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Diary of a Ski Patrolman: Week 17

Aaron: You fixed the refrigerator door to open the correct way. That allowed me to access tasty things easier, which I will forever be in your debt for doing. Persuaded me to begin a “no snow-spray list,” which was probably a smart idea. . .and led to a better plan for self-preservation. But I’ll always remember my trip down To Snowtrak fondly. Also, you’re the best skier on the mountain.

Chris: Hard to hear on the radio, but always had something good to say. So I cranked up the volume, only to have my ears violated by the next person to speak. Also inspired me to get muffins on more than one occasion. . ..

Ryan: When my legs were suffering during the first snowplow tests you rallied me on. Yes, I still had to repeat that first test because I stopped to look at the view, but it was good to have your support. And that support was always there, and it was very helpful in all aspects of patrolling. Also congrats on being the poker world champion.

Michelle: You helped me speed things up, way back in the beginning. I remember taking forever to do a trail check, until you gently nudged me along, and after that point I realized I could move faster on my openings. So thank you for that friendly kick, it served me well all season.

Eric: Although I didn’t get to ski with you, I hear you are quite legendary on the slopes. But the many times I saw you in the First Aid room, you always helped my patients tremendously. Even that guy that talked 1000 words per second. . .remember him? Maybe next time we’ll put the ice on his face. . .

Bob: We may have had some differences in terms of squirrels, but it’s okay. I understand and respect your intention to provide for the birds of Okemo, rather than for the greedy squirrels. . .But you know they are cute. Uh oh, I might have to hide after saying that. . .

Mike: A strong leader, able to command our foolish natures and redirect us to better ends. But you also didn’t hesitate to have fun yourself, which is just as important.

Jim: You care a lot about patrol and Okemo, and it showed all winter. Whether it was reminding us that we were doing a good job, or reminding us we needed to perk up a bit, your words always had a good effect on us.

I could say countless more things about countless more individuals, but that is not for these pages. This was just a place to remember but a thing or two and I know it is inadequate, and it is not enough. There will never be a place, though, that can adequately capture my experiences of the winter with my many co-workers and friends. Somewhere on the snow-covered slopes of Okemo there remains a part of each of us, there remains the sound of laughter echoing over the headwall of Screamin’ Demon, or on the pitches of Eclipse, or perhaps the base of the Solitude lift. But really, it’s everywhere, at least for me — that sound of enjoyment, of contentment, of time well spent, and of a job well done.

Okemo continues to be open. Go to for latest conditions.

Updated Friday, April 1st, 2011

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