Old New England skiing


Adapted from Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary, in GoLocal24.com

'On Jan. 1, 1961, when my parents and a couple of my siblings were staying in an old inn, or glorified bed and breakfast, in Jackson, N.H., then, as now, a ski town. As we sat in the dining room having a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and enough bacon to instigate acute myocardial infarction, the co-owner (with his wife) of the establishment, a retired Episcopal priest, came bounding in, wishing everyone a “Joyous Feast of the Circumcision!’’ Later that day, I saw him speeding down the slopes of Black Mountain with great skill, despite his having called himself a “lousy intermediate’’ and his having consumed several martinis with his guests the night before.

Skiing then was a lot cheaper – fancy equipment such as snow-making machines and high-speed chairlifts, and huge personal-injury lawsuit settlements and soaring insurance premiums, not yet having made the sport so expensive. And there were still lots of tiny commercial ski hills (many owned by local dairy farmers) with rope tows powered by truck engines spewing out very dirty exhaust. Indeed, whenever I smell heavy exhaust, I think of those ski hills, especially in “spring skiing’’ on corn snow in March. Richly evocative.