Kissing Bridge – “KB”

Kissing Bridge (KB) review ’15
Kissing Bridge in Glenwood, is a day-area a short distance from Buffalo, NY. What lacks in vertical drop (550 feet) is ameliorated by girth.  A total of 700 acres includes the one-time adjacent competitor know as Glenwood Acres. This is story unto itself. The area is affectionately addressed by the locals of Western New York as “KB”

The annual natural snowfall of 180 inches is generously supplemented with an efficient snow making system. And after years of operation the grooming has been perfected into a science. The only challenge now is maintaining the equipment and finding dedicated, skilled staff the be consistent operators.

The ski school is sizable and the racing program commendable. My children are products of the racing program at Kissing Bridge, It all begins with the “Bridge Busters” which gobbles up the young ‘n’s at age five. The Martha, who in and of herself has become an institution at the area runs the “Gate Busters” for per-adolescents to feed into the racing program.

Ski racing: age group program
KB is a member of the Niagara Council of NY State, a circle of like constituted areas all of whom operate and promote snow completion for our youth of our region and state. Like any youth program, parental support is the real engine that pulls the train forward. Chauffeurs, food sources, cheerleaders, gatekeepers, timers and officials are required to pull the weekend events across the finish line.

Our group in those days gelled well. We even attempted to form a club to ski, socialize, and promote the cause. But it never got off the ground, or should I say “into the ground” since we sought to erect a club facility on the readily available banks of Cazenovia Creek that runs below the base road of KB. It may have been myopic of management, but I prefer to view it as all the attorney’s fault. They were probably concerned about liability or other legal balderdash. Or maybe they weren’t seeing enough fees to justify their efforts. At any rate, it didn’t happen, so we joined the Buffalo Ski Club just up the road and actually 5 miles closer to home.

When my little urchins were gears in motion, the parental support “team” was strong and pretty well organized. In the heyday, we used to charter a yellow school bus on race days to deliver up to 30 or so racers of various ages to the circuit of completion. As the kids qualified the late season numbers were reduced, the distances increased and the competition ever so much more keener. And it was more exciting, fun and (need I whine?) expensive.

We had good coaches. Ron, Fuzzy, and Martha immediately come to mind. They knew their stuff and most importantly the kids respected, just loved ‘m. We got to know them pretty well. Martha isthe younger sister of one of my “teacher’s pet” students at my real job in those days, a social studies (American history) teacher at Williamsville’s Mill Middle School). Martha is still a practicing attorney in WNY. Ron went on to I believe manage White Tail resort in PA (Baltimore Washington market). Fuzzy recently retired from his notable career with a tech firm. Best of wishes Fuzzy, Gail and the three “Little Fuzzets”!

Many of the KB racers contained on in the ski industry. Eric Schlopy skied with the U.S. Olympic teams for several seasons. Others serve as sales reps, instructors, or coaches either as career decisions, part-timers and of course parental-volunteers. Wouldn’t a reunion be a great experience?

My entry into snowboarding
While serving as the family chauffer and chaperon for the two youngest, I took up snow boarding, or should I say “tried”?  at KB. It was early 90’s (1990’s!) season. We, my oldest son and I had picked up a broad “on the cheap” while grabbing the early November snow at A-Basin.” I had a choice: I could drop the 2 youngest off, return home with barely enough time to eat , say nothing of enjoying diner, then drive back for pickup duty, or I could ski for a couple hours before returning home thus saving time, effort and gas money. Having skied every nook, cranny and square inch of KB over many years, I sez to myself, “Self, why not try out that new snow board?” So I did, but without the benefit of lessons; like always: self-taught. They say the dumbest instructor on the hill is the one who has himself as a student.

So I fell a lot. One time while boarding under the double chair, I yard-saled; totally wiped out. KB is noted for its plethora a young patrons. It’s often compared to the local shopping mall on a school holiday. Well, the lift had a line that night, so every chair was occupied and everyone awake who kept their eyes open witnessed my tumble. Hoots and guffaws echoed though the hollow and reverberated down the glen jeering my ineptitude. Any I deserved it. A light dusting of fluffy powder framed the scene of incompetence. The bright lights illuminating the slopes spot-lighted the crime scene.

If I recall, it was a still, silent evening, one of those classic winter nights with crisp air, deep, clear sky peppered with twinkling specks of stars, when the soft snow absorbed the dim “clickety-click” of the ascending, aging chairlift. Only the boisterous hecklers with their thunderous challenges to my manhood could successfully piece the tranquility- and penetrate it did. But just as suddenly as the hoots began, all  plunged back into silence; instantly; an eerie silence; a sustained silence. Creepy … As I slowly picked up the pieces and attempted to shake off my newly donned blanket of snow.

Finally – an eternity passing – a small, innocent, dismayed, whisper captured the moment: “WOW! Did you see how old that guy was?” Nothing followed.  Nothing needed to follow.

Respect for their elders.  This kids were raised right!  The polite reticence extended on while I snaked and humbly slithered to the bottom.

Did I report or recount to the kids on the way home? Certainly not. Humble, yes. Stupid, no!

To be forthright, might jeopardize any creditability I might ever hope to garner! … Come, SKI WITH ME!

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SkiWithMe

Skier, rider (of sorts), wanderer, teacher, coach, blogger (wannabe), perpetual child, ...