Kris Dobie ‘98
Kris Dobie ‘98 grew up in Walpole, New Hampshire and attended TGS from kindergarten through eighth grade. The outdoors and cross country skiing have been lifelong passions.
I think often of my time at The Grammar School, even now that I’m in my thirties. Not so much the day-to-day schedule of bus rides and classes, but the role it’s played in my life to this point. It’s difficult to explain; like explaining how to breathe, it’s simply ingrained on the most basic level. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved being outside, and needed outdoor activity to be my best in other areas. The Grammar School not only provided the opportunity, but actively fostered it. There were classes held outside on warm spring days, group activities around the Maypole, walks to the Culvert for swimming, ice skating at [former TGS teacher] Dave Rothschild’s house, and hikes to Green Mountain Orchards in the fall.
And there was the skiing. My first pair of skis was purchased for PSD class, and I have vivid memories of Tuesday afternoons spent skiing in the soccer fields or trails around school. Early on I liked to join my friends downhill skiing at Maple Valley, but my passion for cross country skiing developed quickly, in large part thanks to Chris and Mary Heller Osgood. Soon I joined the Bill Koch League, which meant ski practice after school, races on weekends, and frequent trips to West Hill Shop for gear (the wax room/woodstove smell of the shop still brings me back in time as soon as I walk through the door). After TGS I moved on to the Stratton Mountain School and Colby College where I continued ski racing, and spending the requisite countless hours training outside.
After skiing competitively from grade school through college, I needed a break from racing but wanted to continue to be involved with the cross country skiing community in New England. I had an interest in photography and started by working as a photographer for the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) and the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA), then for various touring centers and sponsors. I now work full time as a nurse, but freelance as a photographer, which helps me keep in touch with skiing and many of the people I grew up seeing every weekend at races – in a way this community feels like my second family.
I think my time at The Grammar School had such a significant impact on my love of the outdoors because these activities were incorporated into everyday life there. They were special breaks from class, but not unusual. My life now is similar — being outside is simply a part of the routine, but it’s the part that rejuvenates me for everything else. I couldn’t function without that time skiing, biking, running, hiking, or walking the trails around our home — just ask my wife. She would also tell you that it’s contagious: she’s developed an affinity for hiking and is learning to ski. Now that we have a young son, we’re trying to prioritize providing him opportunities to appreciate the outdoors as well. Our quality of life is better because of the time we spend outside, but also indirectly because of how that time refreshes us and allows us to focus on career, family, and friends. Thank you for helping me to lay a foundation of values that I’m proud of and for driving me in ways that I continue to discover.