Corey, Kelly, Kylee, and Cayden Hacker
Corey, Kelly, Kylee, and
Cayden Hacker

By Jeff Martin and Alicia Dziak

Many families in and around Ellicottville can count generations with a deep love for skiing. When you find something you’re passionate about, it’s amazing to be able to share that passion with the people you love the most.

This story begins in 1960 with the Woodrow family, a family that included five siblings —  Tom, Bunny, Dan, MaryLyn and Barb —  who began skiing when the Buffalo News offered free skiing lessons at Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park. The kids quickly became addicted to skiing, and this acquired trait now seems to have made its way into the family’s DNA.

Over the next 15 years, all the Woodrow siblings and many of their spouses served in the National Ski Patrol at local resorts, worked as ski instructors, or found another connections to skiing in Ellicottville —  and that connection lives on today.

Tom Woodrow’s son, TR, is a Level 2 PSIA instructor and has instructed at Steamboat Springs, as well as at local ski areas. This season, TR joined HoliMont’s FLITE Team coaching younger athletes. TR’s son, Colin, is a newcomer to the FLITE team this season.

MaryLyn (Woodrow) Boberg and her husband, Greg, are still aligned with the National Ski Patrol — MaryLyn at HoliMont and Greg at Holiday Valley. MaryLyn’s daughter, Lindy Monczynski, is on HoliMont’s Safety Patrol and her son, Robbie Monczynski, is a former coach for the FLITE Team. Greg’s son, Cody, patrolled at Holiday Valley before joining the United States Navy.

Barb (Woodrow) Cudeck is a National Ski Patroller at HoliMont. She patrolled at Kissing Bridge until 1988, when she moved to HoliMont and has patrolled there ever since.

Barb’s husband, Mike, also a member of HoliMont’s safety patrol, learned to ski in his 40s so that he could better appreciate the freestyle competitions that his children, Brittany  and Corey, participated in around the U.S.

Brittany Cudeck began skiing at Kissing Bridge, then competed for HoliMont’s Freestyle Team. She competed on the national level, but injuries cut her seasons short, and she returned to Ellicottville to coach in HoliMont’s Freestyle Program before it was called the FLITE team.

Brittany’s brother, Corey Hacker, also began skiing at Kissing Bridge and became a member of the U.S. Ski Team. His wife, Kelly, also a U.S. Ski Team member, learned her skiing skills at Holiday Valley. In 2007, the two began leading HoliMont’s freestyle program, changing its name to the FLITE Team. Corey and Kelly have two children, Kylee, 4, and Cayden, 2, who already hit the slopes.

Kelly’s brother, Rich Hilliman, and his wife, Kate, also have ties to the ski industry in Ellicottville. Rich, a seasoned freestyle skier who also worked for the U.S. Ski Team, is a coach for FLITE Team. Kate is a snowsports instructor at HoliMont.

Barb’s daughter, Jennifer Crotty, has been a ski patroller at HoliMont since 1997, today serving as the head patroller on Wednesdays.

Jennifer’s husband, Sean, is the HoliMont FLITE Team Manager, as well as a safety patroller, at HoliMont. He also created the Lake Effect Firefighters Ski Race, an event held in conjunction with HoliMont’s Ski-Scape every year, which benefits Kids Escaping Drugs.

Sean’s sister, Kim Crotty, has been patrolling at HoliMont since 1998 and currently serves as the Patrol Director.

Sean and Jennifer’s children, Lexi, 13, and Brandon, 10, both ski for HoliMont’s FLITE Team. They have been skiing since they were four, currently competing in moguls, aerials and slopestyle, and spending summers training in Lake Placid with teammates.

When asked why skiing is so important in her family, Lexi replied, “It’s been in our family for a couple generations and it brings our family together.”

Her brother agrees.

“I think skiing is so important to me and my family, because it gets me outside during the winter to have fun and to spend more time with my family,” Brandon said.

Both children also hope to work at a local ski area someday.

“I would probably be a ski patroller or a park maintenance worker,” Lexi said.

“I would like to operate one of the ski lifts, because the lifties there are fun and look like they have fun every day I see them,” added Brandon.

It’s been over 50 years since the Woodrow children first hit the slopes, and the love of the winter sport that brings everyone in Ellicottville together runs deep in this family, branching out in every direction of the family tree.

“I am extremely proud to serve for 36 years in the National Ski Patrol and experience the awesome family traditions Ellicottville affords us,” said Barb. “It has been a wonderful opportunity watching my family grow and enhance their relationships skiing together as a family. The entire experience just makes spending time with our family so much better.”