News of the Day


by Craig Altschul

Ever hear of Woodchuck Day? Waterbury’s local radio station WDEV’s sales manager, Tom Beardsley, thought up the promotion four years ago, said the Rutland Herald. His hope was to replace Phil as the true spring prophet. “The whole idea just made me start laughing. And it makes sense actually. Who would call a woodchuck a groundhog?” said Chris Graves, a Waterbury resident and self-proclaimed woodchuck. Among the 50 participants was VT Gov. James Douglas, dressed in a suit and tie, among the other fashionistas in oil-stained coveralls and fur-trimmed aviator hat. The celebration raised $1,760 for the Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation, an organization that assists Guard families as the soldiers deploy to Afghanistan. But, alas, there was no real-life woodchuck to forecast the next six weeks of winter. He/she left that up to Phil in the end. But, according to Beardsley, “…it’s just an idea for something stupid to do in the middle of winter.” Better watch out, Phil, your understudy waits in the wings.

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About Craig Altschul

Craig Altschul is Editorial Director of He is a veteran snow journalist, having covered the sport for more than 40 years. His syndicated snow sports humor column, Ski Tips, ran in newspapers across the country for 20 years. He was Global Editor-in-Chief for OnTheSnow for 12 years and has written for a variety of magazines and newspapers. Altschul is past president of both the Eastern Ski Writers Association and the North American Snow Journalists Association.

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