By Larry Levack
I arrived in town in September with only one goal in mind: To become a member of the prestigious 100 Day Club at Killington. However, shortly after opening day in early November, I happened upon the leaderboard competition and, as they say, the rest is history.
I combined my insatiable appetite for the mountains with a goal — that is to say, skiing to honor the memory of Scott Howard. Those two powerful motivational forces kept me moving forward on my upward climb to the very top of the leaderboard.
I wish we had the space here to enable me to mention and thank every person who provided support and inspiration throughout the year. Simply put, this has been the best ski season of my life! The Killington resort community is comprised of a truly outstanding group of remarkable, friendly and upbeat people. It was a joy to meet and get to know all of these free spirited mountain enthusiasts.
Early in the season a number of skiers and riders who were tuned in to the leaderboard cheered me on with comments like, “Man, you are killing it” and “Keep on going, Larry L!” In all honesty, at that point in time, I wasn’t quite sure if I was killing it or it was killing me — only time would tell if I could muster enough stamina to rise to the No. 1 spot on the podium and remain there.
After skiing with my tres amigos: Warren Dimattia, Kevin Brega, and Manuel Herrero (second, third and fourth place, respectively), I have no delusions of grandeur about winning the seasonal championship. If they all had the same amount of access to the resort as I did, I would be sitting in fourth place and the catchy moniker, “Leaderboard Larry“ would not have morphed into existence.
When those guys decide to “go vertical” all I can say is, hang onto your Hot Chilly’ for the marathon of your life!! Unlike them, I have yet to break the 60,000 daily vertical mark at Killington. It made me laugh when I discovered that my three very competitive chums would sometimes come to a mutual agreement and call for a “truce” of sorts. In other words, they would decide to lay down their winter weaponry and sit together for a relaxing amicable lunch before gearing up for battle once again to see who would top the daily leaderboard. “Well, I’ll consider taking a break if you take a break.”
Until this year, I had only used the Ski Tracks app to record my runs. (Scott Howard had utilized Trace Snow, which is now defunct). I really enjoy the apps which have leaderboards because it is possible to compare stats with other skiers from around the world. By way of illustration, the skier in the No. 1 spot on “We Ski” had logged 3.9 million seasonal vertical by the day Killington closed on June 4. He skis in the French Alps and has access to a glacier, which is open year round.
Despite all the amazing complex technology required to get these apps to record accurately, there are anomalies. For example, Ski Tracks (which does not display a leaderboard) indicates that I skied just under 5.1 million vertical this season while the Killington app has me at 4.6 million and change.
As far as trying for the seasonal vertical championship next season: it’s unlikely, I’ll let someone else have the fun.
I was tossed the (snow) ball and I skied with it successfully past the goal line. It was an adventurous seven month journey that I thoroughly enjoyed. That being said, I think I will hand the torch to someone else — knowing that he or she will probably have just as much fun, excitement, and intrigue as I had partaking in the competition. I was so stoked with Killington that I had just about forgotten that I had purchased a $583 pass at the Vail owned resorts, too. Actually, I never strayed from Killington as I had no desire to ski elsewhere. The Beast was where it was all happening so my Vail pass sat idle on my dresser all season long.
With all the positive publicity I received from the Mountain Times and on Killington.com (thank you, Brooke Geery), I had often quipped to friends, “Gee, I haven’t gotten this much press since I was featured in the police blotter back home for a number of vehicular infractions (lol)!”
- I have had so many special moments while skiing that I would need to write a book to include them all. However, two quickly come to mind which I would like to share:
One day, I watched a tall male instructor leading a very young group of students down Great Eastern. The sight was reminiscent of witnessing an adorable display of imprinting in which the kids imitated and followed the instructor’s every move. I thought it would be rather cute if I snuck in at the rear of the line and played follow the leader along with the diminutive skiing “ducklings.” When they finally glided to a halt, I playfully inquired, “Hey, am I too tall to join your class?” Well, one of the tiniest youngsters tilted his head way back to take in my towering 6 foot 6 frame and retorted rather gruffly, “Nope…..you’re too old!”
- Often I am asked to volunteer in assisting an instructor with getting his or her class safely onto the chairlift and up the mountain. Most of the 5-year-olds are very outgoing and extremely talkative. One day, however, I encountered a female student who was unwilling to strike up a conversation with me. Finally, about halfway up the mountain, she turned to me and very politely said, “I’m sorry, but my parents don’t allow me to talk to strangers.” Initially her comment made me laugh, but on a more serious level, it was actually a sad commentary about life in the 21st Century.
Alas, after the ski season winds down to a close, I can finally take a break from focusing on my vertical feats. I plan to go totally horizontal (ZZZzzzzz) and after I awaken from my weeklong hibernation I should be fully rested (and recovered enough) to pursue my next obsession, whatever that might be (lol). Come to think of it, I’m a lot like a Timex watch — “I take a licking, but keep on ticking.” (Boy, that ad slogan certainly dates me)!
Well, the time has come to transition and explore Killington’s endless array of exciting summer activities. See you on the mountain.