Thirty-nine smart riders and skiers took the Avie’s Ski Bus north yesterday to Okemo Mountain in Ludlow, Vermont. Temperatures hovered in the mid-20s at the summit and low 30s at the base, with a mix of sun and clouds. A brief but intense snow flurry for about a half hour graced the day just to add a special touch.
How best to describe conditions? Amazingly good. I skied all the open diamonds and squares on Southface, Jackson Gore, and Solitude, and several on the Main Face. All of them were in excellent condition. There was an abundant mix of natural and man-made snow on the surface, and the base was firm, not glacier ice. All-in-all, conditions for skiing and riding were ideal.
One of the nice things about Okemo is that even when really busy, as it was yesterday, you can always find pockets of near solitude. I skied several trails on Southface where I never saw anyone else in front of me until approaching the lifts. Even in the Solitude area, which is often more congested, there were runs I made that were shared with only 1 or 2 other folks.
A good Okemo strategy is to get over to Jackson Gore or to the Southface first thing. Most folks are bumbling around getting their act together on the Main Face, so crowds are generally light on the north and south sides of the resort early in the day. As activity builds towards late morning, Solitude is a good pick.
From 1:00 PM onwards the mountain is yours to play on. Crowds thin continuously as those there for a week or weekend stay exodus the mountain. Center portions of the trails are often scraped clean by mid-afternoon, so avoid the middle. There is abundant snow along trail edges, and timid skiers and riders will avoid the edges because of the perceived peril of flying off trail into the woods. Take advantage of those lonely edges to have some late day fun!
Kudos to the snow-making, slope-grooming wizards at Okemo. They are doing a bang up job of presenting outstanding conditions to skiers and riders so they can have fun on the slopes.
If you have stared out your window at your snowless backyard wondering whether it’s worth heading up to ski-country, stop wondering. Conditions are far better than they were at any point ever last season. In fact, they are about as good as you would find in a “normal” season. At least at Okemo.
The 38 other folks who enjoyed Okemo yesterday know this. I hope to see you all again on another trip north for a day of fun. It’s great to see so many familiar faces, and great to see some new ones.
While we are skipping a trip this coming Sunday, the 5th of February, because the New England Patriots are in formation for yet another Super Bowl win, trips begin on the 12th heading to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. Get to Avie’s and get yourself on that next bus north. The more you procrastinate the less skiing and riding you will be doing.
For those of you who can—or will regardless—sneak away from work and other responsibilities on a Wednesday, the 15th of February marks an Avie’s bus trip to Killington in Vermont. The best Beast is a sleepy Beast, which is how you find it mid-week. If you want to ski or ride Killington without its’ notorious lift-lines, join us on the 15th for an experience you won’t forget or regret.
While skiing and riding may not be any more important than work and other responsibilities, it sure is a lot more fun. See you on the slopes.