For the past several years, Irvin and Diane Naylor have sponsored a special day at the Shawan Downs, Maryland, steeplechase course. Irv is the athlete who developed and sustained Ski Roundtop, Liberty, and Whitetail. Proceeds from the races go to the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation. Bedford is trying to find ways to regenerate the spinal cord after severe injury. My husband Charles and I have been honored to be invited for the past few years. It is a great way to see our old friends, and gear up for the upcoming ski season.
The Snow Time family of resorts had a wonderful season in 2008-2009, and expects an even greater one this year. They have top of the line snowmaking, grooming, and lift facilities. The economic recession affected everyone, but their three Pennsylvania areas thrived, because many people were unwilling to take expensive trips that involved longer travel. The three resorts can be reached in about 90 minutes from the Washington or Baltimore metro areas.
The Steeplechase races are exciting, and the food is delicious. But, for us, the best part is seeing our friends and talking about the future. Irv Naylor looks and feels good, despite his own race injury several years ago. Other friends at the event included Eric Flynn of Liberty and Chris Dudding of Roundtop. There were lots more, but I don’t have room to list them all. But, we’ll see them soon on the slopes.
Chris was working especially hard in a special play area set up for the children. It had an amazing number of animals in a petting zoo, and featured Roundtop’s new, enormous Ogo ball - short for outdoor gravitational orb. It is one of the most popular features among the many outdoor adventures Roundtop offers each summer. The ball, created in New Zealand, is 11 feet high. About three people climb into it at a time and are tossed around as the ball rolls. Sometimes the ball has water in it, so riders are body surfing as they roll. At Roundtop, it goes down a special hill, similar to the tubing runs, but wider. It is safe, but wild and exciting. Roundtop has so many summer activities, it has become a successful four season resort, and is an important employer for the region. At Shawan Downs, the Ogo ball competed with the steeplechase in popularity!
As the leaves are turning, look for the fall foliage festivals at Roundtop, Liberty, and Whitetail. There is still time to buy season or advantage passes at good rates. And maybe, by late November or early December, it will be time to ski or snowboard again in our own nearby resorts!
When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.