It was 8:45 AM Tuesday March 3rd and I was on the Ursa lift at Stratton on my way to the summit. I had just skied over from the Sunbowl. I got on early because the young lady at the Sunrise lift was, evidently, just stretching her arms. But it looked to me like she was waving a willowy “Come on over.” So I did. She laughed when I explained. Then she waved me onto a chair.
Looking uphill from my chair on the Ursa lift I could clearly see that I could not clearly see the summit. A thick blanket of fog cloaked the upper quarter of the mountain. Ugh.
As far as fog goes though, this one was pretty okay. It didn’t put a frozen glaze over my goggle lens, not even a wet mist. It did make the snow a bit one-dimensional as I took my first plunge down the “Get My Drift” trail. But as I said, as far as foggy mountain skiing goes, this was pretty okay.
The surface was a little crusty right at the summit, but softened rapidly with my descent. Once below the fog line visibility improved and the light on the surface not quite as one-dimensional. Temperatures back at the base were warm, despite not much sun.
By ten or ten-thirty in the morning the fog had dissipated and the sun was shining brightly. Temperatures soared with the sunlight. I had my helmet vents wide open, jacket unzipped and underarm vents zipped wide open as well. The snow was soft top-to-bottom. It was spring skiing at its best.
By late morning things were a bit sloppy back at base areas, and there was a growing abundance of those very annoying “sticky strips” as I call them. You know, those patches of snow that are waterlogged and grab the bottom of the ski or snowboard and try to jerk you to a stop. Very annoying. Very.
But the skiing was delicious. Big fat sloppy turns in the soft snow from summit to base. Exhausting, but so much fun.
While we are seeing a bit of warm up at the moment, temperatures drop for the weekend, with a bit of snow tossed in up north on Friday. There is still plenty of skiing and riding to be had.
Avie’s Ski / Sports is at Killington today, and those lucky folks will see a repeat of what I got to experience yesterday. There will be some very happy, very tired skiers and riders on the return trip.
This Sunday Avie’s Ski / Sports heads off to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. Take this opportunity this weekend to get in a few more turns before you turn away from winter and look towards the coming of summer.
And don’t forget that Sunday March 15th is the Avie’s Ski / Sport “Customer Appreciation” trip. Ted and all the shop staff join in on this trip north to Mount Snow. Coffee, donuts, and snacks of all sorts—a few even healthy—are available. Ted plays “Santa” passing out lots of fun “give away” items he has collected over the season. Socks, hats, scarves, and only Ted knows what else, make for a fun and entertaining trip.
Get out and go skiing and riding while the turns are soft and sweet. I hope to see you on March 15th on the trip to Mount Snow.
Today I took the opportunity to dash up north to check out conditions. I stopped in at Stratton figuring it would be a good gauge for what conditions are like at least through the lower and central portion of Vermont.
This was not done with the intent of having fun. I did this so that you would enter into President’s Day Week having an idea of what to expect. Of course, I will admit that my scouting trip was indeed fun. Maybe even a lot of fun. But I tried not to let it.
It was nice to see on the drive up that Vermont now looks like Vermont should look during winter. The hills are draped with snow and the sides of roads are lined with snow piles. Not massive piles, but at least snow. There is also snow in the woods now, so the landscape is a pleasing white everywhere you look. It wasn’t that way when I was up there last week.
Much of Vermont has received about a foot of snow over the past week. With more expected overnight tonight and into tomorrow. It looks like that should leave another half-foot or so of snow to play in. And predictions are for a major storm in the early portion of next week, bringing we hope a major dump of white stuff.
I started my day at the Sun Bowl. A quick look up the hill showed that trails had been groomed, but another couple inches of snow fell post grooming operations. Groomers with a bit of fluffy frosting on top sounded pretty tasty.
I made my way over to the Snow Bowl area to stretch leg muscles stiff from the 3-hour drive. When I got to the summit I found that the wind was pretty stiff, and there were large areas where all the fluff had blown off. The uncovered groomers were crusty on top, a result of the small amount of wet precipitation that occurred between the morning and late day snow events of yesterday.
