Friday, November 14, 2014

A Message from Leigh Nelson

To: Welch Village Friends and Family:

As we open for another season we need to reflect on both the differences and the similarities five decades of time generates:

Season 1965-66

Lift(s) - One 1200 ft T-bar, One Rope Tow
Slopes - Three (Lookout, Wild Finale, Fowl Play)
Snow Rate - 150 gal/min from 12 air/water guns
Groomers - Polaris sled, John Deere Cat
Rentals - 100 Hart Wood skiis, cable bindings
Weather - Rain on December 24, open Jan 1
Members - Nelson families

Season 2014-15

Nine Chairlifts (Five Quads, one triple, three doubles), One Carpet
Sixty Runs on Five Hills (Far West, West, East, Far East, Back Bowl)
4500 gal/min from over 150 airless snow machines
Four Piston Bully Machines
1600 Shaped rental skis, boots, bindings
Snow and cold on November 11
Several thousand Members

During that first season, we were scrambling to build the original chalet (which is still there and used), finish clearing the slopes, install the T-bar lift, design and build the rope tow and the snow makers, hire and train ourselves and our first employees, and take care of our young families while being employed full time at jobs that paid the bills. Somehow, with hard work, long hours, helpful neighbors and friends, and lots of prayer support, we made it through the first season, and the next four, until we could install the first of three chairlifts in 1969, 70, 71.

However, in those first years, the most important variable was weather, and how to cope with the uncertainty of the forecasters, and the reality of snow conditions when either cold or warm fronts came our way. Those issues have not changed in the last fifty years.
Another factor that has not changed through the years is the excitement and joy that exudes from within even a senior citizen when he feels the rush of another winter season and skiing through bands of machine made snow. As I begin my 86th year of life and 50th year of skiing mostly at Welch Village, I look forward to more adventure with my great grandchildren, and also skiing with many of our members from near and far, this year from 20 different states. Who would have thought that we could deliver so much joy to so many people in the little town of Welch.

As my father told me on a visit to our ticket booth in 1967, "Leigh, it is going to be big!", and it is. Thanks be to God.

Please come and celebrate with us, and start the next 50 years of our joy.

Leigh Nelson

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