Guy’s Gambit

Ski season is now officially started—Killington opened on November 5th and snow is falling in the mountains of New Hampshire—and it is time to get serious about getting yourself ready for another season of fun on the slopes.

If you just got the skiing bug a year or two ago and have been renting or leasing, now is the time to think about a shift to the next level. Rental gear is great for getting started, but once you pick up the basics, rental gear just can’t take you any further in building your skills and ability to charge hard all across the mountain.

So here’s a deal for all you male skiers out there who are thinking about making the shift from renting to owning ski gear. For $599.95 Avie’s Ski / Sports will put your feet into a pair of brand new ski boots that you will click into bindings atop a pair of brand new skis. There will be no charge for binding set up and adjustment, and you get a pair of aluminum ski poles to complete the package.

While today there really is no such thing as a “bad ski,” Avie’s has chosen 3 pair that will be best suited to getting you on the path to cruising hard and fast down the slopes. You get to choose between Nordica Navigator 77 CA, Blizzard Thunderbird 7.2, and Volkl Deacon 72 skis. Each of these is a huge step up from rentals—all are performance skis that are just a bit forgiving so you can take your skills to intermediate / advanced intermediate level quick and easy. Click Here and go check out the skis.

An Avie’s boot fitter will work with you to get your feet into a perfectly fitting pair of Dalbello DS AX 75, Roxa R-Fit S, or Tecnica Mach Sport HV 70 ski boot. Any of these three boots will give the snug, wrap around fit that will have you wondering why you didn’t do this sooner. These moderate flex boots will help you drive the skis into and out of turns but still be forgiving enough that you can relax and have fun when you just want to cruise. Click Here to go check out the boots (a short scroll down).

Building your first ski quiver can’t be any easier than this. Avie’s has set the playing field in your favor; you need to make the next move. What goes into your ski package is limited to skis, boots, and poles that are in stock. Getting over to Avie’s and shopping now will provide you with the broadest selection of ski and pole lengths, and boot sizes.

Think Snow! We hope to see you soon at Avie’s Ski / Sports.

Girl’s Game

Ski season is now officially started—Killington opened on November 5th—and it is time to get serious about getting yourself ready for another season of fun on the slopes. If you started skiing a year or two ago and have been renting or leasing, now is the time to think about a shift to the next level. Rental gear is just great for getting started, but once you pick up the basics rental gear just can’t put you on the path to improving on a consistent basis.

So here’s a deal for all the women skiers out there who are thinking about making the shift from renting to owning their own personal ski gear. For $599.95 Avie’s Ski / Sports will put you into a pair of brand new ski boots that you will click into a pair of brand new skis. There will be no charge for binding set up and adjustment, and you get a pair of aluminum ski poles to complete the package.

While today there really is no such thing as a “bad ski,” Avie’s has chosen 3 pair that will be best suited to getting you from beginner into intermediate level skiing. You get to chose between Nordica Wild Belle 74 CA, Blizzard Phoenix 7.2, and Volkl Flair 72W skis. Each of these is a big step up from rentals—all are performance skis that are a bit forgiving so you can take the skills you have and expand them into becoming an intermediate / advanced intermediate level skier. Click Here and go check out the skis (a short scroll down).

An Avie’s boot fitter will work with you to get your feet into a perfectly fitting pair of Dalbello DS AX 65W, Roxa R-Fit Sport W, or Tecnica Mach Sport HV 65W ski boot. Any of these three boots will nestle your feet into a comfortable but snug fit that will have you wondering why you didn’t do this sooner. These moderate flex boots will help you learn to drive the skis into and out of turns but still be forgiving enough that you can relax and have fun. Click Here to go check out the boots (a bit longer scroll down).

Building your new ski gear outfit can’t be any easier than this. What goes into your ski package is limited to skis, boots, and poles that are in stock. Getting over to Avie’s and shopping now will provide you with the broadest selection of ski and pole lengths, and boot sizes.

Think Snow! We hope to see you soon at Avie’s Ski / Sports.

Avie’s 21/22 Skis & Boots!

The latest crop of skis and boots and bindings are lining the shelves at Avie’s Ski/Sports. All the goods from Armada, Blizzard, Dalbello, Elan, Marker, Nordica, Roxa, Tecnica, and Volkl for the upcoming season of snow are ready and waiting.

