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Steve Orne

Telemark Skiing Grand Targhee

Howdy, I’m Steve Orne, the author of The Spirited Adventurer.

Do you find you can’t sleep when the snow is dumping or the waves are pumping? Me too. If you can relate, I’m sure you’re a Spirited Adventurer.

My garage is so full of gear that the Jeep parks outside. If you can relate, you’re most likely a Spirited Adventurer.

The “Spirited Adventurer” was created to share adventure stories, experiences and practical tips like my tale of being chased by pirates in the Bahamas (Read Here).

As this site takes shape, it will provide a forum for discussion and sharing of knowledge on various topics like ski destinations, gear reviews, camping and hiking trips and even great cocktail recipes.

A Little Personal Background and Skiing

I grew up in Marblehead, MA, a seaside town north of Boston, where I fell in love with the great outdoors. In the ’70’s I was all about BMX and skateboarding. In the ’80’s I discovered surfing. My ski experience was limited to an annual weekend trip with my grandfather to Cranmore Mountain in North Conway, NH.

Though my Dad was a big skier before I was born, we were not a “ski family.” His last big trip was in 1966 when he climbed Mount Washington to test some skis he had built. He and his buddy did 8 laps on Hillman’s Highway. Read about how he was part of a small team that created the Graves Ski in a boat shed in Marblehead (read the story).

It wasn’t until I met a neighbor named Dick McNamara (Mac) in 1980 that I became a “skier.” Mac was the Eastern Region Sales Manager for K2 Skis. This was at a time when k2 skiers Phil and Steve Mahre were crushing it on the World Cup and Wayne Wong was the name to beat in freestyle. Mac hooked me up with a set of K2 710 Slalom skis and I thought I was the shit.

I was fortunate that several of my friends did have “ski families” and I scored plenty of invites to join them on their ski vacations. A big shout out to the Doehners, Cornells and Priors. As soon as we could drive, our gang would road trip to NH, ME and VT. If we could find a place to crash we’d make it a weekend.

Marblehead High School ski trips with our science teachers Mr. Cobbett and Mr. Dort, were epic. I’ll leave it to the imagination but picture lightly supervised coeds bussing to and from a ski weekend with all the 1980’s cliche activities as scene in the classic films “Hot Tub Time Machine,” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

When my friends were getting after school jobs as dishwashers, I was begging the manager of The Ski Market, in Danvers, MA, for a job. I got my license and use of a classic 1974 Ford F150 with 3 on the tree and Tom Doran gave me the job. Besides Mac, Tom Doran, the Ski Market Manager, was the coolest guy I’d met. He hooked me up with my first surfboard and wetsuit, both from O’Neil.

Tom left The Ski Market and later cofounded a shoe company called Crocs (he might get a chuckle at the fact I’m wearing camo Crocs as I write this.) I loved selling skis at The Ski Market. Windsurfing was just taking off at this time in a big way and I jumped on that trend. With my employee discount I bought a state-of-the art HyFly board.

The next summer I was put in charge of launching a windsurfing school and rental shop at Riverhead Beach in Marblehead. I don’t think we sought any permission; I’d just show up with six Mahre boards on the roof and setup shop.

When I arrived at Babson College, in Wellesley, MA as a freshman in 1984 it was only natural to seek a job at the local ski shop, St Moritz. St Mortiz was the original in The Ski Market chain which was the biggest family-owned chain of ski shops in New England.

My sophomore year, a buddy who grew up racing and was on the Babson Ski Team convinced me that I should try out. I had never been in gates in my life, not even a NASTAR. I had a blast that fall in dry land training with the team. Being New England, there was no snow prior to Christmas break so no one had seen me ski.

Each year the team would have a pre-season, weeklong training camp toward the end of break. This year it was at Burke Mountain in the Northeast Kingdom of VT. I got the invite to go to camp and that would serve as “tryouts.” Coach and Dean of Students, David Ellis, gave me the bid and I became a ski racer. (Thanks Coach Ellis… literally changed my life.)

I LOVED it! We had a great co-ed squad. One notable teammate was Eduardo Kopper, who raced for Costa Rica in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo against the Mahre brothers. Another teammate was Warren Miller film star and US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Famer Dan Egan. Dan combined his entrepreneurial skills from Babson with his incredible ski talent and forged a remarkable career on snow that’s still going strong. If you love great ski stories read his book “30 Years in a White Haze.

Because I didn’t ski as a freshman, I only used 3 of my 4 years of eligibility. Immediately following graduation, I continued at Babson in the MBA program. Because I was at the same institution, I was able to ski a 4th year as a grad student. That season we took 2nd at Regionals and got to represent Babson at the NCSA National Championships held at Diamond Peak in Incline Village, NV.

Pretty funny vintage 1989 video from both Regionals and Nationals. Different than racing on ice in New England, we found knee deep troughs in the soft, March snow of Nevada making the Nationals slalom feel like a bobsled track.

Babson Ski Team Regionals Waterville Valley and Nationals Ski Incline Nevada 1989

The Next Generation

Fast forward ten years and I’ve married my high school girlfriend, Sig, who was also a groupie at both Regionals and Nationals, and we’ve had babies. Of course, we wanted to share our love for the outdoors and adventure with our kids. We have two daughters, Lulu (Lindsey) and Liza (Eliza). We got to vicariously relive the ski race life through them as they grew up on the Mount Sunapee Alpine team.

A memorable competitor in Lulu’s field was Mikaela Shiffrin who did a stint on the Ford Sayre Ski Team. Ford Sayre trained at the Dartmouth Skiway and raced against the Sunapee Alpine Team. This was before Mikaela went to Burke Academy. She ripped back then for sure.

Mikaela Shiffrin Ford Sayre
Mikaela Shiffrin Ford Sayre

Both daughters have now graduated from UVM (University of Vermont) and moved first to Jackson Hole and now Driggs, Idaho (two towns over from Jackson, WY). If you follow any of my social accounts, you now know why we spend so much time in the Teton Valley. We love it out there and hope to be able to spend even more time in the future.

There’s a little bit about my ski background. Look for future Blog posts about how I took up telemark skiing three years ago and how I’ve now taken my AIARE 1 avalanche training at my daughter’s insistence.

Cheers y’all,


Stuff We Love

in this column you may find products that we’ve used in our adventures and found to be particularly useful, fun, delicious or otherwise desirable. We will always disclose if a commission would be earned if you chose to order based on our link.

Give’r Gloves – we love’m and think you will too. (this link would benefit us as a referral)

Give'r Gloves from Jackson Hole
Give’r Gloves Straight From Jackson Hole



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