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Thanks for driving me to the mountain, Dad

There were no skiers in my family. Somehow I got it into my little 11- year-old brain that skiing was something I wanted to do. I can't remember why.

Perhaps it was watching Jean-Claude Killy winning three gold medals in the 1968 Grenoble Olympics. I remember thinking that he must be the coolest person in the history of the world.

Connecticut wasn't a mecca for skiing. The highest point is on the side of a mountain that has its summit in Massachusetts. That high point is lower than the Plaza in Ashland.

Nevertheless, I started my campaign to become a skier. Dad was the guy with the money, and I began to badger him constantly. He was a blue-collar guy with four kids and not a lot of extra cash.

After about six months of my relentless pestering, he gave in. I think he figured his life would be more peaceful if he just got me some skis. Those wooden boards and lace-up boots were like my personal Red Ryder rifle.

Powder Hill (now Powder Ridge) was a very modest 500 vertical feet with a couple of short chairlifts and T-bars. It might as well have been Chamonix to me.

This paradise was about 40 minutes from our house. Dad faithfully commuted 30 minutes every weekday for his job as a photoengraver at the New Haven Register. Certainly he would be willing to drive me a few more hours each weekend so I could ski?

He would drop me off there each Saturday and Sunday morning through the winter. He would return at dark to pick up my half-frozen remains.

I didn't think much of his sacrifice at the time. It took me many years later to appreciate what he had done. Dad is gone now, and I'm still skiing. I hope I properly thanked him.

Pete Toogood lives in Talent.

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