Tis The Season


The older woman turned around and, seeing my wife, Carol, smiled.

“Hey, Carol! Good to see you. How are you?”

“Great,” said Carol. “Ready for ski season, as always.”

Jeannie smiled, knowingly. She turned to the kids and started quizzing them about what she missed in the last year.

As everybody caught up, I marveled at how our family could be so excited to see somebody for 15 minutes a year. Can you call that a relationship?

Maybe. Probably.

As the sleet and snow pounded against the plastic top of the Boston Mills Ski Patrol Ski Swap tent—yes, Mother Nature always seems to cooperate with the ski patrol—I began the important work of finding some new ski boots for the 8-year-olds who outgrow equipment seemingly as fast as I lose hair.

Behind me, the annual conversation raged.

Jeannie Thoren owns and operates the Jeannie Thoren Women’s Ski Center in Vail, Colo., along with her husband. Each summer, she returns to her hometown of Duluth, Minn—where Camp Business has a design office. And, each fall, she travels the ski-swap circuit—single-handedly saving skiers’ ski seasons by getting them into ski boots that actually fit correctly.

We first heard about Jeannie when she gave a clinic in our favorite ski town—Holiday Valley. We got to know her personally when we started attending the Boston Mills ski swap in Penninsula, Ohio. And we fell in love with her when she solved our boot problems.

So, yes, I think this qualifies as a relationship.

Carol, Jeannie, and the kids finished their quick catch-up and she turned to help the 8-year-olds get into the right boots.

Later, as we left with the boots (and new pink skis for the twins—not on the list!), we spent the last of our 15 minutes with Jeannie—saying goodbye and making notes to meet again next year—same place.

The whole thing is like a session of summer camp. Friends come together after a long-time apart. Re-connect. Share an experience. Say goodbye—with the hope that it will happen again next year.

Or, maybe it’s like a year of publishing Camp Business. The year starts with a bang. We publish tons of ideas for programming, staff training, new products/services and what not in the Jan/Feb issue. We follow that up with the big Buyer’s Guide in Mar/Apr, the annual Staff Training issue in May/Jun, the “excitement” issue in Jul/Aug, the continuing education issue in Sep/Oct and then end the year with recap of the good and bad from 2015—kind of a short goodbye to the season—before we start all over again.

So, it was good catching up with you this year. Can’t wait to see you again in the New Year!

Have a great holiday season!


Rodney J Auth