Avie’s—New & Improved

If you haven’t been to the Avie’s Ski / Sports website in a while, you may want to check it out. Click the Avie’s button way down bottom. That will get to the newly redesigned Avie’s Ski / Sports home page. But first, read on just a bit farther to see what’s in store—pun intended.

For the past few years Avie’s has been displaying skis in an online store. We felt this was an easy and effective way to display gear and pricing. But we really don’t encourage people to buy ski equipment online. So it was a bit of and ideological conflict. 

Buying online hurts brick-and-mortar stores, like Avie’s Ski / Sports. In person is where you get service and build a relationship. Buy online, you still have to go to a brick-and-mortar shop to have bindings mounted and adjusted. If something goes wrong with your online purchase? You need to deal long distance with the issue. Sometimes with less than great results. Had the purchase been made at a brick-and-mortar shop, like Avie’s Ski / Sports, the problem would be resolved quickly and amicably.

While you could buy ski boots online, why would you? They are just way too personal a piece of equipment. You need to walk into a shop where you can try on multiple pairs, sizes, and styles, to find the one just right for you. And you get a knowledgeable boot-fitter. They help you get into the right kind of boot for your ability and style as a skier. Can’t do that online.

Avie’s Online Store is lights out, doors locked.

Our intent with the website redesign is to give you much more information about the equipment. With a focus on what’s new for the season. That does not however, mean that the only gear in the store is what you see online. There is lots more gear at Avie’s Ski / Sports. You just need to stop in to see it all, live and in person. Which is just the way we like it.

For all the skis, snowboards, and boots, there is a page listing all the new gear for the 2018-2019 season, and pricing. Click on the brand name of the item you are interested in. Click BLIZZARD if interested in finding out more about Rustler 9, for instance. A new page will open with more detail about that ski. In almost all cases, there will be some input from Avie’s Ski Testers who have actually skied on the skis or in the boots.

You get more detail, and more perspective, by hearing what Avie’s Ski / Testers thought of a particular ski or ski boot. That’s the other bonus to coming to a brick-and-mortar shop, like Avie’s Ski / Sports. The folks working there are skiers and riders. They have tried out much if not most of the gear being sold. And we have in-store clinics where the reps from the brands come down and help us better understand the new technologies going into ski and boot creation. We pass that knowledge along to you, so you make better, more informed choices about what you buy. 

All the winter sports pages have been updated (the summer pages will slowly get updated as well). And there is lots more information on each page to help you in your decision-making. There is also a new page, dedicated to Do-It-Yourself gear upkeep. We hope you find it both interesting and useful. But you won’t know until you check it out.

So, Avie’s found a new way to display all the new equipment and fun stuff that emerges on the market each and every fall season. Go ahead, check out the new website. Click the Avie’s button below. Then click SNOW SPORTS on the menu and go from there. 

We will see you soon. When you stop in at Avie’s Ski / Sports. Let us know what you think of the website redesign. But mostly…

Take me to Avie's Ski / Sports HOME PAGE

THINK SNOW!!

Ski Resort Changes

Ski resort changes are rampant for the upcoming season. And at least from what I can see, all of them good. Some of them fantastic. Here we give you a quick rundown of what changes we see coming up at the ski resorts that Avie’s Ski / Sports visits on ski and ride trips.

Vermont

Killington has some exciting changes for this season. New for this year is a high speed bubble chair at Snowdon Mountain. Tunnels have been constructed along Great Northern so that skiers and riders on that trail go subterranean. Now folks coming down those very fun blue square trails at Snowdon can proceed downhill without worry of dodging crossing skiers and riders on Great Northern. That’s really nice.

Killington this year follows suit and will be using RFID lift ticketing. Many ski resorts have converted to the use of RFID ticketing. Personally, I love the RFID system. It is quick and easy. No liftie chasing after you to scan your pass. No standing around when the pass won’t scan until the 14th try. Some may miss the giant, bristling wad of lift tickets and wire wickets hanging off their jacket zipper. I won’t be one of them.

Killington has also installed a new lift in the South Ridge area. The new lift will bring skiers and riders to a point near Killington Peak where they can access the resort in most any direction. This will really help with traffic flow and allow much better access across the resort.

This year will be a very exciting year for skiers & riders.

