Luke Sussdorff

Anyone who has enjoyed a concert, ski race, or another special event at Vermont’s Jay Peak resort in recent years can thank alum Luke Sussdorff ’12 for planning it. 

Luke, the resort’s special events manager, coordinates a range of activities, such as the popular Jeezum Crow and Bean & Brew festivals, a weekly trivia night, snowboard and ski competitions, several music series, and more. 

As a student in the mountain recreation management program (now the outdoor education, leadership, and tourism — or OELT — program) at the Lyndon campus, Luke gained so much real-world experience at New England resorts that his internship at Jay Peak led to a full-time job there. 

NVU Set Him Up to Stand Out in His Career 

During his internship in his senior year, Luke worked in many departments at Jay: front desk, customer service, water park, food and beverage, parking, and security. “You talk about a well-rounded experience; that’s exactly what I got through my internship,” Luke said. “That’s ultimately how I landed the job I’m currently in.” 

Luke built valuable skills in other hands-on opportunities as a student as well, including lift maintenance and grooming at Stowe Mountain and in hospitality and customer service roles at Bretton Woods and Burke Mountain Resorts. 

“Those experiences prepared me well and set the stage to walk into a full-time job with confidence that I had received a well-balanced education for the work that would be expected of me,” Luke said. 

Creating Memorable Events for Jay Peak Guests 

After graduating, Luke started at Jay as the snow reporter, creating weather and ski forecasts for guests. In his first year as events manager, he helped develop the music festival Jeezum Crow which, with Jay’s Bean & Brew Festival, was named a top 10 summer event by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. 

“Having recognition from the state of Vermont for top 10 events is huge, a nice pat on the back for a job well done,” he said. 

Jay Peak’s monthly music series is one of Luke’s projects, too. “I’m proud of our music series,” he said. “We’ve been able to grow from a 500-person ballroom to a 3,000-person outdoor amphitheater we use in the summer.” 

Luke has brought big acts to the resort, including Widespread Panic, Umphrey’s McGee, Gov’t Mule, Bruce Hornsby, and others. “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to work with nationally known artists and not only book the bands but organize all the details related to every concert.” 

Small Classes, Friendly Campus Lead to Close Student-Faculty Ties 

In addition to the many opportunities for outdoor recreation on and off campus, Luke valued the community of students, faculty, and staff. “A small school where everybody knows one another was the perfect atmosphere for me,” he said. “I prefer an intimate campus community and intimate classrooms.” 

The ability for students to develop close relationships with faculty led to Luke’s friendship with OELT professor Sean Doll, who oversaw Luke’s internship at Jay Peak. Now Luke manages the resort’s internship program on the Lyndon campus. 

“I love what I do,” Luke said. “Creating and developing positive experiences for folks — someone coming to a concert for the first time or someone competing at one of our on-mountain events — gives me a lot of joy and validation for what I do.” 

Photo credit: Kathryn Sussdorff