompson Okanagan, working on Okanagan Lake in the summer and in the nearby mountains when the snow falls.
From May through September each year, Schneider manages the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa, where he supervises a staff of 12 people.
“I hire and train staff, organize the office, and manage the reservation system. I’m also responsible for risk management, boating operations and safety, fleet maintenance and, of course, helping customers,” says Schneider.
In the winter, the 56-year-old swaps his sun hat for a toque and takes on the management of lift operations at Apex Mountain Resort near Penticton.
An avid skier, Schneider manages a network of four lifts and supervises 60 seasonal staff.
Originally from Manitoba, Schneider completed a business administration diploma in Winnipeg before heading west — drawn by the lure of skiing and the outdoors in BC’s Thompson Okanagan.
“I’ve worked at Apex since I was in my early twenties and I’ve done a variety of jobs over the years. I started out as a waiter and later worked in night audit, guest services, and in special events,” he says.
These jobs led to a decade-long career in the Apex marketing department. Schneider went on to launch his own tourism marketing firm, a company that produced regional guides, organized conferences, and was at the forefront of promoting agri-tourism in the Thompson Okanagan.
Over time, indoor life began to pale. “I was writing and taking pictures of people having a great time, but most of my time was spent in the office. Recognizing I was happiest outdoors, I decided to go back to Apex as the lift operations manager. After that, the boat rentals work just gelled with the winter job,” he recalls. The two jobs offer a perfect mix of indoor and outdoor work.
“I also enjoy having a beginning and an end to each season,” he adds. Schneider makes the most of the month-long break between seasons pursuing his love of sailing, hiking and the outdoors.
Overall, the best part of the job is seeing guests enjoy themselves. “I’ve always been a people person. I think you have to be to work in this business.”
And you can’t beat the lifestyle, he adds: “Tourism jobs, summer and winter, are great for baby boomers who want to slow down and spend more time working outdoors. I think working on a ski hill for a season is something everyone should have an opportunity to do.”