By Don Toothaker
The Haverhill Gazette
---- — The Blizzard of 2013 disrupted our lives for a few days this month. It was a perfect storm for one proud, family-oriented hill.
It may seem odd to wish for colder temperatures and more snow, but snow at Ski Bradford assures the ongoing, family-oriented success of the complex. Most importantly, snow at Ski Bradford is good for the families and children of Haverhill.
Dead Hill, home of Ski Bradford, reaches a height of only 272 feet and encompasses just 100 acres, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in attitude and heart. Founded in 1949 by the Sawyer family, the skiing complex continues as a family-run business today. Carrying on what their parents started, Neil and Bradley Sawyer oversee the daily operations that provide families with a safe and fun atmosphere.
Ski Bradford is small by most skiing standards, but the lack of size makes it special. Smaller, gentler slopes are accessible for skiers of all ages. Families flock to the hill each weekend and local kids arrive by the busload each day after school for lessons and outdoor fun. The alpine lessons, to me, are the heart and soul of Ski Bradford. It is here that children can learn to ski on less intimidating slopes and parents can ski alongside their kids for recreation, exercise and bonding.
Ski Bradford is run by a family for the benefit of many families. The family atmosphere even carries over to the employees.
Every small business requires employees to perform a variety of jobs. Yes, the resort needs snow, but it is the employees that make Ski Bradford run. Chris Garland is the snow activities manager, but, if you ask him, there is much more to what he does. Garland has worked for Ski Bradford and the Sawyers since he was 14. Today, at 31 and married, he thrives off the variety of work necessary to keep the resort functioning.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with him as he and his crew prepared to make snow one night before the blizzard’s arrival. My favorite part of talking to him was hearing the obvious pride he takes in what he and the mountain accomplish. What he does, and all those who make Ski Bradford a success, is vital for the recreation of Haverhill’s families.
Skiing and snowboarding are favorite winter sports for families and people of all ages. We are very fortunate to have a family mountain right here in Haverhill for all of us to enjoy.
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