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Showing posts from 2010

Powder Storm

I love to ski in the powder,
I love to ski in the snow
I love to ski in then powder
Don't you know...

Ski Family!

Wow! For the first time in I don't really have any idea when, my dad, sister and I spent an entire weekend skiing together!! It actually wasn't even that bad. Lol! It's awesome just skiing around Killington, seeing everyone around the holiday - it's like having anlargebextended family (although I bet my sister and her boyfriend probably got a little frustrated with me stopping everywherebto talk to everyone.
Totally funny thing today - it was like a Warren Miller movie at the top of the SkyePeak Quad today! There was a gun at the bottom of the Stash that wasncompletely blasting everyone on the lift. It was like a three second snow blast - jesse's goggles were completely blasted! So then everyone had to get off at the top of the skye peak quad - but they couldnt move at all because the snow hadbfrozen on the bottoms of their skis, like a reverse wax! So you all these tufting to move off the lift but it was their skis werenjust glued right down to the snow! …

My New iPad!!

Okay so this is my first new post from my real world chromatids present - an iPad!!! so instead of going to bed I am here at 3:30 in the morning figure out how to type on my iPad. I am hoping that I will be able to do all the sorter of things that I have been doing on the computer but without all the hassle. right now I am only worried about how the hell am I supposed to upload photos to Facebook and then get them onto my extrnali hard drive. I do like how it has automatic caps after periods and for the word I - and my typing mistakes aren't coming through...I wonder if I can't just keep typing and it'll. Add apostrophes - and it does! Now two handed typing is a little strange, but I am pretty sure i wil get the hang of this super fast! The photo quality is amazing! Thank you to my little sister for this awesome gift. Great skiing with her today also! I am now a true American - I have an iPad!

Merry Christmas from the Resort!

Holy wow, I cannot believe how awesome the skiing has gotten in just the past two weeks!  The conditions are amazing and the open terrain is increasing daily!  The skiing is honestly the best Christmas skiing that we have had a long time, if I am remembering correctly.  But two weeks ago, the mountain was so bare that there was no Bear.  But now, Bear is opening a trail a day and wow!  would you believe how great the skiing under the guns on Wildfire is!  Will & I were cruising the mountain and each waved and yelled thanks to a lone snowmaker turning on the guns along Wildfire.  I think he was a little surprised at the thanks - but he shouldn't be - the snowmakers have been doing a phenomenal job this season!  From that unbelievably nasty rainstorm only two weeks ago to natural trails like North Star opening up, this is fantastic!  Combined with the blue skies that we had today and perfect 20 degree temps, how could anyone not be having an absolutely wonderful Holiday Vacation…

Photo Gallery: Winter 2010

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Damn my inside foot :(

Ever since I switched over from straight to shaped skis, I have been struggling with the two footed concept of skiing.  Not mentally, because keeping both feet on the snow makes perfect sense, but my inside foot just always seems to want to lift off the of the snow  :(  I know that I have other problems (like my nasty jersey pole flick habit), but the fact that I have yet to really take control over that inside foot really aggravates me.  Since tearing my right ACL last January, I can feel that I am trying to relieve some of the tightness during the roll-over transition by lifting up my right foot and stepping it around the turn instead of letting my ankle crank it over.  It has been really frustrating, because I thought that before my injury I was really getting it but now it feels like I am back at square one. 
So, what can I do?  I have been doing a lot of one ski exercises, trying to gain strength in that weaker leg and then reminding it what it should feel like during transition…

The Holidays are Upon Us!

Well, you can tell that the holidays are coming - every day there are more and more people filling up all the extra space on the trail.  While this is VERY good for business, it does not really make for the best trail and liftline conditions.  I knew it was time to head home today when someone skied over my tails in the liftline at the Needle's Eye Quad - one reason why I am a big fan of gondolas during the busy season.  It's harder for assholes to run over your skis when you don't have them on!

