Photos courtesy of Lisa C. Houde
Three generations raised at Pico. Pictured (l-r): Grandpa Normand J. Houde, Grandson Christopher J. Houde, and Son Normand Jay Houde,.
By Robin Alberti
Pico Mountain Resort has been know as “The Friendly Mountain,” “The Family Mountain,” and now remind people that it has “Big Mountain Skiing, Small Mountain Charm.”
Like most areas that have been around for decades, generations of skiers and snowboarders have grown up on the slopes of Pico. Here, all of the trails funnel down to one area, making it an ideal place for families. Many second homeowners also make “winter friends” and share many fond memories year after year.
One such family is the Houdes. They were one of the first families to build a home on Alpine Drive, and they have spent many Thanksgivings, Christmases and winter vacations at Pico. The Mountain Times caught up with with Lisa Cressman Houde and her daughter, Samantha, who explained how Pico became such a special place for their family, and why they now have relocated to the area year round.
“My in-laws (the Houdes) had their second home at Pico. We spent holidays as a family up here. My kids learned to ski on these slopes,” said Lisa Cressman Houde.
Samantha fondly remembers learning to ski at Pico, and also running around the woods and playing Robin Hood with her brother and cousins. “I love it up here in every season,” she said.
When Lisa’s first husband (Samantha’s father) passed away a few years ago, she came back to Pico to spread his ashes. “I always feel at peace here,” she said. “This was a special place for him, so I wanted to spread his ashes at the top. She had no idea that that gesture would be what led her to become a full time resident of Vermont, and start a wonderful new chapter in her life; Pico at its center.
That day, while she was hiking up to the top of Pico with her late husband’s ashes, a nice gentleman on an ATV stopped to make sure she was okay. He ended up giving her a ride to the top and back down. The man was Tim McGuire, a lineman for Pico who checks all the lifts for safety. They had a great conversation about their shared love of Pico. That chance encounter eventually led to marriage and McGuire is now the reason Lisa now lives in Vermont.