Okemo has been purchased by Vail Resorts, Inc. Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire and Crested Butte in Colorado were also a part of that deal. No details or hints of change have been released at this point, though there are rumors of a bubble quad on the South Face in the near future. Given the sale just happened at end of September, we may not see any massive change for the upcoming season. 

Mount Snow has a new lodge that will be open this season at the Carinthia area of the resort. New snow making guns will be firing up to blanket the area with snow made from a huge new water retention project that will improve  snow making considerably. The one other tidbit for Mount Snow is that some portions of the Long John Trail, a beginners trail, are being significantly widened to improve skier and rider flow.

Stratton, keeping with the trends, has been purchased by Alterra Mountain Company, which owns 12 ski resorts. Stratton is their only New England holding. With this is coming a new high speed lift to the Snow Bowl  area. This will be a great addition, reducing a 15 minute ride back to the top to only 4 minutes. Pretty sweet.

New Hampshire

Loon has replaced their gondola cabins with new ones. No other changes on the mountain that I could find.

Resort changes are just the tip of the iceberg.

All these resort updates will bring some nice changes to our skiing and riding experiences this season. For sure. But that really is just a small part of what is really exciting for the 2018 – 2019 ski and ride season. Especially for skiers.

Skis are trending towards improved on piste performance and better carving on the groomers.

Based on race boot designs, ski boots are trending towards improved performance and fit.

Follow the Avie’s Ski / Sports blog so you don’t miss out as we report on what’s new. And there is lots. I will be posting something new every week. Hopefully this will help get you as excited for the new ski and ride season as I am. And that’s lots!

AlanD

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

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. 

My Journey To Mount Mansfield—High Atop Stowe

I just returned from a trip up to Mount Mansfield at Stowe with my daughter Allison. Last year she hiked the Long Trail. Solo. In 20 days. An incredible feat regardless how you look at it. We returned this year to make a father-daughter hike up to Vermont’s highest peak, together.

The story of our hike up Mount Mansfield however, is not the purpose of this post. Rather, it is just some ramblings about skiing the east that crept into my head as Allie and I made our climb up and down the rocky crags of northern Vermont. 

Hidden Landscape

Seeing the Stowe area mountains in summer made me realize something. While skiing and riding, we get a pretty jaded view of New England’s mountainous landscape. Everything is draped in a blanket of snow. There are few if any harsh lines in the landscape. Our world of white appears sculpted of smooth lines and gentle curves.

But climbing the rock face up the side of Mount Mansfield I see the ski slopes, up close and personal. And without that deceptive cloak of white that hides the harshness underneath. These New England hills are hard granite rife with fissures and crevices. Harsh angles cut of hard stone protrude. As we climb, trees become twisted dwarves of those below us. Limbs stunted on the windward side, longer on the lee. Heather, lichen, and alpine blueberry cling to the face of the rock. They struggle to avoid the fierce, desiccating wind that buffets Allison and I and shapes the life around us.

Such a harsh world of existence beneath the wooly white we find such glee in gliding over. I don’t often think about, when riding the chair back to the top of the ski slope, that hidden world underneath the snow. I’m thinking about the next run down the mountain.

The view from “The Chin,” the real summit point high atop Mount Mansfield, is of course remarkable. Scanning the 360º vista I see the slopes of Stowe and Smugglers far below and away. A shrill bird-like screech pierces the air and I catch a glimpse of a peregrine falcon plummeting down a cliff face. I know that next time I am riding the chair back to the top, I will remember these images. I will remember there is a secret landscape under my skis, beneath the blanket of snow, waiting for the warmth of spring to jump to life.

East, not West

Our New England hills are ancient in relation to the mountains out west. Once tall and majestic, eastern mountains were bull-dozed. Ground down and smoothed out by the unrelenting creep of mile-thick glacial ice thousands of years ago. They have since been sculpted by centuries of rain runoff and snow melt. Then cracked and split by never-ending cycles of freeze and thaw. Our New England hills are not majestic because of their staggering height. They are majestic for their stubborn tenacity and ability to maintain prominence regardless the forces at work tearing them apart.

New England mountains don’t reach to the lofty heights of western mountains. And they don’t have the benefit of a water-laden ocean on their windward side. Us eastern skiers and riders therefore don’t get seemingly endless epic powder days. We get a heavier, more moisture-laden snow that turns into hard-packed snow and ice. And that gives us some pretty challenging conditions to set an edge into. Hence the saying, “If you can ski the east, you can ski anywhere.”

