I had the good fortune a couple of weeks ago to ski arguably the finest private ski club in the country. Holimont, in Western New York, has a great feel to it. The slopes and trails are impeccably groomed, and the addition of a new high speed quad lift this season has been a plus. The lodge is beautiful and equipped with a wonderful ski shop and dining area. Being in close proximity to Lake Erie, they get a lot of snow which I lovingly call Lake Erie Fluff. During the week they open the resort to hairbags like me and the public is treated to a wonderful skiing experience that most people never get. Check out Holimont- http://www.holimont.com They are expanding and offering real estate options at the present time.
While skiing at Holimont, I connected with Ted and Darcy Branch who are members, and Porter Scott. Darcy and my friend Porter Scott, who is a regular skiing friend of mine, are wonderful skiers and Ted is a Dartmouth grad and a Granite State native- no slouch in his own right to say the least. I rounded out the foursome and we had a blast skiing in about 6-8 inches of new LEF( Lake Erie Fluff.) Porter and Darcy are brother and sister and come from a wonderful skiing family. Mrs. Scott, the matriarch of the family, still skis and makes beautiful turns. The thing that was impressive that day besides the glorious conditions and the fitness and the skill level of the skiers, was the obvious closeness between Porter and his sister Darcy. They have a wonderful relationship and it was really cool to see how well they ski and how they really enjoy each others company. Porter gets up to Ellicottville regularly to ski with his sister and Ted.
While daydreaming on the way home, I thought of the nice times that I had skiing with my sister when she was a student at Carnegie Mellon. We used to take advantage of her sping breaks and go skiing. One year, we went with my friend Mike Smith who I have mentioned in this blog in the past. I took them to Alta and Snowbird, Utah where my sister got her first taste of big mountain skiing. I had her on the high traverse to High Rustler, the iconic run at Alta, and she had her first experience of a little slide. She was a little wigged out but she eventually learned to ski out of the slough and made beautiful turns. We then went to Snowbird where Mike caught an edge and yard saled it down the Cirque all the way to the floor of the canyon. I stoicly looked at Molly and told her……” You’re next.” She was a little un-nerved again but came through with beautuful turns. Pretty good experience for the future Miss Molly of Romper Room fame. If only they had seen her in the Magic Mirror that day.
Another outing came when I decided to take Molly to New England for a road trip. Now a road trip with me consists of gas/food/and pee stops all at once. That took some “getting used to” on Molly’s part but she complied. We made it to Killington,Vermont in a raging ice storm and her rain suit that I bought her at the Army Navy store only held out for so long before it was hopelessly frozen and ripped. We skied on frozen baby heads all day long and finally when she had enough, I told her we could drive just up the road for some better conditions at my old haunt- Sugarloaf, Me. Six hours later, we pulled into Sugarloaf only to find frozen slabs everywhere on the Narrow Gauge Trail. Molly only held on for two hours and said she couldn’t believe she skied for two hours on that crap. I remarked that I couldn’t believe we only skied for two hours. However, undaunted,I took her to one of my old haunts-” The Bag” and introduced her to Fiddlehead soup. Now Fiddleheads are a tender fern shaped like the neck of a fiddle and are the first shoots to break through the snowpack in the spring. The soup was delicious, Molly liked The Bag and we headed back to Vermont only to find that Stowe,Vermont was closed. Exhausted, we made our way back to Killington and skied for a while longer before heading out eventually back to Pa.
Although this trip was a near disaster, good did come out of it because my sister was a captive audience in the car for many hours. It is amazing the conversations that you can have when you spend that much time behind the wheel with a compliant passenger. For me, the time together is something I will never forget and I will always cherish. Molly lives in New Jersey now with her husband and four wonderful kids. They are all growing up and are making their way to and through college and Molly is starting to get some free time. Although she has a demanding job, I am trying hard to get her out of retirement and to hit the slopes with me again. She is threatening to do so and I will stay on her case until she does. Life is too short and it deals you some tough blows sometimes. But it can never take away the great memories of times spent together as a family and as brother and sister. If you haven’t taken the time to get together with a sibling for a while, do something fun together and make it special. Porter and Darcy do and I am hoping that I can renew some old times with Molly. Thanks for reading.