The Work Doesn’t Stop When the Mercury Drops


If you had to head out Thursday, hopefully you limited your time out there.  But what if you couldn’t avoid it?

Lots and lots of layers are the quick answer to that question.  The Postal Service Motto summed things up pretty well: Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat.  Except Thursday it was the cold.

The work doesn’t stop for these Vermonters when the mercury drops.

“Last year was hardly a winter at all.  It was really mild, we never really dealt with too many cold conditions last year,” said Sam Dixon.  This winter is shaping up to be quite different that the last.  It’s why Vermonters need to be ready for what Mother Nature throws their way.  “Everyday you have to be ready to work in whatever conditions.  The cattle here, they need to be fed and taken care of everyday.  They need to have their needs taken care of and it doesn’t matter what the weather is outside, you have to take care of the animals,” added Dixon, Dairy Manager for Shelburne Farms.

Whether it’s sun, rain, snow or cold, each day he’s up early and working late to take care of the money makers.  He says when it comes to safety, success is in the outfit.  “It’s all in the clothing, and all in how you set your chores up.  There’s the old Norwegian saying: There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing,” he joked.

That’s why it’s layers, layers, and more layers for Dixon, “I wear long johns and today I’m wearing bib overalls, but I also have another pair of heavier duty bibs I can put on.  Usually wear an Under Armor type shirt.”  He says his clothing has to get him through a day of milking, feeding cows, cleaning stalls, and any other jobs the farm brings on.  At the end of the day, it’s about taking care of himself, and his ladies.  “That’s our responsibility, I really feel very strongly that it’s our responsibility to do the best we can in taking care of these animals.  They provide for us, so we need to provide for them,” he stated.

It was all hands on deck at the mountain as well.  “Tons of pent up energy, especially after last year.  People are just psyched to be on snow in early December.  We’re having a really great start,” said Bolton Valley’s Josh Arneson.  He says the cold weather didn’t stop brave skiers and boarders from hitting the slopes Thursday.

And it takes an even more dedicated crew to keep things up and running.  “We’ve got a very dedicated crew and on days like today there’s some challenging working conditions, but I’m sure they’re taking lots of breaks, drinking lots of water, layering up, and staying safe in the cold,” he stated.

From lift operators, to ski patrol, to instructors, the team was ready to help their visitors Thursday.  “Lots of communication.  Just watching out for your friends and caring.  We switch out more.  Normally we do every half hour, where as on a day like today it’s every 15 minutes,” said Lift Opp Jordan Carnelli.  She says it’s important to be on the same page as her co-workers.  Frostbite and hypothermia can set in quickly.

With safety in mind, resort staff made the call to close down night runs Thursday.  They called it a day at 4:00.

Despite the challenges winter brings to Vermont, the trio is glad it’s here.  “That’s one of the reasons I really love farming, you get to be out and experience the seasons,” said Dixon.

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