By Judy Reiss
After I spoke to Gary Hass, who co-owns The World, we discussed what I would like to do with Reiss’s pieces. And I told him that I was pretty sure I had fans out there and that they would probably miss it. (I sure hope that is true!) And after all our years of wonderful friendship, he agreed. In fact, he didn’t even know that it was an issue! So, he decided that I should write only once a month and it should be the first of every month. And I agreed. But you want to hear something funny? The very day I spoke with Gary, I got a phone call from an avid fan who said he had been reading Reiss’s Pieces since the very beginning and to tell you the truth he made me feel so good after the difficult discussion with the editor. So, here is the column that Gary requested. I’m not sure and told him that but he insisted. So, here goes!
First I should tell you that Malcolm has been taking care of me since November and part time the year before. Now, for any normal man, his 78 years would be a time to relax and gather himself together as his demanding wife called him, constantly. And I actually thought that when the ski season started I would make sure that he skied as much as he wanted to. Keep in mind Malc has been a fanatic skier since I met him. Although we were married on the 27th of November, it snowed like crazy. I guess it was a good thing because Sugarbush was open and we had planned to ski as a honeymoon. I believe this is true, we took one run and he tried to talk me down and not be such a baby! And then the hand of God intervened and I had to go back to work at my Day Care because the person I had asked to take my place got sick. So, for the next 6 days, Malc skied all day and I worked and I believe that was the handwriting on the wall! We did meet for dinner every day, but it just wasn’t the honeymoon I had anticipated.
Well, we are now a lot older than we were 51 years ago. I am unable to work any more and Malcolm still skied every single day, rain or shine! And you would think that at 78 almost 79 he would slow down. But oh no. And here is what Gary wanted me to share with you, he and his two buddies, Terry Brennan and Clint Charon not only ski, they ski really, really well. Have any of them slowed down? Absolutely not. And do they ever stop? Not to my knowledge except on very cold days I do know they stop at Allens Lodge and grab a cup of hot chocolate.
My other favorite story about Malc was when Stein Eriksen was the very famous ski school director at Sugarbush. And most of the ski instructors were also Norwegians. And what Stein did was during lunch and when he wasn’t teaching, he would ask someone to ski with him and believe me it was a very big deal, especially for his country people who also worked for him. However, he almost always asked Malcolm to ski with him, which didn’t go over too well with his boys and girls. But I took care of his little daughter and so I knew him quite well and one day I asked him why he always picked Malcolm to ski with and he said, “Because I can always have fun skiing with him and he is the best skier here at Sugarbush.” I did keep that quiet until Stein left and went out west Why? Because a happy Norwegian is fun but one or several together is another matter all together.
If you go to Sugarbush and see three old man whipping down the hardest of trails and you aren’t sure it is them just note they aren’t dressed in new and colorful ski clothes, nope they all are wearing what was popular back in the 70s or 80s. But that isn’t the real way to tell. I can’t speak about the other two but if you look at Malcolm’s feet in old ski boots you will notice he is wearing the best skis. And those skis are waxed, sharpened and cleaned so that they look brand new! And if you want free advice on skis you either are using or want to buy or rent. He will be happy to advise you.
I am sure that some of you who know Malcolm are wondering if I let him read this before I sent it to Gary, and the answer is NO. And the reason is he is not a guy who goes around and tells anyone what a good skier he is. In fact, I know that he is not a reader of mine that makes sure he reads every column. And because of this I am hoping that people will not let him know that they read it and that they didn’t know how amazingly good he really is! And I am hoping that he won’t believe them anyway! But take my word for it. He is not only really good he enjoys every single day he skis and not only that, he loves Sugarbush ski area more than any other area in the country. But just to keep all things equal, don’t ask me!