Thanksgiving has always been a time for family, without all the pressures of Christmas and other special days in the holiday season, and for that reason, it has always been my favorite holiday. Turkey bowl games between my family and my cousins, pies – lots and lots of pies – football games on the TV and long hikes. Now that Betsey and I are the senior members of the family it’s all about spending time with our kids and their spouses, grandkids, lots of great food, including pies – lots and lots of pies – football, and an opportunity to keep family traditions alive. We have also really enjoyed introducing our grandkids to these new traditions and to creating new ones as we’ve added new members of the family.

It is also a time to reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for, and this year, there are a lot of things to be thankful for. One of the things that has impressed me the most about Rangeley is the deep sense of community and willingness for people to be there for one another when it counts. In fact, I can’t think of a better way to spend this holiday than reminding ourselves of all the blessings, the importance of family and of making a difference in our community during this time of deepening divisions and rancor in our nation’s politics.

With that I mind, these are the things I am grateful for:

• That an investment group with the character, vision, mission, and resources of Arctaris Impact Fund, leaned in through enormous challenges to get Saddleback back on its feet.

•  The fact we’re owned by Arctaris, which gives us the opportunity to work on community development outreach, including affordable employee housing, increasing access to childcare and a staffing agency dedicated to finding seasonal workers year-round employment in the region.

•  The 200 people who are relying on the mountain for their job – and the honor it is to be a part of their lives. These are people who have been inspired by our mission, want to be a part of the important work we’re doing at Saddleback and are helping create a very special working culture at the mountain.

•  A legendary Saddleback family that put personal comfort aside and totally bought into the importance of helping keep everyone safe last season. You are the BEST.

•  Being able to call the most beautiful mountain/lakes community anywhere our new home.

•  The best skiing in the east – I know some may consider me a little biased but name a better trail than Blue Devil for meandering, Tightline for cruising, of Casablanca for glades.

•  The best views while skiing or riding of any ski area in the east.

•  A family that is close, loves spending time together and has brought Betsey and me four incredible grand kids; all incredibly active, incredibly curious, often, though not always, incredibly cute…but always loving, and for whom skiing Saddleback is their favorite thing to do.

Andy Shepard with wife Betsey on a fall hike to Midway Pond.

Shepard enjoying time spent with grandchildren and Easter bunny last spring.

Saddleback Staff Gather at the 21-22 Season Employee Kick Off Party

Lily Temple from Saddleback Ski Patrol Wins a Prize, pictured with Drew Rogers, Ticket Office Manager and Ski Patrol Staff.

One lucky Saddleback employee won a new pair of skis. Seen here Judy Wicken.

 

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