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November 2, 2012
I now know what it’s like to be a rock star. Or at least holding hands with a rock star.
Last Saturday night at the Halloween parade inRutland,VT, the largest and oldest Halloween parade in the country, I was marching hand-in-paw with Scooby Doo. Thousands of people, kids, Moms and Dads, teenagers, older people, many in costumes, stood four and five deep, sometimes eight or 10 deep, along the parade route. People were on rooftops, in second and third story windows. The weather was mild, the moon full, And we were a hit!
Everywhere we went, kids screamed, people clapped and yelled, “Scooby!” Scooby!” “Scooby Doo!”
We smiled and waved back. “Scooby!” “Scooby!” “Scooby Doo!”
My friend Bob Boothroyd, a volunteer with the Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports program, which sponsored our float along with two other state organizations for the blind, was Scooby Doo. Bob’s friend Nancy, dressed as Thelma held onto Scooby’s left paw. With my wig and white cane, I had hold of Scooby’s right paw.
“Scooby!” “Scooby!” “Scooby Doo!”
Dave D’Angelo was a cow, Melissa Hoellerich a cat, Ebe Fernandez a butterfly, Nancy Gordon Mr. Peanut, Katrine Hughes a clown, Cathy and Rick Pingree a cowgirl and a long-eared bat. But the biggest screams and cheers were saved for, “Scoobie!” “Scoobie!” Scoobie Doo!”
October 23, 2012
Not many skiers from 1937 are still with us. There is a 90-year-old who skis regularly at Pico. But so many of the originals who helped found Pico, Vermont 75 years ago, and make it into the special ski mountain it is, are gone, or hung up their boards.
But as Pico celebrates the extraordinary milestone of 75 continuous years of operation–one of fewer than 30 ski resorts inNorth Americathat can claim that distinction–skiers everywhere will be able to ski like it’s 1937.
Pico will miss its original opening day on Thanksgiving. But no matter. In honor of its 1937 birthday, Pico will offer a $19.37 lift ticket on this year’s opening day weekend, December 15-16. Another great birthday gift Pico is giving toVermontstudents is a $75 season pass. AnyVermontstudent, K-12, can ski all season long at Pico for just $75.
Value and giving back to the community is the Pico way. Pico manager Tracy Taylor says parties and such to mark the anniversary will be scarce. He prefers offering Pico’s loyal friends and fans lots of value programs like a $19.37 lift ticket and $75 student season pass.
So here’s to Pico: 75 years and counting! Happy birthday, and many more!
September 8, 2012
By LINDA GOODSPEED
This past August marked the 22nd anniversary of Janet Mead’s death. Janet founded Pico ski resort in 1937 with her husband Brad Mead. Pico is one of the oldest ski resorts in North America, and I was reminded of the anniversary of Janet’s death because I have been working on a special 75th anniversary edition of my popular book, Pico, Vermont.
Brad Mead died in 1941 at the age of 37 in a boating accident, leaving Pico to Janet to run. Their daughter, Andrea Mead Lawrence, 9, when her father died, went on to win two gold medals in skiing at the 1952 Winter Olympics. Both Brad and Janet, who died on August 23, 1990, are buried near the summit of their beloved Pico.
Pico has a rich and wonderful history. It pioneered many skiing firsts, including the first alpine T-bar lift inNorth America, the oldest volunteer ski patrol, and one of the most successful junior racing programs in the country. But its history is also marked by many travails and tragedies: Brad’s death, the death of Swiss ski instructor Karl Acker, Andy’s coach who bought the mountain from the Meads and also died young. At one point, Pico even slipped into bankruptcy. But it survived and has never missed a season in 75 years, a remarkable achievement.
I like to think of Brad and Janet Mead, who first brought and nurtured that special feeling and character that marks Pico, as safeguarding and keeping that spirit alive from their summit resting place.
June 25, 2012
By LINDA GOODSPEED
How much fun is a tandem bicycle? Tons!Mmake that double tons!!
On Saturday, June 23, Rick Pingree and I rode 20 miles on a tandem bike throughBridgewater,Plymouthand some other smallVermonttowns around Killington. Rick was the captain, which means he was in the front seat. I was in the back.
The ride, which also had 50- and 100-mile loops, was sponsored by the Lookout Tavern in Killington and Long Trail Brewery inBridgewaterfor the benefit of Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports. Nearly 250 rode, and several dozen more volunteers and others joined the riders for a great barbecue and live music afterwards at the brewery.
It was a beautiful day. June has always been my favorite month and it did not disappoint. We sped by rivers, forested mountains, open pastures, our senses working overtime to process all the sights, sounds and smells. We even made a small detour off the course to stop at the Calvin Coolidge homestead in Plymouth Notch where we sampled cheese in the cheese factory and bought some maple-flavored jelly beans in the gift shop. After filling up our water bottles and wandering around the presidential site, we mounted our bike and got back on the course. We talked nonstop all the way.
Companionship is one of the best things about a tandem: You have someone to talk to, who is riding at exactly the same speed as you. It is so much fun!
