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NEK farm keeps rope tow tradition alive - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

NEK farm keeps rope tow tradition alive

Greensboro, Vermont - February 13, 2011

It's no secret that Vermont's big ski resorts provide a big chunk of the state's tourism income, but at Pete's Hill skiers are looking for a different kind of adventure, and you need a good pair of gloves to get up the mountain.

Vermont's downhill ski history essentially began with a rope tow in Vermont in the 1930's. Now the Gebbie Farm family continues the tradition.

"Well, my family's been doing it for 51 years, since I was 5 years old," said Peter Gebbie. "They've always been powered by a tractor, or done with an 'M,' which in these days would be an antique tractor."

"You know with Pete's dad having started this so many years ago, we just continued it on for our kids, and all three of them are very good skiers and continue to ski now. This was a way for us to be a family together in spite of all the long hours that we work," said Sandy Gebbie. "And the kids all enjoyed it and their friends would come and ski with them, it was really a family day."

While it doesn't have a big warm lodge and smooth groomed slopes, the Gebbie Farm rope tow is a special place for neighbors, family, and friends to celebrate their love of the sport away from the crowds of resorts.

"You have to be a little tougher than average to come to a rope tow because you're working going up and down," Peter Gebbie said.

"It's not groomed here -- obviously and we kind of like the wilder the better, you know, out in the glades," Sandy Gebbie said. "People that have just pretty much done all their skiing at a ski area, they come and they're like, where's the corduroy, where's the groomer? and we just love it."

"A couple years ago, we took the whole family out to Utah for a big family vacation for skiing, and it just happened to be a year that was a low snow year for them and the entire time we were there it did not snow, and I remember riding up the lift with my son-in-law, who is a big fan of skiing here, and he looked at me and said, what are we doing clear out here on this corduroy when there's three feet of powder back in Greensboro, Vermont," Sandy Gebbie said.

"For us, it's five minutes away. It's always powder. If it wasn't powder we wouldn't ski, since we only use it one day a week. It never gets icy, it's always good," Peter Gebbie said.

"We like this spot because it's so close by to home and it's just a little drive away and when we have good snow like today, you got really good powder," said Hannah, a young fan of Pete's Hill.

"It's close by. Everybody knows everybody here. It's free and it's always fun to see everybody," said Trent, who skis at Pete's Hill with his sister Meg.

"When we go to other mountains, you have to bring backpacks of stuff and all that, we just come in our ski boots and everything. Trent rides his snow machine up. It's a lot easier," Meg said.

For Peter Gebbie, whose family began the tradition over 50 years ago, the smile on his face says it all. "We're just having a good time," Peter Gebbie said.

Alden Pellett - WCAX News

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