Of course, on the other hand, it is totally awesome that people choose to spend their winter vacation outside on the slopes than lazing around on some beach all day doing nothing  :(  Lift service skiing isn't exactly what you would call a workout, but it does help people to breathe in the cold winter air after sitting in a cubicle or classroom all the rest of their lives.  It's an awesome thing seeing a family with young kids braving the trails at Killington, although some…

Mancuso, Kildow & Vonn

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Over wings at Sushi Yoshi, my ski sister and I were talking about how skiing went with her seven year old daughter today. They were practicing whirlie birds on RamsHead. Somehow we ended up in a debate about Julia Mancuso versus Lindsay Vonn as role models for young female ski racers. I was kind of surprised that we were on opposite ends of this discussion, but for the same reasons: we both felt that our athlete represented a strong female.  But there is a third athlete hidden here: the Lindsey Kildow that lies stored away underneath
 
 When she first appeared on the scene, I was a Lindsey Kildow fan. She showed such a tough and dedicated work ethic, similar to Peekaboo Street and Diane Roffe-Steinrotter. She was big and strong, without making any apologies for her six to eight hour a day training regimen and her total commitment to ski racing. Mancuso, on the other hand, seemed to be having too much fun, running around with tiaras and beads instead of focusing on her run. The m…

Hopefuls!!

What another awesome day of program!!  Nothing reminds me more of how much fun skiing is than shredding the gnar on Snowshed with a bunch of five, six and seven year olds!

This morning I had the Pole Group - where we were working on Fore and Aft balance using thousand step turns...it's amazing when a six year old can explain to you that they are in the back seat, how they were able to determine that from how they were lifting their ski off the ground and then listening to a group of them discuss what they could have done to be more forward.  Watching young athletes discover their physical self-awareness is such an amazing moment :)  Then we tried leaving our tip on the snow while lifting our heels - and even the kids who were convinced they were forward began to realize how much futher their skiing has to go.  As we were heading into lunch, I heard one athlete tell another that they had the first part of the whirlybird down okay, but that they really needed to work on their tails …

Vespi hanging out in her Snow Cave

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A Pickle full of Idiots

Oh man was it difficult to get up this morning...but I had to return the Atomic Lady's demo ski that I totally flaked on returning to the Basin last night. So It's 10am and I'm on the K1 wearing a layer short of long johns on the bottom instead of curled up in my sleeping bag next to my little drummer boy.
Besides the fact that the brewery didn't show up for their own freakin' party, the boys rocked the Barrel!! Aaron let out this new machine gun style fills on War Pigs - so totally awesome and Eli's set list had us "dancing our asses off" right from the beginning! Noodling, moshing, head banging...I am feeling really old this morning :) I hope my turns don't suffer because it is a beautiful day, fighting with the Killington Cloud to be a bluebird one.
But the skiing is awesome!! There is a beautiful layer of light fluff from last night's covering some slightly stiff groomies. But we have had no probles finding the texture we've b…

Dynastar Eden 2011

Seriously, this ski just might be heaven for me!  I know that my dad has been skiing Dynastars for a pretty good chunk of time now and I guess perhaps they just fit the way my family skis - might have to get my sister on their bump ski and see what she says!  Now, granted I demoed these 85mm under foot skis on one of the most beautiful powder days of the year, providing me all the loving float that my body could handle (well I did get stuck in theigh deep snow once, but that was more lack of pitch than lack of float.  :) 

I was a little disapointed, I guess you could say, about the softness of the slight rocker tip, but it was only the last 10 or 15 cm rather than an entire front end so it was much firmer than the K2 Lotta Luv with the All-Mountain Rocker.  It was wonderful how I could float through the powder and then roll them onto their edges from some slightly aggressive railroad track turns.  I'm not so sure how they would have stood up to the rigors of the Ski Bum Race toda…

Powder, Work, Eat, Sleep

Well, that pretty much sums up my life for the last couple of days!  The skiing here has been amazingly awesome - what a difference from last Wednesday (when it was r***ing cats and dogs here)!  We have had over 20 inches in the past few days and I have been so busy skiing that I have completely forgotten to take pictures!  Maybe tomorrow...but it just hasn't stopped snowing for the past two days!  Rope after rope has been dropped as trails are building up an amazing base - things that we were afraid to ski only 2 days ago are now being skied by every Joey on the mountain!  Soooo amazing!  Thank you so much mother nature!

Nordica Conquer 2011

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So last Friday I had the opportunity to demo the Nordia Conquer, an extremely powerful women's ski, in a 154.  I am glad that I started out the morning with the boys, driving hard to be the first to the bottom of our warmup on Great Northern.  It's always good to have a warmup run - especially popping the cherry on brand new demos!  And wow!  These skis just blew me away right from the start. 

