Head West My Friend – Bye-Bye Nikki!

Photo By Tommy Stafford : Anyone that knows Nikki Chambers understands how accurate this photo just might be! - Seriously, Nikki was helping out with traffic control near the Ski Barn after a car crash at the intersection of Route 664 & 151. Friday - June 9, 2023

Beech Grove
Nelson County, Virginia

By Tommy Stafford

Never in a million years did I think one day, certainly not this soon, would I be saying goodbye to my friend and long time Ski Barn manager, Nikki Chambers. Nikki has been an institution at Ski Barn for the last 22 years. Long before there was anything else at the intersection of Route 664 & 151 in Beech Grove the bright blue rooftop building has literally been the crossroads of activity before you head up top to Wintergreen Resort.

Years ago when we established our BRL Weathernow Network we put a station at Ski Barn.

Click on the image above to see live real time weather from our coop station with Ski Barn at the foot of Wintergreen in Beech Grove.

Nikki was always willing to help out and didn’t bat an eye when we wanted to locate a station there.

Photo By Tommy Stafford : I recently stopped by to see Nikki while she was having a yard sale on the parking lot of Ski Barn. She was unloading a lot of stuff she doesn’t want to have to move to Lake Tahoe where she’s headed. Wednesday – May 31, 2023

“As I have gone through everything that I have gathered in these past two decades, I have also had to go through the decades before. I have lived many different lives. This one, however, the longest!,” Nikki told me as she was about to head out for good.

For almost 20 years I’ve made it a point to stop by Ski Barn every March into April and sit on the bench out front with Nikki and catchup on everything from the ski season that just ended. I never would stop in during ski season, way too crazy!!! But as the warmer days started to settle in the slower time would allow us to catchup on happenings.

File photo : You may remember a story we did on Nikki 7 years ago when she started accepting donations for West Virginia flooding victims. She didn’t wait on FEMA or state agencies, she started taking donations of supplies at Ski Barn and drove them over to personally hand off to those in need. Here’s a link to articles on that here and here. June 24, 2016
Photo By Tommy Stafford : Nikki Chambers (in the middle left side top) has a farewell dinner with former employees and friends at Margaratis Restaurant in Nellysford before shoving off the next day. June 12, 2023

“I have not lived near my family but, I have lived here long enough to make a new one.  Those that know me know I’ve been looking for change these past few years. I have found a new love in driving a school bus. Trying to find ways to continue to inspire and excite kids,” Nikki continued.

Photo By Tommy Stafford : Nikki’s son Eli (left and our son Adam) hanging out and saying their goodbyes before the family heads west. June 9, 2023

“My own child (Eli) has found an inspiration and an excitement for my love of gradient.  He is flourishing in downhill sports like snowboarding and mountain biking. Which has been easy enough with my lifestyle career at the Ski Barn. With limited opportunities for winter enthusiasts, we are going to an area where both my child and I have an opportunity to continue to be involved with snow, snow sports and mountains.  Another positive during these allergy seasons, I am not allergic to snow!,”Nikki says.

Photo By Tommy Stafford : Wintergreen Fire & Rescue Chief Curtis Sheets poses for a goodbye pic with Nikki shortly after an accident scene was cleared near the Ski Barn. Nikki has always pitched in the help local fire and rescue when needed at the intersection that’s seen its share of wrecks over the years. June 9, 2023

So, this is it. As this story is posting, Nikki has left the building!

Nikki is one of a kind, anyone that knows her, knows that! But I always found comfort in knowing Nikki was down there at the crossroads just south of Nellysford. She had her pulse on everything and in many ways it just won’t be the same.

That said, longtime Ski Barn employee Christy Brantley will be assuming the reins and has been named the new manager of Ski Barn.

I asked Nikki if she had any parting thoughts before heading out west. Her reply, typical Nikki, but so accurate.

“So here we go off into the wild blue yonder, Flying Tater Tot and Nik Kay!!”

All of you travel safely, Nikki. It was a good run here and best of luck to you!






Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here