Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Daddle Paddle?

Still wondering about a Father’s Day gift for that extra special dad? Don’t sweat it; you got this covered.

Swing by Avie’s Ski / Sports and pick out a great BIC paddle board or surf board. There are hard decks and soft decks, in both paddle and surf boards, all in several lengths. Whether dad is just starting out or is an old pro, one of these BIC boards will put a huge smile on his face.

Avie’s Ski / Sports is open today, Father’s Day, from noon to 5:00 PM. Stop in and check out what could be the best Father’s Day gift ever.

As extra incentive, there is NO SALES TAX on surf and paddle boards sold in Rhode Island. And Avie’s just happens to be in Westerly, RI so you save a few bucks! No harm in that!

And just so you know, BIC is located just across the RI border in Massachusetts. So if perchance you don’t see the length, style, or color of the BIC board you want, Avie’s can get it and get it fast.

There’s no down side to a BIC paddle or surf board for dad. Summer is here. Give dad a reason to get out on the water and have some fun in the sun and the surf.

Check out Avies’ Ski / Sports. Open Sundays Noon to Five.

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Finding My Mojo At Stratton

Stratton was my skiing destination on Wednesday. I needed some slope time.

Conditions were great. Fast and firm on most trails, with some a bit softer where there had no doubt been some man-made snow mixed into the corduroy stripes. The ungroomed trails, from my view of them as I rode the chairlift, were lumps of hard snow with troughs of ice in between. I didn’t venture into the ungroomed territory.

I was a bit hesitant about going because it’s a holiday week with lots of schools being on winter break. But it sure didn’t look like a holiday week. There were 4 cars at the Sun Bowl when I pulled in shortly before 8:00 AM. It was about 3 degrees when I arrived. But without a whisper of wind to be felt, the temp was quite bearable.

For the first few hours there were very few skiers or riders out and about. A number of trails were closed, or partially closed, for various free-style and race training events. So there were lots of school kids on the slopes, but they were all clustered in those areas where the training sessions were being held. That left more than enough mountain to play on.

I’m heading off on an annual trip to Killington with my daughter Allison in a couple of weeks. We hit the slopes long and hard, with numerous unofficial challenges to see who gets top-to-bottom first. Each year the challenge, for me at least, gets tougher and tougher. Last year was the first year she beat me down the hill. Not by much, but a clear and clean, unofficial win.

No Confidence & Self-Doubt

As I have said, I needed some slope time. For some reason, and I don’t know why, I have been struggling to ski well this season. Actually that’s not true. The struggle part is true, but not that I don’t know why. I just lost confidence in myself, creating huge self-doubt. That’s the “I don’t know why” part.

I ended last season skiing a pair of Blizzard Quattro RS race skis, skiing stronger, faster, and more confidently than ever that I can remember. What happened between now and then to shake my confidence to the point it toppled over and shattered? Like I said, I don’t know. But it happened.

So there I was at Stratton. I took a first run down Black Bear, caught an edge and almost fell. Next run I ducked under the gondola and went over to the broad, gentle “meadows” trails for beginners. Caught an edge and almost fell. I wondered if I should head home before I got hurt.

I took a quick break in the lodge and had a hot chocolate. This whole thing was idiotic. The problem was in my head, and only my head, and the question was how do I get it out of my head? I could not stomach the thought of an oh-so-disappointing trip to Killington where I would be afraid to ski. There had to be some way to unknot that part of my brain saying “can’t do this.”

I decided I would go back to the summit and ski my most favorite, and least favorite, single trail at Stratton. How can a single trail be both most, and least, favorite simultaneously you ask? And just what trail at Stratton might that be? That trail would be Kidderbrook.

Upper Kidderbrook is big and wide with a few nice steep sections where you can ski a real “fall line” because the trail is basically straight up-and-down. Lower Kidderbrook is a narrow, twisty-turny, not very steep section of trail taking you back to the chairlift. Right at the end, just when you think it’s over, you have to scale a small hill to get up to the lift.