Go the Avie’s website and check them out. Better yet, get over to the shop and meet them in person.

There is a great selection of sizes, colors, styles, and models to choose from. But the images above are a bit misleading. I thought I should be truthful. I took the pix before all the gear from Armada and Nordica made it into the shop. But they are there now. Apologies for being misleading.

So the current inventory of skis and boots is huge! But the longer you wait to go check out the new goods the less there will be to ponder over.

While we never know how much snow we will get or how conditions will be, you can make sure that you are ready for whatever winter brings if you get you gear now.

Come in and browse. Ask questions. Get fitted for boots. Select those new skis and poles. Then smile, because you can’t help it. How could you not?

Roxa Element 120 I.R.

One of the benefits of working at a ski shop is that you get to see, touch, and learn about the wide diversity of equipment available to skiers and riders. There is a down side. It is tempting to acquire equipment!

This season I did acquire a few new things. And I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts about those items that I now have had the opportunity to try out. Here are my thoughts on one item.

3-Buckle Cabrio Boots

I am a bit of a sucker for 3-buckle Cabrio ski boots. I have fallen in love with the progressive flex from this style of boot. They also are a snap to get a foot into compared to traditional 4-buckle overlap boots.

For years I skied in Dalbello Krypton 130 boots, and loved them. But, at 98mm width, they were quite narrow. I do have a narrow foot, so they fit, and fit well. But while I can’t say they were comfortable, I also can’t say that they weren’t. They certainly weren’t painful. However, at the end of the day, it was sooooooo nice to get out of those oh so very snug boots.

Roxa Element 120 I.R.

Enter the Roxa Element 120 I.R. ski boot. This is a 99mm last (width) boot. But with adjustment of the toe buckle it can be expanded by a couple of millimeters. While that doesn’t sound like much, to your foot, it is. Enough so that this boot, for me, becomes “comfortable.”

Sure, I could jump up to a 100mm last boot. I tried that. And while I got the “comfort” in the toe box, my narrow foot had too much room everywhere else. That made for a slightly sloppy fit, which I did not like. The adjustable toe box on the Roxa Element 120 I.R. solved that dilemma.

Intuition I.R. Liner

The Roxa Element 120 I.R. boot comes with the incredible Intuition I.R. boot liner. This liner is a “wrap” liner, so called because it wraps around your leg. The wrap provides extra structure making for a stiffer, more responsive boot controlling the ski. The Intuition I.R. liner is also incredibly warm. Yes, warm. In a ski boot.

Finally, the Roxa Element 120 I.R. boot comes equipped with GripWalk. If you haven’t yet heard about GripWalk, you need to pay better attention! GripWalk is becoming the new standard for ski boot soles. GripWalk provides a bit of rocker in the sole, making walking much more natural feeling. And there are rubber grips on the sole instead of just slippery hard plastic. So the boots actually grip while you walk. GripWalk! Bindings not GripWalk compatible? No worries. Element 120 I.R. comes with standard soles you can swap out until you get GripWalk compatible.

Grilamid Poly

Sure, you never heard of Grilamid. Neither did I. Until I hefted an Element 120 boot. I looked at Ben, the Avie’s rep for Roxa and said—”This boot is feather light! What’s missing?” His response—”Good for nothing extra weight.”

Roxa is using some incredible state of the art plastics in making their boots, and Grilamid is one of them. This “super plastic” is incredibly strong and rigid. But unbelievably light in weight. Because of the strength, less is used. Add less plastic used onto the fact it is lighter, and you get a boot that is feather light. Need an extra benefit? Grilamid is NOT affected by cold. So it does not get brittle, despite it being thin and light.

In summary—3 buckles, easy entry, comfortable, warm, super light weight, great for walking. But how do they ski?

On The Slopes

Clicked into a pair of skis, Roxa Element 120 I.R. boots perform spectacularly. The buckle above the bridge of the foot locks the heel snuggly into the heel pocket of the boot. No slipping, no lift. Nestled in the I.R. liner the leg is directly connected to the ski via the boot so great control can be exercised.

