Rounds

Zach Rounds, a board member for Brattleboro Ski Hill, works on one of the three snow guns at Living Memorial Park on Dec. 18, 2020.

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BRATTLEBORO — The T-Bar at Living Memorial Park is running, the COVID-19 plan is in place, major and minor maintenance has been completed, a dedicated snowmaking team has been working hard and volunteers have put in over 250 hours. The result? Since opening night on New Year’s Eve, more than 600 individuals have had the opportunity to enjoy the most amazing winter pleasure — skiing and riding with friends and family at the Brattleboro Ski Hill.

“Seeing so many people out here is what it’s all about, “ says Brattleboro Ski Hill Board President and primary groomer, Bill Bailey. “We had a really solid opening weekend and it seems we’re about to have a strong second weekend. It is an amazing team effort, everybody pitching in to make it happen. Every piece is essential and 100 percent volunteer —special mention has to go to the snowmakers because without the snow they made we wouldn’t be open. Bellco Excavation and Howard Printing have also been essential partners in making this season happen. And of course, we have a great appreciation for Carol Lolatte and Brattleboro Parks and Recreation.”

Hannah Neff, Board Secretary, has taken on the lion’s share of scheduling the in-person volunteers that allowed Brattleboro Ski Hill to be open these last two weekends.

“Having enough volunteers who are willing to spend a few hours of their weekend to make this happen for so many skiers and boarders is essential,” she stated.

Zach Rounds, Board member, Ski Patrol Director, and former President, has organized two local schools to use the Brattleboro Ski Hill for their winter sports programs — something that’s not possible at the bigger resorts this year.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, it is truly an honor to be able to provide a local and safe community option for winter sports. The amount of support we are seeing from our community this year is encouraging and we hope to see things continue just as strong through the remainder of our season. This is a different kind of year for everyone, and for us. Users and volunteers are adapting and overcoming, which is all we can ask for,” Rounds mentioned.

While some things remain the same from former years, particularly the need for willing volunteers and monetary support, some things are different this year. Because of COVID-19, the warming hut is closed (bathrooms are available and are regularly cleaned) and the staff has chosen to let go of selling concessions. Skiers, riders and staff all need to wear masks 100 percent of the time. Additionally, a health screening form that attests they have followed the Vermont State travel guidance, along with providing contact tracing name, phone and email, must be completed. Lastly, part of the safety plan is to limit the number of people on the hill to 150. If that number is exceeded, ticket sales will be halted until some people leave in order to be as COVID-19 safe as possible.

Brattleboro Ski Hill Board members: Bill Bailey — President, Hannah Neff — Secretary, Autumn Kendall — Treasurer, Ray Blow — founding member, Zach Rounds, Amy Ripley — newest member, Tom Yahner, Kaylyn Bailey, David Scott.

Hours: 4-9 p.m. each Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. each Sunday. During February Break, noon to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

You can contact brattleboroskihill@gmail.com to volunteer or make a monetary donation.

Shane Covey can be reached at scovey@reformer.com or 802-254-2311 X163. On Twitter: @ShaneCovey.

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Since COVID-19 makes it difficult to convene Coffees with the President, if you have a question or a comment about The Eagle, send it to company President Fredric D. Rutberg at frutberg@berkshireeagle.com