Growing up in West Penn Township, Jon started horseback riding at around age 3. His ancestry includes a Ukrainian Cossack great grandfather, so horsemanship is in the blood. While in high school, Jon competed in Western Horsemanship, Western Pleasure, and Trail. Trail requires riders to lead their mounts through a series of specific and intricate movements that must be performed exactly to avoid losing points. The horse is judged on the fluidity of its movements and gaits. Jon travelled extensively with his horses, A Lot of Jon (Jon) and SS Bar Leos Vantage (Alvin), competing up and down the east coast and as far west as Texas (to which they drove, towing a horse trailer) in the World Championship Show. Often, he would ride both horses in the same competition (but not at the same time). He still seemed gleeful when he described edging out a hated rival by finishing an event first with his horse Jon and fourth with Alvin. His colleague had to be content with fifth and watch from the sidelines as Jon (the person), Jon (the horse), and Alvin continued to the World Championship Show. The two horses are now happily retired on the 80-acre family farm.
Jon’s father was a ski instructor and racer at Camelback in the 70’s, and Jon grew up skiing once in a while when he was younger but wasn’t too into it. When he took his first snowboard lesson in January 2010 at Blue Mountain, however, he was hooked! He watched videos on YouTube and immediately wanted to purchase his own equipment. Members of a snowboarding chatroom suggested he wait a little while, advice he considered. He took a few more lessons and learned of a trip to Killington when he sold his car to the president of a local snowboard club. He signed up and “the next thing I know, I’m at Killington riding the lift and going ‘uh-oh.’” His first day in Vermont was “a little rough,” but he persevered, despite getting sick on the trip. (By the way, he had rejected the online advice and bought his own equipment.)
A year later, Jon tried out for the ITC program in the pouring rain at Blue Mountain. He was hired and started teaching the day after Christmas in 2012. He got his snowboarding level 1 pin that first season and is thinking about going for level 2 sometime. Or, he may “switch horses” and pursue the alpine track instead! In the 2014-2015 season, Jon was thrown into some ski lessons and this year he taught more skiing than snowboarding. He picked up a pair of skis on Ebay for a song and now likes teaching skiing better, because there is “less up and down.”
Jon’s parents, Gary and Deborah, are both real estate brokers and Jon joined the family business, New Pennsylvania Realty (www.NewPennRealty.com), while studying at Penn State with a major in Business Management and a minor in Information Sciences Technology. Jon loves real estate because “no two days are ever the same, just like on the mountain.” He says, “If you are not excited about a home and can’t see yourself living there, you should not take the listing.” (By the way, the picture Jon shared recently on Facebook of a pole in a bedroom is NOT his client!) The firm specializes in farms, country estates, and historic properties. The interest in history is recreational as well as professional, as Jon’s family goes to Williamsburg, Virginia on a regular basis. They have stayed on site in the colonial area, and may have walked in the footsteps of Jefferson, Washington, and many more of our nation’s founders.
In real estate, Jon is engaged in several state committees and helped write the standard forms that are used state-wide. He is one of the youngest realtors in Pennsylvania to earn his broker's license. Jon is the vice-president / president-elect of the Schuylkill County Board of Realtors and begins his second term this October. Keeping it in the “Blue Mountain family,” Logan Steigerwalt, Lenny’s son, worked as an intern in Jon’s office last summer and was a huge asset.
At the end of this past season, I was waiting for a meeting at the summit and noticed a couple of skiers in instructors’ jackets having a hard time getting down Vista. Before we stepped into HR to terminate them (kidding!), we realized they were teaching themselves telemark! Perhaps that’s Jon’s next frontier? If anyone has any equipment to sell, let him know! He may be teaching tele in a year or two!
Sheri Miltenberger, June 2016
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Welcome! This site was originally intended to focus on skiing and snowboarding, but I've included marathons and some family adventures as well. Thanks for visiting.