Well that pesky fluffy snow had to go somewhere, and indeed it lay in patches and drifts on the windward side of the exposed slopes. Trails that were tucked between trees and out of the wind had a nice dusting of fluffy stuff.
The nice thing was that there was plenty of snow. Everywhere on the trails. Not a hint of glacier ice did I see. Conditions were fast and firm, with the firm part being a bit crunchy. If edges were sharp however, which you can bet mine were, then the groomers were a very fun thing.
As the day wore on the wind dropped off a bit and snow got distributed all across the trails, making for some very, very fine skiing and riding.
Skiing and Riding Conditions
Right now conditions are very, very good. The couple of recent snowfalls have topped off the trails quite nicely. Yes, there was a little bit of wetness that hit the slopes then froze, but it was just a little. And, as noted earlier, if your edges are sharp you will have lots of fun.
Dull edges? This is New England! You should always have sharp edges. Always. The every single time you go out kind of always.
Another moderate snowfall overnight tonight and into tomorrow will make things even better still. And there is no warming in the forecast either, so all this wonderful snow will stay around for a while.
The bottom line is, if you are planning on heading north to play in the snow during the coming school holiday, you will be met with great to excellent conditions. If you haven’t been planning on heading north, you may want to start making a plan.
Bromley On Sunday
Just a reminder that the Avie’s Ski / Sports Sunday Ski & Ride trip on February 16th heads to Bromley Mountain. That’s right next door to Stratton, so conditions will be equally as good. By Sunday, probably better.
I went up to Stratton yesterday for another day on the snow. My next couple of weeks are a bit hectic, and I wanted to capture another day on the slopes when I could. So I did.
Everyone must have slept in post-Super Bowl. When I arrived at the Sun Bowl parking lot at about 8:30 AM I was the fourth car. At the summit a short time later, I pointed down Upper Tamarack for my first run, and noticed only one set of tracks on the trail. No doubt that was ski patrol.
A Changing Snowscape
A lot had changed since I was at Stratton this past Thursday. This time around there was much more glacier ice present. And the patches of glacier were more extensive in size than last week. Conditions were fast-and-firm once again, but a bit more crusty and icy. And less trails were groomed. A few that were groomed, like Upper Kidderbrook, were covered with a teeth rattling blanket of chunks the size of ice cubes. Snow coverage was thinner than the past week as well.
I guess that’s to be expected given that no significant snowfall has occurred in some time. You can only redistribute the same snow so many ways. Since some gets kicked off trail at the edges each and every day, it’s a cumulative loss. That said, the trails not groomed with ice cubes were fast and fun.
A pesky “ice fog” hovered over the summit the entire time I was there. That made for some challenging, if not difficult visuals. I did a few more runs up top then settled into hitting trails on the lower mountain. By late morning the snow was softening just a bit on the lower mountain. That made for some easy cruising and fun carves. I made multiple laps on Sunrise Supertrail enjoying that soft snow. Then about noon the nasty summit cloud descended to the base. Adding insult to injury a nice light misty mix of water and ice came with it.
I did a few more runs hoping the cloud would get legs and walk back uphill. It didn’t so I called it a day.
Snow On The Way!!
The forecast is calling for precipitation up north over the next couple of days, though a question mark remains about what form it might take.
The good news is that even if a mix starts things off, it sounds like it will end with a nice blanket of snow. And predictions are for another snow event to crop up this weekend, leaving another nice blanket of snow. Let’s hope the forecasters are on target with white instead of nasty wet.
Even better news is that New Hampshire slopes, Loon Mountain for instance, is forecasted to get all white stuff from both the first and second set of storms. So if you have been pondering getting on the Avie’s Ski / Sports trip this coming Sunday, January 9th, you may want to commit.
While ski mountains have been struggling to keep it together this snow-starved season, there is some good skiing and riding to be had if you go. And by weeks end things should be better still. Get out on the hill and have some fun.
