A joyous gathering of more than 50 alumni, donors, and friends of Middlebury College convened at the Snow Bowl on Feb. 18 to celebrate the installation of the new Worth Mountain triple chairlift.
President Ronald D. Liebowitz, former Olympic skier Gordon Eaton ’62, P’99 and Vice President of College Advancement Michael D. Schoenfeld ’73 greeted the guests and led the gathering in a champagne toast to the new Doppelmayr chairlift installed last fall just in time for the 2009–2010 ski season.
The president thanked the many generous donors who made the $1.7-million project possible in this, the Snow Bowl's 75th year of continuous operation.
“The fact that we have this ski lift is a reflection of the strong community spirit that is so characteristic of Middlebury—both the college and the town.”
—Michael D. Schoenfeld ’73
When state officials informed the College that the former 40-year-old Worth Mountain lift would no longer meet Vermont's strict safety requirements, Middlebury was faced with three choices: repair it, replace it, or close the Snow Bowl. The College made the best decision, the president said, even in light of the economy, because the Snow Bowl has been, and continues to be, an integral part of the College's and the community's recreational experience.
Mike Schoenfeld, who observed that Middlebury has been represented at every Winter Olympics since 1948, said the College has already raised about $1.3 million toward the cost of the new lift. To date, donations have been made to name 48 chairs and seven lifetime passes to the Snow Bowl have been sold at a cost of $5,000 each.
As the sun set behind Worth Mountain, the ceremony concluded with a torchlight parade down the Allen Trail. The audience gathered on the deck of the Snow Bowl's Neil Starr Shelter and watched as skiers and snowboarders spelled out the letter “M” under the new triple chairlift.