Tuesday, October 16, 2007


What's that? You want a disaster porn image of the old Lodge on fire? I am here to oblige, sicko:

Insane, right? It burned down in October of 1999 and was replaced by the space port tents. Fortunately, no one was killed. As far as I know, they never figured out exactly what started it. But I have to say, the place was a tinderbox and it's a wonder it didn't go up years before it did. There was speculation at the time that the fire was not accidental. When questioned in December of '99 by the New York Times (I love working for a company with a ProQuest account) , a Park spokesperson replied, ''It's far fetched but it's easy to rule that out. Had we been thinking like that, we would have burnt it down in April.''

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Time for a trip in the Way Back Machine

Further back than usual, that is. I just found these links, which give a great overview of the history of Vernon Valley and Great Gorge, before and after they merged into one ski resort. A lot of it was new to me, especially the part about Vernon Valley's penchant for all-girl lift attendants in its early days. Very 1960s. (You know what was also very 1960s? The Playboy Club that was located across the valley from the resort. Swinging! )

I got a litle misty seeing images of the old lodges:

Here's Vernon Valley's lodge, which burned down in the mid-90s and was replaced with a collection of horrible, industrial-feeling domed tents. Seriously, they make you feel like you're in some sort of refugee camp. Or maybe a space port.

And here's the old Great Gorge, or South, lodge. It had three bars!!! It was also kinda creepy and to rumored to be haunted. I remember Phil, the director of security, saying he hated going there at night because "There's monstahs down there!" Phil ruled.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Minor Characters 2: The Trans Techs

The Transmobile, a monorail that conveyed patrons between Alpine Center & Motorworld, was my least favorite ride to attend. It was a one-way deal, but people always wanted to make it a round trip ride, which damn near caused riots on busy days. There was no shade at either end, the mid-station was boring and your co-workers were usually lame. At the top, your friends could stop by, or at least wave, on their way to better rides. At the bottom, in Motorworld, you weren't as lucky. But at least had the techs to keep you company.

There were 4 or 5 of them, but over the years they've morphed into Glen and the rest. The rest included: Brian the boss (all I can remember about him was his general resemblance to Doug Henning), the runty guy with the harelip and the other one who wore too much cologne and had a girlfriend who worked at the Renaissance Faire. They cornered me in the parking lot of the A&P one day and lectured me on the sexual hierarchy of wenches, fortune tellers, pickle vendors, knights, etc... I'm getting nauseous just thinking about it.

Glen was the friendliest. He would hang out in the window of the maintenance shack that bordered the loading station and just shoot the breeze. Mostly he'd kvetch about his old lady (they were common law). When I told him I was taking a day off to go to Lollapalooza on Randall's Island, he gave me the address of a video store in the Bronx where I could score some primo weed. Unfortunately, I couldn't convince my ride to make the detour.