Waterville Valley’s Nordic Silver Streaks will have their end-of-season party on Wednesday, March 14 at the Koppel’s. The head Nordic Streak, Gigi Estes, explained the history of their annual gathering.
“When I first skied with the Nordics as Bob Slagle’s assistant in 2001, we had a surprise on the second Wednesday in March. As we skied back [to the Nordic Center], Bob stopped us at a place called “Walt’s Annex.” A picnic table had been dug out of deep snow and it was covered with the most wonderful spread of goodies. Next to the table, in a deep hole in the snow, was a roaring campfire. Walt Stockwell had prepared the site the day before and Walt and Shirley had brought the goodies. Since it was around St. Patrick’s Day, Irish music was playing on a tape deck.
“And there was another surprise, the cork popping. A champagne bottle was opened, directing the cork to fly as far as possible over the snow. Walt saved the cork and recorded the distance (41’8” on March 11, 2001). He mounted the cork and has done it ever since then (see photo below). Paul E. is the “Keeper of the Corks” now.
“Every year the Stockwells and Bob Slagle prepared the party for us and it was always kept as a surprise to new Nordics. We moved our festivities to the yurt at Bob’s Lookout during the winters it was there. The Nordic group had grown and we all brought food to our celebrations, still trying to surprise the newcomers. A few years ago, with the removal of the yurt and the large number of Nordics, we moved our party to the home of one of our generous Nordics, and it no longer was a surprise. And this year, we will celebrate close to St. Patrick’s Day again.”