Over the weekend of January 11 – 13, 2008, the intrepid and imperturbable Bruce Nolin led the St. Paul youth group on a ski expedition to SnowShoe Resort, West Virginia. The youth really were (mostly…) well behaved. But when things got a little out of hand, or (a lot…) behind schedule, Bruce was cool and collected. I guess training in the Navy helped.
Besides the church youth, the rest of our group of 25 members included chaperones Dave Bormann, Christina and Daniel Scagnelli, Cassie Stone, Mark Stone, Martha Rizoti, Allison Huskey and Nancy Scroggs.
Driving up and back was a significant part of the adventure. Bruce rented two big vans from Dwight Phillips in Wilkesboro, which Dave and I drove. Mark rode shotgun in Bruce’s truck with all the skis and boots. On the way up, I followed Dave at what seemed like supersonic speeds. On the way back we ran into a heavy snowstorm in middle West Virginia. It fell so fast that one lane on Interstate 64 quickly became blocked. Fortunately, all the traffic slowed down to about 35 miles per hour and there were no wrecks. After about an hour, I was glad to top a ridge and see the sunset on the horizon, meaning the end of the cloud cover and the snow.
At SnowShoe, we stayed in one of the slope-top lodges, where we could walk out the door directly to the trails and lifts. Saturday morning was cold, but pleasant – about 28 degrees. By mid-afternoon it had warmed up to the high 30’s. There was plenty of snow. Despite no powder, it was soft and deep enough to be good skiing. The fields and woods around the trails were completely brown. I had never seen so much good, soft snow on trails and, 2 feet to either side, absolutely none. How did they do that?
Several of the chaperones “adopted” a kid or two and gave impromptu lessons off and on all day. Josh skied some with me and some with Dave, showing his ability to improve in a hurry. Allison was a real trooper, taking on several neophytes whom she shepherded all over the mountain for most of two days.
That evening the kids had a pizza feast in Bruce’s room. The adults went out to eat at a restaurant known to Dave that was scrumptious. I had the best lasagna I ever tasted. Later that evening some of the older kids went night skiing.
Sunday morning was right much colder – maybe low 20’s, high wind and foggy. Despite the fact that Martha only uses rental skis, she demonstrated excellent skills and speed on the trails. I encouraged her to buy her own equipment. The group managed to stay on the slopes until quitting time about 3 p.m. We made it safely home. Many thanks to Bruce for making so many arrangements to pull off a wonderful outdoor trip.