The St. Sebastian’s Annual Ski Trip to Stowe took place last week, January 15th-17th, which reminds us that St. Sebastian’s School has long educated boys capable of carving up the slopes of just about any snowy mountainside. Since the beginning of our great school, informal ski trips to differing peaks have been a favorite tradition during the winter months. Monsignor James Keating, history teacher, Lower School Head, and Vice-Rector, originally launched the school’s Alpine Club in the early 1940s. He informally led students on an annual ski trip to Mt. Cranmore in New Hampshire for over two decades, often times accompanied by Monsignors Mahoney and Contons. The students paid for themselves, but the priests helped organize the event. When asked about attending one of Fr. Keating’s ski trips, Monsignor Contons recalled a young man who ventured up the mountain with his friends. They dared traverse the menacing Rattlesnake Trail, and the poor boy fell and injured his leg. With a chuckle, the Monsignor also recalled that the student had never skied a day in his life before that very trail run!
First time skiers are nothing new when it comes to a St. Sebastian’s winter getaway. All are welcome, with students and chaperones ranging from novice to experienced skiers. Ed Davis ’65, St. Sebastian’s current Director of Alumni Programs and Planned Giving, chaperoned a ski trip in 1983 at Smugglers’ Notch. He and his son, Keith Davis ’88, were both first-time skiers. While Keith was speeding down the snow-laden mountainside with his friends, Ed found himself hesitantly descending from the peak, wearing the tattered remnants of his “two sizes too small” snow pants. Although their experiences were quite different, both men fell in love with skiing that day and recall the memory fondly.
These informal ski trips continued until 2002, when Rich Arms, the school’s Director of Alumni & Development, began organizing more formal ski trips for the boys. Rich structured the trips and offered them as a school-sponsored event, to ensure safety and fun for all Arrows. Below is an excerpt from a 2003 permission slip that each student had to have signed by a parent.
“This ski trip is being offered by St. Sebastian’s School with School chaperones; therefore, all school rules apply as outlined in the Student Handbook. It is expected that all students will conduct themselves accordingly and adhere to all rules and requests set by the trip chaperones.”
Rich, an avid skier himself, believed in offering the students a structured and safe trip so they could have fun together each winter. Now, many years later, the St. Sebastian’s ski trip is a hallmark tradition that many students point to as one of their fondest memories of their time at St. Sebastian’s School. “It’s been my pleasure to spearhead the trip for the many students who have availed themselves of the opportunity. Because they love it so much, many go on the trip for all four years of their high school experience,” remarked Rich.
What started as an informal expedition of Arrows heading North for a weekend on the slopes developed into an age-old tradition. We hope all of our Arrows had fun on the slopes last week!