On March 28, 2023

Outer Limits is where legends are made

By Merissa Sherman

My skis twist underneath me, wiggling through the moguls like a snake might find its way through an obstacle course of river rocks. It almost feels like they have a mind of their own, which obviously the R&D guys back at the production plant have worked very hard to achieve.

My body merely follows along for the ride at this point. I can feel my feet, diving downward on the backside of the mogul. Almost like I am pointing my toes and waiting for my heels to catch up with the rest of my body. It’s not awkward, more like a rocking motion underneath me as I dive my tips into the trough of the moguls and then pull my toes back up again with the muscles in my shins and front of my ankle.

I can feel my ankles getting tired; I haven’t had a reason to do top to bottom runs down Outer Limits all year. But today was the day to do this and so here I am. Lapping SkyePeak Quad with some local mogul legends. The sky is blue, the stoke is high and you can hear the laughter ringing off the chairlift as we tell stories of ski seasons gone by. 

My knees press tight against each other, not risking a quick separation for the imaginary judges for anything. Well, I guess the legends of OL count as judges. I certainly don’t want to embarrass myself in front of them by any means. So I keep moving, my knees together while my feet fly in every which way they need to. My feet are quick, my body is steady.

I am not a zipper skier, I never have been. My turns have always been too round, too slalom, too ski instructor like to enjoy the straightness of the zipper and the willingness to compress my spine. It’s not my style and I have enough disc problems, although damn, do I love to watch those guys. I’m a bit more … eh, I cannot think of a word, but I’m not a bumper in the traditional sense of the word. I just love variable terrain.

My femoral ball jams into my hip socket on a particularly deep trough and I cringe a little bit at my mistake. I reach deep inside to pull myself back out of the hole and take a deep breath as I float a bit on top of the next mogul. I have to focus here. There is too much going on, the lines aren’t regular enough to phase out mentally and the snow is just too thick to not pay attention to every movement.

So I focus on my femurs, the movement from my knees to my hips. That beautiful rotary motion that pivots a flat ski. I’d been focusing too much on carving through the bumps, lost in a flow that feels like paddling a canoe across a white capped lake. This isn’t that — but it’s close. You have to move your femurs away from you and then pull them back in, lots of energy coming through the hip sockets as you manipulate the ski down and out of the troughs. 

I’ve got myself back together. I’m like a duck. Smooth on the top and paddling like hell underneath. My upper body stays focused on the fall line, my shoulders looking straight down the zipper while my skis swing underneath me and my body compressed like an accordion with each breath. My poles, obviously too long for the bumps on Outer Limits, replanted just a bit further outside the line than the Legends.

I tell myself every year that I should get some shorter poles for spring bumps on the Glacier, but I never remember. My sister uses kid poles, hers are so short and I always felt like I would forward onto my face if I ever used poles shorter than 46 inches.  I love the feel of my big flower baskets as they drag behind me, almost like a third leg sometimes. I know, it’s a bad habit. But it’s my bad habit and everyone has to have a little steaze, right?

I wish the OL chair was running so I could hear the heckling on my very Alpine turns in these big moguls. But that chair will be running this weekend, with the tailgating running in full force as the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge takes over the resort (or at least the entire South Side). 

There is nothing quite so “Killington” where our best take each other on and a full winner takes all the glory event. I’ve never had the courage to put myself out there, but damn do I love to watch the hot dogs show off while I drink a round in my best old school outfit. I’ll see you all at the bottom, cheering on all the challengers. Because you know: Outer Limits is where Legends are made.

Merisa Sherman is a long time Killington resident, a KMS coach, bartender, and local realtor.  You can reach her at femaleskibum@gmail.com.

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