In 1980, Jack Ryger joined a ski house in the town of Jewett, New York near Hunter Mountain. He loved it so much that he would go skiing practically every weekend. By the end of the ski season, Jack was skiing on intermediate, and even expert trails. In 1981, Jack Ryger travelled to Killington, Vermont where he skied the steepest, most difficult run called “The Outer Limits.” The moguls were waist high. Jack recalls his friend Tommy sitting down and having a beer while Jack negotiated his way down. Later that year, Jack Ryger went to Stratton and Bromley Mountain in Manchester, Vermont with a group of friends. Because Bromley had great sun exposure, everyone had raccoon eyes by the end of the week from skiing with their goggles on.
In 1982, Jack Ryger took a ski-racing course in Stowe, Vermont, where most of the instructors were students from Middlebury College. The lead instructor was Leslie Smith, who had skied at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. Leslie Smith skied for Middlebury College, and was the first four-time All-American at the prestigious liberal arts college. She went on to receive many other awards and accolades for her incredible skill, and Jack considers himself very lucky to have worked with such an esteemed skier.
In 1983, Jack Ryger and a few fellow New Yorkers went to Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy. Over 500 New Yorkers took over the town. A whole week of skiing was made possible by a little card that resembled today’s NYC metro-card. The incredible beauty of the Dolomite Mountains, matched the phenomenal Italian food was truly magical, and an experience Jack Ryger will never forget.
In 1984, Jack Ryger was supposed to ski in Grenoble and Val D’Isere; however, the weather proved so inclement that he spent his time in Paris. Jack remembers that it was so cold, the metro was left open so that the homeless had a warm place to stay.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Jack continued to ski at Hunter Mountain, and even took a course to become a ski instructor, but it wasn’t meant to be. Mr. Ryger continued skiing in the Northeast at places like Mount Snow and Vernon Valley (now called Mountain Creek).
In 2003 and 2005, Jack Ryger went to ski in the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec, and spent a week at the legendary Grey Rocks Resort. The Canadian skiers had a different style of skiing, and were able to break down Jack’s skills and thoroughly improve the in which he skied. It was during this time that he also stayed at the L’eau a la Bouche Restaurant & Inn. Anne Desjardins was the chef, and her husband the sommelier. It was one of the best meals Jack has ever had. 5 Star Quebecois cuisine. He still thinks about it to this day!
In 2006, Jack Ryger skied at Jay Peak, the furthest northern ski resort in Vermont. It was a rustic experience, with the resort resembling an old Austrian ski grounds.
Most recently, Jack Ryger made a trip out to Vail and Breckenridge Colorado. Coming from the Northeast, it was difficult for him to become acclimated to the difference in altitude. There is a reason Denver is known as the mile high city, and Breckenridge and Vail are even higher!