Zari Sadri: Director of Marketing
Growing up in the Green Mountains of Central Vermont, I was lucky enough to wake up most years to snow on Christmas morning. I knew then, and I know now, just how incredible this mountainous state can look when it's blanketed in a cover of white. As I type this, the snow is coming down in buckets, turning the yard and the woods beyond it into a sparkling winter wonderland.
I grew up working alongside my family at a quaint country inn, which made our holidays a bit different than those of my friends. Thanksgiving dinner was usually served around 9 pm, once my father made it home from ensuring that guests were fed, service was running smoothly, and folks were well taken care of. Christmas morning, once I turned 13, started with breakfast service at the inn. I'd walk past the Christmas tree in the morning, shielding my eyes from what laid underneath (or the skis or snowboard propped up near the tree), until I got home from work. A fire was lit, presents were unwrapped, homemade yeasted donuts were consumed, and then, snow (and mom) allowing, it was time to hit the slopes. My sister and I would pack up our skis, and a donut or two to drive the three miles to Sugarbush Resort and take in a few runs in relative solitude.
Those runs, alongside family, and with a warm fire and Christmas dinner to look forward to once we hung up our skis, were among my favorite of the year. The mountain was quieter, yet those united on the slopes that day shared in a celebratory mood, grateful to be sliding on snow with family, upholding generations old traditions.
Christmas dinner was shared around one long table at the inn. Our family hosted, as a rotating cast of characters showed up from around the world each year; some old friends, and some new faces. We bonded over six courses of heavenly food and spiked eggnog. Tales of the day's adventures on snow were told, and relationships were formed. Promises to meet up the next day for sledding through the meadow or a few runs at the mountain were made, and more than often kept. Even now, guests who I've led around our little mountain town, on skis or on foot, remain close friends. I'll forever be grateful for those Christmas days, skiing with family, and bonding over our shared love of the outdoors with guests who, by the end of their stay, would become family too.
Nick Sapia: Chief Digital Officer
I grew up in Upstate New York in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains and, in a stroke of great fortune, our home was perched on top of a small bank that created a perfect, consistent moderate slope in our front yard. When snow would fall, as it usually did around Christmas, it became the perfect short ski run, and we'd rush outside to fly down it on whatever we could get our hands on. At some point, bored with sleds, I ventured down to the cellar, where my parents' old K2s were stashed, collecting dust after their glory years at Stratton Mountain, and strapped in at the top of our front yard.
Our yard couldn't have been more than 50 feet in length, only giving me time to perform a few makeshift turns, but the exhilaration of being on skis in the fresh snow was something that has never left me, and is still the same feeling I get after completing a top-to-bottom run at Stowe or Jackson Hole.
Those early, ugly turns down the front yard forged a love for skiing and while school and youth sports schedules complicated things, the Christmas holiday week was always reserved for a family ski trip or two. To this day, the best memories I have were from skiing tiny West Mountain in Queensbury, NY. We'd pile in the car in the late morning and make the 45 minute drive, rent skis and ski late into the night under the lighted trails, often in below zero temps. The weather never bothered us - we were just thrilled to be out on an actual ski hill with lifts (and not have to walk back up the driveway). It felt like the biggest mountain in the world.
Hot cocoa and a warm meal around the wood stove back home always awaited our return, allowing us to thaw and laugh about how much fun we just had. For many years growing up, Christmas time was the only time we got out skiing, but they remain some of the strongest family holiday memories.
Tova Kaplan: Brand Marketing Coordinator
The night before we left for our annual family ski trip I never slept - too filled with anticipation and excitement for the adventures to come. Usually I could expect my two uncles bombing down the steepest trail each trying to out race the other. While the rest of the family waited at the bottom holding their breath until they made it down, for good reason too...one uncle has a track record of breaking his thumbs. The other uncle has a track record of hitting every mogul run on the mountain, and convincing anyone within ear shot to join him. Usually that was me - even though, as a 7 year old novice, I had no business skiing down “Bear Trap”. The last adventure came around 3:30pm - who got the last chair, a badge only bested by the family member who caught first chair!
Clearly my family is all about competition. Although the one thing that trumps competition is tradition - and that runs pretty deep. The skiing tradition started with my grandfather in 1960 - when he took his family to a golf course on Long Island to give the sport a try. Unfortunately his brush with skiing lasted one day; it abruptly came to an end when he took his ski off to help my father and it slid downhill in the opposite direction - landing about a mile away. He took his other ski off, said “Thats It” and never put them back on. Now, ski bindings have ski breaks instead of safety straps, which did ultimately nothing for you. Even though my Grandfather never skied again - the trip sparked an obsession in his three sons.
I still can’t sleep the night before a big ski trip - and we still all pile into a condo, once a year, at the same mountain over the holidays. Even though the adventures are different and the traditions have changed, nothing beats that first family run down the mountain - all together - all excited for the adventures to come!