Ski and Ride organizers pleased with turnout

By Stephen Mease
Observer correspondent

The Williston Ski and Ride Program, which has been transitioning from a Williston School program to a Williston Recreation Department program, got off to a strong start last Thursday night when 16 people attended the planning meeting for the 2008 season.

Kevin Finnegan, director of the Recreation Department, called the meeting to determine the level of support for the program that allows Williston students to learn to ski at Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond on Friday afternoons during the ski season.

Finnegan initially expressed some concern about the details of the program because its longtime director Dick Farrell retired from teaching last year, but took on an optimistic outlook.

“The lesson plans from Dick Farrell are in hand, it looks like we’ll have the volunteers we need and now all we need is the snow,” Finnegan said.

There will be some new procedures for the program this year, Finnegan said. Registration materials will be handled through the town offices, along with pick-up times for ski and snowboard equipment.

Finnegan’s concerns about on-the-mountain lessons and skill testing were addressed by Lynn McClintock, a Williston Central School phys ed teacher and ski program volunteer who has worked with the first-time and beginning skiers for many years. She stressed that parent volunteer instructors, eighth-grade student instructors and personnel from Cochran’s would keep lessons and testing on track.

Marilyn Brown of Cochran’s Ski Area also attended the meeting and outlined some changes at the ski area this year.

“I’m excited to be coming back to the program my mother helped run for so many years,” she said.

Brown explained that snowmaking equipment is being installed this year to help make snow conditions more weatherproof. The ski area’s board of directors is considering raising the program fee by $5 to $10 per participant to help cover the additional snowmaking costs, Brown said.

The fees cover the cost of bus transportation, lift tickets and the ski instruction.

The next steps, organizers said, will be to schedule instructor clinics in December, recruit student instructors and review the current inventory for outdated equipment. The group is also looking into once again providing adaptive ski equipment and instructors for students.

For more information about registering for the ski and ride program, contact the Williston Recreation Department, 7900 Williston Road, Williston, Vt. 05495, by e-mail at or by phone at 878-1239. Information will also be available in the School Bell newsletter.