SKI FOR LIGHT – Craftsbury Common, VT January 4-7, 2002

Submitted by Nancy Campbell

My husband and I were lucky to be able to leave early in the day. Our passengers, Jim and Joanne, were able to take the day off from work. It is a long drive to this charming area in northern Vermont but was pleasant and scenic. Joanne and Jim are always good company. Had a good lunch at Truant’s in Woodstock. Many people are not able to arrive until very late because of their work schedules; it’s always nice to arrive early and scope out the area. Gradually everyone begins to drift in and it becomes like old home week. There were over 50 of us by the time everyone arrived.

The Craftsbury Outdoor Center is a fairly extensive campus of three lodges, a dining hall, office with small shop, and a cross country ski rental shop. It also has a small skating rink. It sports a vast array of ski and hiking trails and two lakes. Our lodge had a very comfortable lounge (with kitchenette) which gave us a very hospitable place to come together. It also had an exercise room, a sauna, and another meeting room with a large TV. The rooms were comfortable but simple – no phones, no TV, with shared baths. This was planned as a 3-day weekend extending over to Monday. Meals were very good, served cafeteria style.

Snow conditions at home were non-existent but we had been assured of good snow in Vermont. This was true. An advantage of locating here is that we can ski away right outside the lodge, and not have to drive anywhere. The weather was not very cold, with intermittent snow showers most of the time. On a clear day the views across the fields must be beautiful.

Friday night’s program mostly centered around welcoming old friends and meeting new ones, but Joanne had brought her Braille scrabble. This began three nights of increasingly lively and competitive Scrabble. Her set is a treasure because all can join in, but we found that working in teams was more fun anyway. Other games were available (e.g. Trivial Pursuit, cards, etc.) but Scrabble really took hold.

After breakfast on Saturday came the big meeting with introductions, instruction on safety and technique, and then the matching of partners for the day. - a tricky job done on Friday night. Pairs gradually found each other and were off for the day

Some chose snowshoeing. One team chose hiking which they enjoyed very much. Most people skiied.

Lunches were served at the dining hall with excellent soups and sandwiches. After lunch, we were off for more skiing although some took a noon break. My partner and I chose the flat lands since she was somewhat timid on hills. We enjoyed the wide open pasture land in the afternoon. Most others found trails to explore. Thanks to Polly’s passion for skate skiing, one or two people tried their hand (or feet) at that variation on traditional Nordic skiing. At "tea time" most of us found our way to the lounge and enjoyed a happy hour with an abundance of wine and chips supplied by our people. After supper the program, as usual was the raffle party. Many goods are contributed to make a pleasant fund raiser for the organization. A lively game of Scrabble ensued which involved a good many more people - kibbitzing or playing – and the wine flowed freely. Later Marty Mahler entertained with delightful word games.

Sunday threatened snow showers and the weather was warmer and cloudy. But the conditions remained good, and all reported a very good day of skiing. The evening included more Scrabble with the addition of a performance of string players from within our group. These were exotic early music instruments with singing to go along with it. Thanks to Sue T., Cheryl and Peggy – all first timers – for bringing their recorders, psaltries, and lyres. Here again Marty Mahler entertained with word games. He is over 80 and still going strong – a real treasure in our group.

Monday we got in another half day of skiing, conditions still good, but after lunch all had to pack up and head home.

This trip was the group’s second year at this location. Over all it was considered very successful. A vote was taken to plan it again for the second weekend in January 2003.

NERSFL Home Page