Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Week 2: There's a New-Old Spirit in the Air at Killington

As I sit down to write this week's blog, there are still a few stubborn leaves blocking the view of Killington Peak from my kitchen table. I can see what has become a familiar site to those of us living here over the past few weeks: the perfectly clear blue sky just beginning to warm up the ground and the snowy smoke rising from certain trails which are now having their turn as the focus of our wonderful snowmaking team's attention.

There's a new feeling around town
...a new spirit...
and it is not the same one that rises from the depths of post-foliage every year.

This is a new spirit, a lighter, happier one.
More like an old-new spirit, because I have felt it here before.
When I was a child, when I was little and felt that the mountain was young, like me.

And it is a pervasive spirit, one that seems to be growing larger and has effected almost everyone I have stood in line, packed a gondola or ridden a chairlift with in the past week.

Snowboarders & Skiers,
Young & Old,
Killington Newbies, the Killingtime Gang and theOle K-Town Die Hards

...there is something going on here...

Maybe it's the amount of snow that is being blown, non-stop twenty-four hours a day, with a slight pause only for this past weekend's sixty-five degree temperatures?

Friday morning, I remember this feeling fairly overwhelmed me as we crossed Great Northern while riding the Glades Triple: they were blowing snow on Powerline.

Maybe it was the fact that, despite the Chamber Pass Meeting being on a Tuesday, those of us with current paystubs and last year's Chamber passes could bring both to Guest Services for a lift ticket to ski on Monday?

Could it have come from seeing new President & GM Mike Solimano greeting guests at the entrance to the K1 on Saturday morning or the friendly smile from Kait, who has been there every morning checking tickets and passes and actually seems interested in how the skiing is?

There has been eclectic music blasting at the bottom of the Glades, as I have seen people zoom around but not come anywhere close to each other. Maybe that's the reason?

Has it been because we have been dancing with the snowguns for so many days...or was it Friday when they finally were able to groom and we all went so fast it shook us a bit?

Or the local snowboarder who strapped off his board to help the patroller pull a tobaggan across the flats.

Or maybe the thoughts of a re-incarnation of the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge or the nightmares of last season's snowfall dead and buried...

There is a sense of time passing us by, like we are moving from the nightmares that have plagued us toward a new something else. This past week, Killington mourned the passing of one of it's magnificent co-Founders, Joe Sargent. The financial wizard behind our great mountain, the man who took Pres Smith's dreams and turned them into a viable reality, his passing has brought back so many memories for so many people in town. Thoughts of a Great Killington, one that could rise from a chicken coop to what will be a stunning peak lodge, have reemerged with a sense of obligation, commitment, quiet dedication...

A duty is being passed to us now, a mission, to carry on this freat legacy that he helped begin. To make sure that we have a mountain of which Joe's children and grandchildren can be proud. To stand guard over a mountain that for so many of us has become a home, the sacred place where we can be ourselves...

And for me, this week was filled with amazement, as my own father returned to the hill after being diagnosed with Stage IV Colorectal Cancer five months ago. While still going through bi-weekly chemo treatments, he now feels strong enough to walk...and for our family, that means skiing, too! The warm temps this past weekend meant that the cold weather neurological effects from the oxciliplatin would not bother him and we were free and clear. It might have been the longest top to bottom run I have ever taken in my entire life, but I can guarantee that I will remember every stop, every conversation, and every turn.

This mountain has to be wonderful if it means so much to so many.

So what is this spirit that has somehow reemereged over the past week throughout the mountains and town of Killington? Yes, it can be summarized and corporatized into corporate sayings and NPS scores, but it is rapidly becoming so much more than that.

It's the laughter heard as we load the chairlift after skiing sleeper pow on an early Tuesday morning when everyone thought it was going to be rain.

It's the Whoop Whoops let go by the people skiing in shorts beneath thsoe of us on the chair.

It's the beauty seen from the top of the mountain as we celebrate the existence of the Stwirway to Heaven.

It's the smile on the local's face because he can ride on Saturday mornings.

It's the amazement on our faces when we see guns lit up on Skyelark, Upper Bunny and Powerline weeks before Thanksgiving.

It's the pride returning to our town as we see all the hard work going into preparations for the Foundry at Summit Pond or the purchase of Bill's Country Store.

Great things are happening here, more than just the grooming and snowmaking, and the freakin' awesome snow with which have been blessed this past week.

There is hope and smiles, optimism and enthusiasm, and lots and lots of skiing!!

If you look through the snow covered trees,
you can see the magic is starting to return.

There is a new-old spirit in the air here in Killington.

The BEAST is BACK!!

May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for this beautifully written piece! It is so true what you say about the "old-new spirit" being back at Killington! I am exstatic to find that the "us against them" feeling that so many of us had last year is dead and buried! I was happy to meet Mike in the liftline at the K1 last weekend, and gladly showered him with "thank you"s!! We can be proud once again to call Killington our Home Mountain :) Woo Hoo!!!!

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  2. What you just wrote was soooo beautiful. it was the M.S. of words........I really loved the the part about if you can stand and walk, it means skiing.......Much love, Sicmd

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  3. Killington is HOME !!!

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  4. This entry was well worth the wait!

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    1. thank you, Martin!! Glad to know my thoughts are worth anything at all :)

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    2. i'm a Killington ski bum from 20 years ago! Thank you for reviving the beautiful memories!

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  5. Thank you for a wonderful post, it stumbled across this and am so happy I did. I felt the old new spirit there yesterday. Met Mike and a bunch of other people on the chairlifts. I think it is wonderful your dad is skiing, best of luck in his treatment. -Trish

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    1. Thanks, Trish! So glad you stumbled :) Thanks for sharing your love to my dad - and to the blog! Hopefully, we'll see you on the hill soon!!

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  6. Great write up though it is only my first year in ktown there is somewhat of an infectious energy here that I have never felt in this place before. Perhaps it's the optimism that it cannot be a repeat of last year. The great skiing and riding available or just the seemingly cheery disposition of everyone. Fact of the matter is this blog post sets the stoke in town to words like I can't.

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  7. Stoked you got turns with your pops too. No memories like skiing memories!

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