Park Rapids, MN, Deep Lake, Val Chatel Ski Lodge, ca 1960
Talk about a walk (or ski) down memory lane! Learned to ski there where I was 4-years only (back in 1964) and was ‘hooked’ at once. Being from Sebeka, we went to Val Chapel every winter weekend until I graduated HS in 1978… magical memories!
* ‘Bombed’ the main hill @ 7-years old, crashed at the bottom, hurt my knee (buckle bindings back then!) “cried”…
* Had my first kiss in the back ‘bowl’ @ 16-years old… (thank you Laurie!) smile!!
* learned quickly what ‘rope-burn’ was all about… (those towropes were brutal!) key was to buy the cheapest ‘Chopper’ leather gloves you could find at the Farm Store – ‘screw’ those fancy ski gloves! Oh yea, and add tape as needed!
* Holiday’s were magical there!
* The annual Spring Ski event was awesome!
* The new hills opened across the lake, were great – even better was getting towed back & forth behind that old truck! WOW!
* Never did get to ride the ChairLift – the accident happened a year before my parents were going to let me do so… shame:(
** NIGHT SKIING!!! Wednesday’s were my favorite!!! That was sooo awesome!!!
** The amazing hot chocolate at the food bar – yea, basic machine, but for some reason… & the french fries – yummy!
Our family stayed there once as a ‘treat’ – the rooms were quaint, small, comfy- I felt as if I was on top of the world~ Just the drive in to Val Chatel was magical in its own way… winding down the road… trying to be ‘patient’ in getting there… finally around that last turn seeing the Lodge… AHHHH!!! Man, I’m reliving a fantastic time in my childhood here! So many other things to add, but leave it as this is for now… peace!
My father was a photographer. We would spend our vacations during the summer in Park Rapids but he would go to Val chatel. He would take pictures. He did know the owner at the time this would be in the later 60s and early 70s. I have some of those pictures and a pamphlet from Val chatel. I do remember a Chalet style house. That was kids size that used to like to go visit. I also remember a Saint Bernard dog. I’m hoping that maybe next spring or summer. I can go back up to Park Rapids and see Val Chatelle again. I would like to give them to the the owner or any family from this time period. So they have these pictures it for there records.
Was on the Ski patrol at Val in ’73-74. Many fun hours of Skiing. Only had one drunk to take down the hills all winter, no accidents.
Went to Val’s back in the 50’s and 60’s.Can’t remember much from back then but the onion rings were killer.
As a young kid 7-8-9 I remember going with my parents to have dinner, beautiful stairs, lots of windows looking out over the lake. My father was a high school teacher and all the waitresses knew him. It was really “fancy”!
In high school, late 1970’s, we went down hill skiing several times. The tow rope was murder. It was good clean fun! No wi-fi, internet, social media crap, no cell phones, just fun.
I recall when Val Chatel’s summer theater used Deep Lake to portray the arrival of the Vikings. Thanks for you interest in Minnesota’s early resorts. -Ren
Spent two of the best summers of my life portraying a Viking at Val Chatel.
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