30 Years Later, The Kids Are All Grown Up
Life in an Inn
When I contemplate the implications of 30 years of Snowed Inn ownership, my thoughts immediately turn to our children, Tom and Kerstin, for they are the true markers that so much time has passed. They were so young when we started our adventure, and are now, of course, well into adulthood with spouses and families of their own. The Snowed Inn had a profound effect on their formative years, and I think they are better human beings as a result. But I should let them speak for themselves in an interview conducted a couple of years ago:
Snowed Inn: The obvious question, what was it like growing up in an Inn?
Tom: Growing up in the inn offered the chance to meet so many people. Most were psyched to be there and full of positive energy. It was fun to be part of the family business, contribute to the effort, and help the vacationing guests enjoy their time. We invested a lot of ourselves, but got a lot in return. When it came time for my college applications, one of my recommendations was written by a long time guest and invaluable guidance from a visiting high school guidance counselor.
Kerstin: It wasn't until I was much older did it occur to me that other people didn't grow up with their time at home interrupted by the business phone ringing off the hook or the bell ringing with guests needing something. But then when I did realize that, it hit me that other people's houses were boring! I loved living in the Inn, loved how I was surrounded by different people all the time and especially loved returning guests who became like family. My parents were always home when we needed something, and I grew up learning how to communicate with all kinds of people, to be polite in every situation, and it was a good outlet for my creativeness; I would hold impromptu concerts in the lounge, film short movies in the game room and put on a play with friends for pretty much any guest who would watch.
Snowed Inn: Describe one experience that was probably unique to your home life compared to traditional growing up.
Tom: I covered the front desk for my parents one evening when I was about 11, as I often did. Although it was expected to be a slow night two or three groups came looking for rooms. I had the rate sheet handy, but the rooms weren't quite ready. I remember making beds to get the rooms ready and negotiating rates with a man who wanted to avoid sales tax by paying cash. My parents came home to nearly a full house, as we only had six or so rooms at the time.
Kerstin: I ran a business out of the Inn. I babysat for guests’ kids in their rooms. It was perfect. I would run downstairs to a guest room, babysit the kids in there until their parents came back and then run back up to my room. My brother had his own business as well, he tuned skis for guests. We both had fliers up at the reservation desk advertising our services.
Snowed Inn: Did you have to work in the Inn?
Tom: Early on we all pitched in quite a bit. I certainly did my share odd housekeeping, developing a special disdain for cleaning bathrooms. As the inn grew and I got older and busier the staff got a little more robust. Through high school most of my effort was in covering the office, taking reservations and checking people in. My future wife put her time in as well, working as a housekeeper in high school and college. I was also able to run a small business offering ski tuning at the inn. Some nights in high school I would get home after being out with friends and find half a dozen pair of skis to tune. Late nights, but good money.
Kerstin: I was never very interested in working at the Inn. I do remember a lot of cleaning though. I did have cleaning chores in our house and in the Inn; the public areas were my specialty. There was also a stretch of time with one housekeeper in particular who would call in sick every time I was home from college. I swore she saved up all her sick days for when I was home so I would have to clean rooms for days on end. Making beds and cleaning toilets was not my forte but looking back I know it was good for me to work hard and help the family out.
Snowed Inn: What did your friends think of you living in an inn?
Tom: I think most friends thought it was a bit odd, but also pretty neat. There are not a lot of locals I remember living in the family business. Although, the inn always made our house seem larger, rather than smaller. Probably because I generally enjoyed the whole experience. All the random people, family friends, and family camaraderie were a lot of fun. Shortly after college my wife and I were married in the area. It was great to have all of our friends housed in the inn. It was nice to be able to give all those people an up close glimpse of my upbringing as well.
Kerstin: My friends growing up thought it was completely normal, but once I got older, college friends thought it was so cool! They couldn't imagine growing up in a hotel and thought I must be a millionaire since my parents owned a hotel! I would try and explain the best I could that sadly, that was not the case. Once I got into the film industry my friends in that circle thought it was cool because they wanted to film there. We still hope to film a horror movie in the Inn, with a possessed innkeeper or something!
Snowed Inn: Do you think you’ll ever want to be an innkeeper someday?
Tom: I could imagine running the inn and would probably be pretty happy. I would consider it more seriously if I didn't love architecture and design so much. At times the lifestyle offers a lot of flexibility and others it is extremely demanding with almost no give. It is a challenging balance. I would love to get as many days on the slopes as my father, though.
Kerstin: I wouldn't own an Inn. I've seen my parents work all day, every day from morning to night—it’s such hard work! Ironically it was my experiences growing up in an Inn in Vermont that made me very ambitious and gave me the tools I need today to work my way up in a very different and difficult career path in two extremely tough cities to thrive in. The people I met as a child at the Inn were incredible influences on me. I met guests who were Broadway stars, high powered doctors and lawyers in New York City, professional ski racers, anchors on national television and much more. Experiencing people like that at a young age really ignited a spark and drive in me to explore the world outside of Vermont.