Blame the kids.
Ray Forehand, his wife Anne Marie and their two kids, Savannah and Mac had a great life in Southport, Ct. The kids did well in school. Ray had an established business, Forehand + Lake, designing multi-million dollar homes and refurbishing interiors across Fairfield County—the types of homes that appear in glossy design magazines where the owners are only identified as “the owners.”
His weekend ritual, though, for the past 20 years has been to pack up the car and drive to a mountain-side home in Stratton.
That’s how it started.
“The kids started to become good skiers,” he sighs. “Really good. Next thing we knew, they wanted to enroll in Stratton Mountain School.” Savannah, a competitive mogul skier, did so in 2012 and Mac, her park-skiing little brother a year later. “The more time we spent up there, the more we wanted to be part of the year-round community,” Ray says.
So they traded in their on-mountain contemporary for a farmhouse in Winhall. Anne Marie and the kids moved up full time, and Ray now commutes back and forth, spending as many three-day weekends as possible. Savannah, who reached national-level status as a freestyle skier, has gone on to college at Skidmore. “What we liked about SMS,” Forehand says, “is the academics are just as important as the athletics.
Savannah really wanted to go to an elite college and study nursing. Because of the education she got at SMS, she can do that.”
As for Mac… well… this past April, at age 14, he won his slopestyle division (ages 13-15) at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Nationals (USASA) at Copper Mountain, beating more than 80 others from around the country. Freeskier Magazine has called him “the real deal” and his videos (below) have prompted members of the NewSchoolers digital community to comment: “Damn, what’s the X Games going to look like in five years.”
“Because of the kids, we’ve really become a part of this whole freestyle community,” says Ray, who recently joined the board of the USASA foundation. “And we wanted a place off the mountain where everyone can hang out.”
Though the house had good bones, Forehand has put his designer’s touch on everything from the furniture to the landscaping. A one-acre pond was dug this fall and he opened up the barn by adding windows. (“Barns are typically so dark,” he says). Throughout the house, the design too is best described as “freestyle,” mixing vintage Vermont pieces, modern Simon Pearce lamps and scavenged artwork with contemporary furniture of his own design. There’s even a nod to the west where Savannah and Mac spend much of their time with chairs upholstered in Pendleton blankets.
“The barn is great because we can have parties there with 150 people—and we do—or we can close it off when it’s just Anne Marie and the kids there. It has its own heat and water system,” Forehand says.
For now, they are living the dream—almost. “If I could find a way to move my business north, I’d move here full time in a heart-beat,” he says. Maybe he should take a lesson from his kids.
Photos by Durston Saylor; Mac Forehand skiing shot by Jesse Malis.