Skiing is a silent sport. There are no cheering fans, no plays to shout. But when the snow guns are shut off and the wind subdued to a faint whisper, you notice just how tranquil the mountains are; how unscathed. And as you glide down the slope, spraying white tail feathers behind, you believe there is no place better on the Earth.
I spent the weekend at Sugarbush Mountain Resort in Warren, Vermont, with my family. And each day spent there seemed to improve on the previous. The skies got bluer, the air warmer, and my skiing better. It all really lived up to the mountain's slogan of "Be Better Here.". Although the thermometer at the base never reached past 15 degrees, and the words "Frost bite warning" were scrawled on the chair lift chalkboards, it was a fantastic trip.
I have never been farther south than the Outer Banks (unless you count Disney World, but I don't) so I have never encountered the fabled Southern Hospitality firsthand. Supposedly, southern people are very mannerly and polite; with a lot of "Pardon me," and "How'd you do ma'am?"
I can vouch for the Northerners though. Although their accents aren't so well pronounced, there is something about these people that make you smile. There's the guy in the ski shop, who's business depends on the three ski months of the year and asks you about your day, or the innkeeper who stops refilling the coffee pot to tell you a shortcut to the mountain. The lift operator who scans your ticket and asks how the snow is. Or the old lady in the art studio who brightens up as soon as the bell jangles on the door because you're the only other being she's seen all day besides her cats.
What is it about small towns that brings out the best in people? The humble Main Streets? The love for the arts? The everybody-knows-everything-about-everybody quality? Their adaptiveness to the extreme cold? Or simply the idea that being kind to others is what it means to be human? What ever it is, I want to wrap it up and carry it back home with me, sprinkle it like fairy dust all over the country- in all of the cardinal directions - so that everyone can dig the good out from within their hearts.