Since so few of the people living in the Mount Snow area were born and raised here, I`m frequently asked just how I ended up living here – for the last 35 years no less. There I was, a 24 year old securities analyst at EF Hutton (when he spoke, people listened) and a part time graduate student in NYU`s PhD program for aspiring quantitative economists. What the heck happened?
Well for starters, to my mother`s horror I left EF Hutton at the age of 27 and along with three fraternity brothers of mine from Lehigh, bought a 55 room hotel built somewhere around 1890 in Avon-by-the-Sea on the Jersey shore. The place was a block and a half from the beach and included a large bar operation on the first floor. I hadn`t even died and was nonetheless convinced I`d made it to heaven.
So what to do during the winter, this was a seasonal business open only May through October? “How about a winter rental at Mount Snow?” suggested Steve, who along with our two partners had not quit his job. Mount Snow for winters it was.
Only one year later we were also in business in West Dover during the winter season operating an Irish pub we called McCarron`s Shebeen. Running two seasonal businesses 250 miles apart was exciting but rough. It wasn`t too many years later that we sold the hotel in Jersey (very big mistake, you know what that property is worth now?) and I became a year round resident of Vermont.
While I was running McCarron`s, I met a part-time ski instructor known only as “Guido”. We became friends and one day in late 1984 he told me about this small school program for high school ski racers located in the Training Center. Incredulous, I checked into it and introduced myself to a lady named Lynne Sullivan. “Sure we can use you, Mike,” she said, adding “Can you teach Physics?” “Oh yeah” I said confidently. Oh boy, talk about jumping in the deep end. It had been 15 years since those physics and mechanics courses at Lehigh. The preparation time now needed was a bit humbling, but it was all so worthwhile. I had found a part time winter job I really loved and enjoyed.
A couple of years later we had to close our Irish pub after seven years of business. I found myself out of work for the first time in my adult life. What to do? We had a balloon payment coming from the sale of the Jersey shore place so I started to make some plans. In 1989 I rented half of a vacant 4000 sq. foot building on Route 100 and started up the Dover Bar and Grill. That worked out pretty well right from the start so at the urging and with the help of my landlord, I rented the other half of the building and opened Mount Snow`s first snowboard shop, Bonkers Board Room. Finally … a day job.
I wish I had stopped there. But no, I had to open two more snowboard shops, one at Stratton in 1994 and another in 1996 in Livingston, N.J. Even after moving the Livingston store to Bradley Beach and scaling it back, I found myself in rough financial times. Snowboard shops no longer were a hit. Time to walk back some of my endeavors.
Well that pretty much brings us to the present. The Dover Bar and Grill (D-Bags to locals) is thriving but my retail snowboard effort is pretty much confined to ebay. I`ve been teaching at Mount Snow Academy since 1984. There were a couple of times over the years when I had to take a year or two off to follow my business adventures, but I was always glad to return – and was apparently welcomed!
I guess things have turned out okay after all.