Stowe Resort, four years into my skiing career, my first real mountain, my first 1K; my real ski trip chalked up through a bus trip organized by the Schussmeister Ski Club, the student club at the State University of New York At Buffalo, shortened to SUNY@B only recently officially re-labeled the University at Buffalo. We still further shortened to “UB”. OK so why was the State of New York sponsoring a trip to Vermont? Well, the reasons were multi-fold:
1. Freedom of choice: we were near-graduates confident we could make our own intelligent decisions. The truth was the administrators didn’t gibe a hoot where we went or what we did as long as we didn’t bring shame to them or the school.
2. Mountains: We had been skiing at a hill about 450 feet of vertical. Kissing Bridge was our hill, but the challenge and the thrill was gone. We were itching for the mountains.
3. Promotion: The Winter Olympics were still a year away, but “Wide World of Sports” was promoting its coverage to come. TV broadcasting was still young, There were only 3 Networks and very little sports coverage. The ratings among the youth of the day must can been nearly 100% for any sports program especially one run on a Sunday afternoons when the last thing any student especially those recovering from Saturday night parties wanted to was study. And the two magazines Ski and Skiing were publicizing and promoted the jet-setters who glamorized the big ski resorts.
4. Technology – T-bars were out chair lifts were in. Kissing Bridge had “T’s”. Stowe had chairs.
As I recall, we sold out the deluxe over-the-road coach – no yellow school bus for us! And arranged a hostel-like house close to the mountain witch also provided us a continental breakfast and a “full“ diner. Three nights lodging, a few meals and three days of lift tickets. We rode back to the Buffalo campus after our last day of skiing having checked out and loading our bus , departing without a meal that evening to save time but more importantly money.
The legal age for alcohol in those days was 18 years, so supplying ourselves was only a minor matter of funds, not legality. And we did party. Being young and in shape, partying was not so a function of time, but rather space, transportation and again funds. I recall we hung around the hostel, danced to tunes on the radio. spun tales about the days adventures and consumed more than our fair share,
Now the skier was indeed memorable, It was the January mid-term break, and it was New England. The air was minus 15 at the bottom and we were informed below 20 at the top. The wasn’t real snow. I’d call it wore like ice, or at least frozen packed wind-blow by a stiff, steady wind. The lift operators handed out blankets which we placed over our head and bodies covering as much as possible for as long as we could on the ride up.
The pluses were many in our eyes. Here were no lines. He slopes were uncrowded, no better yet they were empty, And weren’t we at a major New England resort? Weren’t things strictly top=draw staying at a hotel, being chauffeured, fed, and riding a chair. Maybe it could have been better, nut we wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything else. Well maybe for a warmer day, but I think you get the picture.
We skied the entire day, breaking every couple hours to get warm . It was on the last morning while shaving, I peeled off a thin layer of dead skin -the effect of the cold weather and the frost in the air. It didn’t bother me that much and I sustained no lasting result.
I think the entire cost was about $50 – 60, big money in those days, but the travel bug bite, I was smitten, and the story began. Come, Ski With Me!