ELLICOTTVILLE — One of Holiday Valley’s best-known faces is leaving after 41 years.
Jane Eshbaugh, longtime marketing director, will officially retire from the station on May 1. She’s not sure exactly how long she’s been representing Holiday Valley Resort as marketing director – the department didn’t exist when she started working at the resort as a skier. instructor in the early 1980s. She also worked in the sales department promoting group programs and became an advertising manager in the late 80s.
“We placed a few ads here and there, but as the station grew and got structured, a real marketing department developed and I sort of took on the position of marketing director,” he said. she declared.
Because she majored in biology at the University of Vermont, Eshbaugh had no background in marketing — instead learning the field as she went.
In college, Eshbaugh loved physical education and took classes every semester, and one class taught skiing. Because she was a good skier and did well, she was invited to become an instructor at Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Vermont, which brought her into the ski industry.
After graduating, Eshbaugh continued teaching skiing as an official instructor at Smugglers’ Notch for another year. She returned to Western New York and a few years later began teaching skiing at Holiday Valley.
Eshbaugh said Holiday Valley wasn’t the biggest when she started working there, but it was a nice ski area with a cute little town that wasn’t much of a tourist attraction at the time. .
“We didn’t have as many lifts and runs, and not as much snowmaking. It developed over time,” she recalls. “We have continually reinvested in the resort and it has become the largest and finest resort in Western New York. In fact, Holiday Valley was ranked #2 on SKI Magazine’s annual list of top resorts in eastern skiing for 2022.”
OVER THE YEARS, Eshbaugh has seen the station grow steadily. Chalets and lodges were built and extended. Slopes and trails were added and additional chairlifts were installed to keep up with the growing number of visiting skiers. State of the art snowmaking equipment ensured plenty of snow for a top notch skiing experience.
Eshbaugh witnessed the exponential growth of Holiday Valley. Some more recent major projects include Holiday Valley Tubing Company in 2003, Sky High Adventure Park in 2011 and a new Holiday Valley Lodge in 2012. Holiday Valley Road was realigned in 2015 and the parking lot was redesigned in 2016. The Yodeler Express High- Speed Quadruple chairlift was added in 2021.
In her 40-plus years, Eshbaugh said a particularly memorable event for her was celebrating Holiday Valley’s 50th anniversary.
“Our 50th anniversary was a real highlight. We had a really big party and a really fun celebration,” she said. “A lot of people who hadn’t been here for years and years came. Some of the original founders and skiers have returned.
Eshbaugh had not yet started kindergarten when Holiday Valley opened to the public in January 1958. At the time, the facility had four tracks, the main lodge where Yodeler Lodge is now located, and a T-bar lift .
ORIGINAL FROM LAKEWOOD, Eshbaugh’s parents introduced her to skiing at Holiday Valley when she was 4 years old. His older brother and sister started skiing at Allegany State Park and Stadium Hill in Jamestown. Then his parents decided to take their children skiing to Holiday Valley. Soon after, they decided to try skiing themselves.
“When I arrived they gave me a choice of staying with a babysitter or learning to ski, so I chose skiing,” Eshbaugh said. “If I remember correctly, I wasn’t too excited about it, at first, because I was only four years old.”
WHEN Eshbaugh says “farewell,” she will pass the torch to her successor, Dash Hegeman, who will become Holiday Valley’s new chief marketing officer.
“We are thrilled to bring new talent to the promotion of Holiday Valley,” said Dennis Eshbaugh, president and general manager of the resort and Jane’s husband. “Dash has a wealth of experience in the field and will bring many new ideas to the station’s marketing.”
Hegeman grew up in the western New York area, learned to ski at a young age, and taught snowboarding at Holiday Valley. He was marketing director at HoliMont, then moved west to join the Taos Ski Valley marketing team. In 2019, he was promoted to Marketing Director at Taos.
Hegeman returned to Western New York in 2020 and worked as Holiday Valley’s social media manager for the 2021-22 season. In addition to his marketing background, he is a trained photographer and writer, earned his Level II certification from the American Association of Snowboard Instructors, and is an avid mountain biker.
Hegeman expressed his passion for the ski and outdoor industry and his excitement to join the Holiday Valley team to help build on the resorts already impressive reputation.
JANE ESHBAUGH has no specific retirement plans and said she would stay. She’ll find something to do to keep herself busy and might even re-teach skiing because she thinks it would be fun.
However, Dennis Eshbaugh will continue to run the station.
“He’s the one who really made the difference here. I just kind of went along for the ride,” she said. “He is definitely one of the planners and the visionary. It’s pretty amazing.
The couple’s love for the ski industry has been passed down to their two daughters. Kate, the eldest, is the Skier Services Manager at Holiday Valley. Her younger sister, Maggie, lives in California and works at the Sugar Bowl ski resort.
Eshbaugh said she feels lucky to have been part of Holiday Valley because it’s an independent station that she compares to the book “The Little Engine That Could.”
“It’s not the biggest ski resort in the East or anywhere else, but we keep plugging in and that’s what made us successful,” she said. “Being a part of this place, helping to promote it and spread the Holiday Valley brand, has been a great honor.”