On March 27, 2024

Livin’ the Dream: Bumps in the sun, au naturel

By Merisa Sherman

I came over the crest, and my heart skipped a beat. I wasn’t ready for this kind of greatness. Who really was expecting something that I don’t remember witnessing since I was a child? A little one at that. But there it was, laid out in all its glory for everyone. Well, at least everyone who was brave enough to conquer the sea of moguls.

Yep, that’s right. The corporation chose not to groom Needle’s Eye on Monday, and it was one of the most beautiful sights I had seen in a long time. I am not a bumper, but I can appreciate a beautiful field of moguls and have a blast while attempting to make it from the top of Needle’s Eye — you know, from the original double ramp — to the bottom without stopping.

And since it was my birthday, we had to do it twice. Although I will say that I would have made much nicer turns on the bottom of the second run if we had taken just a wee little break somewhere along the way… But that’s not quite our style. It’s go and then rest on the chairlift. I’m saying that in four more years, when I hit 50, it will be okay to stop midway on a run that isn’t last chair.

But back to the moguls. They were everywhere! After years and years of meticulously groomed terrain, the corporation finally let Mother Nature have her moment and just exist for a few days. Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautifully groomed trail, too. I even dated a groomer for a few years and spent many nights riding along while he mowed down anything in his path. But there is something to be said about a field of snowy bumps in all their glory.

And I understand that a lot of folks cannot handle ungroomed terrain. I get it. My body is screaming at me this morning for my overzealousness over the past few days. But part of life is seeing the world as a challenge and stepping up to the plate. In Team PomPom, we talk about skiing and crazy, weird things. How getting thrown off balance is the only way to get better. If we just stick to the groomer trails that we’re used to, then all we do is get old. And having just turned 46, that frightens me.

I’ve been broken, where I cannot ski anything but a groomer for months. And you know what? I have lots of fun doing that. But we haven’t had an ungroomed Needle’s Eye in decades. That’s like tens of years. So it’s about time that the corporation gave us a little something to play on. I’m not one of those folks with a “stop the brutal grooming” bumper sticker on my car, but could you imagine how the heat from the groomer plowing the moguls would only have firmed up the trail and given us a morning foot massage? Ugh. What a waste of all that powder!

I couldn’t get to the resort on Sunday (that’s a different column for a different day), so Monday was my bluebird day, and I skied myself into the ground. I got flipped around backwards and upside down on Ovation Headwall and still skied until my legs were shaking. And, honestly, quite a bit beyond that. Skier’s left of Superstar was filled with snow, and you could play up the sides of the whales like riding a wave. We skied all around and had to come back to Needle’s because you cannot turn your back on the gift of a field of blue bumps.

And they were just the right size, without cliffs on the back of them. It looked more like Mary Jane and Snowbird; an entire football field turned on an angle and filled to the brim with beautiful, soft bumps. Every long-time Killington skier I spoke with remembered the years when the double was part of the trail and the conversations that would happen from lift to trail. It was a vibe, everyone all together ripping those bumps and then slowly making their way up the double. I didn’t even remember those days until I came over the roller, and it triggered a memory long since buried.

My dad, he would have loved it. We would have spent hours lapping Needle’s, stopping at the Jerk, and then heading up for more. So thank you, Killington, for giving me a couple of runs in the bumps with my dad for my birthday. For bringing us back to the 1980s of Killington, if only for a few days. I know it can’t stay that way; there are lots of folks who want everything flat, but thank you for giving us a few days of bumps in the sun. So we could feel like the kids we once were. For letting Killington just exist for a while. It was beautiful.

Merisa Sherman is a long-time Killington resident, local Realtor, KMS coach, town lister, and member of the Development Review Board. She can be reached at femaleskibum@gmail.com.

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