Meet Team Targhee: Kenny Frank
“My name is Kenny Frank. I’m the Facilities Maintenance Supervisor. That’s technically my title, I think.”
Meet Kenny Frank, who is officially the Facilities Maintenance Supervisor here at Ghee. Born and raised in Eastern Idaho, he has a lifetime of ties to the area and to Grand Targhee.
“I grew up In Idaho Falls. First place I ever skied was Kelly Canyon, but I really learned how to ski up here, so I’ve been coming up here since I was a kid.”
After graduating from high school, he made the move to Bellingham, Washington where he attended Western Washington University. In addition to receiving an education, Kenny did his best to take full advantage of the world-class biking in the area along with the skiing at Mount Baker. While the Northwest has plenty to offer to the average outdoor enthusiast when you’re from Eastern Idaho it’s hard to not come home to the Tetons. Plus, it rains too much in Bellingham.
Kenny came back to the area and started here at Grand Targhee as a Snow Shoveler during the 2017/ 18 winter. With 500 plus inches of annual snowfall, there’s some back-breaking work that goes into keeping this place from being buried during the long winter. If you didn’t know that being a Snow Shoveler was a job, now you do. So, when you see the crew out and about this winter show them a little love. After one year on the crew, Kenny signed up for more and returned as Lead Snow Shoveler for the 2018/19 season.
“I think that’s probably the hardest job up here. It pretty much feels like an impossible task to keep up with all the snow removal that needs to be done. The year I was Lead Shoveler we had a massive February. We had significant snowfall every day so that was a low. I mean it was great skiing, it was awesome, but you get in this tough place where you are trying to balance your job and your play. It’s awesome it’s snowing every day; the skiing is awesome but you kind of just want it to stop so you can get caught up with your job.”
After a couple of winters spent shoveling snow Kenny decided to stick around and started full time as a Facilities Tech in our Maintenance Department. It wasn’t long before he was promoted to Foreman before becoming a supervisor this fall.
“It’s been cool to have the opportunity to start at the bottom and put in hard work and do a good job to work my way up. One thing I’ve noticed about Targhee is if you put in the effort and a little bit of time things will come around for you.”
Now Kenny is one of the guys who keeps the lights on quite literally. The maintenance team is the Swiss army knife of Grand Targhee Resort. If there’s a project or problem that needs tackling, they are always up to the challenge. From the light that’s out in room 223 to hanging the new parking lot signage, they do a little bit of everything.
“The radio is always going off; you’re always getting pulled in a million different directions. It can be difficult to focus on the job you are trying to complete but, it’s also really rewarding to be able to be an integral part of this whole thing. We have our hands in everything up here. I like being part of the core that makes this place operate. Being able to help out across the board is pretty rewarding for me.”
That’s what you want right? A job where you feel like you are an integral part of a team. A job that keeps you on your toes, where each day is a little different. A job where you’re trying your hand in a variety of trades, one day as a carpenter the next as an electrician. Sure, it’s not always glamorous but at least it is rewarding. While all that is great, we know there’s a few other reasons why a guy like Kenny Frank is calling the Tetons home once again. I’ll give you a hint. They have a lot to do with gravity. Plus, the occasional chairlift ride certainly doesn’t hurt.
“I’ve been riding bikes since I was a kid. Living in Washington there’s a ton of awesome trails. Bellingham is world-class but the cool thing for me is having lift access riding. That’s something I’ve really done minimally before I worked up here in summers. That’s been really cool for me to just have that and be able to hop on the lift and bust out a lap. In the summers I also do a lot of boating, a lot of whitewater stuff. It’s a great area for all that.”
But if you’ve been paying any attention, you already know the overriding reason why Kenny calls Targhee and Teton Valley home. If you spent two seasons shoveling snow just so you could be skiing the rest of the time, I’d say your intentions are pretty obvious.
“Just a lot of skiing. That’s been one of my main activities I’ve done since I was in high school. I’ve made a lot of my lifestyle choices, where I want to be, where I want to live, that kind of stuff. That’s been based around skiing for me. That why I was in Bellingham and that’s why I’m here.”
At the end of the day, that’s why so many of us are here. That’s why so many of us have left and returned. That’s why people never leave. It’s hard to find a place that compares to our slice of paradise here on the Western slopes of the Tetons. But people hear about paradise. The world seems to get a little smaller every day and word inevitably gets out.
“Everybody like myself who’s been around, wants it to stay the same old little hill where there’s nobody ever up here but that’s just not the reality. The valley is growing, the ski area is growing. It can be a good thing as long as we approach it the right way and have a good plan to address these changes.”
One more thing. Before we let Kenny go back to work, we had to ask him about parking this year. Once again, our maintenance team does a little bit of everything including dealing with parking. Since we know that so many of you are very curious about what parking will look like this year, we figured we’d get some insight from someone who will be in the thick of it this winter. Kenny, the floor is yours.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on and obviously our new parking lot is going to be a huge improvement. I’ve been involved with parking since the start. Especially last year we had some major challenges, to say the least. The big thing I want people to know is that our parking is changing it’s going to be completely different. If you’ve parked somewhere for 20 years you may not be able to park there now. The reason for these changes is to increase our flow into the resort so we don’t end up with traffic backing up to the road. We’ve increased our capacity so hopefully, we don’t end up in a situation where our lots are at capacity, and we have to actually stop traffic on the road. We’re hoping that’s a thing of the past. I guess I just want everyone to know to follow directions, be respectful to our parking lot crew, even if you think you know what you’re doing this year you don’t so just follow directions. We’ve got a good staff so just be nice and we will get you parked.”