What I can say is that the Roxa Element 120 I.R. ski boot is a comfortable, powerful, controlling ski boot. Because the boot is Cabrio-style, the flex is progressive rather than immediate. Personally, I like the progressive power application when I am skiing around the slopes mixing things up between carving and just goofing around. The skis can be driven with as much or as little power as I want in a very controlled fashion. They allow me to ski in a much more relaxed manner than if my feet are inserted into a similarly stiff 4-buckle overlap boot.

Undeserved Bad Reputation

I have heard comments that 3-buckle boots lack power and can’t drive the skis. That is indeed a true statement when applied to 3-buckle—not Cabrio-style—ski boots. 3-buckle boots are often seen in rental boots, where there are simply 3 instead of 4 buckles to make it easier for novices to get feet in an out. But these boots, while having 3-buckles, are NOT Cabrio-style 3-buckle boots. They are 4-buckle overlap boots that are missing a buckle. See “3-Buckle vs. 4-Buckle” for a more detailed comparison.

Because of the very incorrect comparison noted above, a lot of misinformation has been spread about Cabrio-style ski boots. As a result many skiers shy away from some really great ski boots when they see 3-buckles. And that’s really too bad. They are missing an opportunity to find some new magic in how they ski. Indeed, some may not like the progressive nature of a 3-buckle Cabrio boot. It is a different feel. But if you don’t have the open mind to try it, you will never know. I am glad I did.

The difference, by way of an analogy, might be the difference between an incredibly loud alarm to wake you up in an immediate and reactive fashion versus an increasingly louder alarm until the response of wakefulness is achieved. While sometime we need that loud alarm, maybe we don’t want it all the time.

Some Final Thoughts

In closing, Roxa Element 120 I.R. ski boots are great companions for my feet. I can slip into them quite easily and back out again at days end. In between my feet are comfortable. And warm. They provide the progressive power control I prefer when free skiing, and they have the ability to provide plenty of power to drive a ski into a carve without effort.

Those looking for a bit more stiffness should look at the Roxa R3 TI I.R. boot series. Ray Gomes, another Avie’s staff person is skiing those boots. He is a very powerful skier who takes his skis and boots everywhere there is to go on the mountain. He recently was at Waterville Valley skiing on many of the skis we will have in the shop next season. Ray skied everything from big, fat powder skis to skinny slalom skis over 2-days. I asked how his Cabrio boots worked, and specifically how he liked the Roxa R3 TI I.R. boots. His response—”They are incredible! They drove every ski without issue no matter what ski and where I took them. And 3-buckles? Why have one you don’t need? I love the power strap buckle up top. Great feature.”

Is there a downside?

Yes, but a minor one. At days end, once I am back home or wherever I am spending the night, I pull out the liners to let them completely dry. I know most folks do not do this, but I do. When the liners get pulled out, the tongue of the boot tips out and completely over the toe of the boot. That’s kind of nice as then everything is open and getting the liner out, and back in, is a snap. The problem is that the buckles all end up under the tongue as you pull it back up to the front of the boot. If I had at least 3 arms and hands, maybe I could gracefully reassemble the boot. So far I have not been able to do that. It takes less than a minute to move buckles and tongue around and get things all squared away.

But there is a fix. Hook the toe buckle up on the last tooth of the stay but don’t snap it closed. You can get the liner out, and back in, but it takes a bit of force and good alignment of the liner to get it to slip back in. If you don’t regularly remove your boot liners, this is not an issue. You can do this same “trick” when slipping your foot in and out of the boot. It works quite well for feet but is a bit more effort for liners.

While annoying, I don’t find it a game breaker for wanting to take part in all the great assets of clicking Roxa Element 120 I.R. boots into my ski bindings. The comfort, warmth, and performance all quickly make up for that minor distraction.

A final word on the Intuition I.R. liner

Generally, when we fit boots at Avie’s we tell people we can “cook” the liner for a great fit. And then we recommend not doing that unless there is something that doesn’t feel quite right. The Intuition I.R. liner really wants and needs to be heat fit to the wearer before hitting the slopes. In this way best fit is ensured. At Avie’s we can do this right in the shop once you decide these boots are “for you!” This will give a near perfect fit, which will become truly perfect the first time you wear them out on the slopes. The heat you generate in the boot will finish the custom fit process naturally.

Don’t shy away from 3-buckle Cabrio boots. Give them a close look. They have much to offer.

