Harris Hill Ski Jump | Brattleboro, VT
Which brings us to this sun-splashed February day, one winter ago. It’s noon. A woman stands holding scissors beside a ribbon stretched across the base of Harris Hill. She is Sandy Harris, Fred’s only child. She’s dressed in black ski pants and jacket; her blond hair blows a bit in the wind.
Along the hillside people are packed three deep. Small children sit watching on top of their fathers’ shoulders. You can smell burgers and sausages frying under the tents.
The athletes, lean as gazelles, their faces young and eager, wait attentively for the ribbon cutting. They’ve come from Austria, Slovenia, Colorado, Lake Placid, the Midwest, New England.
Can you imagine what Sandy Harris is feeling at this moment? “My first memory is of being with my father at the hill,” she says later. “He’d be working on the hill and I’d play with my toys.” Forty-eight years after his death she feels this: “It was chilling to realize that after all this time, his hill is still so important to the town. There’s a sense of his presence. He instilled something in that jump that was contagious. It inspired people to give years of their lives to it. To keep it alive. ”
She cuts the ribbon and the skiers start down, one, then another. And how can anyone watch and not feel that they themselves have caught big air and are riding the current into the happy cheers of the people of Brattleboro?