Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Written by Win Smith
One way to keep cool in summer is to switch hemispheres.
Last week, Lili and I took sixteen members of our family on safari in South Africa. It is clearly a bucket list item to do. We ranged in age from five to sixty-seven and all had an equally fabulous time. Learning about how some private families, as well as the government of South Africa, have preserved the landscape for the native African animals was intriguing. And seeing the “Big Five” and so many other species only feet away in their natural environment was thrilling. However, when we learned more about the poaching of elephants and rhinos, it made us realize how destructive mankind can be. The poaching of elephants in Northern Africa for their ivory tusks threatens extinction. Fortunately, the number of elephants in the South is ample today, but there are concerns that the poachers will move South in the future. Rhinos are another story. It is estimated that 6,000 white rhinos remain and 1,000 are being killed annually for their horns. Rhino horns can yield up to $1 million in the Asian market, where horns are ground into powder for “medicinal purposes.” This has to be stopped.
Even though we had a phenomenal trip, it is always great to return to the Mad River Valley. The mountains and valleys are so green. I appreciate how our environment has been preserved over the years, and that natural wildlife is still abundant here in our state. I returned to read on Front Page Forum the many postings about black bear sightings, and heard stories of bear cubs seen our golf course by our golf team.
Speaking of golf, Lili and I played this past Saturday, and we continue to marvel at the condition of the course this summer. Our rounds are also up significantly, which I attribute to the conditions. After my tune-up with our pro, Roger King, I am enjoying the sport more. Both of us shot our lowest scores of the season and then celebrated with a wood-fired pizza dinner at Hogan’s before heading to see the Pirates of Penzance at The Skinner Barn. In my opinion, it was Peter Boynton’s best production so far, and I am delighted that Sugarbush is the season sponsor.
August is always the busiest month of the summer, and it seems that we began a week early this year. The Valley is hopping-- restaurants seem full, and a lot of people have been enjoying our various recreational opportunities throughout the area.
Construction of our new Gadd Brook residences is wrapping up. We have our certificate of occupancy, and many guests have been touring the new apartments. Kyle is available every Saturday from 1 PM-4 PM for tours and any time by appointment. For all of our new construction, we work with Efficiency Vermont to be as energy-efficient as possible. We just completed a “blower test” to test how air-tight the Gadd Brook building is: the air leakage number for the building is 1.5 ACH50, which we were told is an excellent result. Energy efficiency is something we are very committed to. While our biggest gains have been in snow making efficiencies, we believe that every initiative we undertake is making a difference. With August comes our Festival of the Arts, our month-long celebration of arts in the Valley. One of the best moments is the Taste the Valley event at Lincoln Peak on Sunday, August 7th which benefits the Valley Arts Foundation. If you are a foodie, this event is not-to-be-missed. Tickets are still available--$50 in advance; $60 at the door.
The latter part of August is when we launch our Fall Season Pass campaign. Passes, of course, are available for sale now but our early season pass pricing ends on September 14th. Opening day on Saturday, November 19th is not all that far away, so it is time to get your winter plan started.