Thursday, February 10, 2011

Take it to the Macker

Macker is the man behind the mountain. He prefers to stay behind the scenes. Preferably behind the wheel of the groomer. “That’s where I get my calm, my peace,” he says. But in a sense, all you need to know about him are his skis. Stockli. They’re Swiss – handmade, the kind of planks a perfectionist goes for.

Macker is a man of few words, exacting standards (witness the Stockli skis. As he puts it, “I don’t get to go out very often so I need to make it count.”) He puts quality over quantity. He also hates the limelight and grimaces for his pictures (it wasn't easy to get him to smile for the one above). This, plus his sparkly baby blues, gives him a Clint Eastwood flintiness.
And, we can thank him for the quality of the snow at Plattekill. He is the sort of guru who knows when to groom and when to hold back – making sure that the goods are never over-used or over-groomed. He knows how to build a base and keep it strong, getting the most of out both manmade and natural snow (which has, this year, been divine).

He started working at the mountain in 1982. He moved to Roxbury and was working construction. “So,” he explains, “in winter work dried up. And, I ended up here.” With no idea that nearly thirty years on he’d still be here, head of ops, guardian of the hill’s lore and also every wire and piece of pipe in the lodge and on the hill. He’s done all the repairs and laid all the lines for the snow guns. He started, though, by running the T-Bar (yes, a T-Bar that took you all the way up North Face – which didn’t yet exist – not even as its first incarnation Barney's Bluff). The next year he came back, made a little snow and started running machines working the lifts and started doing that every winter. Now he is director of mountain ops and dedicated to the hill because “It’s a stronghold of the community.”

The name – Macker – was coined when he ran a garage and was the Mac Tools salesman for the area (even then he continued to work at the mountain in winter. He was that dedicated to it). And, from that time hence the man once known as Ken Davie became Macker – which sums up his personality – being the kind of person who says, “It’s not my way or the highway. It’s just my way.”

In shying away from attention, he insists I talk to others about him – like Jen Schumann who runs the ski school desk. When I ask her about him, she says, “He gave you list only of women
right?” and laughs – “He’s such a flirt.” Indeed now those steely Eastwood looks make sense.

(Above – Macker starts a fire ... with a flame thrower....)

1 comment:

  1. Macker is "a man of few words"?? We love Macker, but he has more than a few words. He has some Choice Words... love ya, Macker!