I was at Stratton taking another lap down Lower Downeaster, the trail you see pictured above. My feet were tucked into a pair of Dalbello DS 110 boots. Those boots were clicked into a pair of Volkl Kanjo skis. And I was loving life.
Towards the end of last ski season I found myself struggling a bit, and having too many days coming off the slopes feeling defeated. Or at least confused about why things weren’t clicking like they always used to. Skis didn’t respond like usual. Or worse, they seemed to have a mind of their own, wanting to go somewhere other than I wanted.
This season started off the same. I knew the reason. I just didn’t want to face it.
As I cruised into my mid-60s, I knew that I wasn’t as strong as I was a decade or so earlier, and what strength there was ran out quicker. And it took longer to recover that spent strength. Sure, I could ski in my Dalbello DS 130 boots atop the Blizzard Quattro RS skis, and ski really well. But after a couple hours of euphoria on that pairing, things degenerated. Rapidly.
Skiing is my winter release. The snow covered slopes are where I bleed off stress, forget the rest of the world and its associated problems, declutter my mind, and simply relax. To the max.
I needed to find a new set up that wouldn’t sap strength quite as quickly and would let me stay in that “happy zone” for as long as I wanted or needed. So as this season progressed I skied various demo skis Ted has available at Avie’s Ski / Sports. I really liked the Nordica Dobermann Spitfire 76, as well as Blizzard Brahma 82, and Volkl Kanjo.
The Spitfire 76 skis were great carving skis, and they were a blast on the groomers. But they were a bit heavy, and stiffer than what I felt I was looking for. And maybe a bit too skinny. If I went that direction, why not just keep the Quattro RS skis?
The Brahma 82 skis were great all over the mountain, but again were a bit heavier and stiffer than desired. What I was gravitating towards, it seemed, was something lighter and livelier.
Kanjo was great all over the mountain, had a lot of pop, and were incredibly light. They seemed for me to be the most fun of the three. But were they really the ski I was seeking? I thought they very well might be.
So, I bought a pair. I pondered bindings, and Ted suggested Marker Squire (instead of Griffon) to keep things really light. I also picked up a pair of Dalbello DS 110 boots.
I sharpened the skis so they would cut into a firm, hard-pack surface, and waxed and buffed them to a perfect high gloss shine. Then I took the new set up to Stratton to give them my undivided attention for the entire day.
Like I noted earlier, I was loving life. I skied until late morning without feeling fatigued and beat up. I took a short break to hydrate and refuel. Then went back out for another couple hours of fun with my new best friends.
I will miss the exhilaration of tipping down a steep slope with feet in super stiff boots clicked into race-worthy skis. That outfit is now in the hands of a younger man who will put them to good use in actual race conditions. So I feel good knowing those great skis and boots will continue to do what they do so well.
I admit, I am starting to feel my age. But that doesn’t mean giving up something as fun as skiing. It just means I need a new way forward that adjusts better to a new, aging, and changing me.
If fact, out on the slopes in my new set up I feel like a kid again, discovering the magic of sliding downhill over snow in the cold mountains on a pair of sticks with an enormous smile plastered on my face.
The new ski gear available today is simply magic. Boots are incredibly light, and with GripWalk, easy to walk in. Skis are available in so many configurations that it is truly impossible not to be able to find a pair of skis that make you feel like it’s the first time out all over again. Except this “first time” you will actually spend time skiing instead of falling!
And there are many options for trying before buying. Demo skis are there for the trying. Talk to shop employees who have skied the skis—like those at Avie’s—and let them help you find your new best friends.
Same for ski boots. New boots are so light, so warm, and so easy to get in and out of, that you will wonder why you didn’t upgrade sooner. No matter the size of your foot, there is a ski boot width and stiffness combination that will put and keep that smile on your face.
A Word About Volk Kanjo
For me, Volkl Kanjo paired with Dalbello DS 110 was the answer. For you it may be some other ski, some other boot. Regardless your age, if you are looking for a really lightweight, lively ski that holds turns wonderfully, carves as well as they do short quick turns, Kanjo is a pretty darn good choice.
