[moved from resorts & travel forum]
As I get older I realize (too seldom) how lucky I am to have had sweet ski adventures dating back literally as far as I can remember. There were not a lot of them, and none of them was luxurious or notable on any objective basis, but they were all important to me all out of proportion to the amount of time I actually spent having them.
A post by another Bear started me thinking about a trip I took when I was a freshman in High School. I'd just turned 14, and had signed up for an outing club trip to Ste. Adele in the Laurentians in Quebec. This was the mid '70s. The plan was to stay in a youth hostel and do a mix of XC (everywhere) and alpine (at Tremblant) skiing We lived in suburban New York, so a very long drive was involved - perhaps 8 or 9 hours. As I recall, we left after school on a Friday afternoon - a dozen restless and smelly kids in a dingy white International Travelall, listening to the same Allman Bros. cassette over and over. Our poor chaperones.
Eventually, having driven the last half hour late at night through a mysterious world containing brief headlight-illuminated glimpses of dense deciduous forests and ten-foot snowbanks, we arrived at the very modest hostel. Only one girl, a senior, possessed even a word of French. We all piled out of the van and met the houseparent - a crusty old farmer who spoke no English at all. Consider the plight of our trip leaders, exhausted from driving this antsy and (no-doubt) ungrateful gang all that way, contemplating an entire week herding us. Surely the thing they'd most want would be to go to bed immediately, perhaps after a quick shot of something strong. If you were those trip leaders, what is the LAST thing you would want to see?
That's right.The LAST thing you would want to see is Farmer Faire-du-Ski pouring twelve big mugs of coffee from a giant urn and handing them around directively to all the kids. Most of us, including me, had never had more than a sip of coffee in our whole lives. Yikes. Having my first proper cup of joe was just one instance in which skiing started me down a road of pleasure that I'm still walking along today. Merci beaucoup.