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Tramway Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship Program Creates a Career Path in the Ski Industry

November 16, 2023


Contact: Rachel Dumeny
Communications and Outreach Coordinator  

Office of the Commissioner
Vermont Department of Labor  
(802) 272-4509 

Tramway Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship Program Creates a Career Path in the Ski Industry

Montpelier, VT - The Tramway Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship Program (TMTA), a three-year program for ski lift maintenance technicians marks its 20th anniversary this year. The program was established in 2003 through a collaborative effort between the Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL), the Vermont State Apprenticeship Training Council, and the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.

This apprenticeship program, registered with VDOL, includes a comprehensive curriculum for ski lift maintenance taught over 75 hours of classroom instruction for each of the three levels and 6,000 hours of on-the-job work experience. The curriculum covers general ski lift operations and functions, maintenance of lift components and systems, basic rigging, and follows the passenger tramway safety guidelines outlined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Tramway apprentices are employees and earn wages while completing their certification. 

Successful completion of the program earns individuals a certificate of completion and designation as a Vermont Trade Qualified Tramway Maintenance Technician. The program helps to create and upskill lift mechanics, providing opportunities for advancement while helping ski areas build and retain skilled technicians.

"I was fortunate to continue my career with Okemo's lift maintenance department," says Joseph Demidow. "In 2017, my wife convinced me to move to Vermont from Louisiana after only visiting once. I was able to enroll in the tramway maintenance apprentice program, which helped me adapt my previous oilfield experience to working on ski lifts. After completing the program and gaining more experience, I began to teach the course to help prepare lift maintenance personnel in Vermont to provide an exceptional experience for the skiing community." 

This year, 37 individuals from 12 Vermont ski areas completed one of three levels of classroom education offered by Ski Vermont, which collaborates with VDOL to provide the class instruction portion of the apprentice program. Additionally, Vermont’s Passenger Tramway Board has opted to provide supplemental funding to the program for the past few years in order to ensure its success. 

“Lift maintenance is an example of the many careers available at Vermont’s ski areas. The Tramway Maintenance Apprentice program helps people begin or advance their careers in the field of ski area operations. If you want to earn while you learn, are mechanically inclined, like to work with your hands, and enjoy being outside, this could be a great option,” said Molly Mahar, President of Ski Vermont.  

Mahar also described how “Most people are familiar with lift operations, guest services, ski school, food and beverage because those roles have a lot of interaction with guests. But to operate, ski areas also need mechanics, electricians, accountants, marketers, human resources, IT professionals and more—a whole host of jobs many may not associate with ski areas or encounter during an average ski day.” 

Any individual aged 18 or older employed at a ski area is eligible to participate as a registered apprentice with the support of their employer. Alternatively, individuals can opt for the classroom training as non-registered participants or explore other open positions at their local ski area. 

For those seeking more information about the Tramway Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship Program or looking to participate, we encourage you to reach out to your ski area employer at, or email


Ski Vermont/the Vermont Ski Areas Association, a non-profit trade association serving alpine and cross-country ski areas, is a proud ambassador of the thriving winter tourism industry in Vermont, where the legislature has designated skiing and snowboarding as the official state sports. Vermont is not only the top ski state in the east and among the top destinations in the U.S., but also boasts world-class snowmaking quality, coverage, and operational efficiency, variety of terrain, and historical impact on the sports of skiing and snowboarding - making it one of the most significant ski and ride destinations in the world. Ski Vermont's mission is to help maintain an environment in which the state's ski areas can grow and prosper.