The Mountain Times

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Once upon a time in history: Happy Birthday, Marie Hubbard

"Oh, we had good times. Those were good times, weren't they?"

Those are words that come up often when you talk to Marie Hubbard about the early days and operating the Alpenhof Lodge in Killington with her husband Bud.

Both grew up in Rutland but didn't meet until the fall of 1945 after he had returned from World War II. They married in May 1946 and built a house on Town Line Road on land given to them by her father Guy Raymond, who was an architect/contractor.
Bud worked for International Harvester on farm machinery. He had skied with Pico founder Brad Mead, and Marie had also learned to ski at Pico.

After they married, Marie often went skiing with her good friend Beverly "Bev" Eastman (Schoenfeld.) They both had children and either took them skiing or skied together when the kids were in school or childcare.

Asked how she and Bud got interested in Killington, Marie credits Bev, who had bought stock in the Sherburne Corporation, and had called her and saying, "Let's go up to the new Killington Ski Area."

So they went skiing but ended up in a packed CCC Hut (first winter's base lodge) where they felt sorry for a young Sue and Pres Smith who were faced with a large crowd of people at lunch time. The two ladies offered to help and soon both were bringing food to people and clearing tables. "Sue was so appreciative and asked us if we could come back and help out the next day so we did," Marie recalled of their volunteer efforts.

"I just knew Killington would be a great success, I just knew it," Marie said of the decision to purchase a parcel of land (on a knoll just off the Killington Road) from Oren Bates and build a ski lodge.

But when they went to the bank to get a loan, the banks turned them down.

"We had no luck. No one would believe Killington would be successful. We saw John Burke at Rutland County Bank, and he told us he was sorry but the answer was no.

We were leaving the bank so he couldn't see my tears, but as we walked out I said, 'We will have our lodge. We will have our lodge.'

"We saw an opportunity to own a business, and I just knew it would work," she added of the determination to find the money.
The banker must have sensed that entrepreneurial drive, because he said, "Come back" and relenting "gave us the loan," Marie related with a happy smile at the memory.

That summer they built the lodge which in addition to the owners' quarters had six private rooms with baths that could accommodate two to four persons each, a men's dormitory and a women's dormitory (each with a bath and sleeping ten); and two lounges with huge wood-burning fieldstone fireplaces. (Bigelow's Lodge was a hunting lodge before it became a ski lodge so the Alpenhof became the area's first official ski lodge.)

A year or so later, they added on with a large dining room and other assorted rooms and later yet, built an adjacent chalet with two apartments that could accommodate up to 16 people. With the chalet they could now accommodate 60-65 guests.

Marie's entrepreneurial sixth sense proved to be correct and her strong work ethic kicked in as she and Bud cooked and served "breakfasts from 6 to 8:30 a.m., hors d'oeuvres from 4 to 6, and dinner at six. Just one dinner seating," she noted, adding "on Saturdays dinner was at 7. Everything was homemade," she noted with pride.

They also cleaned the rooms and drove the kids to school in Rutland in the early years.

All seven children, who were ages 3 to 14 when they opened Christmas Week of 1959, helped out (when old enough.) "That's why we were a success," Marie said of the family effort.

Their first winter Pres Smith arranged for three instructors to stay at the Alpenhof. "They studied English at night; they were wonderful young men," Marie said of Austrians Alois Mayer, Klaus Linnemayr, and Christian Rohn.

"The interesting part was summer. We had to pay the mortgage so Bud worked for Howard Towne's construction business for five months." That left Marie to serve "soup to dessert" lunches at the lodge summers to the CVPS men who were working at the growing mountain.

 

3--MT-Marie ----alpenhof -ski -lodge -first -new -ski -lodge -to -be -built -in -K-opened -Christmas -week -1959
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The Alpenhof Ski Lodge was the first ski lodge to be built in Killington. Marie and Bud Hubbard, the original owners, opened it Christmas week of 1959.

"One summer 16 Italians stayed with us (they were building the original gondola), and before he went to work Bud and I would cook breakfast and we would pack dinner pails with sandwiches, cookies or cake, and fruit and a thermos of coffee for their lunches on the mountain."

While the work could be demanding, the fun part was "meeting people from all over," said Marie. "Many guests came year after year and became good friends."

It was a time when guests gathered by the fireplace for socializing and singing in the evenings, she said, noting, "Joan Baez stayed with us. She came with four men… she didn't ski but she played guitar by the fireplace."

One of President Nixon's secretaries was staying with them when an event in the Watergate scandal broke on the news, causing her to be ordered back to work immediately, Marie remembered, adding "I had to drive her to White River Junction train that same night."

There were doctors from the Cleveland Clinic and a psychiatrist who enjoyed visiting with them in the kitchen. A singer with the Sammy Kaye band sang at the Rutland Fair and announced that she was staying on at the Alpenhof for a few days, acknowledging her new friends Bud and Marie to the audience.

Another guest offered their youngest daughter Mary Lou, who was six, a chance to be in a commercial for a toy that made a snowball. She got a check for $15 every time the commercial aired that winter, Marie recalled, noting it was a hefty sum for the times (today that 1962 inflation-adjusted paycheck would be $114 every time it ran.)

Asked if they skied, Marie said they all did and then marveled at how she found the time.

"The 1960s and 1970s were boom times [in skiing], so with the gas crisis there were long lines for the cars, but our business wasn't affected," Marie observed, marveling once again at their good fortune to have had "a successful business and so many good times."

They sold the Alpenhof in 1980 (now the Highline Lodge) and lived at their Lake Bomoseen cottage for a year before moving to Florida.

There Marie discovered her passion for painting and selling her work at art shows and Bud enjoyed daily fishing. Bud passed away in 2003, and Marie returned to Rutland a few years ago. "It was time to come home. Family is here," she said.

Today, Marie keeps busy visiting with friends and family, reading (biographies are a favorite), designing and making jewelry, and her passion - painting. She recommends her most recent read Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill. She expressed her love for country music, especially Merle Haggard.

Asked for the key to a long and fulfilling life, Marie offered the Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

Wonderful words from a spirited and inspiring lady whom we wish a very Happy 90th Birthday!


Editors note: The Alpenhof Lodge has seen several owners since 1980 and most recently was purchased and updated by Gregory Gross. The 14-room lodge affords guests views of the Killington Ski Resort including the Highline trail after which the current lodge is named. The lodge plans to reopen before the winter season with significant renovations.