Time Marches On

The clouds have now poured into the valleys on the eastern side of Mount Mansfield, and we can no longer see the trails carved out on Stowe and Smuggler’s Notch ski areas. To the west all is clear, but far to the north and west we see darker clouds that suggest some weather heading our way. Neither Allie nor I want to be on the exposed heights amidst a thunderstorm.

We take a final pause to bask in the beauty of the mountains one final time as the clouds race towards us. A 50-mile an hour gust pushes me off balance. A low hanging cloud swirls in tattered fragments around Allison who for a brief moment appears as a waif arising from the barren grey rock. Such a stark landscape. Such a beautiful a landscape.

Allison turns her head and our eyes meet. We share a look that says we both know we are in a very special place, sharing a moment in time that will forever stay etched in memory. We turn our gazes to the rock beneath our feet and begin the quiet trek down off the heights.

Playing in the snow at Okemo

AlanD & Allison

Avie’s Newest Ski – Meier Ski Breakdown

It’s tourist season here in the Westerly area. So it makes sense that Meier Skis came to visit while on vacation.

Meier skis play on a theme of the wild west during the gold rush days. Titles like Quickdraw, High Noon, Double Barrel, and Calamity Jane grace the Meier ski line. While the names may be whimsical, the skis are not.

Meier Skis are hand crafted in Denver, Colorado. But these are not your ordinary factory skis. Meier skis are all about sustainability. The skis are wood core from locally, sustainably harvested Colorado trees. The glues that hold the wood laminates together are distilled from pine and vegetable oils—no petrochemicals involved. Even the ink used in the top sheet graphics is non-toxic.

So if you want a pair of skis that keep your carbon footprint as teensy as possible, a set of Meier skis just might be something you want to consider. But how do they ski you ask?

Like I said, they just stopped by on their vacation here in the east. Ted convinced several pair to hang around at Avie’s Ski/Sports until the snow flies. In the meantime, you may want to stop by the shop and meet some of these interesting, good looking skis. While I don’t know and can’t say how they ski—because I haven’t yet had the opportunity to jump on and try them out—have to admit I like what I see. And more importantly, I like what I feel. The three pair I will introduce all have a certain solid but playful feel to them. Being solid wood core, I expected a lot  less rigidity than the skis express.

So I am quite intrigued by these western visitors. And I look forward to an opportunity to take them out for a few laps on the slopes. But let me introduce them to you.

Quickdraw is a men’s frontside carver. Made for the groomers, but with the lightweight wood core I am guessing these sticks would be a fun run in the woods. At 88 mm in the waist, they would float powder fairly well is my guess, making them an all mountain kind of ski.

Calamity Jane is a ski for the ladies. This ski has a wide shovel and a narrow waist—78 mm. That combination makes it look like it will be powder-capable, but the tip design says carve-worthy. This ski has woods, powder, groomers written all over it. The super lightness, because of the wood core, leads me to believe you can ski this hard all day and your legs will never say “enough already!”

The Bangtail has captured by attention quite strongly. This narrow-waisted set of sticks—73 mm—has a look about it that says “fast!” This past season I spent a lot of slope time on a narrow-waisted set of race-style skis, and I can’t remember when I had more fun on a ski. Sure, “fat” skis on a powder day. But you can’t beat “skinny” on the groomers.

The Meier trio of skis visiting Avie’s Ski/Sport are all designed with a bit of rocker in the tip (Calamity Jane has a bit of tail rocker as well) but with traditional camber underfoot. Camber underfoot means a lot of “pop” in the ski. That means to me, lots of fun and liveliness. Camber helps quick, lively transitions side-to-side in the turns. I think these will all be fun skis.

And I think you will find them intriguing. I know I do. The graphics are bright and cheery. The skis themselves are light but not at all wimpy. Let’s just say they present themselves well. And the folks at Meier Skis also present well. Sustainable and eco-friendly. That’s a great business model.

If you are in the area, stop by and meet the new skis in town. You may find out that you want to be the one to introduce them to east coast skiing.

Healthy Lifestyle? Try Stand Up Paddle

Today, stand up paddle is an accepted way of keeping a sane and healthy lifestyle. But my first impression of the sport was anything but.