The ride took place just four months after I broke my leg skiing at Killington. It was a long Spring. Rehab became my new job, my entire day revolving around exercises, leg weights and riding a stationary bike. But it was worth it! The back seat of a tandem spinning along the back roads ofVermontis a great place to be.
May 10, 2012
By LINDA GOODSPEED
On February 26, 2012, my ski career came to a crashing end. And I do mean crashing!
I had always hoped to ski into my 70s and 80s, maybe even 90s. There is a 90-year-old who skis regularly at Pico and is a great inspiration.
Alas, I will not be an inspiration to anyone. On February 26, I broke my right femur on a trail called Launch pad at Killington. It was not pretty — the worst spill I have ever taken. Talk about painful!
It was a glorious Sunday. New snow, great conditions, great friends. My daughter Masha was skiing with us. We were having so much fun! I will always remember how much fun we were having when I think back to that day.
I have had a lot of trauma to my right leg. Dislocated hip (water skiing), broken pelvis, broken tibia (hit by car), and now broken femur. I have a 40 cm titanium rod in my leg holding it together. I have decided I need to switch to a lower impact winter sport. I am thinking of snowshoeing. My daughter Masha is switching to cross country skiing anyhow (she was on the varsity XC ski team as a freshman). So while she is whizzing around the Nordic center, I can snowshoe. I will miss alpine skiing tremendously. But I can snowshoe at the alpine resorts and still enjoy my many alpine friends and that great mountaineering experience that makes skiing so special.
It is a painful farewell. But as my brother said, I had a good ride. And I did! My ski career took me all over the world, fromCanadatoArgentina,CaliforniatoEurope. I have met wonderful people, skied at all the major resorts, and covered all the major events, including the Winter Olympics inSarajevoand the Ski Industries of America trade show inLas Vegas. But all good things must end.
I don’t like to think of Launch pad as ending my career so much as launching me into a new direction.
April 16, 2012
By LINDA GOODSPEED
I have a confession to make. I think I may have contributed to the recent warm winter and lack of snow.
I did not do it on purpose. After all, I am a skier! I like winter. I like snow. But I also like playing the piano. And shortly after Christmas, I started learning “Summertime,” the great blue-sy piece by George Gershwin from Porgy and Bess.
I have been playing it every day on my piano, sometimes even with the window open. It’s been that warm this winter. The song is so magical and powerful, I am sure that it is responsible for keeping winter at bay.
This is a tough confession for me to make. I should have waited until spring to learn the song. But I can’t help myself. The lazy opening always reminds me of a young girl in a sundress and barefoot, a flower tucked absent mindedly in her long hair. She is wandering along a dirt road picking flowers. Insects are buzzing in the heat.
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.
Your daddy’s rich and your mama’s good looking’.
So, hush little baby. Don’t you cry.
Dubos Heyward wrote the words. George Gershwin the evocative music with its impossible chords and stretches that slide into each other. What a song!
To all my fellow skiers, I apologize. I’m sorry I have kept winter away. But I can’t help it. Such is the power of Gershwin.
Next winter, I promise I will learn White Christmas!
January 14, 2012
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By LINDA GOODSPEED
“Oh NO!!” I heard the guide off my left shoulder yell.
Not exactly a comforting sound when you are a blind skier relying on voice commands from your guides behind you.
“DON’T FALL!” yelled the guide on my right.
Easy for you to say, I thought. How do you not fall when your hips are already committed and on the way down? But I could tell from the panic in their voices that I was in trouble. Off balance, I tried to crank my skis around and get them back under me. They were stuck. I couldn’t move them.
“Ooh! GROSS!” I heard guide number one yell.
“DON’t Fall!” number two repeated.
With my skis stuck and far off to the left of my body and my hips coming down, not falling was not an option. I stretched my upper body as far as I could to the right and tried to dive uphill. In slow motion, stretching as far as I could, I landed with a soft thud.
“Whew!” guide number one said, popping out of his skis and running over to me. “You missed it!”
“What IS it?” I asked.
My skis were still stuck and I couldn’t move.
“Mud!” guide number one said, lifting me up by the shoulders. “There’s a huge mud hole here. That’s what your skis are in. It’s like quick sand. Really gross!”
“Mud?!” I exclaimed. “These are new pants!”
“You missed it,” number two said. “I don’t know how, but you missed it.”
The two of them helped me lift my skis out of sticky, oozing mud and clamber up on to snow. Guide number two took a handful of snow and started washing my skis and boots off.
“What about my pants?” I asked. “These are new pants!”
“They’re fine,” number two said. “Not even a drop!”
By now, we had a crowd around us.
“Unbelievable!” I heard someone say. “Look at the size of that mudhole. It’s right on the edge of the trail!”
“I’m just glad there’s no YouTube cameras around,” I said, laughing at the absurdity of the scene.
What a commentary on the 2012 ski season so far! I thought. January 7, my first day out. First run and I land in a mudhole!
The ski resorts have done an incredible job of getting terrain open with no natural snow and warm temperatures. What skiing there is, is actually pretty good.
Just don’t venture too far off the trail!
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