A New Season and Old Memories

Another ski season has begun and I’m back with more skiing memories, history, nostalgia and trivia.  Being of a “certain age” I can remember when the start of a ski season depended entirely on Mother Nature and so was less predictable.  There were seasons when skiing didn’t really get started until after Christmas.  Everyone had a pair of “rock skis” primarily for use in the early season.  A common snow report for those early season days was “fast grass with icy spots!”  (Of course that was not the official ski area report, but may have been more accurate!)

But then there were also years when Mother Nature blessed us with multiple powder days before Thanksgiving!  In 1968 Northern Vermont ski areas received 72 inches of snow before Thanksgiving providing for some epic early season runs.

Advances in snowmaking, both in the amount of terrain covered and in technology, have made early season conditions more predictable.  The past couple of seasons have proved challenging even with snowmaking since our latest weather pattern has provided warmer than normal early Novembers.  Snowmaking still depends on Mother Nature to provide subfreezing temperatures!  In a couple weeks I’ll be writing about the history of snowmaking.

But first some more recent memories.

The Shed Brewery

Shed Logo (Otter Creek has agreed to Save the Ales!)

This October 17th found me in The Shed sitting at the bar having a Shedburger and Mountain Ale for lunch.  I was surprised at how emotional I felt.  But memories trigger emotions and there were 42 years of memories attached to The Shed.

The first time I went to the Shed was in late March 1969.  That winter of 1968-69 was my first winter in Vermont and I had skied all of the Northern Vermont ski areas except Stowe.  That was because Stowe lift tickets were an outrageous $10 a day – a full $2 more than any of the other Northern Vermont areas! However on a Saturday in late March I joined some friends and paid that extra $2.  We had a great day of skiing and of course we needed a place to relive that day over a couple of beers.  We chose a small “rustic” place called The Shed!

That day of skiing had showed me that Stowe might just be worth the extra $2 a day.  While I still skied other areas, Stowe became my favorite.  Skiing Stowe and stopping at the Shed were inexorably tied together.  Every car I owned developed a strange pull to the right coming down the Mountain Road after a day of skiing.  I was a weekend warrior commuting from the Burlington area so I was not a “local”, but The Shed made you feel like one.

Over the years my relationship with the Shed would change as we would take our kids there and eventually they took their kids there!  This column is about skiing memories and for me the Shed holds three generations worth.

Ken and Kathy, thanks for the memories!

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One Response to A New Season and Old Memories

  1. William Hays says:

    Johnson Woolen Mills, for the ‘hoi palloi’. They made great “nests” for the ski patrol naps, not that we ever took any. Har! I guess “blanket runs” are history — skiing down liftlines, picking up blankets that had blown off the down-going chairs. You could wear a dozen before becoming overloaded. Sepp & Company had raccoon coats. Cool! We also had some hooded, quilted ones on Big Spruce for the really nasty days. Dunno who made them; maybe army surplus.

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