I skied Kanjo on big, wide, groomed trails, as well as on narrower, windier trails. These skis carved incredibly well on the big groomers. They also made short carves on narrow trails, as well as jumped side-to-side quickly and effortlessly.
I even took them over a couple of ungroomed trails to see how they would handle more lumpy, crusty, crummy conditions. They didn’t chatter or slip. They sliced their way through the crusty crud, loving every moment. And so did I.
Though I haven’t taken them there just yet, I think Kanjo will play nicely in both the bumps and in the woods. These are a lively set of sticks that perform well beyond their price point. There is a demo pair at Avie’s if you are considering getting a new pair of skis.
A Word About Dalbello DS 110
The new Dalbello DS line of boots are phenomenal. For a 4-buckle overlap boot, feet go in and out about as simply and easily as can be imagined. Not like a pair of slippers—lets’ be serious! But wicked easy.
The change from a 130 to a 110 stiffness boot was not as traumatic as anticipated. The response from the ski is not as forceful or immediate, but I still was able to drive a ski—even stiff skis like Nordica Enforcer—without much problem (other than taking more effort, as is normal regardless the boot stiffness).
Bottom line? No matter age, ability, or desire, there is a match up of boots and skis that will be your soul mate. All you need to do is explore some, and find them.
There was great snow on the ground up north in early December, and I readied my gear to head up there. Then work got in the way. Life got in the way next. A four letter word (rain) befell the north country. The holidays were on the doorstep. So despite great early season conditions—and intentions—I never made it to the slopes prior to the New Year ringing in.
Yesterday I went north to Stratton. It was a beautiful sunny day with temps to start in the low twenties. The wind was a bit stiff at the summit, but not so strong as to affect lift operations. Crowds were light, at least until late morning when things got a bit busy.
It was only busy because the entire mountain was not accessible. Skiers and riders congregated on open trails, making it seem busier than if 100% of terrain were available.
The snow was quite good on open trails. Sure, there was a patch of glacier ice here and there, and an occasional sparsely covered piece of ground. But overall conditions made for good skiing and riding.
I started this ski season with two new gear items. The foremost was a new pair of Dalbello DS 110 boots. I have been in Dalbello boots at a 130 stiffness for quite a while. And while I love the control they provide, they tire me out too quickly as the years click over into the future, making age numbers higher and higher.
The DS 110 boot is a traditional 4-buckle overlap boot. Dalbello reengineered the liner to make entry easier. And it is. Once my foot was slipped into the boot, I can say they were (and are) extremely comfortable. They are also quite warm. But yesterday was not a great test for warmth since it was not really very cold.
This less stiff boot let me still have great control over the skis, but did allow me to relax—be a bit sloppy that is—without actually getting sloppy controlling the skis. I can now ski longer into the day than when my feet were tucked into the 130 stiffness boots. All this was exactly what I hoped to see happen.
The second new item was a pair of Nordica Dobermann Spitfire 76 RB skis. This ski is brand new this season, and I can tell you they are a lot of fun to click boots into.
Modeled after the Nordica Dobermann line of race skis, Spitfire 76 RB inherits the basic traits of a race ski. Titanal inserts for stiffness with light weight. Full camber underneath makes the ski very lively in and out of turns. High quality metal in the edges that keep sharpness longer. Narrow waist and 16 meter turn radius make Spitfire 76 RB a great ski for those narrow, windy trails typical of New England ski resorts.
Needless to say, I had a blast on the Nordica Spitfire skis. If you are intrigued by these skis—and you should be—they are available as a demo ski at Avie’s Ski / Sports. I took them out for an extended spin yesterday to see how they performed. Last year I tried them out during an “on-slope” retailers demo show, but only took a few laps on them. I remembered liking them, but needed an update to my memory chip.
If like me you best enjoy carving up the groomers, give the Nordica Spitfire 76 RB a trial run over the snow. They are fantastic on the big, wide groomers for setting out big, wide carves. And they are lively and fun on those narrow trails twisting and winding their way through the woods.
