Sunday, April 06, 2014

open letter to bolton valley ski resort

dear everybody who makes the mountain work,

today is closing day 2014.

that makes me cry a little. it makes me cry a little to say goodbye to the mountain for the year, goodbye to ricker, goodbye peggy dow's, goodbye number one chair.

it was a hard season, what with the failure of a lasting and deep snow to arrive especially while all over the country OTHER people who didn't want it so much were getting record snow dumps.

but you guys did all right.

i mean, i don't know how you guys did in terms of ticket sales because while i have more than a passing interest in the financial viability of the mountain, really all i know about is how the skiing looks and what the people say.

the snow was nice. thank you, snowmakers and groomers. it was not lost on a lot of us out here that you took what snow you had and what snow you could make and you did a good job giving us nice skiable surfaces for a season.

and while we're at it, thank you also work crews who service and maintain the trails in summer because i have SEEN those trails in summer and it takes somebody thinking about how the winter trails will groom out later to keep things nice.

and thank you, people who run the lifts. not just the great gang who shuffle us on and off the chairs and keep our takeoffs and landings clear and groomed, but the people who maintain those things because it's a heckuva lot of moving parts. yeah, we notice when you take the time to beat the ice off that seat we're going to sit on, and we notice when you have the golden touch and slow the chair down just right so it doesn't clip the backs of our boots as we get on.

we thank you; our knees thank you.

most of us don't come to the mountain and think: how nice that the lifts aren't all rusted and broken down today. we don't think it because you guys take care of it out of our sight.

and you guys working in the parking lot: thanks for directing the peak traffic, thanks for knowing when to move the cones, and thanks for watching out for us.

hosts, ticket sellers, food workers, hotel workers, all of you: your work it noticed and it is appreciated.

when i am on the mountain i talk to people. and the thing i hear from the people who come and buy lift tickets is that the come and keep coming because you are friendly and affordable. i talked to a group of people who came to vermont to ski stowe and ended up skiing bolton instead. i talked to a group of people who come up from virginia every year to teach their kids to ski, going back three generations.

and me, personally, ricker mountain is the home of my soul. i have been skiing long enough at bolton that my first pass is old enough to vote. do you remember that horrible year the mountain didn't open?

i do.

i had to ski that year at a different ski mountain, a more famous one, one people seem to like a lot.

it's a nice enough mountain, but i hated it. i have no happy memories of that season. the parking was wrong, the lodge was wrong, the trails were wrong, and i was far from my home.

do you guys get what i'm saying here?

it is half about my mountain and it is half about YOU.

my mountain, the mountain i love, is a place i can hang out and have a good time and make myself comfortable because of your work.


it's the last day of the season. when you shut down the lifts today i won't be there. it would be too unbearably sad for me.

but you guys go have some drinks and a nice dinner or something. put your feet up. you have done good work and you deserve to rest.

i'll come up and see the summer mountain when i can, and i'll look forward to seeing you when you start the lifts up again next season.

is it a date then?

thanks for this season, and see you next.

anyone who follows my story knows that i habitually sign all my open letters "love, flask", but some days i really mean it.

like today.

love, flask.

  peggy dow's
today at bolton valley

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