Kyle Martola, manager of Ausblick Ski Club in Sussex,
poses for a photo with the lodge behind him at the club
Tuesday afternoon. Martola has been in the ski industry
for nearly 12 years with working the past three at
John Ehlke/Daily News
Kyle Martola has been riding
a snowboard since he was 10. By the time he
was 17 he was working for the terrain park
at Sunburst Ski Area in Kewaskum.
What started as riding in the
backyard with neighbors eventually turned
into a job. Before his hobby turned into a
job, he was competing and riding at local
ski areas — and he’s now been in more than
“That’s what kind of got me
to the driver’s seat,” Martola said. He also
said when he first started “all I cared
about was what we were going to ride.”
Since making a career out of
working in the industry he hasn’t been able
to ride the 200 days a year he used to, but
he has been able to find work he’s
A desire to improve the
offerings at terrain parks was a large part
of what drew him to work in the industry.
And by age 23 he was named among the top 10
up and comers younger than 30 by Ski Area
He earned this recognition
during his 10-year tenure at Sunburst.
During those same years he spent four
summers in Oregon and brought ideas back for
the park from Mt. Hood.
Martola said he could have
stayed in Oregon, but a mixture of being a
homebody and having pride in Wisconsin has
kept him in the area.
He feels his work in the area
has helped to elevate standards at parks in
nearby ski areas.
Now, at 28, Martola has left
the public ski area scene and works as the
mountain operations manager at Ausblick Ski
Hill in Sussex. The private club has the
same amenities you’d see at a public hill,
including a chair lift and snow guns.
Martola now oversees all
these aspects of the hill rather than just a
“There’s a lot of things that
you come across working in the ski
industry,” Martola said. One area he didn’t
think of as he got started, but now
considers often is risk management.
He’s also recently been
challenged by the weather the past two
seasons and with increased pumping capacity
at Ausblick, he hopes to take on the warm
spells and rain with greater success if they
return for a third year.
No matter the weather, one
thing he can continue to do is influence
friends and young riders who visit the hill
where he works.
He said he works to show them
a different path in riding — one that
involves a career. This could be a career
like his at a ski area or elsewhere in the
industry as a brand rep or even a pro rider.
Martola has already watched
some of the riders he’s been around and
influenced make their way to the X Games.