If getting out of Dodge is the point, the exceedingly civilized scene at the Stratton Mountain Club seems ironic. Opulence generally makes me uncomfortable at any ski area, probably because I prefer cheese, crackers and a swig of anything cold al fresco to the previously mentioned martinis and riblets beneath vaulted ceilings. But I find myself quite comfortable here among guests in “mountain casual” attire awaiting a speech from Bill Marolt, who’ll urge us to support my own alma mater, the U.S. Ski Team. (As if all my functioning cartilage wasn’t donation enough.) My eyes are drawn to a simple sculpture above the requisite massive fireplace. It’s not the usual huge painting or animal head, but a series of brushed-steel crescents—ski tracks that descend from near the top of the fireplace to the mantle. It reminds me that Stratton indeed understands its roots.
Just then I spot the always-smiling Hubert Schriebl—mountaineer, skier, artisan and Stratton’s photographer since 1964. As he deftly darts amongst the crowd, snapping pictures, he sees me staring at the ski tracks on the wall.
“Do you like it?” he asks.
Very much, I tell him.
“I made it,” he says.
But of course. And with Hubert on the floor, and the ski tracks above, I am, indeed, feeling sehr gemütlich. ●