February 9, 2012
By: Tony Chamberlain
Family-run location keeps luring visitors back
WESTFORD – Al Fletcher likes to tell a story about his daughter, Pam, who at the time was not yet 3. When the lifts closed at the end of one day, she threw a tantrum demanding that they be started up again so she could continue skiing.
Since Al owned the ski area, Nashoba Valley, the lift operator called him to ask if he should indulge the little girl.
“Hell, no,’’ Al remembered saying. No one can quite remember how long the tantrum went on. But everyone knows how that girl grew up to be a national champion ski racer, World Cup winner, Olympian, and television commentator, a career arc undoubtedly fueled by the passion that tried to get that ski lift restarted so many years ago.
Now Pam Fletcher, “Fletch’’ to her former teammates, is back at the ski area Al founded nearly a half-century ago, and that is carrying on its original mission, catering to families. Run by the family that founded it (Pam’s brother, Al, bought it from their father), she serves as events marketing and sales manager.
Though he says he’s retired, 80-year-old Al Sr. looks in on things a couple of days a week.
“I was selfish,’’ he said of when he arrived in the area and bought a tract of land with the 248-foot vertical hill in the middle, with a couple of pleasingly steep faces.