Tim Williams has been an instructor with the Mad River Glen Ski School since 2000, but his association with Mad River Glen goes back to the very beginning.
According to Tim, “I first skied here with my parents and my sister the first year that Mad River opened, 1949. We skied here regularly and usually stayed at the Tucker Hill Lodge with several other families.
“My mother was on the US Ski Team in 1938. She never went to the Olympics because of the war, but she trained in Europe for two winters. My father was one of those old Boston skiers who just muscled his way through turns. They were among the first shareholders of Mad River. Originally, Mad River had a small group of shareholders, I believe, and then Roland Palmedo bought them out. He eventually sold the mountain to the Pratts.
“Later, my parents joined the old Hockerburger ski club in Boston. The club had a big house at Waterville Valley, so we skied a lot there when I was younger and also at Cannon. Every so often we’d come over here to ski at Mad River.”
By the time Tim married his wife Mary (who he met on the headwall at Tuckerman Ravine) his parents had bought a chalet in Waitsfield. Tim and Mary lived in New York City at the time, then Holland, then Australia, and finally back to Boston, where Tim ran the North Bennet Street School for 18 years. Whenever they could, they would bring their growing family to visit Tim’s parents and ski at Mad River Glen.
In 1980, they bought 20 acres of land in Warren and built their own house to accommodate their four adopted children. They commuted back and forth from Boston until 1991, when Mary was hired as the assistant principal at Harwood Union High School. She later became principal and worked there for seven years. They added on to their house in Warren and Tim worked from home for the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. He would travel one or two weeks a month and spend the rest of the time in Warren with their family and six horses. And all the while, there were many days spent at Mad River Glen.
“In 2000 I saw an ad for a ski instructor at Mad River Glen, so I came and took a few runs with Missy Shea, the director of the ski school program at the time. She said we’d like to have you join the ski school, but you will have to learn more current technique than what you’ve been doing, skiing that you learned in the ’50s and ’60s!” That was fine with Tim. One of the reasons he wanted be involved with the ski school was to improve his own skiing. He became quite involved with the ski school and became a member of Professional Ski Instructors of America.
Now in his 20
year of teaching, Tim works mostly with intermediates. He likes to help people get to a better level, ski safely and with more confidence. Often, he is teaching parents who want to be able to ski with their kids.
“I love the ski school at Mad River,” Tim says. “At other mountains there seems to be tension between ski instructors, lifties and ski patrol members. Here, everybody works together. Mad River Glen has a totally different atmosphere than other ski areas. Everybody is very friendly here, and the moment you walk in you feel like you belong.”
Tim’s wife also taught in the ski school until a back injury forced her to stop. They now live in Middlebury, where Mary is active in several choruses. Their children are now far flung, except for their daughter, Perrin, who lives in Duxbury with her husband, John, and their nine-year-old daughter, Maya. They are shareholders, and their daughter is in ski school.
Reluctantly, Tim says that this will probably be his last year teaching, although he hopes to come back and ski when he can. Meanwhile, he is enjoying the wonderful season we’ve been having so far. “We were fortunate to have such a great start to the season, but the work on the trails and the increased snowmaking have really set down a good base and will help us all winter. If we can just keep getting a little more snow here and there it is going to be just perfect.”
Tim is impressed with the efforts of the Preserve Our Paradise campaign and looks forward to seeing further improvements, especially to the ski patrol building and ski school facilities. He believes the Basebox
could be added to without losing its character, but would hate to see it dramatically changed from the outside. “When you are skiing down to the base and you look at that building there is nothing like it. It is really a landmark.”