September 1952, the week before school started, Ben decided to experience a planned event at Mount Katahdin in Maine. Leaving in the morning, he did well hitchhiking. Around 2 A.M., he reached the small town of Moscow, Maine.

After an unsuccessful wait of an hour, a passing state trooper advised Ben to move. To increase odds, the trooper took him near railroad tracks where trucks passed. Shortly thereafter, he returned realizing that few vehicles were traveling the roads. He offered Ben two choices. First, the trooper took him to the jail. After smelling the odor of the cells, Ben asked, "What is choice number two?" Next, they went to the Warden's office where Ben attempted sleep on the floor.


In the morning, Ben returned to the railroad tracks. He quickly received a ride to Lake Millinocket, a previously determined rendezvous point. While witnessing the wonders of Baxter State Park, he enjoyed the social aspect of the climb. 

Returning from Maine, Ben entered Princeton University as a junior. Good friend, Bill Bardsley, a member of the Outing Club, began spiriting Ben's involvement with the group.




Winter 1953, Ben became involved in the Outing Club. With them, he enjoyed several northeastern ski areas. The group assembled two ski trips to Highmount, New York. On both occasions, they stayed overnight in the base lodge. Ben recalls how cold it became when the fire went out as the members attempted sleep on two levels of the lodge. At that time, Highmount offered five rope tows which developed greater vertical drop and variety than its popular neighbor Belleayre.


During the same period, two other trips were organized with Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. In Pine Hill, a hotel, not normally open in winter, accommodated the group as they enjoyed the skiing at Belleayre.

Through numerous visits to the Highmount area, Ben became curious about the mountain to the northwest. On sunny days at Belleayre, he observed clouds dancing over its summit. While surrounding peaks had little or no rime, he witnessed its brilliant displays of deep white.

In his own mind, Ben entertained the possibility the mountain might be a SNOW GENERATOR.