11 Degree Smile

Where is one of the few places you could be where the temperature is 11 degrees and you have a big smile? The obvious answer is a ski mountain.

That was the situation for me this past Tuesday.

As I pulled into the parking lot at Mount Sunapee the thermometer in the car registered 11 degrees. But the sky was bluebird clear and there wasn’t so much as a whisker of a breeze. So booting up at the car in the parking lot was not so very bad.

Once again I put my boot bag on the passenger side seat. And once again I turned on the seat warmer about a half hour before getting to the slopes. My boots, while not exactly toasty, were definitely nicely warmed. I stuck my gloves behind the boot bag so they were up against the heated seat back rest. They were nice and toasty.

The crowds were a bit lighter than the week before and there were more trails open from the summit to base. That made for an even more fun time letting gravity have its way with me. Because it was nice and cold, the snow was firm and fast. And it stayed that way.

Conditions have improved over the past week. Yes, there was a bit of snow that fell up north. Not a ton but enough to freshen things up a bit and have a few more trails open up. I skied my first black diamonds of the season, just to remind my legs that not every run from the top was going to be on “Easy Street.”

All in all it was a great day on the slopes. And with the temperatures staying cold—in fact getting REAL COLD this weekend—the snow will certainly not melt. It also looks like some more snow is on tap for early next week, meaning another freshen up and perhaps more trails opening for use.

Yes it is a bit odd not being able to boot up in the lodge. And it is very odd to walk into a lodge and see it nearly, if not completely, empty. Odd as well to see the edges of the parking lot festooned with Port-A-Potties. And odder still to see a single skier or rider on a quad chair going up alone when there is a line of skiers and riders waiting for a chair to the summit.

But skiers and riders are still smiling and having fun playing in the snow. Maybe it’s because it’s 11 degrees. Or maybe it’s because the people who like to be outside and smiling when it’s 11 degrees are adaptable and willing to slide around or bash through the moguls life tosses in front of them. Of course it could be that incredible feeling of freedom when gravity tugs and your world collapses into a tunnel where vision is the blur of snow flying by and sound the clicking and clacking of steel edges on ice and crust.

Maybe it’s just all the above.

First Tracks At Mount Sunapee

A cross-mountain trail at Mount Sunapee

Okay, so technically I didn’t get first tracks on the mountain, but it was first tracks of this ski season for me. And it did take place at Mount Sunapee. The headline is therefore figuratively correct.

How were conditions you ask?

Given there has been precious little natural snow and that temperatures have been favorable for snow making in an on and off fashion, conditions were pretty good. At least on the trails that were open. The official Mount Sunapee posting stated about 50% open. That said, there were only a fistful of trails coming off the summit that you could connect up to get back to base. But all had pretty good snow coverage and were striped with nice corduroy.

That nice corduroy started to wear thin here and there as the morning worked towards noon time. Things wore thin fairly fast because there was lots of traffic over the trails open. It wasn’t super busy, but with only limited trails open they saw lots of action.

Bottom line? I am glad I went. I only had a half day to spend on the slopes so I didn’t get to see how conditions fared come afternoon. But the reality is my legs were screaming at me by late morning anyway. Staying all day would likely have resulted in some very unpleasant face plants, yard sales, and maybe even a downhill ride on a ski patrol sled. I am pretty glad I avoided all that!

So, you are thinking, get to the important point—what is skiing in the pandemic like? Not so very different, except….

You couldn’t leave bags in the lodges, though you could boot up in the lodges. The bottom line here is that regardless where you boot up, you are making at least one trip in ski boots from parking lot to ski lift. If you opt to boot up in the lodge, add an adventurous trek from lodge to car to stow your non-ski articles.

Bathrooms are still open, though Port-a-Potties were available here and there along the edges of the parking lot. Lodges are open and food available but with restrictions to allow for social distancing, etc. I didn’t go into any of the lodges so I cannot give any first hand information. It was a pleasant day—low to mid-30s—so there was no need to seek out warming areas. In fact, there were quite a few tail gate lunches taking place throughout the parking area.

