Why We Ski: The Ropetow at Cochran's

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When they fire up "The Rope" at Cochran's, the steel truck-rims over which it runs begin to sing, and this little Richmond, Vt., community hill comes to life. The late Mickey Cochran-engineer, coach, father, lifelong skier-would smile to see the kids lining up for the lift he built. One thousand feet per minute-the maximum velocity allowed by law for any lift-may seem speedy on a quad or six-pack, but grab onto Mickey's thick nylon rope and it feels supersonic. Mind the telephone pole near the bottom, and you're off, blazing past trees and poles and leaving folks on the adjacent T-bar far behind. Only on the final pitch near the top can you hear the ropetow's old truck engine still chugging. It's a short ride, and hard work. No one knows the record number of runs in a day, but if you can hang on for a solid 10, consider yourself accomplished.