There is no complaining about the construction of these extremely durable skis.  I could tell right from the start that these skis could put in season after season, even for a local skiing over 100 days a year.  Yes, they were a little bit heavy - probably due to the rediculous binding-ski combo for sale.  I will say, the removal of binding choice from the consumer is an extremely frustrating one.  Do ski corporations not trust us to purchase the binding that best fits our technique - or do they just want to guarantee the binding sale?  :(  Either way, the ski was extremely solid and sl…

Ski Bum Food: Beef Stew

The Ski Bum Diet has gotten a pretty bad reputation over the years, and duly deserved.  I have eaten all kinds of snacks made from the condiments, crackers & marshmellows available at the base lodges, while simultaneously complaining about the quality of food available in the resort areas.  But I think that this past Thursday, amidst the first official powder day of the season, I had to take a warm-up break up at the Peak Lodge at Killington and ended up creating the grossest ski bum meal ever.

I grabbed my cup of hot water, making sure that I said hi to Ma Bailey on the way through the register area, and went and sat down my the fireplace.  Since I had stopped at the Waterwheel earlier, I had a package of Vermont's best beef jerky in my pocket. However, the cold weather had really stiffened up the jerky, making it almost impossible to chew enjoyably.  So, I thought, why not try to warm up the jerky by dipping it in my hot water?  Yum, that really was good! 

Of course, I just…

Growing a Winter Wonderland

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Once the temperatures drop up on the mountain top, something magical happens. All of a sudden, against all of nature's intensions, a winter wonderland begins to develop amongst the trees and trails above 3000'. Men in hard hats and heavy ear protection scurry back and forth between the Great Metal Dragons that line the trees, shooting forth the white-ish blanket that creates a ski bum's dream come true :)

My dad was up for the weekend and his only goal was a pilgrimmage throught the muddy & half-frozen snowcat tracks to the snowy wonderfulness. Even though the mountain is probably opening soon, it was important for him to get up and see the landscaping improvements - of which there are so many this year - before they are covered! It's going to feel like such a snowier winter because of all the trail regrading and pipe replacement that's been going on all fall. Plus, he wanted to check out what kind of snow they were blowing - and if it was skiable yet! It'…

Sing-a-Song of Winter

Where it's snowing
All winter through,
That's where I want to be.

Snowball Throwing,
That's what I'll do...
How I'm longing to ski!
Through the snow-ow-ow-ow...

"Snow" by Irving Berlin


I had the utmost pleasure today to hike up to the snow today. One of my most cherished reasons for living in the mountains - even if there is no snow down here, I can simply walk up to where there IS snow :) But it's the idea of walking across some weather line, as the percipitation goes from wet to moist to hard then light then...it floats down and feels just perfect as it covers the crunch of the leaves.
Vespi loves it too - she was very adamant about not going for a hike, but the look on her face when she saw the weather changing - she was a puppy again! And I? I was a kid again, laughing & running, throwing snowballs and singing at the top of my lungs!

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
Since we've no place to go
Let it Snow! L…

Reflection Season

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As a ski bum, the month of October has increasingly brought less and less ski time and more and more reflection time.  I tend to think of hiking as reflection time, because my brain has soooo much time to wander about.  Anyways, being post-harvest season there are plenty of things of which take stock and see what you need to get ready for winter hibernation.  And on the Access Road, this means that trips to the Post Office become grand adventures!  But what I tend to focus primarily on a few things...

(1)  Fitness & Nutrition (2)   Equipment & Technical Clothing (3)   Household & Traditional Clothing
You might ask if these are in any particular order, and I would say YES.  Definately.  Of all things, my Fitness & Nutriotion levels are the most important.  If I or anyone in my family are not mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming season then what is there?  That's a different blog, but once I have double checked my workouts (am I trail running enough?) and m…

Dreaming of the First Snow!

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One of the most prominent preoccupations of ski resort locals is tracking the weather.  I don't mean that we watch the Weather Channel when we get up in the morning and then go about the rest of our day.  I mean that we follow the weather, checking the radar several times a day, comparing our analysis of the upcoming system versus Jim Cantore, Alexandra Steele and our friends.  I have spent hours of my day watching for minute changes in the radar, hoping that the Nor'Easter will somehow combine with the cold air at the peak and give us a hint of what the upcoming winter will be like.

Since I tend to be an extremely impatient person, I tend to have my bags packed and ready to go at any moment.  Go where?  To the peak, of course, because the first snowfall usually happens around 2 or 3 in the morning, when the temperature drops just enough to turn that fall rain storm into something more wonderful.  So we watch the weather in hopes that she will reveal exactly which night we s…

One Season Does NOT a Ski Bum Make

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Over the past several years, more and more visitors to Killington have explained to me that either they or one of their kids was a ski bum once.  This means that they spent an entire winter working somewhere in a ski resort town, either as a waitress, liftie, bus boy or even a ski instructor.  This "year off," both mentally and financially supported by the parents, is meant to expose the youth to the real world and convince them of the righteousness of the nine to five.  I am told stories about the horrors of living with 'burnouts' and the relief of getting skiing out of their system so they can return to graduate school or some other brainwashed profession.  These individuals cannot cope with the lack of financial security, running quickly home to their parents and the materialistic American lifestyle to which they have grown accustomed.

