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Fort Drum soldiers, families enjoy Military Appreciation Day at Dry Hill


Several soldiers and families from Fort Drum took advantage of the post’s closure Friday to hit the slopes at Dry Hill Ski Area.

The closure coincided with a military appreciation day already scheduled, with ID card holders getting free lift tickets during the afternoon.

Near the bottom of the hill, Sgt. Jeffrey Gouge held out a phone camera as he recorded Sgt. Marc N. Carman finish his run on his snowboard. Friday was the first time Sgt. Carman had ever been snowboarding.

“He says I’m doing good, but it hurts,” Sgt. Carman said, admitting a few falls on the way down. The two serve in Charlie Company of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Sgt. Gouge said he had convinced Sgt. Carman to go after getting the call that morning about the post’s closure. He said Sgt. Carman was better than a normal beginner, but said he may have been helped by good rental equipment.

Over at the lodge, Spc. Harley D. Fee sat with Spc. Dakota R. Artman and Staff Sgt. Daniel M. Pina as they took a break from snowboarding on the hill. All three serve in the Headquarters and Headquarters Company Scouts, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

Hearing reports of snow the previous night, Spc. Fee said he had initially planned on going after work.

“Next thing I know I get the call, and I have the day off,” he said, noting that it was the first time he had been able to go this season.

Sgt. Pina said he had been snowboarding for years in places like Park City and Lake Tahoe, and being on Dry Hill was a way to “get back in the chute.”

“I miss the mountains,” he said.

Spc. Fee said he liked the leg workout he got from being on the slopes.

“Too bad you spend most of the time on your face,” Spc. Artman said.

Ski area owner Timothy L. McAtee said the appreciation day has been a regular occurance for more than 25 years.

“Fort Drum is such a huge part of our local community ... the sacrifice they and their families make is the biggest one you can make,” he said. “To give them a little free skiing and snowboarding is the least we can do.”

Another military appreciation day is scheduled at Dry Hill on Friday.

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