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A NO-SNOW SLOPE TO NONSPORT
Bil Gilbert
February 21, 1966
The increase in ski resorts along the Mason-Dixon line, where blizzards come raging out of nozzles, is a boon to winter illusionists, many of whom hate to ski
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February 21, 1966

A No-snow Slope To Nonsport

The increase in ski resorts along the Mason-Dixon line, where blizzards come raging out of nozzles, is a boon to winter illusionists, many of whom hate to ski

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One midweek evening a dramatic incident occurred at the recreation supermarket which seems as if it should have some symbolic significance—but maybe not. The scene was fairly typical southern ski. Inside the lodge 100 or so people, wearing assorted fur and padded nylon pieces, panted about the fire. Outside there were perhaps 50 skiers. A 10-nozzle blizzard swirled across Mount Charnita, which was brightly, electrically lighted. Over the hum of the generators and compressors a loudspeaker, hooked to a radio, blared out a Fulton Lewis Jr. broadcast. Suddenly the chair lift stopped, leaving a load of hung-up skiers. Dick Brown and his men rushed out to investigate and shortly returned, escorting a very drunk neighborhood ne'er-do-well, who can be called (as people sometimes are in southern Pennsylvania) Oliver Potz. This Potz, who belonged more to the Moonshine than Apple Pandowdy class of local society, had grown up on one of the farms that had been sold to The Pioneer of supermarket recreation for his Charnita playground.

According to Brown, the snowmaker, Potz had climbed McKee's Hill and jammed a lift chair through the safety lock, thus stopping the whole works.

"What in hell are you doing monkeying around with my chair lift?" screamed the enraged Pioneer.

Oliver Potz swayed on his feet like a beginning skier. His eyes were bleary, his odor pungent, and tobacco juice dribbled unattractively down his unshaven chin. "Well, you know, this is our old place," he mumbled. "I didn't mean anything. Jus' take a look around. It was jus' an accident. I lived here all my life."

"I don't give a damn where you lived. You got no business around here anymore. Book him," The Pioneer ordered.

Now there is more than one way to view this incident. A local woman, working in the lodge kitchen, who had never been an admirer of Oliver Potz but who had known him longer than she had The Pioneer, shook her head sadly. "That Oliver's no good, but it's a pity in a way. Him coming back to the old place and getting arrested."

The Pioneer said simply, "I paid those farmers three times what they could get anyplace else for their land. They liked the money all right. They've got no more claim on this land."

There was still a third reaction. The confrontation took place in the doorway of the lodge, in full view and hearing of the crowd of nonsportsmen. Noticeably they turned away, averted their eyes, drew back into their wolverine-fur hoods. Oliver Potz, the odor of whiskey, the dribble of tobacco juice, the air of violence was too raw, too real for the illusions of this crowd.

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