The weekend bus trip January 24th to 26th was full of new faces: 18 of the 41 attendees were guests, and there were few long-time members along. But attendees’ passion for skiing and commitment to both community and fun were as strong as ever.

Conditions on Saturday at Sugarbush were not great: lots of ice, fog, flat light, and long lift lines. Nevertheless, everyone seemed to have an excellent time, particularly our guests who do not ski often.

Several guests took advantage of the Huntley Program to pay for beginner lessons. Melissa Nettles did a two day women’s clinic at Sugarbush. Phil Caracci took the shuttle over to Mt. Ellen, where there were no lift lines but snow conditions were equally bad. Regina Schuster skied her first-ever black diamond, with the support of Virginia Hunt and Becky Renaud.

I had a leisurely lunch at Rumble’s with the two Ceciles: Cecile Grima (G3) and Cecile van Manen (G1). G3 Cecile has come on the same trip in January for three years in a row and always brings a big group of enthusiastic friends. They headed back out to ski after lunch, but I stayed at the bar. An icy rain started around 2 PM, causing people to steadily join me at Rumbles.

While at Rumbles, we learned bad news: Ruth Yashpan broke her leg. She had a small fall on an easy run, but that type of fall can be the most dangerous. Kay Pham (G1) saw Ruth fall and stayed with her in the Sugarbush urgent care for a chunk of the afternoon. Trip Leader Gail Tuzman accompanied Ruth to the hospital and left Virginia (Gail’s staff) in charge of the trip for the evening.

Virginia reveled in her brief stint in power and at dinner gave the most entertaining emcee performance I’ve seen at Miramar. After dinner, G3 Cecile brought out all the ingredients and sticks to make s’mores, so people gathered around the fireplace to chat and eat. Brad Boehm and Modou Cham (G1) made excellent dirty martinis and other cocktails. No one danced. It was a low key, lovely evening full of laughter, though Ruth was on everyone’s minds.

The snow conditions and lines were much better the next day at Killington – it even snowed a bit! A big crowd of us gathered at Long Trail Pub at the end of the day and enjoyed a bite and a drink before boarding the bus. We left at 4 PM, in anticipation of weather than never came, and were back at the Masonic lodge by 10 PM.

~ Blythe Austin

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