When I tell people what I do for a living, a look of perplexity crosses their faces and I know exactly what it means.
“So wait. You snowboard and travel and make videos? How did you get into that?”
I know. It sounds too good to be true, and trust me – it started out that way too. So let’s rewind to the spring of 2008, a few months before my college graduation.
I went to an on-campus edition of The Price Is Right, generously organized by Montclair State University’s Student Government Association. (I’m a Jersey girl, born and bred.) There I sat, in a room surrounded by hundreds of my excited, hopeful (and possibly inebriated) peers, all of us waiting to hear our name followed by the quintessential “COME ON DOWN!”
Let me make something clear – I don’t win raffles. In fact, the only time I’ve ever had my number called is at the deli counter. And even that’s a stretch.
But suddenly, much to my surprise, I heard those magic words. “Halley O’Brien, COME ON DOWN. You’re the next contestant on The Price Is Right!” (And shockingly, they pronounced my name correctly. It rhymes with Valley. A sign of good things to come for sure.)
I took the stage. The lights bright, pointed right at my face, reminding me that math isn’t exactly my forte. I looked down at my too bright sneakers and less-than-cute workout attire, reminding me of my purest intentions to visit the gym after the event. Yep. You know me. Always breaking hearts.
A deep breath to calm the nerves.
A perfect $1.00 spin on the wheel.
A conservative bid on the Showcase.
A heart pounding louder than the drunk underclassmen in the crowd.
“And the winner of The Price Is Right is…”
They had to tell me because I had no idea. I must’ve passed out on my feet. I won. I won the whole thing. My grand prize consisted of a brand new Macbook Pro, two state-of-the-art cameras and some funny money in the form of Amex Gift Cards.
I’ve always had the passion for snowboarding, and now I had the tools to do something with it.
My first job as Snow Reporter at Mount Snow in southern Vermont really set the tone and trajectory for what I do now. (If you’d like to hear more about that story, click here.) Everything seems to have snowballed (pun intended) from there.
After my season-long stint at Mount Snow, I moved back to New Jersey and became the Public Relations Manager at Mountain Creek. Two years later, I founded Halley O’Brien Productions, packed up the Prius, and chased my manifest destiny to Boulder, Colorado where I currently live and work with a variety of awesome people at The Weather Channel, SnoCountry Ski Areas Association, and destination resorts throughout north America.
I didn’t know it then, but on that day, at that event, I won so much more than a Macbook and a couple of cameras. I won an incredible career. An opportunity to discover other passions. A passion for entertaining, for making people laugh. For sharing experiences.
This whirlwind of traveling, and snowboarding, and working with the best often feels too good to be true. I’m so lucky to have had these opportunities and experiences, and I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.
P.S. Crazy story, right?