Back when I started patrolling in 1982, I was living in Washington, DC while working on Capitol Hill and commuting to Ski Liberty outside Gettysburg, PA, about 65 miles away. I could leave the office about 4:00 and still make my Friday night shift captain’s duties at 6:00. Then traffic became unbearable and I had to leave work at 3:00. When traffic grew even worse, even returning home after my shift took two or more hours. Thus, I made the decision to buy an empty lot in walking distance to the slope. I arranged to erect a small pre-fab home and that decision changed my life and definitely my patrolling career.

While others often called me to cover for them while they were late because they were stuck in traffic, I joyfully walked a few steps, strapped on my Atomic skis, and was on the slope while they were still backing out of their parking garages. In inclement weather, I would get up, eat breakfast, and then put on my backpack while others were shoveling out their driveways to get to the patrol room.

My point is not to brag about how I made patrolling so pleasant for myself for the last 42 years but to encourage other patrollers to, if at all possible, invest in a little ski shack close to your slope, not only for investment purposes, but to enhance your patrol career’s joy.

It becomes a tangible gift to leave your heirs, lessens your commuting headaches, fosters a commitment to patrolling that you never dreamed possible, becomes a welcome vacation getaway, and when you end your patrolling career your little retirement haven allows you to free ski with your patrol buddies whom you’ve befriended over the years. What better investment could you ever make in skiing and in friendship and in one of life’s greatest joys.