Sunday, November 11, 2012

Franklin Veterans Memorial Ski Lodge

In observation of Veteran's Day, the Ski House of the Day is itself, a memorial to the veterans of the United States.  It is the Franklin Veteran's Memorial Ski Lodge, located in Franklin, New Hampshire.  This cute, modest ski lodge (a day lodge rather than a residential house) sits at the base of the Franklin Veterans Memorial Ski Area:

The idea for a ski area/lodge was hatched by a group of local WWII veterans (presumably in the 1950's), and in the early 1960's the city of Franklin asked the Army Corps of Engineers to construct the ski area on land that had been donated to the city years earlier.  Then Franklin's residents, organizations and businesses mobilized to get the job done.  The Franklin Outing Club was formed to run the area, and in 1962, the city donated $4,000 to construct the ski lodge as a memorial to those who gave their lives in WWII and the Korean War.  Thus was the beginning of the Franklin Memorial Ski Area and its Ski Lodge.

As a veterans memorial, the fireplace inside the ski lodge displays a plaque with names of some of the veterans honored by this lodge...and of course, outside, the American flag proudly presides over the lodge and the slopes for all skiers to see.

The ski area consists of just six trails, a rope tow (with it's original motor) and a T-bar, but has more heart and soul than most of the mega-ski resorts anywhere.  It's a quaint family ski area, where people help one another, where generations of families ski together, and where grandparents can watch their grandchildren's entire ski run from the comfort of the lodge.  It has been described as a "community treasure."  Anyone is welcome at this small ski area which is only open on weekends. And where else can you find a bargain like adult lift ticket for a weekend day is only $15 and just $10 for kids!  And for active's free.

Here's the amazing part...the ski area continues, to this day, to exist on the generosity of volunteers, donations and the fundraising efforts of the community.  Generations of skier-volunteers have been running this ski area since its inception....doing things like grooming the trails, maintaining the lifts and the lodge, serving as ski instructors and ski patrol, and working the snack bar inside--all without any compensation.  They hold an annual Winter Carnival (to supplement the cost of running the place) with events like the cardboard sled races, snow golf, pancake breakfasts, etc.  The ski area and the people who keep it running focus on families and community, and isn't that what our veterans have, and continue to, work to protect?  This ski area and ski lodge are a really heartwarming, hometown type of patriotism! (You can hear some of their stories on the video from their website).

So today, thank a veteran for their service...and check out the Franklin Memorial Ski Area and Lodge;  and maybe this winter (if you're in New England) take what could be one of your most meaningful ski runs...a ski run in honor of our veterans.

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