It’s my favorite trail because of the exhilarating plunge down the upper portion. My least favorite because you have to wind your way along the long, slow runout back to the lift, then scale a hill to actually get to it. Fun on the upper. Fun-sucking on the lower. Technically it’s two trails, but functionally it’s one. If you ski the upper, you must ski the lower.

Confidence Building

Why Kidderbrook? It’s a confidence builder. Kidderbrook is the trail I have brought daughters, nieces, and friends onto as they progress from beginner to confident, advancing intermediate. I take them when I see that their skills are good enough, but they are convinced they just aren’t ready ski or ride a black diamond, expert trail.

I hustle them past the trailhead sign which clearly says “Experts Only” and shows a black diamond (or two) in front of every trail name. The trail starts easy. On the first plunge, the width of the trail makes it seem more manageable somehow. No woods or twists and turns to worry about on the steep plunge down. And then, at the bottom of the second drop off, you stop and have them look back up the hill.

From that vantage, Kidderbrook looks as steep and challenging as it actually is. All I say, as they gaze back up the hill in awe is, “That’s a black diamond, and you just came down it.” They then realize they just slid down a really steep, expert, black diamond trail and didn’t die! The newly found “expert” basks in that great feeling all the way back to the lift and says. “Let’s do that again!” I of course say, “Let’s find another black diamond to master.”

That’s why I was sliding over the snow at the start of Upper Kidderbrook trail at Stratton. For some reason, and I don’t know why, even before I hit the first headwall on Upper Kidderbrook, I felt that focus come back into my head. The thick, nasty miasma rooted in my skull thinned like morning fog over water as a gentle breeze begins to blow. And the body responded. The skis tipped into the snow, the edges bit deep, and we carved our way down the fall line. Confidently.

I went back to the summit and skied down Tamarack. Then down Upper Standard. And then anywhere and everywhere, that was groomed. The skis responded as they should. As I knew they could, as I knew they would.

I don’t know how the fog of “no-confidence and self-doubt” got into my head, but I hope it doesn’t come back. It’s so very frustrating a thing to feel like you can’t do something that you darn well know you can. The nasty no-confidence, self-doubt thinking creates a self-fulfilling, self-feeding cycle of doubt that takes solid root and blossoms.

Fortunately, there’s Kidderbrook, confidence builder. I got my mojo back and working. Now I can look forward to Killington, knowing that I can at least keep Allison in sight as she rips down the slopes in front of me. If she is in front of me that is.

AlanD
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Game On!

fall foliage, frost, football, full store

Fall foliage season is here. The trees are ablaze with color up north. Not peak just yet. Next week for sure. Frost will soon sparkle the ridges of ski country, then to be quickly followed, we hope, with a splendid cloak of fluffy snow.

Just a hint of fall foliage

Down along the coast a hint of fall foliage color is in the trees. Just a hint. The nearby ocean stretches the warmth, delaying the debut of color. Because of that, I think we along the coast tend to forget winter comes sooner a few hundred miles north. While we are still raking leaves in late November, the slopes up north are white—at least in places—and the lifts are spinning.

Now is the time to get your head in the game. The ski and ride game. Avie’s  Ski / Sports has magically transformed, like foliage to follow, from summer to winter. The North Face winter attire is festooned along the walls. Smartwool socks are walking in the door and gaining a foothold. Skis bristle atop their ledge. A panorama of snowboards draw the eye.

The North Face is at Avie’s Ski / Sports!

Yes, Avie’s Ski / Sports is filling to the brim with winter gear for the 2018 – 2019 season. And so much NEW stuff to look over. The North Face line of apparel has greatly expanded. More styles. Lots more styles. More colors. Lots more colors. 

Now is a good time to stop in the Avie’s Ski / Sports to check out the new inventory. In fact, now is a great time. Great because the selection, unlike the foliage, is near its peak.

More inventory is on its way for sure. Ski poles, gloves, more skis and snowboards, more socks and hats. But The North Face has made its presence in full force. Now is the best time to find the style, color and size of the ski parka, ski pants, or stylish around-town jacket that you want—need?—for the upcoming fall and winter season. 