Masks were required in social spaces, like the lift lines and on the lifts. Lift lines were not long or slow, but it was a weekday. I would say that it seemed more busy than I expected for a weekday, but I haven’t spent much time at Mount Sunapee so I have no prior experience for a reference point. That said the lines moved along at a good pace and wait time was never more than a couple minutes at the main high speed quad. You could ski right onto the slower mid-mountain lift.

Singles could stay single on the lift, if they wanted. But most singles paired up on opposite ends of the seat, keeping lines moving right along. Everyone was friendly, happy, and of course, having fun. Why else would you be there?

Bottom line? Yes, the experience is a bit difference. Booting up at the car was not such a big deal, but it wasn’t 10-degrees and windy. I may have a different opinion under those circumstances. Mount Sunapee is not huge, at least in the main parking area, so the walk to the lift was not really all that much extra exertion or adventure. But there wasn’t any snow on the ground, so the lot was all gravel and made for easy walking. Put that gravel under a bunch of snow and ice typical of ski area parking lots and again, I may have a different opinion.

Would I do it again? You betcha! And I probably will. Maybe even next week if I can sneak away again.

Here are a few tips to help you plan for your pandemic ski adventures.

  1. Put your boot pack on a seat in the car that is equipped with seat heaters. Turn the heat units on a half hour or so before you get to the resort. My boots, while not toasty, were nicely warmed as I booted up in the parking lot. No seat heaters? Lay your boots on the seat and have one of the passengers sit on them to get them warm. You may need more than a half hour. If the passenger is not happy about providing that service, and is being annoying about it, be sure to put the boots on the seat buckle side up.
  2. Bring along a foldable step stool to sit on while getting in and out of your ski boots. The height and angle is much better than from the edge of a car seat with the door open. If you want to get fancy, and I suggest you do, bring along a carpet square to put your feet on so you don’t track sand, gravel, snow and ice into your nicely warmed boots! As an alternate method, you could boot up in the nice warm lodge, then make the passenger who warmed the boots play valet and bring your boot bag back to the car. If they complain, forget to give them the key to the car and quickly get on the lift to the summit.

That’s about it. Yes, skiing in a pandemic is a bit different. But once on the slopes with gravity taking hold, nothing much is different. It’s still a blast.

But let’s leave on a really high high note. There were 3 or 4 trails that had massively high mounds of snow piled up on them. These I am sure were the results of several nights and days of making snow when the temperatures allowed. And no doubt these gigantic piles of snow were going to be pushed down the hill for the pleasure of skiers and riders this coming weekend.

AND let’s not forget that a storm is on tap for the area. While down here on the coast we most certainly will get wet, up to the north it looks like they will get white. So maybe plan a trip north over the holiday weekend, or sometime next week.

If I see a car on the highway with skis in the roof rack, and a passenger sitting a bit too high on the seat, with a less than happy face, I’ll know you read this blog and took some really good trip planning advice.


Avie’s Ski / Sports has put together a few ski packages. Each bundles the skis, boots, and bindings that work together to make your time on the slopes more fun. And you get to save a few bucks, which is never a bad thing. Let’s explore a bit.

Game Improvement Package

Have you been renting skis? Do you own old, out-dated gear? Do you ski only occasionally? Avie’s Improvement Package will move you to the next step so you have more fun on the slopes.

Women’s Game — $599.95

For instance, Blizzard Alight 72 skis paired with Tecnica Mach Sport HV 65W boots. However, that price includes bindings and aluminum ski poles. The package is an even better deal because it also includes binding mounting and adjustment. Select from Nordica Drive 75, Blizzard Alight 72, or Volkl Flair 8.0 for skis. Boot choices are Dalbello DS MX 70W, Nordica Cruise 65W, or Tecnica Mach Sport HV 65W.

Men’s Game — $599.95

Men, for instance, get to pick from Nordica Drive 75, Blizzard Quattro 7.2, and Volkl Deacon 8.0 skis. Boot choices are Dalbello DS AX 80, Nordica Cruise 70, or Tecnica Mach Sport HV 70. Again, bindings, poles, mounting, and adjustments, are included.

So, if you are looking to jump out of the rentals or replace some tired old gear, a Game Improvement package is a perfect choice.

But, what if you are an experienced skier? What if you already have some gear and maybe want to refresh your time on the slopes with something a bit more intriguing?