I am looking to down-size from the Volkl RTM 84 skis I have been on for the past 5 or so years. I am looking for a ski a bit narrower and easier (less exhausting over a day of skiing) to tip into and out of turns. Something with more camber so that they are a bit more lively underfoot. Nordica Spitfire 76 RB just might be the ski I am looking for.
Conditions to the north are not phenomenal, but not bad at all. The bad part is that the resorts are not 100% open. The trails that are open however, are all in good shape.
It looks like incoming weather may start up as a bit of a mixed bag up north, then changing over to snow. Depending on where, it sounds like 6 to 8 inches, and maybe more, could get dropped upon New England ski resorts up north.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed for lots and lots of snow, and the dropping of many, many ropes that yesterday were keeping trails off limits to skiers and riders hungry for more terrain.
When the opportunity comes, get out there and hit the slopes. If you are a skier, stop by Avie’s Ski / Sports and take the Nordica Dobermann Spitfire 76 RB skis out for a day on the slopes.
Unless of course I have my ski boots clicked into their bindings…
I decided to make a run up to Stratton this morning. I’m glad I did. It was Strattonspheric. That means it was other-worldly good. Outta-this-world good.
Look at the picture, taken from the summit near the top of the new Snow Bowl lift. I think that’s proof enough that my decision was a good one. A really good one.
That’s Bromely Ski area center right. Way off in the distance, not really noticeable in the image here on the webpage, unfortunately, you could see the snow-capped twin summits of Camel’s Hump. Stowe off behind that—I think. That’s how crystal clear a day it was.
Okay, so you give me a high-five for a great day of sightseeing in Vermont. What you really want to know is — How was the skiing?
It was phenomenal. Stratospheric even. Despite it being clear and sunny, it was cold. In the teens at the summit and mid-twenties at the base. And it stayed cold. With a breeze that wasn’t quite a wind. The snow stayed firm-and-fast on the upper mountain, with lower mountain trails softening up just a bit. Not so much as to be sloppy or “grabby.” Just nicely soft.
The snow they received over this past weekend gave the mountain operations folks a chance to make a major “reset” on the trails. The St. Patrick’s Day Avie’s bus trip to Okemo experienced “groomed variable surfaces,” which translates to “chopped ice.” Not that those conditions were bad, they were actually quite good. But the snow today at Stratton was delicious, good old packed-powder. It was spectacular.
Grizzy—a Double-Diamond to the left off the Ursa lift, was fully groomed top-to-bottom. First time I had seen it groomed this season. It was spectacularly fun. Multiple times. As was Polar Bear, Black Bear, Tamarack, Standard, Spruce, Drifter, Sunrise Supertrail, and Down’easter. To name a few.
Time to Act Is NOW!
Bottom line is that conditions are incredibly good right now to the north in ski country. Take advantage of it. Read this, then call in sick for tomorrow. Go skiing or riding. It will be worth the effort. You won’t regret a moment.
Some warmth creeps in towards the end of the week, which will make for some good spring skiing and riding, for sure. But if you like your snow-covered slopes to be firm-and-fast, go tomorrow. Leave tonight if you can so you can’t change your mind.
Yes, the ski and ride season is winding down. Resorts will be reducing access day-by-day, and trail counts will dwindle. All the more reason to get out there one more time. Or two. Maybe three?
4:15 AM—I check the weather first thing out of bed. High in the teens with dropping temps throughout the day. Windy—gusts to 50 mph. Cloudy. Snow flurries, possibly heavy, in the afternoon. My logical half says, “Go back to bed.” My skier half says, “Go skiing.”
5:25 AM—I just crossed the Gold Star bridge and realized I left the Nordica skis home, taking only the Volkl’s. Too far to go back, so I stay pointed northbound.
6:10 AM—I feel the car slipping a bit on black ice on Rte 2 in Glastonbury, CT. Not enough to scare me, but enough to wake me up quickly.
7:30 AM—VT 30 is partially snow covered, but in good shape. The temp is 10 degrees F.
