"Oh, we had good times. Those were good times, weren't
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
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
But when they went to the bank to get a loan, the banks turned
"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
"We saw an opportunity to own a business, and I just knew it
would work," she added of the determination to find the
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
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
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
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
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
They sold the Alpenhof in 1980 (now the Highline Lodge) and
lived at their Lake Bomoseen cottage for a year before moving to
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.