February 18, 2012

John Christie: Sugarloaf, Saddleback are great places to learn

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This student-centered philosophy was born over 60 years ago when Page taught his first novices in Rangeley on a rope-tow-served slope behind Paul Ellis' farmhouse, the year before the lifts were installed at Saddleback, and has continued under the guidance of successive instructors over the years.

That's the reason that the next time you visit Saddleback you might be tempted to ask yourself the question, as I have, "Why does it seem like everyone here is taking a lesson?"

From the competency, and especially the attitude of the instructors, to the teaching-friendly terrain, notably the gently sloping half-mile trails and glades served by the quad below the Base Lodge (especially nice on the occasionally brutal January day), Saddleback is distinguishing itself as a very special place to learn to ride or ski.

And remember, the best days of the season are ahead of us. Wouldn't this be a great year to start or get back out on the hill?

John Christie is a former ski racer and ski area manager and owner, a ski historian and member of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame. He and his son, Josh, write ski columns on alternating weeks. John can be reached at:



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