Ski Mt Tom
A small resort near lots of people.
It was Mr. Daniel O’Connell Sr., the owner of a construction company and highly regarded community leader, who set up a ski tow for children outside Holyoke Mass. The idea caught fire and a ski area was up and running in no time.
It also was the time when Vermont’s Stratton Mt. opened its door and imported a group of high-level ski pros to bolster the resorts flair. Adi was among them. Five years later Mt. Tom made him an offer he could not refuse. He was not disturbed by the limited size of the mountain but impressed by the location and potential for a great ski school, and that the acting area director Cal Conniff had already built inroads to some of the nations renowned Colleges and Universities. This was Adi’s world and he run with it. Mt. Tom became a classroom for virtually thousands of Individuals, Universities, Colleges, Public Schools, and Organizations of Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut.
Dr. Lynn Vendien from the University of Massachusetts offered a credit approved course and enrolled 600 students. Professor Ruth Elveth from Mt. Holyoke College grew her program to 500 students. Dr. James Genasci from Springfield College came with 400 students, and coach Richi from Western New England College joined with 300 students. Smith College, AIC, Miss Porter School and others also came on a yearly basis.
Assisted by Dr. Lyn Vendien Adi quickly developed a supplemental ski education program for School Systems, SYSP, where teachers like Mrs. Bernstein from Chicopee Schools participated with 300 students. Dennis Moran from the Agawam schools enrolled 300 students, so did James Garrity from JFK in Enfield. Sister Gene from Holy cross joined with a well-organized program for 120 children, and the rural Town of Ware enrolled with Isabel Bradley. All Longmeadow Schools participated, as well as schools from Amherst, Belchertown, Hadley, Hampden, Holyoke, Ludlow, Monson, Springfield, Sunderland, and Wilbraham. Schools and recreation departments from the nearby state of Connecticut participated as well: Enfield, Coventry, Granby, Sommers, Tolland, Vernon, West Hartford, Windsor, Windsor Locks.
SKIING, a leading national magazine, run a feature story of Adi’s program, followed by many inquiries regarding initiation of a school plan in other states. The Massachusetts Association for Health and Physical Education (MAHPER) honored Adi with the MAHPER AWARD for bringing the educational values of skiing to the Youth of Western Massachusetts. He also promoted skiing through educational TV series, local and national club appearances, and was featured in several ski movies, one of which was produced by the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. He was never shy in underlining some of his presentations with his musical talents. At Mt. Tom Adi and wife Helga reached further with school vacation packages, and training courses for corporations, like Aetna Insurance, the Hartford Insurance Group, Hamilton Standard and many others. The Urban League of Springfield enjoyed a program, so did Church Groups, Montessori Schools, Boy/Girl Scouts, Parents Without Partners. The total count reached 30 000 to 40 000 ski lessons per season, and Mt. Tom posted nearly one million lessons during Adi’s tenure. Given the number of students, yet limited available space, the operation nonetheless run soundly by a well-organized time table and highly qualified instructors, a prerequisite since universities and colleges came with large numbers of top-level skiers to begin with. Courses were scheduled midweek day and night in addition to the daily walk in business. An extra terrain outside the ski boundaries facilitated group business from NY areas on weekends.
Mt. Tom was an enormous opportunity for skiers and children of Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut, as young James O'Connell followed in his fathers foot steps, until he unexpectedly passed away in 1995. His spouse revived a dormant quarry on the property and closed the ski operation.
Adi and Helga moved on in their sparkling world of ski fashions anba usa.