CONWAY – The region’s fourth graders will be part of a milestone in the history of skiing and the local economy this week.
On Monday, students at Jackson Grammar School and Josiah Bartlett Elementary School were able to take the Conway Scenic’s Valley train and then reenact at North Conway station the arrival of the late Austrian skimeister Hannes Schneider and his family who were rescued from upcoming Nazi detention and taught skiing at Mount Cranmore 82 years ago.
The re-enactment was rehearsed on Tuesday for the fourth graders at Pine Tree School. students for returning to North Conway for a third reenactment at Schouler Park.
Josiah Bartlett Elementary School Principal Joe Yahna was impressed.
“It is extremely important that our young people connect with the rest of our community around the skiing and snow sports that connect us all in this valley,” he said as he and the students took the Bartlett train. in North Conway.
The children were also impressed.
“I love the story. And I really enjoyed taking the train,” said JBES student Dylan Calabro. Classmate Cegan Zawadzki added, “I also love the story!
Christoph Schneider of North Conway and St. Anton Am Alrberg, Austria, with his wife, Hannah Sullivan Schneider, portrayed his grandfather Hannes and grandmother Ludwina Schneider.
“The fact that the community continues to honor our family’s contribution to the history of local skiing is really something, all these years,” said Christoph.
I joined them (representing Austria’s first ski instructor Benno Rybizka, a man whose last name a Boston sports reporter wrote was easier to “sneeze than to pronounce”) and George Cleveland as as financier and developer of Cranmore Harvey Dow Gibson (1882-1950).
We passed under an arch of ski poles provided by 50 volunteers from the Eastern Slope Ski Club.
Stefi Reed Hastings – daughter of Eastern Slope Ski School and Carroll Reed Ski Shops founder Carroll P. and Kay Reed – from Fryeburg, Maine, and I also donated copies of my 2013 book, ” The History of Cranmore Mountain ”to the five elementary schools to help pass on this history of skiing.
I told the story of Rybizka’s last name to students both on the train and outside at the park kiosk on Tuesday morning. It was heartwarming to be able to share the great history of skiing in the valley with attentive students. They seemed to enjoy imitating the story of “bending the knees”, as Schneider had taught his ski students.
Christoph, playing his grandfather, told them how his friend Mr. Gibson brought his family to America. And Cleveland (as Gibson) explained that he was “the richest man in town, who went to New York to be a banker but never forgot his hometown of North Conway.”
Asked to comment on the role of the Conway Scenic, Brian Solomon, CSRR’s events and marketing coordinator, said the railroad was happy to play a role. “It’s great to share this rich history with the kids,” said Solomon, who was the station master.
Anyone interested in participating in today’s ski pole training should wear a vintage ski mask and sweaters as well as bring their own ski poles for the 10:30 a.m. finish, organizers Betty Newton and Elaine Swanson, both volunteers at New England Ski Museum’s Eastern Branch of Slope. The phone number is (603) 730-5044.
Jim Tuttle, long-time former president of the Eastern Slope Ski Club, will play Hannes Schneider in today’s reenactment.
After the reconstruction, students can visit the museum and participate in a treasure hunt on the history of skiing. They then head to the North Conway Community Center for a STEM project to make pipe cleaners for skiers / snowboarders participating in a race on a so-called ski mountain. Betsy Packard and Jan Quint are the main volunteers there, Newton said.
After that, they head to the North Conway Country Club where they are served healthy snacks and participate in an art project coordinated by NESM volunteer Kathy Baltz.
“Without the support of all the volunteers at the New England Ski Museum, this project would not be possible,” said Newton.
As part of the plan developed with the SAU 9 schools, the students will create projects related to the history of skiing which will be presented on November 30 during an open day from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the ski museum and at the center. community.
In addition to Swanson and Stockbridge, volunteer liaisons include Vicki MacDougall with John Fuller; Corinne Rocco with Josiah Bartlett; Stockbridge with Conway Elementary; and Gail Costello, Carol Hastings and Chris Collins at Jackson Grammar and Pine Tree.
Newton also thanked Hastings; NESM Eastern Slope Volunteer of the Year Susan Fox; Elizabeth Kane, member of the board of directors of NESM; and Transportation Coordinator Martha Leich, wife of Jeff Leich of NESM.
Newton said this year’s program is funded by a 2020 Cal Conniff $ 1,000 grant from the New England Ski Museum to the Eastern Slope Ski Club.
Newton said the main focus of the effort was to honor the late local skier Martha Coughlin Corrock, who died at the age of 66 last May in Challis, Idaho.
“When Martha was a young skier here in the valley,” said Newton, “she and Kevin Sullivan were selected in a competition to go to St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria, where Hannes Schneider was from. always talked about the event that changed his life. ”
From now on, this event honors not only the Schneiders and the ski but also Corrock.
Martha’s husband Kenny Corrock of Sun Valley, Idaho, and nephew, Brett Coughlin of Maryland, were in attendance at this week’s events.
“Martha was an inspiration to all of us. She was a spark, ”Coughlin said Monday. “Our family would like to thank the community for doing this on their behalf.”
Newton and others hope it becomes an annual event.