These seasonal workers never were, are not and will never be ski bums.  The ski bum lifestyle is not something that you can get out…

Don't Blame the Boots!

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I have always been fascinated by the skier who always blames their equipment for any fault in their own performance.  I have watched people flop down the Powerline, getting tossed backwards by an unnoticable terrain change only to have to them swing their arms wildly forward, resulting in some kind of fore and aft struggle.  Or how about the skier who slaps through the moguls, skis slamming into each mound of snow like they were giving it five.  My personal favorite is the groomed trail skier who, if only they had the precision boot fit, would have been able to more easily maneouver down that 'poorly maintained' section of trail.  They all come skiing up to the group, barely having noticed their arms and legs flopping around them, and proceed to blame the failure to perform on the quality of the boots.
It seems to me that these people would much more benefit from redirecting their attention from this year's hottest trends in metal and plastic and would instead focus on what…

The Green Jacket: Marmot Ama Dablam

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A couple year's ago, we walked into Base Camp Outfitters at the bottom of the Killington Access Road on Route 4 and I saw her.

Soon, Soon...

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Ah, the beauty of Vermont's foliage.  Every morning it is such a treat to look out the window, gaze out at the multi-colored trees that are right outside my window and wonder, when the hell all these people are going to leave so that I can go play? 
For a ski bum, the foliage season means working until you're too exhausted to even go outside.  First, we have the leaf peepers, an extraordinary group of people that really do not belong in Vermont.  Although they have the most fascinating stories to tell and revel in just looking at our beautiful scenery, they do not understand our way of life.  They react in horror to tales of walking up the mountain, rarely offer gratuity above fifteen percent and constantly complain about the cold weather.  You are in Vermont, people!  Instead of trying to participate in our way of life, they park on the side of the road with their cameras and take pictures from inside the car!  It's almost like they feel death upon them if they left the s…

The First Hot Chocolate!

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Whenever it rains in September, the conversation inevitably turns toward predicted snowfall.  Over the past two days we have gotten enough rain to have been over two feet of snow - if the temperature had been about twenty degrees less.  But it's the dreaming that makes the foliage season so much fun.  Every leaf that falls, every drop of rain means that we are that much closer to the real thing falling from the sky.  It's so cold and damp that when we close the curtains and make a fire we can pretend that it's snow blowing around outside rather than torrential rain.  But nothing marks the oncoming winter season like that first mug of hot chocolate. 
My first mug of cocoa this year was at my mom's house in Vermont.  I had just gotten home from working at the Birch Ridge Inn and was feeling simply exhausted.  The autumn wind was howling outside and leaves were blowing just about everywhere.  Aaron had the most wonderful fire going in the two-sided stone fireplace and I i…

Foliage is for Trail Running!

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  Ah, the rainy season of foliage has begun.  The foggy weather is a bummer for the leaf peepers, but for the trail runners and mountain bikers, this season is HEAVEN!  Beautifully colored leaves litter the trails, except for a tire-wide stripe marking the best line through the rocks and roots.  I do love mountain biking, but I find that while the colors are in the trees it is much safer for me to trail run - this is because I spend too much time looking around at the beautiful trees rather than on the rough surface below.  I have fallen off my bike way too many times already during foliage; so I'll just stick to running until all the leaves are down and the trees are naked. 

I'm not upset though - the little bit of moisture has made the ground just a little bit smushy, which is perfect for my Vibram FiveFingers SPRINT!  You know, those wierd running shoes with separate spaces for all your toes.  I wear the Sprints and have had such a wonderful time playing in the woods!  Th…

Just Keep Paddling

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Since I am blessed with a lot of free time in the summer, I have the good fortune of returning to my childhood stomping grounds and participating the Bear Mountain Canoe Regatta, sponsored by the American Canoe Association.  This is a great event that has been around for decades and something that I have participated in since I first held a paddle.  As you can see, our team is fairly serious, in so much as that we all have matching shirts and smiles!  Most of our kids begin paddling as soon as they pass our waterfront test and it's all paddles and canoes from then on!  
Our team focuses on a combination of fun and responsibility - once our paddlers reach the age of fourteen, they can participate by becoming a Coach-in-Training, working with the younger paddlers on their skills.  But paddlers come in all shapes, sizes and ages.  My sister and her two-man partner made a return appearance this year, at the ripe old age of almost 30.  And I make sure that all the moms and …

Dock Dogs!!

