On February 21, 2024

Livin’ the Dream: Fresh tracks, the joy of a surprise powder day!

It wasn’t supposed to snow. Like there wasn’t an inkling that there would be anything coming out of the sky at all. It was predicted to be a normal grey Vermont day, nothing special scheduled at all except for the KMS Future Stars race.

But Vermont weather is never what you expect it to be. Waking up, I could feel the silence outside. That shin-shin, the crystalline silent that only comes from the absence of sound. That silence as fresh snow absorbs all the sound around it.

And so, of course, I jumped out of bed as quickly as possible (which is, obviously, not as quickly as I use to do) and headed for the nearest window. It was dumping outside. And it’s the Saturday of President’s Week. Oh crap.

I threw everything in my boot bag and got dressed as quickly as possible. There was no way I was getting stuck in the powder-hungry traffic on my way to work at the mountain so I needed to move fast and get on the road before everyone else realized it was snowing.

Our big race was postponed a few hours so the techs could figure out setting up the course in the snow. I was not disappointed with this at all. Instead of spending the morning side slipping Highline, we took the kids right into the powder.

As much powder as we could, anywhere we could get to. We were like hungry Powder Monsters, making fresh tracks all over the place. For some reason, lots of regulars had decided that Killington on a Saturday would not be a good idea, so it felt like we had the secret pow stashes to ourselves.

And so we learned to farm. You know, where you lay tracks down one next to the other, nice and tight, so no one has to ski over anyone else’s tracks and everyone gets fresh? More of a West Coast concept with all their open spaces, but with the limited amount of people out on Saturday morning, we were able to farm and come back the next run and finish tracking out the trail!

We dropped into woods that we really shouldn’t have been in because Team PomPom is made up of 5- and 6-year-olds, but we didn’t have any problems in the thigh deep snow! Well, it was only shin deep for me, but for them, it was probably one of the most amazing powder days they might have on the East Coast. One little girl told me the snow was hitting her in the belly!

Two glorious pre-race runs of top to bottom freshies for our entire group had the kids wearing the biggest smiles ever. We were floating on cloud 9, making really good turns and whooping from our bellies with the pure joy of it all. Maybe I’m spoiling them with all the freshies, but I want the good snow, too! What’s the point of learning every nook and cranny of the mountain if you don’t take advantage of that knowledge when the time comes?

We made it to the top of the course just in time for snack and pre-race inspection. As almost none of us had ever been in gates before, we had to look at them like trees. Which we are obviously extremely familiar with. One young athlete pointed out that it would be easier than trees because it’s only one tree at a time with no other trees to crash into around it.

By Merisa Sherman

I wish I had thought about ski racing like that when I was younger. I hated the fear that would envelop me as I stood with my poles over the wand in the start gate. It’s that same rush that grabs you when you’re in the batter’s box. All eyes on you, you only get one chance at success and this is it. You are forced to grab hold of all that fear and push it forward into your skis or your bat or you lose. I would so much rather be tossed about in the trees with the freedom to move about as you will without judgement from anyone but yourself.

We stomped our first ever ski race ever, got our M&M cookies and turned our racing bibs back in. I know the kids were excited about the race, but this coach was excited about the over- the-knee freshies she got on the left side of the course with the parents cheering her on. What a great combination of the best there is about skiing — the community of ski racing combined with the joy of powder skiing. I am so blessed to be able to have such amazing ski buddies every Saturday!! I hope everyone had as much fun in all the powder last weekend as we did!

Merisa Sherman is a long time Killington resident, local Realtor, KMS coach, and member of the Killington development review board. She can be reached at femaleskibum@gmail.com.

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