What's on your skiers check list? Cold smoke powder? A Western
escape to one of Killington's sister resorts such as Park City in
Utah or Okemo's Crested Butte in Colorado?
Does your list include a special Eastern adventure? It should!
Every year my list includes certain mountain adventures mostly here
in the East but some outside New England as well. A dear friend's
daughter who married a year past spent their honeymoon skiing in
South America. Check! That's one mark off their bucket list. But,
their short list also includes ongoing weekend escapes to the
family's second home in Vermont.
So what's on your checklist?
Years ago, living in the high alpine in Colorado, and often
hiking to 13,000 or 14,000 feet, my list included regular weekend
ski hikes in my ongoing search for untracked powder. Occasionally
folks trained for the 'Powder 8' contests and several ventured to
Alaska or Canada for helicopter forays. Still, not all our lists
are as spectacular.
In the East, my annual list includes ski escapes with friends
and also incorporates certain job responsibilities in my role
writing for multiple magazines and mountain newspapers. A few days
past, after a day skiing at Pico Mountain, I was riding the gondola
to Killington Peak when two folks (both sporting season passes)
asked me if Pico would be worth a day escape. They had never skied
the mountain! I gasped, then explained that not only are the trails
delightful but its not often crowded. They decided they would have
to plan a day at Pico.
Too often folks miss out on easily accessible adventures.
Here in Central Vermont you can easily fashion an exciting
Eastern list. Here's the thing, Eastern skiing and riding escapes
can offer unrivalled diversity. Whether planning to enjoy weekend
bump skiing on Outer Limits at Killington or planning a hot air
balloon ride in nearby Quechee Gorge, Vermont resorts can offer a
long list of adventures. In fact, as most of us know, when the snow
is right, area resorts can offer a remarkable array of winter
adventures. The area has steep slots. Bumps. Wide open cruisers.
And, this year, there's also been lots of powder.
Powder days are excellent.
Sure, we all know that fresh powder is the stuff of dreams. In
truth, though, powder is never guaranteed even in - dare we say
this - the West. It's true! And it's the rarity that makes powder
so special, I think. In Vermont, at least once a season - and this
year on several occasions - a massive storm will pummel the
You have to get out those days, whatever it takes, you won't
A few years ago I was working in New Hampshire and it started to
rain. Rather then sitting idle, we trekked to Killington. And,
while it was raining in town it was snowing - heavily - on the top
of the access road.
Elevation can be key. And Killington, the second highest peak in
the state, has altitude.
Incidentally, we just gasped as the snow on top was actually
light and fluffy too! We were lucky. A month later, after enduring
the frustration of several January rain storms, I hit the lifts
again, this time to test skis for a story, I then rediscovered
great machine groomed packed powder. Fortunately, Vermont resorts
had made snow all week and the conditions were soft and easy to
I praise snowmaking.
The take home? Think about your adventure list. Powder? Check.
Snowmobile ride? Check? Hot air balloon ride? Not yet! Take a
chance. And, with a little luck, you'll catch great powder too.
But, in the meantime, enjoy the corduroy. And enjoy the region.
Savor each adventure, from your first run to your last run.