Climbing skins

In Fun

My great-grandfather Rockwell Stephens was a lover of backcountry skiing. My ancestors mostly settled in Pennsylvania, and my family has roots there going back to the 1700s. However, all of my living relatives strongly identify as Vermonters. We grew up haying in the fall, maple sugaring in springtime, and skiing all winter. Rockwell moved to Vermont because of his work selling European-imported climbing skins, and later started his own small manufacturing company of climbing skins. (Climbing skins provide traction so that a skier can hike up a mountain with their skis on. As pictured here, they were once made of seal skins; now they're typically made of nylon.) When he and my great-grandmother settled in South Woodstock, Vermont, they made way for the Putnams who are alive today: farmers, cheesemakers, environmentalists, outdoors-people. My parents met backcountry skiing. My understanding of self and identity has shifted since I moved to New York, but I have three generations of Vermont Putnams that define my sense of home.

Year: 1944

– Eliza Putnam

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more