Why you should join a beer league

An interview with a veteran of Thursday night race league

Skiing is a team sport. PHOTO: Craig Moore
Skiing is a team sport. PHOTO: Craig Moore

Ron Bachrach, 58, Whitefish, Montana, is a middle school teacher and 23-year veteran of Thursday-night beer-league telemark racing. This story originally appeared in the November (44.3) Resort Guide.

We owned that hill on Thursday nights.

I lived for Thursday nights.
That’s my bowling league. And I think I only missed maybe two or three tele nights in about 20 years.

Ah, gosh. Just for the fun.
I look forward to going out there, and my wife likes to get me out of the house, anyways.

I’ve been on many teams. Well, the last team was Team Nasukoin—it’s the highest peak in the Whitefish Range. A cool team, but we also had the East Edgewood Telemark Storage Units.

You do your race and then it was just, you see some of the people, ‘Oh, he’s still out here.’ I still got my knees. I’m feeling good. I’m a lucky person. I can’t wait to go skiing. I’m downtown. I’m looking at the hill right now. It looks great.

I love skiing. I’m 58 years old and this is going to be my 50th ski pass of my entire life.

Our league has kind
of gone a little bit downhill.

I’m kind of sad. You realize why your parents wanted to continue to do things that you hated, just to keep traditions going. Just to keep it going.

It really didn’t matter
about the guy you were duking it out with, but you’re still duking it out with that guy, because it was a dual slalom… You clinked poles, say, ‘Hey, good luck, I’ll kick your ass,’ and ‘See you at the bottom.’

The last five years, it was like a private lift. Just on that T-bar. Shit, I’ll go up there. Cost me $60 for eight races. Who else gets a private lift for eight weeks out of the year?

A couple years ago, it always dumped on Thursday nights. And we’d get some night powder skiing. It’s not so much about the racing. It’s about the skiing. It’s about the night powder skiing. We were up there in an eclipse. And one year, I was up there having our tele race and we had to stop the race because a herd—I mean a herd—of mule deer came trampling down the course.

And then, of course, the groomers would be going up and when we were on Chair 2, we’d scooch over to the higher runs and wait till the groomers go by and wreck their corduroy.

All skiing is good. Some skiing is better. But all skiing is good.