It was maybe 12 or 15 years ago. I was out one summer morning fishing from a boat near the Napatree Bell. Way off in the distance, towards Watch Hill, I saw something small, something thin, something vertical, on the water. But I couldn’t place it. I wrote it off as a fisherman standing up in a flats-style boat sitting very, very low in the water.

As I continued fishing, the small figure came closer and slowly enlarged. To the point that I could make out that it was a person. They were standing up on the water doing something with their arms. Kind of like a hula dance. A few swishes of the arms on the right, then a few on the left, and then back to the right.

Given the title of this piece, you have by now, I am sure, figured out it was a person on a stand up paddle board. And indeed it was. It was my first recollection of seeing someone on a paddle board. Especially out in the open ocean environment. I don’t know where the young man on the board began his paddle. My last sighting was of him by the outer Stonington breakwater paddling towards Stonington Point. I thought he was nuts. Paddling an oversized surf board through chop and boat wakes didn’t seem like a sane or healthy lifestyle. I totally expected to see him get tossed into the water at any moment. But he didn’t.

Along any body of water you can now find a multitude of paddle boarders. I dare you to go out along the Mystic River any day of summer and NOT see at least a handful. Face it, stand up paddling has taken the aquatic world by storm.

And for good reason. Stand up paddling is a great work out. And a great stress reliever.

Building Tone & Releasing Tension

The simple act of getting up on a board and balancing puts to use all the leg muscles. The balancing act keeps the leg muscles constantly firing, and yes, they can and do get tired. And of course once the paddle is dipped into the water, the upper body gets worked. And once you get steaming along, the trip becomes aerobic. Paddling is a full body sport, and you know it when you step back onto dry land.

Paddle boards also provide a platform to chill. Passive yoga on a paddle board would be a great way to “destress.” But all forms of yoga are becoming popular on a paddle board. In fact, classes to help you ease into finding mental and physical balance through SUP yoga are pretty easy to find. From relaxing to extreme workouts, SUP yoga offers the gamut. 

Sane and Healthy

The bottom line is that paddle boarding may be the medicine you need to keep a sane and healthy lifestyle. Being on the water, whether salt or fresh, is a soothing balm regardless anything else. Take it to a sweaty extreme, or free your mind of clutter and stress. Or find some balance in between. It’s all possible from a paddle board.

It’s summer. Now is the time to check out paddle boarding and the possibilities it brings. A light wetsuit can extend your season into the fall, one of the best times of year along the coast. The crowds are gone. The water is warm. The sky crisp and blue. A healthy lifestyle really doesn’t get much better than that.

 

AlanD

SUP Fun Away the Holiday

New stand up paddle boards have invaded Avie’s Ski / Sports, and are ready for you so your SUP fun can begin. With a holiday week approaching quickly—and the weather predictions are, finally, for some real sizzling July temperatures—plan some time on and in the water. Of course, you need some “water toys” to make things the ultimate best.

BIC boards are a “go to” for SUP fun, and there is a good selection at the shop. Beginner and intermediate paddlers will find the BIC Performer a great fit. These boards are very affordable, and very stable. Great to learn on and great to improve on. Also great to share by inviting the family pet onboard for a paddle.

Avie’s Ski / Sports now is offering a more diverse line up of boards to better fit personal whims and desires. Focus SUPs are now in-stock. Focus Prime boards offers great versatility for both paddling and surfing. And at a great price.

The Smoothie series of SUPs are stable, traditional boards, but with a “wood-tone” look that gives them great eye-appeal. The Smoothie will be a great family board, and would be an excellent partner for on-the-water-yoga.

Tundra by Focus breaks away from the norm and gives the paddler a more sleek and trim deck underfoot. This board tracks and glides better, therefore is a master at offering longer distance paddling adventures. Use the tie-downs to lash on a few things and paddle over to Sandy Point.

Finally, for those paddlers who are a bit more accomplished, hop on the Focus Bluefin and brace yourself. This aquatic race horse is built for speed from bow to stern. Pair this with the Kialoa Methane II carbon fiber paddle, and you just might raise a rooster-tail in your wake.

Summer is officially here. And it feels like it. Get wet. Have some SUP fun!

Time to Stow It

While Killington is still open with a couple of trails off the Superstar lift, most of us are now getting our summer time play gear ready for action. I’ve tuned up my road cycle and mountain bike, and am chasing the spiders out of the kayaks. But what about ski maintenance?

