Remembering Jonesy: Cofounder of Sugarbush Dog Parade and Dog-Friendly Hikes

Indiana Jones, known as “Jonesy”, passed away on December 10, 2020. He was a 12.5 year old a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Jonesy and his littermate Rumble came to the Mad River Valley from Pennsylvania in September 2008 as puppies. Rumble lived with Win Smith, former President/Owner of Sugarbush. Jonesy lived with the White-Labombard family—Posy and Owen LaBombard, and their mother, Candice White, former Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Sugarbush.

Jonesy and Rumble spent their youth lounging around the Sugarbush Administrative offices—Rumble often lying on his back with his legs splayed open just outside the conference room, and Jonesy somewhat more reserved in his owner’s office. Both dogs were a constant presence at the mountain, often taking walks from their office near Paradise Deli to the base area, joining their owners for meetings in Gate House Lodge, or in Mountain Operations.

Jonesy and brother Rumble

Jonesy and Rumble contributed to the family spirit of the mountain. In December of 2011, the canine brothers led a crowd of friends in a dog parade to kick off the New Year’s Eve festivities. This became an annual event, leading to a partnership with local dog non-profit Pawsitive Pantry, and eventually adding a Canine Couture Fashion Show. Sugarbush families would gather in the Gate House Courtyard with their dogs dressed in outfits ranging from ski gear to disco wear to a gondola (for the sixtieth anniversary). The event was often MC’d by US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Famer John Egan, or Sugarbush Wall of Famer Darian Boyle (another Bernese Mountain Dog owner).

In 2011, Jonesy and Rumble hosted another dog-friendly event for Sugarbush families, the Dog-Friendly Family Hike, which took place over Community Weekend in October. The brothers would lead a gathering of dogs (and their owners) along a hiking trail that passed by several streams (popular with the crowd for a drink or a dip), up to the Castlerock Chair, and back down to the base area.

In 2016, Win Smith and former food and beverage director Gerry Nooney decided that Timbers Restaurant needed a make-over. They renamed the restaurant “Rumble’s Kitchen”, and had a sign designed in the silhouette of a Bernese Mountain Dog. A portrait of Rumble, shot by local photographer Barrie Fisher, was hung in the restaurant entrance. Candid shots of Rumble and Jonesy, along with their many dog friends, were showcased on the walls of the restaurant.

Rumble passed away in the early spring of 2017 after a valiant battle with cancer. Jonesy lived for another three + years, and continued to lead the Annual Dog Parade, most recently in 2019 with his younger brother Baxter (another Bernese).

Jonesy and Baxter at the 2020 Dog Parade

Jonesy spent most of his life in the Mad River Valley. He was an ardent hiker, frequenting the Monroe Skyline trail, Burnt Rock, and Blueberry Lake XC Center. He loved to cool off in the Mad River and in Lake George (in the Adirondacks), but preferred wading to swimming.

Jonesy and family at the top of Mt. Abe

Until last year, he and his brothers took regular walks from their home off Tremblay Road to the Neill Farm and back, getting very excited as they approached the farm’s cows and free-range guinea hens. A neighbor who drove that route regularly nicknamed Jonesy “Mr. Majestic”, noting how he held himself so upright and always had a smile on his face. Just before Thanksgiving, Jonesy took his last great hike on the number 8 trail at Blueberry Lake XC Ski Center with his family. His gait was a little slower than it once was, but he was still smiling.