Tuesday, April 19, 2016

50th Anniversary Essay Contest Winner

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 50th Anniversary Essay Contest this spring. The winner of the contest is Sue Brisson. Sue has been skiing at Bolton for the past 45 years. She skied here in her youth, then with her kids and now with her grandchildren. Her story exemplifies the tradition so many families have created over the years of enjoying quality family time on the mountain at Bolton Valley. Sue will be receiving a 2016-17 Bolton Valley All Access Season Pass. We have also indentified three runner up essays, all three of those authors will be receiving two lift tickets. We will share those essays at a later date.

Here is Sue's essay:

Learning of Bolton Valley’s 50-year celebration immediately elicited a plethora of personal memories, spanning back 45 years to those still being created as recently as this week!

My earliest days of skiing were all at ski areas in southern Vermont. We lived in Massachusetts, and traveled every weekend to ski. My dad was on ski patrol and taught me how to ski at Okemo mountain. Skiing  became my absolute favorite childhood activity. I participated in NASTAR races, and spent entire grade school vacation weeks on the mountain. Things changed quickly in 1971 when my parents divorced and I moved to South Burlington, VT with my mom and special needs brother. Despite a limited budget, my mother made a Bolton Valley seasons pass a BIG priority for her 12-year-old ski fanatic.

Needless to say, Bolton Valley became a bright spot for me at a most challenging time in my childhood. Fortunately, I connected with the likes of 20 or so classmates at So. Burlington Middle School who also were Bolton pass holders and skied every weekend. I’d be remiss to not mention and express gratitude for the late Stuart Hall, 40-year veteran WCAX weatherman. Stuart was an avid skier and skied at Bolton every weekend with his daughter, Sib.  Ultimately, he became our “ski taxi driver”, as he arranged to pick up as many of us as possible in his “station wagon” each Saturday and Sunday morning. As his daughter, Sib, recently remembered, “He was the reason so many of us were able to ski.”

I remember many of my Bolton skiing friends by name. . .  Sib Hall, Kathy Miller, Maureen and Leo O’Brien, Frank Hall, Lori Croker, Wright Caswell, Ralph DesLauriers, Jr., and the late Rob LaClair, Jr., just to name a few. I remember silly teenage antics on the chairlift, and run after run on favorite trails, Hardluck, Spillway, and Showoff. I remember four lifts, all with fancy names. . . lift 1, 2, 3 and 4! I remember that we were a group of rather impressive skiers! I remember sometimes skiing down the mountain road at the end of the day to meet a ride home (Mother Nature was more generous in those days!). I remember wishing that my non-skier, seventh grade sweetheart, Tony, would at least give skiing a try?! 

Jumping ahead to later in the seventies, several of us spent many Saturdays navigating the slalom gates under “lift 2”, as members of the South Burlington High School ski team. A few years later, when I was a UVM college student, that same seventh grade boyfriend, and now husband of thirty four years,  popped a big question: “Will you please teach me how to ski?!” While Tony and I moved on to enjoy many ski areas, near and far, an affinity for Bolton Valley always remained. We spent many days at Bolton teaching our son and daughter to ski, enjoyed many summer climbs up the mountain road on our road bikes, and treasured the 2007 marriage of our daughter at The Ponds.
Fast forward to more recent years, when in 2014, we introduced our two young granddaughters to skiing at Bolton Valley. The oldest, Makenna, now 5, is the age that Bolton Valley was when I first skied there! She is obviously following in my footsteps and developing an undeniable love for the sport. While words cannot express the pure joy of teaching my granddaughters to ski at Bolton, there are countless photos. . . each worth AT LEAST a thousand. Many thanks and Happy Birthday to you, Bolton Valley!

~Sue Brisson