Congratulations to Chris Francis of Stowe!

Stowe, VT (April 9, 2009) On Wednesday, April 7th Chris Francis, owner of Ye Olde England Inn, was named the 2010 Vermont Travel Person of the Year at the Vermont Travel Industry Conference held at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vermont.

Chris Francis

Francis began his career in the travel industry the summer of 1983, when he purchased the Ye Olde England Inn while on vacation with his wife Lynn. They had traveled to the states from England to catch the Americas Cup Races in Newport, Rhode Island. After, Chris and Lynn made their way up to Stowe, Vermont. It was during this visit that Chris decided he would like to own an inn and pub there, was interested in the lodging property San Souci and made an offer using his credit card. On the way back to England, he was notified that the offer was accepted and on November 4th, 1983 the Ye Olde England Inn officially opened.

Francis' devotion and dedication to both Stowe and Vermont has kept him actively involved in the community. He has been on the board of the Stowe Area Association for 25 years and its president for 8 of those years. Francis is also the force behind many of Stowe's car shows including The British Invasion. This event attracts hundreds of British cars and thousands of visitors to Stowe and to the state of Vermont each summer. Francis is known for his wit, negotiating skills and peacemaking and most importantly his strong advocacy for Vermont and the town of Stowe.

The Vermont Travel Person of the Year exemplifies an ongoing dedication to what makes Vermont such a special place to visit. The award is presented to an individual who contributes significantly to Vermont's travel and tourism Industry.

Source: Stowe Area Association

Personal Note: Ye Olde England Inn: Best and biggest beer selection you've ever seen, and great pub food!

Meet Barbara Shane, R.N.

Today I had the pleasure of working with Barb Shane, a first-year "first-aid" volunteer with the Mt. Mansfield Ski Patrol. I first met her a few weeks ago when, in the course of "planting" a bamboo pole with an orange disc, the bottom of the disk bopped me a fraction of an inch below my right eyebrow. Barb's diagnosis: you're going to have a shiner – and I did.

Barb, originally from West Caldwell, NJ, came to Vermont in 1986 because, as she told me, "I loved the mountains." She arrived with a Sociology degree from New York University and a minor in Journalism. She worked as a part-time reporter at the Stowe Reporter, and waitressed at Mr. Pickwick's Restaurant, Edson Hill Manor, and Trapp Family Lodge. In a more practical pursuit, Barb returned to school at Vermont's Norwich University, where she earned a Nursing degree in 1991.

Barb has been an ER nurse at Copley Hospital (11 miles north of Stowe, in Morrisville) for the past five years. She spent the previous 12 years as a Medical Surgery nurse and in Medical Telemetry (Cardiac Monitoring.) And, she is also an Oncology Certified Nurse both at Copley and Burlington's Fletcher Allen Hospital, where she also works 1 day per week.

Barb lives in Morrisville with her three sons (ages 13, 15, and 18,) who, like their mother, are avid skiers or riders. The oldest, having been accepted by all 4 of his early-admission choices, heads off to college, somewhere in the northeast next September. Between her sons' soccer, hockey, and basketball games, Barb hardly lacks for things to do! She also plays hockey in several adult leagues.

Hopefully, you won't have to meet Barb at the mountain. But, if you ever do, you'll be in good hands.

Meet Phil Gwinn, Lift Attendant

Phil Gwinn, Liftie at Stowe Mountain Resort Meet Phil Gwinn, the most upbeat, positive, conscientious, hard working, and friendly liftie I know. If you haven't met Phil yet, be sure to look for him at the Sunny Spruce base.

Phil, a 25 year-old Vermont native, has lived in Stowe village since 2002. He's originally from Waterbury Center, just a few miles south of Stowe. Phil studied computer engineering at Vermont Technical College off and on for 3 years. During his last year, he worked the winter at Sugarbush before coming to Stowe Mountain Resort.

Phil enjoys biking, hiking, camping, skiing, canoeing -- and -- he took flying lessons for 2 years at Morrisville/Stowe airport as a teenager. Phil is looking forward to more time for skiing and would like to ski off the chin -- with someone who has done it before!

Ski Patroller Jan Axtell

Check this guy out: Jan (yahn) joined Mt. Mansfield Ski Patrol last season. I'd regularly read some of his Mountain Trails columns in the Stowe Reporter, and now thought it was pretty cool to be able to chat him up every time a I read a new one.

In the off-season, Jan owns and operates Fin & Feather Enterprises, which offers guided North Country outdoor adventures. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin -- Stevens Point and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology - Wildlife and Plant ecology - and has studied the Northern forests plant and animal communities extensively.

In addition to guiding, Jan is also a contributing writer for New England Fly Fishing Magazine. You'd be surprised at the backgrounds of many of the guys on patrol -- I'll fill you in from time-to-time.