8:20 AM—The parking lot of the Snow Bowl at Stratton has 6 cars parked in it. Are they not open? The Sunrise Express lift is spinning. Therefore the Sun Bowl must be open. I park and grab my gear.
8:25 AM—I rest my skis against the rack outside the lodge and look up the mountain before heading in to suit up. There is one lone ski track sinuously snaking down the face of Sunriser Supertrail. It’s a perfect serpentine “s” in a perfectly smooth coating of powder. I should have taken a picture, but all I could think about was getting onto that lovely snow.
8:45 AM—I’m riding the Sunrise Express lift out of the Sun Bowl staring at the lone track in the powder. Wind is quickly filling it in at higher elevations. “Snow Devils” are whirling about. I see only 2 other people on a chair way up the line of empty chairs in front of me.
9:15 AM—My first “face shot” of the day. No, the powder wasn’t that deep. The slopes came up to greet my face. Also known as a “face plant.” The Volkls think it’s funny to dive deep into the powder.
Stratton received about 6-inches or so of snowfall over night Tuesday. Groomers went out early, letting the fresh snow lay down like a blanket over the corduroy. Some novice terrain was groomed just before opening. On those portions of the summit that are severely windblown, you could see some “glacier ice” peeking though—evidence of the nasty rainfall last Thursday.
Skiing early on was in fresh powder underlaid with a firm base of mixed granular and packed powder. My Volkl RTM 84′s are not the best in powder. The Nordica NRGy 90s were right there by the door. Don’t know how I could have missed them. And I did miss them.
A Really Good “Bad” Day
Based on weather predictions, it should have been extremely cold and extremely windy. It should have been cloudy with snow flurries. Yes it was cold—13 degrees F when I left Stratton that afternoon. It was windy. At least early on. Then about 10:30ish the wind just laid down for several hours. It was breezy. Not windy.
Clouds? There were a few puffy clouds early on, as you can see in the first photo of this post. But by 9:30 AM the sky was such a brilliant, clear blue that you couldn’t help but just feel that all was right in the world.
The slopes were graced with a lovely coat of fresh white powder. Whoops of joy drifted out of the woods, and from the trails hidden from sight behind the trees. Beautiful, arcing curves laced their way down the face of the slopes.
As the wind laid down, it was cold, but spectacular. It was one of those winter days that, despite the cold, you just had to feel happy. It was impossible to not be at peace. You just had to smile. Brightly. It was impossible not to breath deep of the cold, sparkling air. And smile. Again.
A Lonely Mountain
So, the weather predicted was a far cry from the weather received. And equally as wrong, was the expectation of mobs of “powder-hounds,” thick as black flies in spring. See the image below. It was taken about 11:15 AM at the main base lodge at Stratton. Do you even see a person?
Obviously there were people on the mountain. But it was incredible how so very few there were. On one trip up the Ursa lift to the summit, there was not one person at the lift to get on but me, and I could see maybe a half dozen people on the lift up in front of me. Even the gondola had no line. Just a small cluster of people waiting to board the next car on the line.
I guess folks took to heart the weather predictions. They stayed in bed. Had breakfast. Maybe even went to work, heaven forbid. Doubts crept into my head the evening prior. I kept wondering if it would be worth the drive time to get there and be froze half to death, with the other half getting blown off the summit.
On my way home I stopped by to see Greg at Meulemans’ Craft Draughts in Rawsonville, a couple miles south of the Stratton access road on VT 30—a “must stop at” place if you are into craft beer, cider, or Vermont cheeses and wine. Greg confirmed that the locals “stayed in.” He and his wife Pat were out skiing in the morning and noticed that most of the “regulars” were nowhere to be found.
Needless to say, it was a great day at Stratton. Spectacular actually. The hills up north have been refreshed with a nice blanket of snow. All that carved up powder will be recycled into groomers for days to come. And conditions will stay good right into the weekend. The “polar vortex” is going somewhere else, so temps will moderate, making things a bit more tolerable.
