Indomitable Vermont

Saturday February 16, 2013

Tell us something we don’t know (but need to be reminded of from time to time).

During a recent visit to Vermont, Margo Pfeiff, an admitted West Coast ski brat, concluded Vermont is skiing’s king of the East.

In an article she penned for the San Francisco Chronicle, she writes about the glories of skiing packed powder, sampling maple liqueur, eating local foods courtesy of the Vermont Fresh Network, sipping microbrewed beer and enjoying the hospitality of Vermonters.

"For me, skiing is the icing on the cake of any Vermont visit," she writes. "While the leaf-peeping season is spectacular and the state’s busiest tourist season, I love New England when its photo-ready villages are blanketed in white -- pointy church towers, solid Yankee halls, covered bridges ‘n’ all."

It didn’t hurt that Pfeiff arrived in Vermont shortly after a monster blizzard dropped two feet and more on the state’s 18 public ski resorts, but without the massive snowmaking effort that goes on each year, that two feet would have barely covered the rocks and brush on the slopes.

Ski area owners have invested millions upon millions of dollars in snow guns over the past few years, and anyone who hit the slopes last year would know that they did an admirable job in coating the hills when Mother Nature wasn’t being agreeable. This year, we haven’t had a lot of snow either, but that hasn’t kept skiers from flocking to the state, because they know the snow guns are blowing day and night.

On average, 4.1 million skiers and boarders make their turns each year in Vermont, third in the country behind California and Colorado. That’s pretty good company when you think about it.

In the midst of winter, when we’re digging out from a snowstorm and ready for the sap to start flowing, it’s easy to forget that Vermont is really quite a special place. It has a unique place in American lore -- full of hearty, self-reliant people who live in the rolling hills, down to earth yet dreamy at the same time.

It is populated with artists, farmers, hard-working blue collar Americans, entrepreneurs and innovators who deeply care about their home state.

It’s famous for its apples and cheese, it’s granite and its milk, its cold-running streams and its meandering roads.

Sometimes we who live here lose sight of those good things, and other times we are rightfully concerned that those good things are being threatened by some malevolent force from without.

But it only takes seeing the Green Mountain State through a visitor’s eyes, such as Pfeiff, to remember that we have a good thing going here.

Or we could listen to what Calvin Coolidge had to say about his home:

"I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all, I love her for her indomitable people. If ever the spirit of liberty should vanish from the rest of the Union, it could be restored by the generous share held by the people in the brave little state ...."


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