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Big East Ski Trip 3.0: “Never Mind, It’s Making Us Better!”

See photos provided by Dave Dibelius. 

The D ’68 third annual Big East ski trip, once again held at Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont, is in the books.  From January 26-29, a total of 16 classmates and spouses assembled for skiing, reconnection, great food and wine, and … research.  More about that last in a bit.

Those present included Dave and Nancy Dibelius, Dave and Roberta Gang, Gerry and Jackie Bell, Bear Everett, Tom Enright, Peter Fahey, Steve Schwager --  and trip newcomers Burt and Cathy Quist, Rick Pabst, Bruce Senn, Allen Ott, and Paul Rizzi.  .

Arrival day Tuesday January 26 was a mild but changeable day – sometimes overcast, sometimes sunny, sometimes a passing shower – but the snow was soft and forgiving, the slopes virtually empty, and Dave Gang, Tom Enright and I had a fabulous time cruising the mountain.  That evening we gathered at the same sumptuous reunion central house we enjoyed last year for a great Dibelius Entrprises lasagna dinner – thanks to Dave and Nancy for the idea and the effort!  -- supplemented by contributions from Cathy Quist and Dave Gang.  Dessert was memorable too – would have been even more so had I remembered to pick up ice cream as Nancy asked me to … I guess I’m just a big picture guy and can’t be trusted with details.

Wednesday on the mountain demonstrated the vagaries of Eastern skiing.  The previous day’s showers had soaked into the snow and then frozen solid, making the skiing – in the approved vernacular of ski area managements everywhere – “challenging.”  Yup – “challenging day on the mountain.”  I spent the day trying to persuade my classmates that the demanding conditions were just “making us better”, and hoping that no one got injured or worse on my watch.  We broke for a leisurely lunch at on-mountain restaurant Epic, then skied a couple more runs and called it a day.  That evening we dined at Harry’s Restaurant, an Okemo fixture with an eclectic variety of dishes and a superb wine list, the selection coordination of which was performed admirably by Winemaster Gang.

Thursday was a better day for skiing – still pretty firm, but great fun if you paid attention.  Okemo does a great job of recovering from weather disasters, and they did so this day as well.  Thursday evening, though, was the highlight of the trip – another in-house meal at Reunion Central, another culinary triumph for Mr. and Mrs. Dibelius.  Surf and turf – steak and lobster tails, best meal in trip history, and at a fraction of the amount we dropped dining out at Harry’s.  So I – we – learned something from that, and here it is.

I had noticed Dave Dibelius looking speculatively at a magnificent, huge slope-side house above Okemo’s spiffy Solitude base and asked, “Hey, whatup?”  He said, “I was thinking, instead of a reunion central some miles from the mountain and an overflow condo on the mountain, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be together, without having to travel to and from?  We could ski-in, ski-out and we could have all our meals in.  Save some money from whatever premium we might have to pay to stay slope-side. A lot of the guys – and wives – think that’s worth exploring.”

Well, hell.  How many more years are we going to be able to ski together?  We might as well go first class!  So Friday morning, the Research Committee – Dave and Nancy Dibelius, Rick Pabst, Dave Gang and I – got a tour of the place from Okemo’s Director of Lodging.  As Brigham Young said, “This is the place!”  Big enough to sleep at least as many as at the house we’ve been using, with walking distance ski-in ski-out condos right nearby for the overflow.  Negotiating right now about the lodging price and slope-side premium, as well as some special arrangements we’d like them to make for our accommodations.  But I’m optimistic, and I really think we can pull this off and make this trip extra-special next year.  I know we’ll have the 2016 crew, and, while prior commitments kept 2015 attendees Bob Block, Rich duMoulin, and Peter Emmel from joining us this time, they all swear they’ll be back for 2017.  In the words of Robert Frost, “You come too!


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Last updated: Thursday, February 05, 2015