Our future…

Like the foliage, the peak only lasts for so long. Then it wanes. On the bright side, Avie’s can restock before next spring blossoms. But what can be refilled is limited to what the manufacturers have in stock. Sadly, as time goes on even the brand makers run shy of popular styles, colors, and sizes.

Time and tide wait for no man, or woman. Our time is slipping, slowly, into the time of snow. Now is a good time to embrace the future. That future is only a few short months away. Then it truly will be…Game On!

AlanD
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Ready For Winter!?

This summer I built a woodshed

Though not considered winter snow sports, our next door neighbor built the Taj Mahal of chicken coops last season. Complete with multi-colored lighting, flowers, and other enticing egg-laying decor. Secretly, I think the Taj Mahal coop is equipped with air conditioning and a home theater. The chickens love it, and lay dozens upon dozens of eggs. And then for no apparent reason, egg production slowed. 

I thought it might be the rusty chain link fence surrounding my wood pile. It did look pretty shabby all of a sudden. The ripped and tattered blue tarp on top didn’t add much either. Maybe the horrid sight depressed the hens.

I did need wood for the coming winter. So I decided to upgrade rusty fence for a classy and classic lean-to-style woodshed. I hoped that would put “The Girls,” as neighbor Lisa refers to them, back on the nest.

The Shed—Taj Mahal chicken coop in background

The new shed looks great with the Taj Mahal chicken coop in the background. And it looks better still with a couple cords of split, seasoned hardwood in it. 

I’m  about  set  for  winter.                 Are  you?

Farmer’s Almanac is saying that for New England, expect snow. And lots of it. Their predictions are for greater amounts of snow than is usual. They are also predicting that significant snow will be seen by, and in, December. To be sure the snow sticks around, Farmer’s predicts colder than normal temperatures throughout the season. This is a great prediction for all us winter snow sports enthusiasts. 

Oh yeah, I’m all for that!

It would be great to get in a half dozen or more days of skiing before Santa slides down the chimney. And I would be thrilled to see abundant snow continue all the way through until late March. I’ll even wish for the below normal cold. Provided that doesn’t mean the marrow-freezing cold we experienced last season between end of December and mid-January. That kind of cold put the damper on winter snow sports. It was so cold even ski lifts became belligerent, with many refusing to spin! No thank you. Keep that kind of cold up at the North Pole for the reindeer to enjoy.

So, are you ready? Ha ha. I know you aren’t. Temperatures have been floating into the 90s, even along the shore. So I know the only cold you are thinking about is the rapidly melting ice diluting your Dell’s.

The days however, have grown noticeably shorter. And the sun, while still hot, doesn’t carry the same fiery intensity it did a month ago. Yellow school buses have replaced out-of-state license plates. But the most telling change, is the morning bird song having been replaced by the evening chorus now provided by the End of Summer Insect Ensemble.

Winter snow sports enthusiasts take note!

This is not a cause for sadness! New ski and ride gear is beginning to show up at Avie’s Ski / Sports. While still in boxes, it won’t be long before the new “winter crop” of The North Face, Smartwool, and other apparel hangs from the racks. A rainbow will splash across the walls of the shop, made by the colors of this years bounty of new skis and snowboards, boots and poles.

While still it’s too early in the fall season to not stop in and pick up a new stand up paddle board—fall is perfect paddling weather—it’s not too early to start thinking about ski and ride season.

And this winter, there will be much to explore at Avie’s

Expect to see some twin tips and race skis available. There will be new brands, as well as the tried and true. While it’s always exciting to ogle the new skis and boards of the season, the real change up will be found in the ski boot section. Recent changes throughout the industry will be bringing along some great opportunities for your feet, especially those of you with wider feet.

AlanD

Stay tuned to the Avie’s Ski / Sports Blog page as we help you prep for  the upcoming season. New gear. New brands. New styles. And a new ski boot universe.

Oh yeah, the shed upgrade was well received. “The Girls” are back to filling the Taj Mahal to overflowing. 

