Peak Adventures

When most people think of skiing today they think of high-speed quads,
gondolas, multi million dollar lodges, computerized snowmaking systems and
fifty dollar lift tickets. In terms of location, most people recognize either
Vermont or Colorado as skiing meccas, home to conglomerate or corporate
owned resorts. A vast difference from the day of the ropetow, five-cent
hot chocolate, and a neighborhood hill owned by a local farmer.

When Mark and I drafted the first trail map of Polar Peak we would have
imagined that it would have become so much more than just a hill. This is
story about a duo who definitely aren’t your average neighbor, definitely
not your average kids.


Riding at Polar PeakOne
Saturday morning in the middle of September I was sitting in the mountain
office, reading a back issue of Ski Area Management. As I sip down some coffee,
which really was doing nothing to improve my opinion of caffienated beverages,
I glanced across the desk piled with wickets, blank ski reports and striped
lift tickets, I take note of a folder crammed full of pictures. I grab for
it. As I open up the folder, staring me in the eye is a picture of Mark and
I standing at mid-mountain with the night skiing lights and two snowguns going
in the background. In the picture Mark has a proud smile, while I have my
trademark serious poker face. I look at the picture and question myself for
a minute, “How did the time go by so fast? It’s so hard to believe its almost
been a decade.” I then hear the pounding of a hammer, a common sound at Polar
Peak during the fall, and I emerged out of that school of thought and started
heading up the hill to help Mark with the new Summit Express.

When my brother Mark and I started the Polar Peak Project back in 1991
I was only 11 and he was only 13. I think the reason we really took to skiing
is because we could relate to it. Growing up on a farm is a real treasure,
with all sorts of resources at your disposal. The project started out as
creating a little place for us to ski when we had some natural snow, however
we kept upping the goal. It was a nice sized hill which faced south. For
years it had been used as a cow pasture, but to us young dreamers it had
much more potential than having a bunch of heifers trompling all over it.
It was a ski area, an impressive hill that we wanted to live our teenaged
years on.