Amid the usual hubbub of the base lodge at Mt. Abram in Locke Mills you may not necessarily have noticed the happy, smiley face that’s almost always behind the counter in the ski shop. Unless, of course, you needed some new goggles or gloves, a warm hat or neck-up, lip balm and sunscreen and the like.
In that case you would’ve met the ever-pleasant Barbara Brooks, who has been working at the shop for five years now, every Thursday through Sunday when the mountain is open, and sometimes for a good straight-through stretch on holiday weeks.
Barbara is a skier herself, although she’s a bit humbled from a header she took recently on Risky Business over at Sunday River.
“But I had a helmet on and it saved me,” she said.
Duly noted Barbara, especially by this skier, who has a bad habit of occasionally skiing helmet-less.
The shop is owned by SportsHaus of Bridgton, which leases retail space at Mt. Abram. They also have a shop at Shawnee Peak. Besides ski accessories and the like, SportsHaus also handles the rentals concession as well.
Because Barbara is working whenever Mt. Abram is operating she doesn’t get to ski the mountain much except for the occasional spell here and there.
“I would ski here on my days off if I could, but the mountain is open only Thursday through Sunday.”
Instead, Barbara, who lives nearby in Bethel, skis elsewhere on her days off, mostly at Sunday River.
“When you live right here you ski during the week. We get the mountains to ourselves. It’s a real gift,” Barbara said with a gleam in her eye, a sparkle that I’ve noted in many a ski bum.
Barbara works the job at the ski shop because it’s fun and she likes the folks she works for. The job also allows her, like so many of her friends, to enjoy the freedom of the slopes when most others cannot.
“It’s all ours and we love it. It’s a real blessing.”
Barbara’s children all learned to ski at Mt. Abram. Today, one teaches skiing at Sunday River and another runs a ski shop there.
“Mt. Abram is a great family mountain,” Barbara said. “Parents can really feel comfortable here letting their kids loose.”
The mountain is, just as I and countless others have experienced over the years, a truly laid-back, fun place to ski.
“It’s wonderful. Everybody is friendly.”
So are you Barbara, so are you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Next time you’re in the Mt. Abram base lodge, be sure stop in to the ski shop and say “hi” to Barbara, OK?!