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March Magic

Today I had the pleasure of popping into Okemo and spending the morning cruising the mountain slopes. Like Killington the day prior, the newly fallen snow was plentiful, though Okemo had smoothed out many trails into delectable corduroy. They did leave quite a few trails ungroomed, so there was a nice diversity of snow across the mountain.

My legs were still a bit sore from the day before, and it took a few runs in Jackson Gore to work out the kinks. Most of the trails in the Solitude area were ungroomed, and so not very busy. I stayed there for a bit, then wandered back to the main mountain, ending my day with a quad crushing run down Chief.

There is abundant snow on all the trails, and if forecasts are on target then it will mostly stay there as temperatures warm a bit by day, then tumble again by night, preserving the snowpack. There are rumors afoot of another “dump” early in the coming week; let’s hope it’s true. 

Regardless, conditions are incredible right now. Most of the ungroomed trails will eventually get groomed over the coming few days to preserve and enhance conditions, so if you want the lumps and bumps, get out there soon. And if you like the groomers, get out there! Now! 

And to help you get there, you can hop on the bus from Avie’s this Sunday the 11th of March. The bus heads to Stratton for what I am sure will be a great day of playing in some very, very, tasty snow. Seats still available, but dwindling rapidly. 

However you can get there, get there. And enjoy some of the seasons most endearing conditions.

 

 

AlanD

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Update from the Trails at Okemo

I had the pleasure of stopping at Okemo for a day of skiing yesterday. I thought I would pass along an update on how things are looking and what snow conditions are like.

As you might expect, the massive rainfall late last week resulted in the loss of a lot of snow. Yes, there are patches of glacier ice here and there on the downslope edges of some trails. And yes, some trails were closed because the cover was too thin.

That said, the trails that were open (85 of them) all had pretty good coverage, especially along the edge where the snow guns were located. A few trails were like crushed ice cubes, but they offer their own kind of fun as long as every trail isn’t that way. And they weren’t.

Bottom line? While a step backwards was taken due to the rain, Okemo retaliated quickly and surely to make things skiable.The 6 or so inches they are expecting today will of course make things that much better. And things look to be staying cold, with the potential for another snowfall early next week.

Of course, one of the nicest things about being at Okemo on a weekday was that there were no crowds competing for the snow. I made run after run after run, until about 10:30 AM, when I finally shared a chair of the heated 6-pack bubble lift to the top. While I didn’t lay down first tracks on any trail, I was second or third on many of them.

My point here is, to be clear, Avie’s has a bus trip scheduled for Okemo on Wednesday the 24th of January. I very strongly suggest you be on that bus. Okemo is a great mountain with a good diversity of trails. If you want the opportunity to ski and ride that diversity without waiting in long lift lines, then constantly dodging an endless procession of people while sliding back down the hill, a Wednesday is a prime day for such a feat.

Join me on the 24th as we head to Okemo for a day of skiing and riding on the less crowded side. Conditions are good, and will be one heck of a lot better after this storm rolls through, and even better still if another happens before our visit. And if not, you know Okemo—known for it’s snowmaking and grooming—will be blasting snow all over the mountain between now and then.

So stop by Avie’s and get your name on the trip list. And do it soon. You don’t want to miss out on a great weekday on the mountain. Weekend trips are fun, but weekday trips are, well, a lot more fun!

See you next Wednesday.

 

AlanD

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Let the season begin?

Ted thinks I’m nuts, though I’m not so sure he’s right.

I start thinking about skiing in July, and I readily admit to that. And the fever builds over the long months of heat and humidity, though that doesn’t wilt my resolve that snow will come.

But then comes August, and things get worse. …more

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Smuggler’s

Spent Monday on the slopes at Smuggler’s Notch in upper Vermont. This was my first time on this mountain, though likely not my last. The view from the top of Madonna Mountain is worth the drive. The skiing is too.

Yes, the lifts are fixed-grip doubles that take their time getting to the top. But since there were no lines at the lifts it wasn’t a nuisance or a bother. And it was a sunny, windless day in the low to mid-30s so it really was a pleasant ride back to the top.  …more

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