Bernie Weichsel, producer of the Boston Ski & Snowboard Expo, named the Crowley family as winners of the 24th annual Bewi Award in recognition of their contributions to snow sports.

The Crowley family has operated [R488R, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area] in Princeton, Mass., since 1969.

"Wachusett Mountain Ski Area is an expansive winter playground close to Boston. It has been a leading snowplay area since Ralph and Fran Crowley opened the mountain in 1969. Now in the capable hands of their children and families, Wachusett is considered an industry leader in learn-to-ski and snowboard programs and an operational powerhouse in snowmaking and grooming capabilities," said the award announcement.

Wachusett, considered modest in terms of vertical drop, is consistently among the top 10 Northeastern areas in terms of skier and snowboarder visits each season. That's thanks to location, location, location, as Wachusett sits on the highest peak in southern New England, an hour's drive from 4 million people.

Chris Crowley, David Crowley, Carolyn Crowley Stimpson, and Jeff Crowley trekked to Boston to accept the award at a luncheon at the Venezia Restaurant. Ralph, the oldest sibling, was taking care of business back in Worcester, where the family owns and operates Polar Beverages, the nation's largest independent bottling company, founded in 1882.

Jeff spoke of his father, Ralph, taking the family skiing at Mount Snow in the old days, before the Crowleys were connected to Wachusett.

"He was standing outside the ticket window with all of us, had just shelled out for lift tickets, and said, ‘Anyone who can get $100 out of Ralph Crowley this early in the day has something going'," Jeff said.

The rest, as they say, is history.

More information: Wachusett; Bewi Sports.