Might not be a bad weekend to head north to ski and ride. Consider the Avie’s Ski / Sports trip running to Mount Snow on Sunday. But don’t delay. Sign up by end of today to ensure a seat.
The group from Avie’s Ski / Sports had a blast at Stratton on the January 13th trip north. Conditions were phenomenal. Temperatures stayed in the high teens, but without a breath of wind. Great temps for skiing and riding.
And the sky. Such a beautiful sky. Not a cloud to be seen anywhere. The only thing resembling a cloud were the snow-capped peaks of the Presidential Range in New Hampshire off in the distance to the east.
Ok, great weather. How were conditions?
Incredibly good. Most of the mountain was open, and most open trails were groomed. With no wind, the snow stayed on the trails. The only spot that got a bit nasty in the afternoon was Janeway Junction. Too much traffic always seems to make that spot get scraped to glacier status. But if you avoided that, the rest of the slopes were firm, fast, and snow covered.
The new lift in the Snow Bowl area of the resort is a fantastic addition. The trip back to the summit from the bottom of World Cup now takes about 5 minutes rather than the 15 or so minutes with the previous lift. Better still, few seemed to know it was there because there was never a line. So, you could avoid the long, slow runout back to the base area with a short hop back to the summit. Very nice addition.
Was it crowded?
Even more surprising were the crowds. Or lack thereof. Yes, it was busy, but the longest wait I had was at the Sunrise Express lift out of the Sun Bowl, where it took about 5 minutes to get on the lift. So there were fewer people on the trails than what I think of as “normal” for a Sunday.
And once the Patriot’s game started, the trails got even more lonely. For those that decided to forgo at least the start of the game, the skiing and riding throughout the afternoon was spectacular.
Starting to get the idea it was a great day? It was. Personally, I thought the snow in the Sun Bowl area was the best, and my favorite trails for the day were Sunrise Super Trail, skiers left as you get off the Sunrise Express chair, and Lower Downeaster, skiers right coming off the chair.
Right at the end of the day, the Sunrise Express lift in the Sun Bowl experienced problems and was shut down for repairs. Fortunately they got everyone off before shutting it down. This left the Solstice lift running, which I hadn’t been on before. It is a sloooooooow lift, but when it’s the only lift, you take it. Fortunately I took it only once, for my last run of the day. I took Big Ben, a novice trail right off the Solstice lift, back to the Sun Bowl lodge. It’s a scenic, winding trail through the woods, experiencing a gentle grade. It pops out of the woods at the top of a big, broad slope leading past the tubing hill.
The sun had been on the slope earlier in the day, which was now in the shadows as the sun was setting. I tipped over the top of the long wide slope, quickly finding out that the sun must have slightly thawed the surface, which then froze over as the sun dipped behind the mountain. For a novice trail, I had a fast ride down the slope back to the lodge. Big carves across the face of the trail, all the way to the bottom, was a fantastic way to end the day.
I was tempted to jump on the lift for one more spin down Big Ben, but opted not. My quads were screaming from a fun afternoon of torture. I decided to let it end on a high note. My quads were very grateful for that decision.
The bus ride back to Westerly was particularly quiet. Everyone was what I call “blissfully exhausted” from a fun day on the snow.
Mount Snow on tap
This coming Sunday, the 20th of January, the Avie’s Ski / Sports trip heads back to Vermont to visit the slopes at Mount Snow. Same great price of $99.95. Be sure to sign up by early afternoon on Thursday the 17th to help ensure that the trip will run.
Sure, you can still sign up for the trip after Thursday. But you run a risk of two very bad things happening. First—too many people waited until after Thursday afternoon to sign up, and the trip was cancelled because we thought there wasn’t enough interest. Second—too many people did sign up before Thursday afternoon and there are no seats left on the bus. In the first case, everyone loses. In the second, there is a big number of winners, and one loser.
Don’t be a loser. Sign up before Thursday afternoon
Following Mount Snow Avie’s heads to Loon in New Hampshire on the 27th. On January 30th, a Wednesday, Avie’s Ski / Sports has the first mid-week trip of the season, heading to Okemo. I urge you to be on that bus. Mid-week skiing and riding cannot be beat. Sign up for this trip early so that we know there is enough interest.
