On May 1, 2024
Columns

Lot life

Three vibrant young 20-somethings were just gathering up, skis on their shoulders as they walked from their vehicle to the trailhead. Their day packs were small, ready for whatever fast and light adventure they had chosen for the day. But they had definitely been here before, definitely had a plan and definitely ended the day with all three of them sitting on the roof of the jeep watching the sunset.

Next, there was a young lady in her twenties putting her skins on like there would be an award. Inch by inch, she moved from tip to tail, making sure that the skin matched perfectly to the edges. She took pride in her work, methodically making sure everything was all set with her pack before paying any attention to her much older golden retriever who had been left unsupervised to roam the parking lot. It took her longer to prep her equipment than it did for her to tour up the mountain.

A woman in her brand new Porsche Cayenne stopped by to take a photo of her shiny black vehicle in front of the sign. She was rocking her office khakis and you could tell she had worked hard for the money. We weren’t sure if this was a journey she was on or if there was something particularly special about this particular parking lot for her. But she was extremely comfortable pulling a donut on her way out!

One dude wearing jeans was informing another dude wearing jeans on how to put on ski boots for the first time. It wasn’t going well. It seemed odd that they would choose this parking lot, after work hours on a Monday to try skiing for the first time. As we looked closer we could see that they were nordic boots and we watched as jean wearing dude traversed the bottom of the hill on skis for the first time. His poles were gripped within an inch of their life, for it was obviously their existence saving him from an icy death. His arms are going to hurt in the morning.

A different young girl in her twenties comes down, slowly. She seemed fairly confident as she would traverse the trail but then break out into a frightened wedge to make the turn. We were a little frightened for her, but she kept chugging along and we tried to come up with a back story of someone who would head up a backcountry tour with only pizza turns in their technical arsenal. Not enough money for tickets and lessons? Too stubborn or uneducated to realize she was a poor skier? Or she just didn’t care about how she defended the mountain. She obviously felt comfortable with all her gear, so it wasn’t a worry to us.

That is, until the creepy Lot Lizard climbed out of his truck camper with his black dog. Every parking lot has one. You know, the old white dude who goes from car to car, talking at everyone and mooching beers or food if it is available. In this case, he felt it appropriate to talk to the young lady while she changed from her ski to civilian clothes. It’s hard to walk away from a conversation while balancing on one leg with your pants half off.

We saw an older telemark skier with R8 bindings. Those are a passive binding about three generations before the aggressive NTN that we see nowadays. The R8 was cheap, flimsy and had that leather feeling even though you were in a plastic boot. But tele guy refuses to modernize even though he is obviously having gear issues, as he walks for about three minutes with his skis over his shoulder before trying to put them on again. He is awkward and uncomfortable to watch, but he succeeds eventually and proceeds up the mountains. 

Parking lots are glorious places to spend some time, either people watching, making yourself dinner in your van, or just setting up some chairs and having a good old tailgate time with five pounds of guacamole. This time of year, it can be the only dry place around and if you park next to a runoff stream you have got some waterfront property!

Instead, it’s May and no matter where in the ski world you find yourself, I highly recommend getting a comfy lawn chair while you sit and watch the comings and goings. But the coolest part of it all? Everyone is there because they love skiing, they love mountains and this is where they choose to be on a simple evening after work.

Because it’s not just the skiing; it’s the lifestyle.

Merisa Sherman is a long time Killington resident, local real estate agent, Killington Town lister and member of the Development Review Board. She can be reached at Merisa.Sherman@SothebysRealty.com.

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