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Middlebury Ski Bum League celebrates 10 years

MIDDLEBURY — When the fluffy, soft white stuff starts flying, what’s the first thing you think? Some of us heave a sigh and think of all the shoveling; others bunker down for a long winter of knitting and books. But for a certain group of “bums,” snow in the air is pure joy.
They’re ski bums. You know, the ones with shaggy hat-matted hair, a few permanently frost-bitten fingers and toes, and smiles that warm the coldest days. Around here, our ski bums call the Middlebury College Snow Bowl home. In fact, this year, they’re celebrating 10 years at the Bowl.
“The Middlebury Ski Bum League started in 2007,” said Holmes Jacobs, who helped get this league on the slopes. “Shortly before that season in 2006, Neil Mackey approached me and my wife, Megan Brady, about starting up a Middlebury ski league based on similar models at other ski areas,” Jacobs, a former Middlebury Union High School, Middlebury Ski Club and Colgate University racer explained. “Inspired by the idea, I approached Peter Mackey at the Snow Bowl about how best to logistically set up such a league.”
Coincidentally, Jacobs continued, Middlebury College was also trying to set up a ski league for their faculty, staff and students. Forty-one-year-old Jacobs, who’s been skiing the Bowl since 1980, saw an opportunity to get both the local community and the Middlebury College community on the hill together — and the Middlebury Ski Bum League was formed.
“For the past 10 years, hundreds of community member from across Addison County have been gathering at the Snow Bowl on Friday afternoons to race, celebrate our community, our local ski area and our local restaurants at apres ski parties following each race,” said Jacobs, who is the co-owner of Two Brother’s Tavern in Middlebury.
The bums — who, by the way, are skiers, snowboarders and tele-markers of all ages and abilities — gather apres-ski style to celebrate their races and community.
“In my opinion, the most beautiful part of the league is how it brings the entire community together,” said Jacobs. “On any given day, you will find carpenters, lawyers, plumbers, professors, nurses, local business owners, former Olympians, students and children racing down the Snow Bowl slopes because they love skiing, they love their local ski area and they love their neighbors and this community. And that was why the Middlebury Ski Bum League was created.”
“Holmes has provided the backbone for the ski bums,” charter Ski Bum member Merle Schloff said. “He fits well across many ages; and has offered up Two Brothers as a home base for us… Ski Bum League is a way to welcome in the weekend for 10 weeks in the winter and that’s a really nice thing.”
This year, Margaret and Jim Eagan, of Salisbury, are leading the Middlebury Ski Bum League. Jim grew up in Middlebury, and has been skiing The Bowl since he was 6 years old. He met Margaret in 1990 at a ski race when they were both living in New Jersey.
“We volunteered to help out,” Margaret said. “But it’s a joint effort.”
The Eagans retired to Vermont, and have been teaching ski school part time at Killington and Pico for the last 14 years.
“It’s fun to do it,” Margaret said. “To get someone excited about skiing is very rewarding.”
The Eagans have been on the Middlebury Ski Bum League for several years; they also race with the ski bum league in Killington. “Yeah there’s a little competition,” Margaret said of the Middlebury team; and yes you do have to be able to make it down the Allen. “But mainly it’s about getting out there, having fun and socializing.”
Interested in cutting out of work early on Fridays to join this group of local ski bums? Come to an information meeting and kick-off party in the Two Brothers Lounge at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6. Can’t make the party, but want to know more? Email middskibum@gmail.com.

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