Uncategorized

Article sparks fond memories of Otis Ridge

Thank you for the great article about Otis Ridge!! My father, David Judson, owned and operated Otis Ridge from 1946 until the early 1970s, on the 200-acre parcel my parents owned. He was elected the first President of the National Ski Area Operators Association and was inducted into the U.S. Ski-Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1997.

My father was the second or third in the U.S. to open a rope tow to the public and helped pioneer snow-making, which was exciting because when the nozzles froze up, all the water in the steel pipes froze solid. I have fond memories of carrying frozen pipes into a warm building in the middle of the night. When my father installed the second Poma-lift in the U.S., Mr. Pomagalski and his wife came from Grenoble, France, and joined us for dinner! My siblings and I had about 40 babysitters: the entire staff! We had to ski every day, so the staff could keep an eye on us.

Right near our family home on Judd Road was a farm my parents leased out. In 1950-51, my parents converted it into a ski camp for kids — the only one in the nation. My mother, Hooker Judson, ran the ski camp, eventually adding another dorm, so she welcomed 90 kids every weekend, plus multiple sessions on holiday weeks. She handled all the marketing, reservations (phone # 20-ring-2), arranged buses from New York, supervised all the ski instructors, counselors, and cooks, and cheerfully kept all the details in her head.

Whenever two families from Greenwich made reservations, she invited them to car-pool, before it was cool.
Each camp session ended with an awards ceremony where kids were awarded stars based on their accomplishments — one silver star for a snowplow, three gold stars for a “parallel christie” — to be sewn onto kids’ parkas. At many resorts, you’d see the Otis Ridge Junior Ski Camp shoulder patch with hard-earned merit stars, worn with pride.

After selling Otis Ridge, my parents retired to Mad River Glen.

Stephen Judson
Laguna Beach, Calif.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s