Sunny
72°
Sunny
Hi 80° | Lo 52°

Hill at the Heart Of the City: Volunteers Run ‘Unique’ Lebanon Ski Area

  • Ski Patrol volunteer Jen Kerl, of White River Junction, Vt., chats with skier Ryan Cilbrith of Canaan, N.H., at the Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 8, 2014. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Ski Patrol volunteer Jen Kerl, of White River Junction, Vt., chats with skier Ryan Cilbrith of Canaan, N.H., at the Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 8, 2014.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • While morning lessons are going on at Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 8, 2014 volunteer Cory Grant, of Canaan, says hello to his daughter Karlee, son Kyle and wife Michelle. Grant grooms at the ski area, is on the ski hill's board, the ski patrol, and does maintenance work. At his computer is Hal Bourne, of Lebanon, N.H., he has been volunteering on the ski patrol for about twelve years. Todd Caruso, right, of Lebanon has been volunteering since 2008 and is the  treasurer and on the board of directors, as well as other many other things. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    While morning lessons are going on at Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 8, 2014 volunteer Cory Grant, of Canaan, says hello to his daughter Karlee, son Kyle and wife Michelle. Grant grooms at the ski area, is on the ski hill's board, the ski patrol, and does maintenance work. At his computer is Hal Bourne, of Lebanon, N.H., he has been volunteering on the ski patrol for about twelve years. Todd Caruso, right, of Lebanon has been volunteering since 2008 and is the treasurer and on the board of directors, as well as other many other things.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Keeping an eye on skiers coming up the lift  at the Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., are volunteers Reyer Jaarsma, of Cornish, N.H., and in the booth Robert Morse, of West Lebanon, N.H.<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Keeping an eye on skiers coming up the lift at the Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., are volunteers Reyer Jaarsma, of Cornish, N.H., and in the booth Robert Morse, of West Lebanon, N.H.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Storrs Hill Ski Area instructor Erik Ferguson, of Hartford, Vt., works with Lena Chewning, 5, of West Lebanon, N.H., in the never-ever skied group on Feb. 8, 2014, in Lebanon, N.H. This is Ferguson's fourth year volunteering in the lessons program. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Storrs Hill Ski Area instructor Erik Ferguson, of Hartford, Vt., works with Lena Chewning, 5, of West Lebanon, N.H., in the never-ever skied group on Feb. 8, 2014, in Lebanon, N.H. This is Ferguson's fourth year volunteering in the lessons program.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Diana Colt, of Hanover, N.H., is the President of the Lebanon Outing Club, that runs the Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H. Colt tells skier Abby Braley, 7, of West Lebanon, to wait a minute before opening the bag of popcorn she had just bought at the snack bar because it was too hot. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Diana Colt, of Hanover, N.H., is the President of the Lebanon Outing Club, that runs the Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H. Colt tells skier Abby Braley, 7, of West Lebanon, to wait a minute before opening the bag of popcorn she had just bought at the snack bar because it was too hot.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Micky Grant, of Lebanon, N.H., walks down a section of the ski hill with a rake at Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H. on Feb, 8, 2014.  Grant was raking a section of the beginners jump. He was working with his son. Grant said he is often at the hill helping coach the ski jumpers. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Micky Grant, of Lebanon, N.H., walks down a section of the ski hill with a rake at Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H. on Feb, 8, 2014. Grant was raking a section of the beginners jump. He was working with his son. Grant said he is often at the hill helping coach the ski jumpers.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ski Patrol volunteer Jen Kerl, of White River Junction, Vt., chats with skier Ryan Cilbrith of Canaan, N.H., at the Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 8, 2014. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • While morning lessons are going on at Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 8, 2014 volunteer Cory Grant, of Canaan, says hello to his daughter Karlee, son Kyle and wife Michelle. Grant grooms at the ski area, is on the ski hill's board, the ski patrol, and does maintenance work. At his computer is Hal Bourne, of Lebanon, N.H., he has been volunteering on the ski patrol for about twelve years. Todd Caruso, right, of Lebanon has been volunteering since 2008 and is the  treasurer and on the board of directors, as well as other many other things. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Keeping an eye on skiers coming up the lift  at the Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., are volunteers Reyer Jaarsma, of Cornish, N.H., and in the booth Robert Morse, of West Lebanon, N.H.<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Storrs Hill Ski Area instructor Erik Ferguson, of Hartford, Vt., works with Lena Chewning, 5, of West Lebanon, N.H., in the never-ever skied group on Feb. 8, 2014, in Lebanon, N.H. This is Ferguson's fourth year volunteering in the lessons program. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Diana Colt, of Hanover, N.H., is the President of the Lebanon Outing Club, that runs the Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H. Colt tells skier Abby Braley, 7, of West Lebanon, to wait a minute before opening the bag of popcorn she had just bought at the snack bar because it was too hot. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Micky Grant, of Lebanon, N.H., walks down a section of the ski hill with a rake at Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H. on Feb, 8, 2014.  Grant was raking a section of the beginners jump. He was working with his son. Grant said he is often at the hill helping coach the ski jumpers. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Lebanon — Nestled into the heart of downtown Lebanon, the Storrs Hill Ski Area has for decades been the winter training ground for children learning how to ski.

All grown up with two children of his own, Cory Grant was once one of those kids. It almost pains him to admit that his very first exposure to downhill skiing, at age 5, took place at nearby Whaleback Mountain in Enfield. But once his parents relocated the family to Lebanon, Grant said, “90 percent of my skiing took place at Storrs Hill.”

When Grant was a child, both of his parents were active supporters of the nonprofit ski area, which is maintained by the Lebanon Outing Club. Following in his elders’ footsteps, Grant counts himself among the dozens of volunteers who do everything from setting up DJ equipment for music on Friday nights to maintaining snow-making equipment, to serving food in the lodge, to providing instruction, to patrolling the slopes for anyone who may need assistance.

A full-time employee of Retail Control Systems in Enfield, a part-time DJ and a father with a 3-month-old daughter and a 4-year-old son, Grant somehow finds the energy to devote most of his weekend hours to helping out at Storrs Hill.

“You’ve got to love what you do,” Grant said. “I love winter. I love the snow. I love the sport. It’s a blast.”

Erik Ferguson, of Hartford, is among a group of volunteer ski instructors. Unlike Grant, Ferguson does not have a long history of skiing at Storrs Hill. He grew up in Sharon and took his first lessons at Suicide Six. But Ferguson appreciates what a “unique resource” Storrs Hill is to the people of Lebanon, and this winter he has been coming out on Saturday mornings to get toddlers up and running on skis for the first time.

“It’s not a very structured lesson,” Ferguson said. “But it helps them to see that it’s not scary, that it’s fun.”

At the end of a Friday night, before the lights go off on the slopes, one of the last things Grant will do is run the snow groomer. For any children who remain, Grant tells them he will take them for a ride on the groomer — if they’re good.

“That line of kids waiting for a groomer ride,” Grant said, “it pays for itself.”

Diane Taylor can be reached at 603-737-3221 or dtaylor@vnews.com.