The Carving Package

Avie’s Ski / Sports has for experienced skiers a package aimed at carving up that nicely striped frontside corduroy.

Women’s Carvers — $799.95

Because you already are an accomplished skier, the carving package offers stiffer boots and stiffer skis that will tip into a turn that leaves two thin little pencil stripes across the slope behind you. Choose, for instance, from Nordica Astral 78 CA, Blizzard Alight 7.7, or Volkl Flair 72 skis. Slide your feet into either Dalbello DS AX 80W, Nordica Cruise 75W, or Tecnica Mach Sport HV 75W boots. Again, bindings, poles, mounting and adjustment is included. As a bonus, you also get 25% off a set of custom footbeds to slip into those new boots.

Men’s Carvers — $799.95

For you man-beast carving aficionados, choose Nordica Navigator 80 CA, Blizzard Quattro 7.7, or Volkl Deacon XT skis. Yes, each ski comes with bindings, mounting and adjustment included. Boot choices are Dalbello DS AX 90 or Nordica Sportmachine 90. Don’t forget to pick out a set of aluminum poles. And let’s consider dropping in a pair of custom footbeds so your feet really nestled into those new boots; 25% off the foot beds.

So come on in to Avie’s Ski / Sports and check out these great ski packages. Shop early for best selection of styles and sizes; choices are limited to in stock items.

Moaning and Groaning

Some were looking out the window this morning and moaning and groaning about the wind whipped white stuff flashing by. Sad thoughts of short days, slippery walkways, and shoveling driveways filled their heads. A shake of the head and a return to the morning news was their best response.

Others, myself included, looked out the window and moaned and groaned in ecstasy. Beautiful fluffy white flakes whipped past my face, turning the lawn a most wondrous shade of not-green. Happy thoughts of days on the slopes filled my head, thinking they are indeed too short. A smile forms thinking about slippery trails through the woods. A flush of adrenaline comes through as my mind sees powder parting off the sides of the shovels of my skis in turn after graceful turn. I shake my head in wonder that the time has nearly come, again. I go to the closet to ogle skis, boots, and parkas.

Take a look at the images up top. Stratton Peak, Cannon Summit, Killington Superstar. All dressed up in white. Another season of skiing and riding is nearly upon us. The snow today was just a teaser, but that’s okay by me. It means the season is changing and soon the slopes will be dressed not just in a dusting or even a foot that might melt away in a day or two, but white for the season.

I will be pulling skis from the closet and shaving off the summer wax. Then touching up edges to be bright and sharp. As I get antsy, I’ll put on a coat of “fits most temperatures” wax, scrape it off and brush and polish the bases until they gleam like mirrors.

I for one am about ready for some serious playing in the snow. Are you?

Welcome Back Snow!

Smugglers Notch, Vermont

We drove up to Vermont this past Friday to visit Dan and Alice. They are long-time friends—I’ve known Dan since high school. It started raining when we got to Killington area, then continued the rest of the day. And through the night.

Saturday morning dawned grey, but with patches of blue breaking through. By late morning it was a beautiful, classic Vermont October day. Sunny and brisk with temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s.

Dan and Alice live up by Sugarbush. We all went out for a morning hike to stretch our legs and tire the dogs. Low and behold, way up on the tall peaks the landscape was capped with a coating of white. Later, in the car, we spied snow atop Camel’s Hump and other high peaks we didn’t know the names of. We didn’t get as far north as Stowe, but Alice sent me a photo from a friend who lives up by Smuggs. That’s the view above.

On our drive home Sunday we got glimpses of Pico and Killington peaks from Route 100. We saw ski trails carved among the trees graced with white. Okemo showed only a few ragged remnants of white scattered in shady areas. Either the snow didn’t happen or it melted. We had temperatures Sunday morning at 30 degree by Sugarbush and Mad River, but well into the 40s in Ludlow.

No, it wasn’t a skiable snowfall. Even if it was I didn’t have my ski gear with me anyway. And if I did the mountains aren’t open for over zealous skiers and riders. But it was heartening, and exciting, to see white atop the lovely hills of Vermont.

I could wax poetic about the juxtaposition of brilliant fall colors and the stark white of the high peaks. But I won’t. All I really saw was the beautiful white snow and the slideshow playing in my head of skiing past and skiing to come.

