By Luke Hughes
We’re officially halfway finished with ski season, which makes me sad. We started skiing at the beginning of December, and now we’re already halfway through February. The weeks have flown by. I really can’t believe that at this time next month, my first year as a Jiminy Peak Race Team U16 skier will be over. We were lucky last year because the snow conditions were amazing and we got to ski for three weeks after our race season officially ended. Hopefully the same thing will happen this year. Every year I hope that the Jiminy Peak ski season will go to at least April 1. Skiing from December to April, not bad!
I just love all of the excitement and different events happening on the mountain these days. The other day, while riding the two-pack up, I looked around and heard, smelled and saw so many things going on at once. I heard the clickety clack of the mountain coaster as it slowly took kids up its track and the music playing from the base of the mountain; I smelled the delicious smell of marshmallows toasting for s’mores in the Fun Zone area (they’re free!); and of course I saw everyone skiing down the mountain below me. At that moment, I felt so happy to be part of the Jiminy Peak experience. My father told me that when my parents first visited Jiminy Peak in 2011 for a weekend of skiing, they felt the same way. They saw so much going on at the mountain and within a few weeks bought a condo in Country Village because they thought it would be a great “family mountain.” I was only six years old at the time, but they signed me up for lessons every week at Kids Rule and that’s when it all started for me.
When I was eight years old, my parents bumped into the ski coach at the time, Jeff McCumber, and had a great conversation with him at John Harvards. He told them they should sign me up for Race Team. I am so glad they did. I have made many good friends on the team over the past 5 or 6 years that I will keep for the rest of my life. Together, we’ve discovered a few things on the mountain this year. The first is the waffle hut right in front of JJ’s! Last weekend I had the best Belgian Waffle I’ve ever had in my entire life. Trust me, it is worth trying -- especially when you ask them to put melted chocolate on it. Last weekend was also the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge Race. Unfortunately, I wasn’t at Jiminy for it because I had a race (it’s the first one I’ve missed since skiing at Jiminy), but my two younger sisters said they had a great time. They raced on a special course set up by Mountain Dew. My sisters are also on the race team, so they did pretty well (one of them beat my 50 year old father). You could win fun prizes and awards and they gave away complimentary Mountain Dews. Two weeks ago, a huge L.L. Bean Boot Truck showed up and parked next to Crane Lodge for the weekend. People from the company gave away free L.L. Bean items such as hats, stickers and keychains. They set up games for us and it was really fun.
This year, I also found out how popular Jiminy Peak is in other parts of the country. My father took me to visit friends and ski in Sun Valley, Idaho in December. I wore my Jiminy Peak Race Team jacket while skiing and was stopped at least ten times by people who have either skied there, or have known coaches from the mountain. Everyone who knows Jiminy Peak knows it is a terrific mountain and they always have great things to say about it. You should consider skiing or snowboarding at Jiminy if you have a February break coming up, or just in general.
Photo #1 - I am on the far left and these are my U16 friends at a race last weekend
Photo #2 - Me and my dad in Sun Valley, Idaho, where people recognized my jacket
Photo #3 - Ready to race!
Photo #4 - The LL Bean boot from a few weeks ago