Painting for The Saturday Evening Post cover, January 24, 1948.
In this quintessential picture of skiers traveling to the slopes of Vermont in the 1940s, Rockwell captures the spirit of the times and documents a style of travel now almost completely vanished. The Rutland Railroad, part of the New York Central System, dispatched several passenger trains each day that linked Arlington with New York and Montreal. With the Winter Olympics of 1932 held across Vermont’s Lake Champlain in Lake Placid, skiing became fashionable and ski areas opened throughout the state. The movie White Christmas in 1942 further mythologized Vermont as a winter wonderland, and in 1944 Moonlight in Vermont was a popular tune around the country.
Like the city slicker on the ski train, Rockwell was never regarded as a Vermonter. He had their admiration and affection—some people said posing for him was more fun than going to the movies—but in the end Rockwell was still a different breed. Probably realizing he would never completely fit in, Rockwell posed himself, in one of the coach seats that was shipped to his studio from Albany, as the out-of-place urbanite. “I’m the unathletic little guy in the fedora hat and Chesterfield coat surrounded by all those robust skiers with red sweaters. I got the idea on a train ride to Lake Placid.”