By ELLEN MILLER AND GEOFF GOINS
I remember going to a cross country ski convention one year and people were talking about gourmet ski events at their resorts. They all had their own food service, though, so I was trying to think of a way to adapt that event to Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area (EFXCS). Hot food? Nope. Too much work and too unsafe. So, I came up with the idea of letting local restaurants “show off.”
After the first year, we remember it as starting in 1987, one restaurant owner grumbled when I went to pick up desserts, but then a bunch of Just Desserts participants went to his place because of his amazing desserts. I still have fond memories of some desserts, like Brett Lewis’ 18-layer chocolate cinnamon torte and Ilse Woerndle’s apple strudel. Early on, we also had individuals who wanted to contribute, because it’s fun, so we have seen some amazing desserts over the years from them, too.
My mom would start calling or dropping by around February to see who wanted to participate and our longtime ski patrol/ski instructor, Bob Blair of Arroyo Hondo, developed a system for delivering desserts that is so perfectly organized.
EFXCS has hosted many events over the years. Some—like the laser tag biathlon—didn’t work as well as we had hoped. Some—like races—have a typically modest turnout; but the only event to compete with Just Desserts for turnout is the Christmas night Luminaria Tour!
Shortly after Ellen and I purchased Enchanted Forest from John and Judy Miller, we were at the New Mexico State Fair and the Future Farmers of America (FFA) barn with baby farm animals—you know, ducks and goats and pigs, etc. At the end of the barn is a big slot board where you vote for your favorite baby animals. The proceeds benefit the FFA.
Fast forward to that winter and Just Desserts, and I remembered that voting board at the FFA barn. Why couldn’t we have jars where participants could vote for their favorite dessert and the proceeds could go to our local Red River charter school? We bought some quart jars and cut slots in the lids and labeled them with the desserts presented that day. It was a smash. People were coming in to get more change just to vote more! I think we raised something like $350 that first year. —Geoff Goins