Snow Bowl Cabin Dedicated to First Middlebury Ski Coach
January 13, 2004
MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-A renovated ski cabin?the oldest original base lodge in the nation?at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl in Hancock will be renamed Hubbard Cabin in honor of Richard C. Hubbard, the College's first ski coach, in a ceremony at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 17. The Middlebury Ski Club will join members of the Middlebury College community in a dedication that will include remarks by Rick and Pete Hubbard, sons of Richard or "Dick" Hubbard, who was also one of the founding members of the club. Past occupants of the cabin, which later served as a caretaker's residence, will share their memories of Snow Bowl history as well. The event will take place outside the cabin, which is located at the northern edge of the Snow Bowl parking lot, and is free and open to the public.
The cabin was constructed in 1938 by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) with the help of local residents, including Dick Hubbard. The structure was built with trees that CCC members, Hubbard and others had cut in 1937 to clear the first ski trails at the Snow Bowl. Serving as the base lodge for the Snow Bowl until the current lodge was completed in 1962, the cabin became a caretaker's residence for approximately three decades. It has been vacant since the mid-1990s.
David Napier, organizer of the cabin's renovation and former board member of the ski club, said that the group had been seeking a space of its own and noticed that the cabin was unoccupied. With permission from Middlebury College Snow Bowl Manager Peter Mackey and the College administration, Napier and other ski club members performed much of the renovations themselves over the last two years, removing the living accommodations and returning the cabin to its original one-room design. The cabin, whose changes include a new furnace, will now serve as a meeting place for the club, which operates a ski racing program for children in elementary school through college. Members will also be able to use new lockers there for storing equipment.
"This renovation process took place with volunteer labor and donations from local businesses, and it's successfully stopped the deterioration of the building. However, this cabin is historic so we'd like to apply for state and federal grants to continue the work on it," said Napier.
Napier is also grateful to the College for allowing the club to renovate the cabin. "The fact that Middlebury College has allowed the local ski club to repair and use the cabin is a testament to the College's commitment to the local community and to the sport of skiing."
According to Napier, dedicating the renovated cabin to Dick Hubbard is an appropriate recognition of the numerous contributions Hubbard has made to the local ski community. "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 a coach, in the local Middlebury Ski Club as one of its earliest members and leaders, and in the founding of the Snow Bowl," said Napier.
Dick Hubbard, a native and resident of Middlebury and a member of the Middlebury College class of 1936, arrived at the College in 1932. Since there was no ski coach, Hubbard and the other skiers coached themselves. Interest in competitive skiing at Middlebury College dates back to 1923, but skiing as a college sanctioned sport started at Middlebury in 1933 when an official ski team was created.
Joining with other students and local residents, Hubbard helped create local ski slopes, and install a rope tow on the back slope of Chipman Hill in Middlebury. He set in motion the clearing of cross country ski trails at Bread Loaf in Ripton. At the Snow Bowl, Hubbard helped survey and lay out the Worth Mountain ski trail, the Voter trail, and what is now the Allen trail. He also contributed to the construction of the first rope tow there.
Hubbard went on to serve as the College's first ski coach from 1936-1939, coaching the men's team for two years and the women's team for one year. "It was largely through his efforts that Middlebury College was able to host the best collegiate skiers in the eastern United States and Canada at the championship matches of the Intercollegiate Ski Union during the Middlebury Winter Carnival on Feb. 18-19, 1938," said Rick Hubbard.