At Robert Lowell’s, the morning job is sweeping snow from Christmas trees, bought in Colebrook, New Hampshire.

At Robert Lowell’s Saw Shop yard in the “Telstar Valley,” the Lowells were hard at work on Friday clearing snow from their stock of Christmas trees they had recently acquired. Mr. Lowell told me they had 375 trees which they bought in Colebrook, New Hampshire.

As you enter Nabos, a well-arranged display of gift items greets the shopper.

If you stop at Nabos with Christmas shopping in mind, you will find a nice display of jewelry items just inside the entrance.

Farther down Main Street at the Philbrook Place you will find lots of shopping attractions for making a merry Christmas for kids and adults, too. With a quick look around I saw snowboards for kids and locally-made Susan Wight hats, plus the storekeeper’s son had some leg warmers displayed that he had made.

Saturday morning, driving up Church Street by the Gould athletic field, there was a group of students with assorted ski touring gear – they seemed to be getting ready for a local ski trip.

Also on Saturday morning I drove into the Bethel Inn’s lower parking lot just as the Inn’s ski trail grooming crew was getting ready to hit the trails. The Inn has not opened the ski shop yet, but unofficially it is expected to be open for skiers next weekend, Dec. 8.

And this past weekend, The Great American Ski Renting shop at Swan’s Corner opened. I don’t know exactly when the Bethel store opened – more than just a few years ago – their web page says that the company opened about 1980 (probably in New Hampshire) as they have stores in North Conway and Lincoln. In Bethel, the staff is gearing up for the vacation weeks when business really booms, and in the spring they have very attractive sales of the used rental equipment.

More than 30 varieties of skis and snowboards, plus accessory combinations and service, are available at The Great American Ski Rental store at Swans Corner. A sign reads “Rentals and Repairs.”

Bethel has Nordic skiers and Alpine skiers. In 1979 there was an extreme shortage of snow. Cross-country skiers were hit hard because Nordic skiing does not usually enjoy snowmaking. After the 1979 snow drought, an association called Ski Tour the White Mountains was formed to help benefit cross-country skiers and ski areas. The Bethel Inn and Sunday River Ski Touring Center were members. The association’s headquarters was located at the Jackson (New Hampshire) Ski Touring Foundation. There were six ski centers: Balsams/Wilderness, Bretton Woods, Bethel Inn, Jackson, Sunday River (ski touring) and Waterville Valley. The association had special five-day ski-around tickets which allowed ticket holders to ski at any one of the five areas on weekdays for no extra charge which the ticket was valid – taking advantage of where snow conditions were good.

Dick Hoisington, tour director at The Bethel Inn, planned to run full moonlight tours with apres tour hot wine and cheese starting Dec. 20. On Jan. 11, there would be a “mystery day” tour of the trail system with lunch provided by the inn.

After the 1982 season, snow fell more regularly and the association dissolved from the lack of need as I remember. The “no snow winters” resulted in a number of the smaller downhill ski centers going out of business and the survivors saw the need to invest heavily in snow making.

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