April 10, 2020
Dear BV Community,
As a snowstorm tees up for this weekend, promising as much as a foot or more of snow for what would have been the final weekend of Bolton Valley’s ski season – as BV’s President – yeah, that’s kind of a tough pill to swallow. Shutting down our business on March 15th and saying goodbye to spring skiing and to those final weeks of our operation, laying off nearly our entire staff, and grappling with the uncertain months ahead – as a business owner and part of the small community of Bolton Valley, all of this is hard and a little scary – and will continue to be that way for a while to come.
That being said, I’d like to take a moment also to focus on the positive. One of the things I love the most every day is my morning coffee. Even on winter weekends when I get to the lodge around 7 or 7:30 – I still always wake up early enough to have at least 45 minutes in my favorite chair with my coffee, looking out my window and taking a little time to reflect on whatever’s going on in my world. Then – I jump into the fray! Now that I’m working from home every day, I find myself sitting in my chair with my laptop on my lap, working quietly away on different tasks and watching the light change and move from the front of the house to the back of the house over the course of the day. Sometimes I’ve set myself up a floor office in the middle of the living room floor with my files and papers around me. Occasionally, I sit at my desk.
At work, there are always people and meetings and conversations that need to happen – the pace feels fast and fun and frenetic. My interruptions now are when my daughter’s Zoom school class take a break and she comes downstairs from her room to grab a snack or make one of her blender concoctions. Or, in the afternoon, after school ends, she starts baking. Since our kitchen and living room are really just one room, that means she’s baking in my office. So far she’s made French macaroons (twice!), brownies, cookies, cookie dough, cupcakes, fried dough…. I think today is slated for donuts. I’m lucky I have a backyard I can get some exercise in.
And the support and vibes from the community – the feeling of banding together – has been revelatory. I’ve always felt we were a tight community, but I really know it now. The staff up here at Bolton, many of whom live up here too, were so understanding when we closed. The number of e-mails I got affirming the decision, saying they understand, that it as was the right decision, the only decision, that we’re not alone – it was awesome. And even now, as people are still waiting for their unemployment checks to come in, the support hasn’t wavered. I sent out an e-mail yesterday letting everyone know our “best guess operating plan” for the summer and saying that, with hard work and the crew we have, we have a path through this. Within minutes I had an e-mail back from someone saying – “You’ll get 100% from me!” How awesome is that? How encouraging. How inspiring, really.
I think, after this, we will be a stronger team because we are going to come through this time together – bound by our shared love for Bolton Valley and everything it means to us and everything it means for our community. Not just jobs, but a true vocation in the mountains, uniting people through friendship and a higher spiritual connection. What we do up here, it goes deeper than creating the opportunity for skiing and having fun – because skiing is so much more than that. It’s about experiencing the freedom of movement in the outdoors. It’s about connecting to the energy – to the healing and creative power of beauty and laughter and speed and adventure! Bolton Valley.
But speaking of fun and laughter – one of the most fun things during this quarantining has been the Wednesday night Facebook movie series. My brother Adam has been literally dusting off old VHS tapes from our dad’s basement, digitizing them, and compiling scenes from the boys’ old ‘90’s ski movies. Our brothers, Rob and Eric, and John and Dan Egan from Sugarbush and a bunch of the rest of their old ski crew from back in the day along with hundreds of the rest of us have all been logging on each Wednesday night and getting a kick out of the nostalgia. I think the most fun thing has been the comments! And the skiing is awesome! I have been literally laughing out loud so much at those old videos. And seriously – how cute and young and handsome and rad and hilarious are my brothers?!
It’s a big question – what will life be like be like after this? Well, I hope I can find a way to keep some of the calm in my life and, strange to say, to keep this tight feeling of community that has found its way into this alleged social isolation. I’m eager to get back to business, of course, back to our operations and back to driving toward the future of Bolton Valley – but there’s a quality from this time that I want to find a way to keep alive. My daughter and my mom are taking daily distanced walks together. I cook dinner every night. My (13 year-old) daughter said the other day – it’s nice getting to see you all the time. Rarely an afternoon goes by when I don’t get outside for at least a couple hours. I’m reading Love in the Time of Cholera.
So yeah – it’s not all bad. But still, I have to say, I can’t wait to see you all up here on the mountain again soon!! Is your bike tuned up yet?