It’s not often that a publisher has the honor of making an announcement like this one: EasternSlopes.com is pleased and proud to announce that Barbara Thomke, formerly of Smugglers’ Notch Resort, has become an editor for our Active Seniors section. Barbara is a long-time fixture in the New England skiing scene, and one of the most universally respected and liked people that I know. Her early background includes a degree from Middlebury College (where, incidentally, she didn’t ski, even with the Middlebury Snow Bowl next door), studying in Germany post-graduation (where she did learn to ski), and working as a cocktail waitress and ski bum in Stowe (before she became respectable).
Respectability came with becoming a schoolteacher. Barbara taught three languages (plus flute) at The Stowe School. She also started, with her husband Horst, Chez Moustache, a respected local Swiss-style restaurant which gave her an insight into the ski industry from the outside that would lend a valuable perspective later in her career. Sadly, Horst died unexpectedly in 1981, and in 1982, she sold the restaurant. After two years of teaching business at Champlain and Johnson State Colleges, she started working for the Smugglers’ Notch Homeowners Association, a position that eventually led her to become employed at Smuggler’s Notch Resort in 1990, effectively creating the PR department, one of the best and most innovative in the ski industry.
“Smuggs”, as the resort is affectionately known, is one of the strongest and best-known brands in Eastern skiing. Her talents didn’t escape the notice of Bob Mulcahy, the president of Smugglers’ Notch Resort; this led to their marriage, which is still vibrant to this day (perhaps the ski bum/adventurer side of her personality has something to do with that!). Beyond her work for Smuggs, Barbara has been active in local and national ski writers’ associations, even winning the prestigious Bob Gillen Memorial Award for Excellence in Media Relations from the North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA) in 2004, and is involved with a number of charitable organizations.
Beyond her exceptional professional credentials, Barbara is an avid outdoorswoman, making her exceptionally suited as a writer for Active Seniors. Her list of hobbies is as impressive as the rest of her curriculum vitae; they include swimming and boating (especially kayaking), cycling and bicycle touring, hiking, horseback riding (dressage and trail), alpine and nordic skiing, snowshoeing, gardening, flute playing, cooking and writing (luckily for us!). Beyond riding horses, she’s also a certified equine massage therapist, operating Thomke Equine Bodyworks in greater Chittenden county. According to Barbara, “it’s exciting work and very rewarding as the animals are completely tuned in to touch and sensation and respond well to treatments”; in other words, they’re easier to work with than human athletes.
We’re not only proud to introduce Barbara as our newest writer, but also are personally looking forward to her perspectives, insights, and adventures; if you enjoy her writing as much as we’ve enjoyed her PR efforts, you’ll be entertained and enlightened. Keep your eyes open for her stories, and please give us your thoughts and feedback!