Ah, April – a month full of sunny days, soft snow, quieter slopes, outdoor après, and now our first ever Wall of Fame Celebration. We’ve been talking about this weekend and our inaugural Wall of Fame class a bit here and there. But I wanted to really break down the events lined up for this weekend. Plus I’ll shed some background on each of our inductees.
The festivities kick off Friday evening at 6:00 PM with our 60 Years of Sugarbush: Video and Story Telling. I’ll be hosting the night upstairs in the Gate House Lodge. It starts with a cocktail hour, apps and music with Phineas Gage, followed by a screening of our 60 Years of Sugarbush video series. We’ll show a couple of episodes, have an intermission, and show a couple more. Then we’ll move on to an open mic story hour at about 8:30 PM. Win and John Egan plan to share some of their Sugarbush stories and then we’ll open it up to the audience. So join us and share your fond or funny memories and anecdotes from or related to Sugarbush. Think of it like a mini Moth StorySLAM just for us.
On Saturday at noon we’ll be hosting our ever popular Pond Skimming, where Win will once again forerun. Weather is looking primo for both participating and spectating. As a judge, I am now currently accepting bribes. Then later that afternoon is the Wall of Fame Celebration Ceremony at 5:30 PM. We’ll have presentations and videos on all of our inductees, followed by fireworks at 8:30 PM. If you’re around, I’d encourage you to attend and support this great group of inductees and their families.
So the way the Wall of Fame works is starting this year Wall of Fame recognition will be awarded annually to those who have made a significant contribution to “cultivating a spirit of lifelong adventure and camaraderie among Sugarbush staff, guests, and the community.” We welcomed a number of nominations and our Wall of Fame Review Committee met in late February to review them, eventually choosing our inaugural class.
It wasn’t easy but after much discussion, Wall of Fame inductees for 2019 were decided. Our inaugural class will be made up of Darian Boyle, Dave Gould, Marit Tardy, and Wayne McCue. I’m sure many of you have interacted with one of those four at one point or another. What a great first class! In addition, the Review Committee established a Founders category for this inaugural year only. The Founders Wall of Fame inductees are as follows: Damon and Sara Gadd, Jack Murphy, Lixi Fortna, Peter Estin, and John Roth. These people were essential to the operation and image of Sugarbush in the early years and beyond. For those that don’t plan the events this weekend, here’s a quick bio on each inductee.
Darian attended Green Mountain Valley School and went on to become a World Champion in Skiercross and pioneer in women’s free skiing. Though she’s traveled the world for the highest level of skiing competitions, she always returns to her home mountain of Sugarbush, where her family has been coming for decades. In addition to being a frequent presence on the mountain for various marketing initiatives, Darian is a lead coach in the Sugarbush Ski & Ride School’s Bush Pilot program.
Dave joined the Sugarbush Ski & Ride School in 2000. Over the years he coached in the Blazer Program and the Black Diamond Club, and was one of the most sought-after private instructors. He was a ski school trainer, and filled several supervisory roles. He also worked at the Sugarbush Resort Golf Club. Dave pursued a life of happiness in the outdoors with his wife Sandra, and his many friends.
Marit joined the Sugarbush Day School in 1975. This winter marks her 44th consecutive winter at the mountain. During her time at the center, she has cared for thousands of employee, guest, and local children in the Mad River Valley, including my own. In some cases, she has cared for three generations of a single family. To watch her in action in the nursery room is a humbling experience for most, especially new parents. Her contribution to the many families of the Mad River Valley has been immense.
Wayne, known by many as “The Mailman” because of his day job back in Massachusetts, has been skiing at Sugarbush since 1974. He’s also earned the moniker “Mr. Castlerock” because he’s the only person to have skied in every Castlerock Extreme at Sugarbush since its inception in 1997. His best finishes are second and third place and he has been featured on the covers of The Valley Reporter, Vermont Ski + Ride, and the travel section of USA Today. Wayne’s dedication to skiing at Sugarbush has made an indelible and meaningful impression on his family.
Damon and Sara Gadd
Damon and Sara Gadd founded Sugarbush in 1958 after moving to the Mad River Valley four years earlier. The Gadds were initially Mad River Glen skiers, but set out to create a different type of resort. The Gadds and their small team took an innovative look at ski resort development: they installed an enclosed Italian-built gondola—the first of its kind in the United States; opened one of the first on-mountain après-ski bars, the Wünderbar; and founded an international ski school. The Gadds’ Sugarbush earned a reputation for attracting the New York glitterati to a remote area of Vermont.
Jack founded Sugarbush alongside the Gadds, acting as General Manager after serving in the same capacity at Mad River Glen. Murphy helped create the original master plan for the resort, installed lifts, designed and constructed trails, and ushered in revolutionary snowmaking, grooming, and safety procedures. Murphy’s Glades is named for him and his family and children have worked here in various capacities to this day.
Lixi, a Czechoslovakian-born lawyer, was Sugarbush’s office manager. She was the “right hand” to Murphy and Gadd—selling tickets, answering phones, doing the books, and counting the money—and served in that capacity until 1982. She and her husband Trodd raised two children, one of whom was an Olympic skier, and owned and operated the Golden Horse Lodge on Sugarbush Access Rd. After Sugarbush, Fortna went on to serve in the Vermont House of Representatives. Lixi’s Twist, for those paying attention, was named after her.
Peter was Sugarbush’s first Ski School Director and was one of the original founders of Ski Club Ten. Also Czechoslovakian-born, he graduated from Dartmouth College, where he was a leading member of the ski team, and went on the win the Harriman Cup in Sun Valley, a precursor to the World Cup. Peter was instrumental in creating a ski school of international instructors which attracted the East Coast “jet set” to Sugarbush.
John used his land surveyor skills to help develop both Sugarbush and Sugarbush Village with the Gadds and Murphy. He was instrumental in designing the ski trails, the home sites, and the roads leading into Sugarbush Village. With his wife Ginny, he founded Roth Real Estate in 1961, and was involved in much of the development of Sugarbush and the Mad River Valley.
See you on the mountain!
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