While the visit north with Dan and Alice was meant to be chill and to help clear heads of Zoom meetings, work day pressures, and the rest of the mental clutter associated with our lives in pandemic days, it did more than that for me.

The very sight of snow on the mountains stirred a restlessness somewhere deep inside. A smile came. Happy thoughts arrived. My mind darted deep into my memory and drew forth the feel and smell of frozen air breathed in, the dull sound of the thunk of ski lifts running over the towers, the crisp click of edges on crust, the soft shush of skis cutting a turn, the muted whoops and laughs from deep in the trees.

I always return refreshed and rejuvenated after a visit up to see Dan and Alice and pile of dogs and cats that make up their household. But this trip, with sightings of snow, left me not only refreshed and rejuvenated, but hopeful. Hopeful that despite all the other uncertainties of the moment, the air will chill and snow will fall. The freedom and release of pointing a pair of sticks downhill and playing with gravity will indeed be here again. And soon.

Thank you Dan. And Alice. Of course, Thank You Vermont.

And So It Begins

The first issue of Powder magazine was in the mailbox last week, followed a few days later by SKI magazine. Those are my indicators that it’s time to turn some serious attention to the upcoming ski and ride season.

I have of course been thinking off and on since late July about the upcoming season of white. Will it be a snowy season? Will all the crazy pandemic restrictions allow for some unrestricted play on the slopes?

Good questions that will no doubt be answered in due time. We will be exploring and reporting back in this blog space what approach New England resorts will be taking as they ready themselves for skiing and riding.

A 2020/2021 Ski and Ride Season?

For the moment, it will have to suffice to say that the ski hills to our north are planning for openings pretty much at the usual times. A few may open a week or two later than usual, and you can pretty much bet that all will have some kind of restrictions on number of people on the premises on any given day. We will be exploring their approaches and post that info as things firm up.

With that said, given the uncertainty of how that nasty COVID creature will behave as we enter winter, things may—and likely will—shift as time flows along. You may want to consider subscribing to this blog so that you stay in the loop, so to speak.

Things That WILL Happen This Season

There are some things that you can absolutely, no questions asked, be sure of happening this coming winter season.

  1. Avie’s Ski / Sports is morphing from summer to winter. Every day new boxes, big and small, but all containing fun things, are being delivered to the shop. Skis, bindings, snowboards, boots, gloves, goggles and more. In the coming weeks shorts and sandals will be replaced by skis and snowboards.
  2. The Avie’s Ski / Sports website is being updated with information on all the gear that will be in the shop this season, with descriptions of that gear. And be sure that we will highlight the new and improved features going into that gear so you can make informed buying decisions. An early October completion for the website update is planned.
  3. The tuning shop will be opening. So beat the spiders off your skis and snowboards and bring them in to Avie’s for a nice tune up. If you are one of those people who really, really love their gear and had summer wax applied—time to get that lovely wax scraped off and buffed out!
  4. Avie’s Ski / Sports is overflowing with seasonal lease gear. Yeah, I really mean that. The upper floor of the shop looks like a colorful porcupine convention! Come in and get your pick of the quills. For those with kids a seasonal lease is the best bargain you will find anywhere. For adults unsure of what gear they want, lease to own is a great way to try-before-you-buy.
  5. All precautions are being taken at Avie’s to comply with safety. Masks, hand sanitizer, and distancing. Get with the season and pull on a ski or ride neck gaiter and come on in for a bit of shopping.

What’s Uncertain for This Season

Well, we never know how the weather will turn out. But I am hoping, as we sit here amid a prolonged drought, that all that saved up precipitation will come back to New England between December and April as fluffy white snow. Join me in that hope. You never know the power of positive thinking!

We also don’t know the availability of the incredible Avie’s Ski / Sports Ski & Ride bus trips. Discussions are underway to determine safety as well as ability to fit into still undetermined ski resort plans for limiting numbers. Again, tune in here to get updates as things firm up.

In the meantime, enjoy the fall season. Colors are popping. Sunday River has been firing snow guns. Frost has graced the high elevations. Days are becoming crisp and the nasty humidity a thing gladly forgotten.

Get out and hike and bike and strengthen those leg muscles. Ski and ride season will be upon us soon. I know I am ready!