Vermont and New Hampshire are getting whacked with a nice blanket of that fluffy white stuff we call snow. This weekend—Sunday specifically—you can be at Stratton on January 13th.
The 5 to 7-inches of snow, maybe more locally on the mountain, will freshen things up quite nicely for our skiing and riding pleasures. Stratton is a fun mountain, with a variety of terrain for all ages and abilities. A brand new lift over in the Snow Bowl will give another opportunity to get to the summit without returning to the base village.
The best part of the trip, sponsored by Avie’s Ski / Sports in Westerly, Rhode Island, is the price.
$99.95 per person
That price includes a ride to and from Stratton, on a comfy coach bus. Get on the bus in the morning and relax for a few hours as someone else does the driving. Get to Stratton and ski and ride all day long. Get on the bus at the end of the day, exhausted from so much fun, and let someone else do the driving.
The price includes your lift ticket cost. If you were to drive all the way to Stratton on your own, then go to the ticket window and get your lift pass, you would experience at least three unpleasant things. First, you would have driven all that way to Stratton early in the morning instead of relaxing with friends and family. Second, you would pay MORE for the lift ticket than for the entire Avie’s Ski / Sports cost of the trip. Third, at the end of the day, tired and crabby from paying full price for a lift ticket, you have to drive all the way back home.
So, don’t go on the Avie’s Ski / Sports bus trip this Sunday, January 13th, to Stratton. Then you get the pleasure of driving 6 hours AND paying MORE for your lift ticket than if you joined the folks leaving from Avie’s. That sounds like a great deal for YOU.
But not for me. I will be on that bus leaving Avie’s Ski / Sports and headed to Stratton.
Decision to confirm the bus and driver for the trip to Stratton must be made by mid-afternoon Thursday.
That’s tomorrow.Tomorrow afternoon. If you want to go on this trip, you need to have your reservations in place before mid-afternoon tomorrow. If too few are signed up to go, then the trip gets canceled. That would be a sad thing. Sad indeed.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday morning at Avie’s Ski / Sports. Stratton awaits us!!
Mount Snow was offering $17 lift tickets today, Friday the 17th of March. So I went to Vermont to go skiing. I went to Stratton. I figured it would be less busy. I was right. And Stratton let skiers and riders start having fun on the slopes at 8AM instead of 9AM. I made a good choice.
But will YOU make a good choice? What choice you ask? The choice of whether or not to go on the Avie’s bus trip this Sunday, March 19th, to Okemo.
I tell folks “the best decision is an informed decision.” So I am going to give you some informing.
Stratton had almost all of their trails open. And the condition of all of them was fantastic, whether they were groomed or not. They even had a few trails open that hadn’t been open at all this year because they don’t make snow on those trails. The cover was a bit sparse in places, but they were totally skiable. Because of that, I got to ski 2 trails I have never been on before, and one I forgot existed because it hasn’t been open in 2 years. My favorite was Standard, the one running down the gondola lift line. Steep enough to get up enough speed to kick up massive sprays of snow from top to bottom. So fun.
Everything was wall-to-wall packed powder. Because of that the snow was a little slower than usual, but it was nice seeing everyone going down slope with big banners and swooshes of powder being kicked up all over the place. First thing in the morning, when the sun was just peaking up over the tops of some of the slopes, the sky all pink and orange hued, the view of skiers and riders kicking backlit snow plumes into the air was just beautiful to behold. That in itself was worth the drive.
Okemo is just next door to Stratton. They got the same approximate 2 feet of snow. And almost all their trails are open. And they too are wall-to-wall packed powder. Temperatures are staying cool so the snow is going nowhere except back on the slopes each night when the groomers are out doing their grooming thing.
I hear there are precious few seats left on the Okemo trip, so don’t hem and haw over your decision. You got the goods. Make that decision. It should be an easy one. If I see you Sunday morning on the trip to Okemo, you made the right decision. And you won’t regret it.