Val Chatel

Yesterday I was transported back in time. I was a teenager learning to downhill ski. My best friend in high school Cathie was a skier..she would invite me to go along. I was not a very good skier, I was not coordinated enough to use the tow ropes..my only alternative was to go up the hill in the chair lift. Once you are up there, you must ski down. So I learned to ski out of necessity..it was a do or die situation.

 There was an estate sale happening at the old ski lodge yesterday. Next door neighbor Jo and Far Guy and I went. Far Guy never attempted skiing so he had never been out there before.

 There were lots of people, and a whole bunch of Antiques for sale. We visited with friends and greeted relatives. While I was taking photographs, a very nice man joined me, he walked up and said "Take those photos now, because you aren’t likely to get the chance again." Then he proceeded to tell me about how much fun he had learning to ski here. We stood for a long time, admiring the view..each knowing what the other was seeing. Not green grass and a lake, but a frozen expanse of lake, and hills covered with snow, tow ropes and a chair lift..and skiers zigzagging down the hills..so cold that you can see your breath. Red cheeked kids laughing as they came down the hills, snow plowing to a stop at the bottom of the hill..turning around and going right back up the ski hill again.

This is a beautiful setting, the usually long grass had been mowed for the sale or maybe to keep the bugs down. It was such a long time ago that I had dinner here, before prom when I was sixteen..

I bought a set of old bells that I will use as a wind chime..Far Guy bought a couple of rocks to use in the landscape of his train set..he carried around my bells for me. They are a handy device, I could tell where he was at throughout the rest of the sale. I could hear the bells disappearing up the road and knew when he was headed to the car.

This was a beautiful place in it’s day. I have lots of good memories here of old friends from well over forty years ago. In my mind I could still see that damned tow rope, the one where I could never get my hands and feet to cooperate..I always ended up face first at the side of the trail:)
 

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12 Responses to Val Chatel

  1. TechnoBabe says:

    I like how you say fond memories. How fun to remember dinner before prom. What is the place going to be now?

  2. Far Side of Fifty says:

    Technobabe, It has been closed for years, I believe it is for sale…and will become a private property:)

  3. ineeda says:

    My older brother and sister-in-law had their wedding reception there in June about 25 years ago. It was a beautiful setting & a nice facility.

  4. Cathie says:

    Looks like the place hasn’t changed much. Sure had a lot of fun out there!

  5. buffalo gal says:

    Maybe FarGuy should “wear” bells at all times; it would make it easy for you and Chance to track him!

  6. Annie says:

    I have looked for the road in to Val Chatel, and could not find it, is it marked? Wish I had known there was a sale, just a chance to go out there. If you have any info on it, I would love to know, post it here please.

    • Charlotte says:

      this Monday Sept 6th, is the end of the sale at Val Chatel, there is a big pink sign out there but i don’t remember any other markings for the turn……i have never been out there before and this was my first time only because of the sale……what a beautiful place it is today…i can imagine from all the postings and readings that i have read what a beautiful place it was then…..such a same to loose the majestic s of this beautiful lodge and area. the view is beautiful, but i think the one thing that caught my attention and that i love the most is the chandelier in the entry way……..huge wooden piece with candle lights in it…i can close my eyes and imagine what it looked like all lit up…what a piece.

    • Avatar of farside farside says:

      Hi Annie, I am sorry I did not notice your comment earlier. Area Voices went through a change.. Last weekend they were still haveing a sale out there, we saw the signs. The fellow that owned the property died just last week..very sad, he was very young..well younger than me! :)

  7. Hannah says:

    I grew up in the old vikings theater out at Val Chatel. Will (the owner who passed) was like family. My dad was one of his best friends and moved my family up there when I was young. My mom and dad had 7 kids so we needed the room.
    The same hills you have memories of as a teen, I have memories of spending all day with my brother Dale sledding down. We would play hide and seek in the old lodge, but it was so big that we would give up before finding everyone.
    My grandpa worked out there when it was still open. It was also the place my dad asked me mom to marry him.
    It was a great place to grow up!

  8. clint childers says:

    I was at that estate sale and was looking for some Val Chatel skiing keepsakes – if anyone knows how to get the sign in the second picture next to the staircase, I would pay $100 for it – Clint 218-640-2063

    I am guessing all the old chairlift chairs were scrapped, but would like to find one of those also