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Miner keeps enjoying northeast holiday traditions

U.S. bronze medalist hits up Vermont for Christmas Eve, Boston for Christmas Day

NHK Trophy bronze medalist Ross Miner celebrated his early Christmases in Vermont.
NHK Trophy bronze medalist Ross Miner celebrated his early Christmases in Vermont. (Getty Images)

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By Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com
(12/20/2012) - When asked about his childhood Christmases in Vermont -- where he was born and lived until about age 13 -- two-time U.S. men's bronze medalist Ross Miner said you could pretty much count on there being snow.

His family bought their Christmas tree at a farm down the road from their home in Williston, but quite a few of his friends' families would cut down their trees themselves.

"I used to go with neighbors and family friends and cut down trees with them. It was a social thing," Miner, 21, said. "Some of them had enough land where they could pick out trees from their own land."

One room in the Miner family home had extremely high ceilings, so they would have a pretty big Christmas tree. They kept it somewhat contained because Miner is an only child.

"We still had to decorate it. We tried to keep the branches in reach," he said. "Also, it looks a little lame if you have a huge tree and presents for one kid underneath it."

Miner's family lived in a neighborhood with other houses in close proximity, but as is fairly common in parts of the country where it gets extremely cold in winter, they did have a backyard skating rink. Theirs was quite sophisticated, thanks to his father. When the town of Williston wanted to put a sidewalk in front of their house, Miner's father arranged for them to also level out his backyard. He then created a very authentic rink.

As a kid, Miner played hockey and then started figure skating seriously.

When Miner's skating progressed, the family moved to Boston. His father's business is still based in Vermont, and he travels there weekly. The family spends Christmas Eve in Vermont with his father's business partner and his family.

"We always would go over there for Christmas Eve, spend the night with them and exchange little gifts," Miner said. "They live right on Lake Champlain. It's a really nice setting.

"Now, we have a very busy Christmas," he continued. "We usually will drive up to Vermont for Christmas Eve and do the same thing we always did. Then, on Christmas morning, we'll get up really early and drive back to Boston. We spend a little bit of time at home and then go over to Brittney Rizo's house. When we first moved to Boston, they invited us for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they've kept inviting us."

Miner and his parents typically open their gifts when they get back to Boston on Christmas morning.

Although he's got a pretty healthy metabolism, Miner doesn't overindulge during the holidays. He does allow himself a bit of his favorite holiday treat: eggnog. He and his parents make almond madeleines -- traditional little cakes -- which they give as gifts.

When asked about a favorite gift he's received, Miner said a set of golf clubs his father got him when he was 8.

"That was awesome," he said. "I remember not being able to use them for so long because it was winter in Vermont. I wanted to go golfing with my dad so badly. I finally got the chance and I was so excited. That was a great Christmas gift."

He admitted he's "notoriously bad" at gift-giving, but he did start his shopping early this year and promised to be done well in advance on Christmas. He brought at least one present when he was in Japan for NHK Trophy, where he won the bronze medal, but declined to say what.

Miner was in his car as this interview took place, and, just to reinforce the Christmas spirit, he described what he saw.

"There's a Sheraton that goes over the interstate. The side of it is lit up with 'Joy,'" he said. "They've arranged lights in the windows."