Okemo Before The Storm

I stopped off at Okemo on my way back south from Killington this morning for a half day on the slopes. I have to report that it was a perfect morning. Sunny, about 15°F but with little to no wind, so it was actually pleasant. The people were sparse, also pleasant, until about the time I got off the slopes, though it was never near what I would call busy.

First the good. Conditions were incredible. All the open trails had ample snow coverage, and the corduroy was abundant and fast. It was a good day to have sharp edges and a good cold temperature wax, and I had both. I got first tracks on the first two trails I hit (sorry, I don’t remember which they were, I just pointed downhill and went where the skis took me), and had second tracks on one of the trails over at Jackson Gore. Okemo is well noted for its snow making, and they deserve it. Job well done is all I can say.

It was a “carving paradise” all morning long. I think this may have been the first time I have literally carved up an entire trail without having anyone in front or behind, multiple times throughout the morning. Jackson Gore has two new trails open, both in the expert category. It opens up some needed terrain. They are short, but fun. The new bubble chair gets you up at least as quick as the previous chair.

And now the bad. Okemo went to an RFID lift ticket system. At face value it should make getting on the lifts easier, and presumably quicker. And it does for the former, but not so much the later. The problem I saw was at the Sunburst Six chair, the main “bubble chair” getting skiers from the base to the top. The area has been reconfigured to work with the new RFID card scanners, and it seems to actually take longer to get on the lift than it did last season. And this was on a day when it was clearly NOT busy. On a busy day, think weekend, this chair could be a nightmare. There was a considerable throng at that lift as I skied by on my way out. If the Sachem lift had been open I may have gone for another spin, but the wait looked too daunting for a last run of the day. There is an Avie’s trip this Sunday to Okemo, so I guess we will see first hand how this will play out. 

Overall, a great day. Beautiful snow and a bright, crisp day. Wish you were there.