|By Chris Dehnel
Clarkson skis for a cause
Okemo Marketing Director Scott Clarkson skied or rode the five Vermont Mountains he has worked at in the 2009-10 season in an effort to raise money for the Vermolnt Special Olympics [all in a single day].
In addition to his current home mountain, Clarkson has worked at Burke, Stratton, Sugarbush and Bromley.
The 50-year-old Clarkson teamed up with his wife, Martha, and 16-year-old son, Parker, to do it.
"For me, it was a chance to give something back and a chance to teach Parker (a junior at Burr and Burton Academy in Vermont) about giving back," Scott says. "It was a great day and we were able to do something for a great cause."
It was all staged on Feb. 1 of last season, when Burke president and general manager Dick Andross, who arranged accommodations the night before to give the Clarksons a head start, took the family to the summit on a snowmobile at 6:45 a.m. After a cruise down Little and Big Dipper and Willoughby in 3 inches of powder, the adventure had begun.
"That fresh snow just added to the start," Scott says.
The Clarksons hopped in a low-emissions Jeep driven by Green Cab-VT owner Charlie Herrick (who donated his time and vehicle for the day) and were at Sugarbush by 9:50. After meeting up with Special Olympics skier Chris Riley, they shot down the hill, where Scott and Parker became a little carried away for the cameras and collided.
"We were more worried about Parker than me because of his competitions," Scott says. "Luckily, neither of us was seriously hurt."
The trio left for Stratton at 11:20 and arrive there by 1:30 p.m.
"I wanted to snowboard down Stratton for the symbolism," Scott says. He did – on the big, wide cruiser right under the gondola – and made it to and down Bromley by 3. Para-Olympic skier Betsy Hurley joined them on the Bromley run.
"It was a great event, and it’s was even better that we were able to showcase one of our athletes with the Clarksons," says Chris Bernier of the Vermont Special Olympics.
The Clarksons were at Okemo at 3:40, plenty of time to take that last 3:45 chair up the Northstar Express.
"We made it just before first sweep," Scott says. "Fittingly, as we dropped down to the base of Jackson Gore ahead of the groomers, we found ourselves alone – just like on the summit if Burke. What a day …"
When it was all done, the Clarksons had logged 203 miles and skied or ridden 11,292 vertical feet.
They also raised more than $4,000 to benefit the 852 Vermont Special Olympians.