On a snowy weekend in March, fifth-grader Calvin Seman and his father Peter returned from a day of skiing with a reason to celebrate. On their hand-drawn map of Vermont, Calvin checked off the Lyndon Outing Club—the last remaining destination in their two-year project to visit every alpine ski area in Vermont.
“Mother nature really gifted us with that last storm,” says Peter “otherwise we might not have made it.” The idea was inspired, in part, by two other family members’ outdoor summer adventure.
“It started when my mom and sister Audrey were trying to hike the Long Trail, and I was like ‘Dad, why don’t we get to do anything?'” says Calvin. “Then we pulled the idea together—that we’d ski every [alpine] ski area in the state.”
“We were inspired in a couple of different ways,” says Peter “definitely the Fifth Grade Passport helped us get to the areas this season. And Calvin checks the conditions on the Ski Vermont website every day, so that’s where we started making the list.”
A ski history enthusiast, Calvin supplemented his Ski Vermont list with information from the Vermont Ski History page, searching for any potential ski area still in operation. Of Vermont’s historical ski areas, twenty-three made the final cut.
Until it was recently moved to a digital platform, Ski Vermont’s Fifth Grade Passport Program had included a printed pass book students could have ski areas stamp when they visited. Without a passbook, the Semans took a creative route to tracking their progress; Calvin drew a map to hang on their wall for the next two seasons.
Those seasons brought a wide range of experiences for the pair —from bluebird days and sub-zero winds to the expansive views from Killington and Stowe’s high speed lifts. They even got to know the welcoming communities in Harrington Hill and Cochran’s rope tow lines—and everyone was interested once they found out about the project.
“The people we met were really cool. Just really great. Everyone we told the story to got excited about the idea,” says Peter.
Their goal gave the Semans a reason to explore new ski areas, and Calvin and Peter happily followed snow around the state, skiing new terrain and making new memories.
“I loved going to Smuggs when it was in the negative degrees,” says Calvin “it wasn’t even that cold. My friend’s family came with us but went back inside. We ended up finding this great powder stash in the trees—they really should have stayed out.”
“Just the two die-hards stayed out there,” laughs Peter. “Now we just have to find a new project.”
Calvin reports that with Vermont checked off the list, they’re already looking for their next adventure
“The Fifth Grade Passport program is really about providing an experience,” says Ski Vermont President Molly Mahar. “It gives fifth graders the chance to ski in Vermont for (nearly) free, and exposes them to the fun of spending time on the snow with their family and friends. The hope is that they join the community that enjoys skiing as a fulfilling, lifelong activity. We want to spark that passion by showcasing all that Vermont ski areas have to offer.”