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Classic ski lodge gets spruced up for winter

HANCOCKOn Jan. 24, 2004, what is believed to be the oldest existing, unremodeled, public ski lodge in the U.S. was dedicated to Richard "Dick" Hubbard, Middlebury College Class of '36. Dick was one of the founding fathers of skiing in the Middlebury area. He was involved at every level at the college as a skier and the college's first ski coach, in the local Middlebury Ski Club as one of its earliest members and leaders, and in the founding of the Snow Bowl. The cabin was built in 1938 by members of the Civilian Conservation Core and local ski enthusiasts, including Dick Hubbard, and was used as the base lodge until 1962, when the current base lodge was completed. Then the cabin became a caretaker's residence for approximately three decades and had been unoccupied since the mid 1990's. With the college's permission, it's now home for the non-profit Middlebury Ski Club which is dedicated to promoting alpine skiing and supporting the development of ski racers of all ages and abilities. Beginning in 2002 and 2003, club members did renovations to the interior of the cabin to remove the living accommodations and return the cabin to its original one-room design, and then began to use it in connection with club activities. In spite of its historic status, the exterior of the cabin had not been stained or painted in many, many years. This both concerned and represented an opportunity for Rick and Peter Hubbard, Dick Hubbard's two sons. They approached the club with a proposal. If the club would rally its members to "spruce up" the exterior of the Cabin, Rick and Peter would provide the stain, paint and brushes plus volunteer their labor to work with Club members. The work began on Oct. 17 and included work on the following two Sundays, finishing on Oct. 28. In addition to Rick and Peter Hubbard, practically the entire Club participated. Chris Dayton (club president) and his children, Charlie and Grace; Emily Amory and her children Holden and Steddy and Michael Findlay (owner of a New York City art galley and friend of Emily's); Dan Hutner, head ski coach; Peter Miller and son Eli; Brad and Kathleen Ramsey and their children John and Turner; Molly Morrison and her daughter Darryl; and Robert Sokolowski and his friend Jenn Scarborough all pitched in. All in all the group volunteered well over 100 hours applying 16 gallons of Mallard brown stain to the exterior logs and deck, two gallons of white paint to trim the eves, windows, doors, butt ends of logs and front of the deck and part of a gallon of "Middlebury College blue" to the front and rear doors. The group also filled two truckloads with old wood and other debris from both around and inside the cabin. Peter Mackey and the Bowl staff took care of disposal. In addition to all this, the kids got in some ski training. The first Sunday, coach Dan Hutner took the kids on a hike and later led them in a leg workout. The next Sunday, Anna Furney, the club's newest coach, took the kids on a dry-land excursion and then she and Dan took them through a strength and quickness drill. Around the edges on both Sundays, everyone enjoyed great refreshments, courtesy of Club members. The Club is most fortunate to ski and train at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl, home to one of the nation's top alpine ski teams. The bowl's dedication to racing makes it a perfect home for the club. Members are often able to train "in the gates" before other clubs are even on snow. If you or a member of your family or someone you know would like to be part of the club, right now at the beginning of the ski season is the perfect time to join. For more information, point your browser to http://www.middskiclub.org or e-mail Chris Dayton at cdayton@sover.net.

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