Heroes behind the scenes

  • Published in Letters

Many of us live in The Valley because of the beauty of the land and especially for the endless activities the mountains give us each season! I especially look forward to pulling my skis out of the basement for that first snowfall in November. We have high expectations for the sign that Sugarbush Resort is open for the season.

Early on, as the clouds produce a light cover, the Sugarbush snowmaking crew is trampling up the steep trails all hours of the day and cold nights, adding manmade to nature’s fluff. Hard work goes into hooking up the snow guns to the water and compressed air. Looking down from our first chairlift ride, we cheer the guys in black, gearing their equipment off the mountain to finally head home. Thanks to them all, we get an earlier start to the ski season.

PREPARING

What most do not know, the lift operation mechanics at Sugarbush have been preparing for that first day since the last day of the prior year. These men in black, as well, work long hours testing, repairing and maintaining each chairlift all summer for our year-round safety. Once the ski season begins, they are working in frigid temps maintaining and repairing sheaves, computer chips, lift engines and so on, while climbing up and down lift towers at all hours.

And each morning the groomers give us the gift of corduroy conditions just so we can grasp smooth first tracks. Groomers pull their amazing machines out in the early evening and often work into late hours, up and down the trails to spoil us the next day. I often spot the headlights slowly moving up the mountain, as I am climbing into bed.

All the lifties start bright and early preparing the chairlifts to assist all ages onto the chairs, safely. I often see them run to help prop a child, a new skier on board, or dash for the dropped pole. The smiles and pleasant conversation on chilly afternoons are always appreciated.

INSTRUCTORS AND SKI PATROL

Sugarbush ski and snowboard instructors also start their day often prior to the public, riding the chairs early, checking out the best trails to bring their clients on that day. They train throughout the season to maintain and improve their skills so they can give their clients, both young and old, the best possible experience on snow.

The ski patrol is a valuable team who are on duty from early morning runs to the last chair, sweeping each trail at closing hours. They are well trained on and off the hill to assess and administer various simple and trauma medical treatment. This past season when a friend was injured on the hill, I was first on the scene and was so impressed when a patrolman quickly showed up, focused on the injured with compassion and very professionally addressed the injury.

There are many managers and teams that have made Sugarbush Resort successful. Everyone, from the dedicated food and beverage staff in the ski lodges and the ticket office to the tireless parking lot crew, they keep the daily crowds moving smoothly.

Win Smith has done a great job of bringing his vision for the resort to fruition. Sugarbush Resort has become a mountain many travel to, from all over the country as well as out of the country, to experience what we locals are so lucky to have right out our back door. Every job at Sugarbush is the most important one to make it all work and I thank you for all your hard work.

See you next season.

Coombs lives in Waitsfield.

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