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Farewell to Michael Pfaff, captain of the 'Bonnie' at Jay Peak

A man with long hair waves a pirate flag in front of a ski lift.
Tim Fater
Jay Peak
Michael Pfaff was a lift operator at Jay Peak for about a decade, though he didn't ski or snowboard himself.

Michael Pfaff, a beloved community member and unmistakable presence in Orleans County, died this week. He was a longtime lift operator at Jay Peak ski resort and worked at Parker Pie Co. in West Glover.

Pfaff had long hair, a goatee, and flew a pirate flag at the bottom of the Bonaventure Quad Chair. He was a lift operator at Jay Peak for about a decade, though he himself didn’t ski or snowboard, and somehow never wore a hat.

“We get a lot of props for snow, and the most snow in New England, and glade skiing and all this and that, [but] at the end of the day, it's the human beings that run the business that make this place different than other places,” said Steve Wright, Jay Peak’s president and general manager. Pfaff was one of those people.

Wright says Pfaff could connect with people instantly. Whether it was tousling a kid’s hair or saying, “attaboy” or “keep going” as he loaded someone on the lift, he always knew what people needed to hear.

A black and white photo of a man with a goatee and long hair.
Bear Cieri
Jay Peak
Michael Pfaff manned the Bonaventure quad chair at Jay Peak for nearly a decade. Jay Peak president Steve Wright called him "the captain of the Bonnie."

“There were people that would come to Jay Peak and they would say, ‘Let's go ride Mike's chair.’ They wouldn't say ‘Let's go ride the Bonnie.’ But they would say, ‘Let's go see Mike,’” Wright said.

It was the same at Parker Pie. Anne Eldridge owns the pizza restaurant and knew Pfaff for years.

“He was just such a such a great person to be around, just all the time,” she said. She said he was proud of his work at Jay Peak, proud of the pizzas he pulled out of the oven at Parker Pie, proud of his two older daughters, proud of his partner, Sandrick, and of their two young kids.

Eldridge says Pfaff he was magnetic, funny, and one of those people who everyone knew.

“He was so amazing at everything he did, whether it was his jobs or being a dad or just helping people out however he could. He brought so much joy to people,” she said.

Pfaff was 50 years old.

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Anna worked for Vermont Public from 2019 through 2023 as a reporter and co-host of the daily news podcast, The Frequency.
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