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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Human spirit and goodness

By Win Smith

Ten years ago on September 10, 2011, we signed the purchase and sale agreement with American Skiing Corporation to purchase the assets of Sugarbush Resort. After six months of difficult negotiation, we finally concluded the deal and expected that it would be big news the next day. Of course, everyone knows what 9/11 brought.


On that fateful day a decade ago, I was in Tokyo still working for Merrill Lynch. I watched CNN in horror all night long and tried in vain to contact my colleagues only a block away from the World Trade Center towers. I was able to return to my office and the devastation of lower Manhattan a week later, and I will never forget the smell and the sight of the still smoldering rubble that was several stories high. I will always remember the spirit of those whose lives were impacted forever and the communities that rallied to help all who had suffered so much that day.

Ten years later, we celebrate a decade of owning Sugarbush. Indeed, I am thrilled to have made that investment. Despite a “hundred-year drought” that dried up the Mad River snowmaking pond and a recession in our first year of ownership and the death of my friend and partner Joe Riemer, we have managed to improve each year. And this fiscal year, which ended on July 31, we had our best year ever.

Then Irene hit us hard and the devastation that struck many here in the Mad River Valley and our neighbors throughout Vermont reminded me of that day in New York City 10 years ago. The force of Irene came out of nowhere. When the sun shone the next morning, the damage was unfathomable and as shocking as the rubble that followed 9/11.

Once again, human spirit and goodness rose to the occasion and neighbors came out to help our friends at The Pitcher Inn, at Lareau Farm, at Bridge Street and in Moretown. And now Valley residents and second-home owners are assisting our neighbors in Waterbury and Granville and elsewhere. Fortunately, not many lives were lost but the monetary and psychological costs of the flood are enormous. As I read the many blogs and see the goodness of the people in the Mad River Valley, I feel so lucky and proud to be part of this wonderful community. And, as we approach the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, I am also proud to be a citizen of the USA.

As we look forward to our second decade of ownership of Sugarbush, we do so with great optimism as well as a continuing commitment to make Sugarbush an even better place in the future and to continue being a supportive member of this wonderful Valley and a good neighbor to all.


Smith is the president of Sugarbush Resort.


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