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One local skier looks at Monadnock region’s history

Skiing. What a sport, what a life!

What other activity can a 75-year-old grandfather do with his two-year-old grandson and both thoroughly enjoy?

We are so fortunate here in the Monadnock region to have Crotched Mountain ski area. When it was rebuilt 10 years ago, I felt I was seeing an old friend come back to life. How true it was.

The region has a long history of skiing. Temple Mountain, Whit’s Tow in Peterborough and Crotched Mountain in Bennington/Francestown. Many lasting friendships and family traditions have started on these slopes. When Crotched Mountain came back to life we got to see our old friends again.

Let me begin with the history. Temple Mountain was one of the first ski tows in the country. Charlie Beebe and Bill Currier were the first ski instructors in New Hampshire. I had the privilege of knowing Bill Currier. His love of the sport was infectious. Several years ago I was at Temple Mountain with my sons-then three and five years old-and we spotted Bill Currier on the chair lift behind us. What an opportunity to get two of the regions newest skiers together for a run with a true seasoned veteran, who was 70 at the time.

I asked him to give the boys a quick lesson. Teach them how to go fast. Currier in a fine Yankee accent said “You keep the Zippa of your Parkar pointing downhill.” It worked.

That is the beauty of skiing in the Monadnock Region. Simplicity.

Whit’s Tow was started by Howard Whitcomb in 1940 on a hillside meadow north of Peterborough Village. In times of low snowfall Howard would collect snow from around town in his manure spreader then dump it out on the slopes. Anne Eneguess of Peterborough ran the ski school for a while. There was no day care then so she would tether her sons to a tree while she taught lessons.

You can still find Charlie Beebe’s son Mike, now 70 years old, forerunning the John Eneguess Memorial Race at Crotched Mountain. John was one of Anne Eneguess’ sons and he knew how to point his skis downhill. Mike Beebe was John’s first coach at Temple Mountain. John went on to become a World Cup Downhiller and as a member of the US Olympic Team foreran at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.

Another thing we have here is tradition. Many teenagers secured their first job at one of the local ski areas, met their first significant other, or maybe even their spouse on the mountain. And the cycle repeats itself.

This year the season opener for New Hampshire children’s ski racing is the John Eneguess Memorial race at Crotched Mountain on Saturday, Dec. 22. They will have a brand new high speed quad. Over 200 kids from all over New England will race with the dream of someday skiing like Johnnie Eneguess. Someday some of them will.

Tim Farrell is the former ConVal alpine ski coach and lives in Bennington.

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