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Showing posts from October, 2010

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…