Okemo resort event celebrates love and marriage

Rajesh Budhani and Marco Barragan celebrate their engagement at Okemo on Saturday morning. All photos by Cara Philbin.

By Cara Philbin
©2024 Telegraph Publishing LLC

It was love at first lift for one couple who got engaged at Okemo Mountain on Saturday. “Skiing is the first sport we’ve truly enjoyed together,” Rajesh Budhani of New York City told The Telegraph, after he proposed to his partner Marco Barragan at the Quantum Six lift on Saturday morning.

“I like other sports, but Marco is an architecture and history buff. So this was really the first connecting sport for us,” Budhani said, adding that he knew that he wanted to pop the question while skiing, and that he chose Okemo as the location “because I love the village, the slopes, the space.”

Coincidentally, the couple was staying at the Ludlow ski resort during Vail’s Alpine Nuptials event pegged to Valentine’s Day. Amid live music, games and unseasonably warm weather on this February Saturday, guests were invited to the Jackson Gore base area to get married, renew their vows or get engaged with the help of Kim Vezina, Okemo’s manager of catering and conference service who is also an ordained minister.

Okemo’s Kim Vezina, center, an ordained minister, helps Larry and Donna Stein renew their vows on Saturday. The Long Island couple have been married 30 years.

In front of a carved wooden bear, surrounded by hundreds of people enjoying the mountain’s Valentine’s  festivities, Vezina led each couple through a short, casual ceremony tailored to their milestone. Budhani and Barragan arrived still in their ski gear, as skiers roasted marshmallows in a fire pit nearby.

“Okemo has always done weddings, but Vail now has a special events team,” said Joe Healy, Vail’s corporate communications manager for Vermont and New York. “They work hard to fuse each couple’s love and shared passion for skiing into their wedding.”

According to Healy, Saturday’s  Alpine Nuptials was meant to spotlight Okemo’s wedding business, which Vail is now incentivizing. He said that couples who book a wedding at Okemo in 2024 will receive a $1,000 event credit, a two-night stay, and a $200 product gift card.

Budhani said he and Barragan haven’t yet decided whether to marry at Okemo, but that the short ceremony and toast at the base area made their engagement even more memorable.

Others were there to celebrate many years of marriage, and as a novel way to do aprés ski.

Eddy and Cheryl Braucht of Cavendish renewed their vows with children William and Olivia.

“We knew that because of the weather, we’d stop skiing early,” said Larry Stein, who saw on Okemo’s website that he and his wife Donna Stein could renew their vows. “We thought, why not?” said the couple, who has been married for 30 years.

“We came to Okemo when we were dating, and have been skiing here for over 30 years,” Donna told The Telegraph. While the couple’s primary residence is on Long Island, they consider Ludlow their “home away from home.” “Our kids learned to ski here,” she said.

One local couple said they were happy that their whole family could be present for their vow renewal ceremony.

She and her husband Eddy Braucht had just “celebrated our 20-year wedding anniversary in October,” said Cheryl Braucht of Cavendish. “This is local and we could bring the kids along, so we figured, why not?”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: Community and Arts Life

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.