flashing photographs of these moments in time. He was not afraid to lead his staff through a night of fun, to wit the snapshot of him decked out in a checkered shirt and pants, boogieing down with none other than Diane Mueller, who, with her husband, Tim, bought Okemo in 1982. “We had some promoters like you wouldn’t believe,” he said. “By the late ’80s, après-ski was kind of crazy - the whole town came out.” The Ludlow Winter Carnival got its start around this time, held the first week of every January, a quiet time that followed the Christmas and New Year’s holiday, a way to bring people to the town and give them some fun when the sun went down. “Every place had something - volleyball behind the Pot Belly, arm wrestling down at the (Ameri- can) Legion, broom hockey, ice sculptures, we had a parade that had more than two dozen floats,” Russo said. “We had a carnival queen - this really brought people together and it was a lot of fun … a lot of fun.” Après-ski fun continued and changed a bit, as people would come out later to belly up to the bar. “Everybody had bands and I remember I would get nervous when there weren’t a lot of people, but they would come out at 10-10:30 pm and they didn’t leave until we had to close at 2:30 am,” he said. “The challenge was to clear the bar at legal closing.” His partner, Barbara Storrs, was a bartender at the time and those hours were a marathon, as she kept up with demand. “Back then, we were making Rusty Nails and White Russians - sweet, liquory drinks,” she recalled, that washed down those delicious steamed cheeseburgers, chili and nachos. Back in the day, tinder is what was used to fire up the restaurant’s namesake pot belly stove. “People met up with people,” Russo said. “It brought people together. Over the years, this was where people came on first dates and where they met their (future) husbands and wives.” Like the dance tunes on the jukebox, times changed and so they did for après-ski. The young people indulging in the après-ski of ’70s and ’80s were raising their children in the early 1990s, teaching them to ski and bringing them to dine at the Sitting Bull and Pot Belly. The effects of impaired driving led to serious consequences for drinking and driving, discouraging the enthusiasm there once was for socializing at the bar on a winter’s night. “When people came up for a weekend of skiing, many of them would go out for dinner and then back to their condo,” Doyle said. “There were social and economic changes; people were health conscience and along came the internet. Things changed.” One night, he tucked away his grunge and greaser get-ups for the last time and began booking music acts to play on Saturdays between 3 and 6 pm. On the days of note that fall during winter, like Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, “we’ll do something different,” Doyle said. It all sounds far removed from the era when après-ski was akin to a movement, but Doyle, Russo and Storrs are quick to note that their customers today are not having any less fun, it’s just different from back in the day. “They’ve found their own ways to have fun - they’re having fun in their time,” Storrs said, “as we had fun in ours.” Lorna Colquhoun is a New Hampshire-based writer/photographer. Her first memories of après ski involved Swiss Miss hot chocolate (with mini marshmallows), Bit-O-Honey bars shared with elementary school classmates at the base lodge of Abenaki ski area in her hometown of Wolfeboro. Apres Like Your Parents - continued from page 49 - okemo.com > 802-228-1600 > page 51