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Remembrance of Ski Trips (Way) Past

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

[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.


post #2 of 4

Une mémoire amende d'un grand voyage. Avez-vous mangé une madeleine aujourd'hui?

post #3 of 4

My history with ski road tripping dates back to childhood in the 1960’s when my dad took the family on weekend ski trips from Northern Virginia to ski areas in Pennsylvania like Blue Knob or Camelback.  Back in those days we sometimes towed a trailer, sleeping in tundra-like conditions at ski area parking lots. 


The first out-of-region road trip I remember was a pilgrimage by seven of us to the “Ski Capital of the East” - Stowe, Vermont, including a side trip to the slopes of Whiteface, New York during Christmas vacation 1971.  

Among my memories from that 1971 ski trip:  I was recovering from broken arm so my folks limited me to the "safer" Stowe terrain of Spruce Peak, meanwhile my older brothers regaled us each night with tales of gnarly Mt. Mansfield.  On the old Spruce Peak chair they threw old Army surplus ponchos on me that I gladly clutched heading up a cold and long chairlift ride (from my mid-Atlantic perspective).  My dad was retired Navy and during the trip we stayed in a "motel" at Plattsburg AFB where they had a gym with an old style steam room that we all enjoyed.  That facility also had an indoor track that was elevated and circled above a basketball court.  I ran laps at night to stay in shape for high school indoor track season.  I saw Diamonds Are Forever (with Sean Connery as James Bond) at the movie theatre during that trip and wrote a review (favorable) of it for English class when I got back to school.  Besides my family of six, on that trip we were accompanied by a catholic priest who was a Navy chaplain and good friend of the family.  He was a great guy, decent skier and avid at a dozen other sports, especially golf, bowling, and ice skating.  About ten years later he officiated at my wedding.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

Avez-vous mangé une madeleine aujourd'hui?

Thread drift: Not today, but soon. We actually own one of those pans - I think they call it a "plaque" -  and my wife does a good job with them, adding a tiny drop of Fiore di Sicilia as the mystery cross-border element. Okay, now back to skiing.

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