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For the first time this year, the official DockDogs Competition came to Killington - and it has turned out to be one of the best events of the summer!  It was a great mix of professional athletes, local dogs and the old dogs who were just there for the social atmosphere.  Aaron & I followed Vespi around for a couple of hours as she sniffed her way through the crowd that was already over-flowing the bandstand in its first year!  She made tons of new friends, sniffed butts with some old ones, and came home with a big bag of homemade treats that would make any pastrry chef jealous  :)
The object of the game is to get your dog to jump as far as possible off of a running platform that is two feet above the water, the world record being over 28 FEET!  Since Vespi won't even jump off the dock, it was amazing to see these dogs not even flinch at jumping 13-16 feet.  One of Vespi's boyfriends, Sully, was competiting for the first time and ended up jumping over 13 feet, while our nei…

Changing Winds

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Our friend, Ben, came over the other morning for no reason whatsoever, and had the most exciting news to share.  While picking up his breakfast at the Phat Italian, summer was referred to numerous times in the past tense.  Now that may frighten some flatlanders or city dwellers with fears of preparations for the cold months ahead, but here news of Fall's arrival brings smiles of great anticipation for the months ahead.  Local folks start sneaking peaks at their skis and boards, shaking out the winter jackets and digging deep into the closet to find where those ski socks went.  It's a time of anticipation and questions, like When will the mountian open?  When is the first snowfall?
But what is it exactly that tells us that Fall is upon us and the months of screaming children are behind us?  For some it's that new-age American habit of throwing the pigskin.  For my dad, it's analyzing the final games before post-season baseball begins.  My sister, who lives in NY, had sta…

Echo Woods!

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Some trails at Killington are possessed by with a magical & mystical power. These are the trails where your soul seems to float just above the wide open groomers. Or perhaps you find magic in a trail so rarely open that any trip down without a scratch in your skis must have been glorious. For some, it's that magnificent bump run where survival is somehow translated into excellence. But there is one trail at Killington that has been my favorite since the beginning: the twisty turny tree trails of Echo Woods.

It would all begin with the begging at the top of Roundabout. "Please, Please?" we would whine at the top of our lungs.  Coach would eventually give in and we quickly found ourselves bopping down something that resembled a combination mogul & bobsled run that was perfect only for those with the right amount of energy and motivation. This was the trail toward the best chairlift in the entire world: The South Ridge Triple. With eyes closed and arms held high, we …

Our New Fridge

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After three months of trying to make ice and coming up with only water, we finally realized that our refrigerator was on its's last legs.  After months of denial, we began the slow process of saving up money to replace it.  We moved the rice milk, the tofu and eggs into the freezer, where we hoped they would have at least a fighting chance of survival.  It really was a sad state of affairs as we listened to our fridge make noises that I thought could only come from an angry bear as it fought for its life.  By early September we had succeeded in saving up the couple hundred dollars required to purchase the absolutely cheapest energy saver fridge on the market.  Then we made the fortuitous mistake of walking into Dick's Sporting Goods one beautiful summer day. 
We left Dick's that day with a canoe!!  Made of the same material as cheap sit-on-top kayaks, our hideously blue canoe was absolutely perfect.  The sales guy made the mistake of dropping the boat while trying to remov…

Ride the Beast Naked: Mountain Biking at Killington in the Summer

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“Weave left, right, now around that big rock - don’t look at the big rock - now the root, root, push down, don’t slip, tilt the bike, root, rock, around that branch, pull up, move left…whew, wait - ”


I was amazed at how fast these thoughts came flying through my head as I headed down Trail 7, one of the Black Diamond Trails at Killington Resort. I was riding with my friend, Will, who was visiting from Boston. Earlier, we had reintroduced his 17-year old niece to the sport and were excited to spend some time riding hard on the more difficult terrain. Moving fast through the rocky, off-camber sections that traverse through Patsy’s, I was definitely glad we had spent the morning warming up on the easier trails. Dropping right down the Rock Garden on Double Black 7, a gnarly section of the Gravity East Race Series Downhill course, would definitely not have been a great way to begin my season.

If you’ve ever enjoyed Killington on your board or skis, whether ripping through the woods or f…