• Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kimbery Lalley
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

How would you like a getaway that’s only hours away from the base and offers a winter wonderland of downhill skiing, snowboarding and fun? Even better, for a full day it’s only $60 per person and includes transportation, equipment, and a lift ticket!

Recently, I decided to check out what JBMDL has to offer. I noticed the 87FSS Outdoor Recreation Ski Trips that were advertised in the ‘ShowMDL’ tri-fold and decided to give it a whirl. Lulani Lobdell, Programs Manager, Outdoor Recreation, told me that I could come in at any time prior to the excursion and get fitted with the proper equipment and pay for the trip. I was in and out in less than 20 minutes.

Two days before the trip, I received a call that there was not enough snow to ski the mountain in Pennsylvania, so the trip was switched to Mountain Creek Resort, NJ. Flexibility is the key to airpower. On Saturday morning all I had to do was show up. A chartered bus took us to the mountain. These trips accommodate 25 to 55 participants. Once we were there we quickly received the rented equipment including a helmet (safety first). Lobdell handed out the lift tickets and we were free to ski all day.

At the top of mountain, I met Senior Airman Nelson Versailles Rieu. Rieu has been stationed at JBMDL since Dec 2013 and has regularly taken advantage of the Outdoor Rec excursions. He’s gone parasailing, skydiving, camping, rock climbing, white water rafting, ziplining, canoing, attended NASCAR races, explored NYC and attended Broadway shows.

Rieu was born in Congo, Africa and had never seen snow. He made his first ski trip in January 2015 and tries to make every trip through 87th Outdoor Rec. He’s skied in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Vermont. I love that it’s such a cool thing to do, he said. Skiing is exciting when you get ready for a big day on the slopes, it’s convenient, affordable and all you have to do is show up. You can’t beat that.

“You don’t have to worry about driving and the gas, tolls, and parking,” said Rieu. You don’t even have to worry about getting your gear. The equipment that Outdoor Rec provides is new. He found the experience amazing and that’s why he keeps going back because it’s so convenient. When you’re tired after a long day on the slopes you can sleep on the bus on the way back to the base. Last year he spent his birthday on the slopes in Killington, Vermont.

Rieu works full-time as a bioenvironmental engineer for the 87MDG and has his weekends free. He says on weekends he has a “life of adventure” - thanks to Lobdell and her team at Outdoor Rec. He finds the personnel who work there friendly, helpful and welcoming. He tries to take advantage of all the opportunities. Growing up in Congo he’d never seen snow in his life. Then he moved to Arizona and never made it up to any of the mountains.

This is the longest time he’s been away from home. Rieu recommends challenging yourself and trying things you never done before. Go ahead and discover what’s outside, instead of sitting at home and watching tv, he says.

For more information log onto www.GOMDL.com or call (609) 562-2727/6667.