For about ten years now, each first weekend in March, my family and I have driven past Bromley on our way to Weston., Vermont where my father-in-law’s best friend has an awesome ski house. Without fail, every year I would comment that “we need to ski there!” but I am ashamed to admit that I never actually made that happen. This year, however, we changed all of that and finally experienced Bromley.
We were three generations skiing together this day since my kids, wife, and father-in-law were all clicked in and cutting turns. As it turned out, there was also an International Skiing History Association event happening that featured a video presentation, a buffet lunch and even a parade of people sporting vintage gear. The closest we got to being vintage though, was riding Bromley’s old skool T-Bar lift!
I also ran into fellow snowsport journalists Mike Roth and Phil Johnson as well as Skip Beitzel who was featured in my very first column this season. Skip had held an International Skiing History Association season kick-off event at his shop in Armonk, NY-Hickory, and Tweed and was helping to organize the Bromley lunch.
Since this was our first time at Bromley my initial impressions were the lack of lift lines thanks to a very efficient staff and smart queue setup. I also noted how the mountain was filled with mostly families and kids and there were friendly vibes all around. Not once were we barnstormed by any rude, maniacal skiers or baorders which is a fear I always have especially when skiing with my kids. Side note: Last year at Hunter Mountain, for example, an out-of-control boarder narrowly missed my daughter and then took me out hard and fast right in front of her. I was okay but only because I was very lucky. There was none of that nonsense at Bromley thankfully. In fact, everyone was very polite and cheerful- both staff and patrons.
Not knowing the mountain that well, however, led us into a bit of a pickle at day’s end. But Bromley even solved that for us. Please do read on….
Our whole group had skied a few of Bromley’s black diamonds that day like Blue Ribbon, Pabst Peril, Corkscrew and Pabst Panic with no issues and lots of grins. That was largely due to lack of ice. However, we chose Havoc for our last run of the day and that proved to be a mistake. It was full skied off and chock full of that slippery stuff by late afternoon but of course, we did not realize that till we were at the headwall. those who ski Bromley regularly knew to avoid Havoc at this point in the day but we alas, did not.
Grandpa navigated it well but not easily as was the case for me. When I skied down and stopped about 75 feet below my daughter, I realized that she was in trouble. Stuck on an inclined patch of ice, any movement sent her skiing downhill. That’s not a big deal unless you are pitched on an intimidating run, a she was. She was frozen with fear and I knew I had to climb back up this steep run to reach her. Miraculously I made it albeit having struggled with a few setback slips. It had to be simply dad adrenaline that got me there but nonetheless when I looked down at my skis propped up in the snow, I was perplexed as to how I would get us both back down to them.
I clicked her out of her skis and bundled them with her poles in my left arm while interlocking my right arm with her left arm. Sliding on our butts to where there was some snow to grip into, we began our descent.
Another skier came by and asked if we needed any help. I asked him to alert the Ski Patrol that no one was hurt but that we could use an assist in getting my daughter down the remaining two drops. Enter: Rebecca (Becky) who has been a Ski Patroller at Bromley for many years. Becky has just the right amount of calm coaching and warm confidence-inspiring demeanor to help my girl navigate the rest of the run. In Becky’s own word, “Havoc is one of the best runs at Bromley when it has good snow cover. When it is skied off like today however, it is very technical and difficult to tackle.”
Although it was not how I wanted to end the day, it all worked out great and Bromley truly earned my respect and love. I look very forward to getting back up there to cut more turns. It may not be the biggest mountain in Vermont but it is for sure one of the best in this writer’s humble opinion. I highly urge you to check it out for yourself before the season is over. But if you don’t……
Bromley has loads of great warm weather activities as well like zip lines and an alpine slide which I’d like to scope out after the 2019 thaw but while we still have some cold weather, get out and make some turns! To learn more about this gem of mountain, click on Bromley.com