But I haven’t forgotten my winter toys, and neither should you. Now is the time to “summerize” your ski and ride gear. Don’t wait until November when the edges are caked with rust, the bindings infested with spiders, and the bases looking like they were whitewashed. Bleah!

The easiest way to keep your gear in tip-top shape is to bring your skis or your board to Avie’s and ask to have them “summerized.” That means a full tune up—we repair and grind the base, sharpen the edges, and then lay a thick coat of wax over the base and rub wax all along the edges. This will keep the base fresh and not allow it to oxidize, or the edges to rust.

Yes, your ski or board base can “rust,” though it is referred to as “oxidized.” Ozone and other atmospheric chemicals attack the dry base, bleaching it out and making it have a chalky, powdery feel. And that’s not good. The base no longer holds wax very well, and more friction is created meaning you go ssssllllooooooooooowwweeerrrr on the slopes. And really, who wants to do that?

If you want to keep your boots in good shape, clean the liner. Pull it out of the boot, remove the footbed / insole and clean it with cold water that has a little bit of anti-bacterial soap dissolved in it. Swish it around real good then rinse extra good with cold water. Put them somewhere where they can completely dry. Outside is great if its a nice day. Once completely dry add a dash of foot powder, if you want, then put them back into the boots and loosely buckle them up so the shell keeps its shape.

And don’t forget jackets and pants. Launder them as per instruction on the tag that you never bother to look at, sewn into a seam somewhere on the inside. Most outerwear that is waterproof or water repellent needs to be cleaned and dried in order to refresh and maintain its water repelling properties. Read the tag. Follow the instructions. Its easy.

Now you will be all set for next season. Once the temperature tumbles bring your “summarized” gear to Avie’s and we will scrape off the summer wax, hand brush the base to a nice shine, and send you on your way for some fun in the white stuff.

Have questions? Want to learn how to wax and sharpen? Send an email to tuningshop@aviesskisport.com as we are always ready and willing to assist.

Spring Skiing? Delightful!

Despite the fact Avie’s bus trips are done for the season, the urge to let gravity yank me downhill is still impressively strong. And my leg muscles are finally tuned to the point where at days end there is only a blissful ache instead of throbbing pain.

So, I pointed north and had the great pleasure of being at Okemo yesterday. The resort is still 100% open, and there is plenty of snow, though they are done with snowmaking for the season.

I was clicked into a pair of Blizzard Quattro RS skis, which thrive on firm-and-fast. So I started my day over on the South Face to hit it before the snow began to soften. I put down first tracks on every open, non-mogul trail. I had first and second tracks on Blind Faith. If you get the feeling there were few people there, you got it right.

I stayed until about 10AM when the lower parts of the trails began to soften, and a steady stream of skiers and riders began to show up to take advantage of that softening. I worked my way over to the Main Face of the resort and hit all the classics—World Cup, Chief, Defiance, Nor’easter and Jolly Green Giant. These trails were still firm-and-fast, though the ice chip/”Death Cookie” mix—which graced most slopes on the South Face—had been skied over and chopped up to make the glide a bit less tooth rattling. I liked Chief and Nor’easter so much I did them each a few times top-to-bottom. I caught a big air (for me) on World Cup, and landed it! Usually airtime for me results in spectacular yard sale events, but not this time.

I went next over to Solitude, and the surfaces there were very smoothed out. What is typically called “dust-on-crust” though the “dust” was a pretty good coating. I took a run on all the trails in Solitude, then headed back for a few final runs down Chief to make some big carves in the softening snow.

It was a blast. There is plenty of snow left to have plenty of fun on. Yes, there are a growing number of hazard markers gracing the trails, and bald patches are sure to be turning up as the warming days march onward. But for now you can get the best of everything. Firm-and-fast to start the day with some high speed runs, mellowing in mid-morning as the snow softens, and then outright spring skiing and riding in “Hero Snow” late morning through mid-afternoon.

Conditions are still phenomenal up north, so there is no reason to toss your gear in a corner for the spiders to play on until next fall. Get yourself up north again while the getting is good. And it is good.

I’m still smiling, the morning after my day of play at Okemo. Since smiling and being happy are good things, I’m planning on doing it again. And again. Hope to see you out there.

 

 

AlanD