The Mountain Journal: Savoring mountain excapes

By Tony Crespi

Flying my mom from Southern New England over the mountains into Northern New England for lunch late last spring she smiled. Spotting numerous ski resorts dotting the landscape we all grinned as we quickly traversed the airspace from Connecticut over Vermont and into New Hampshire before descending for lunch.

Flying over the Green Mountains in Vermont and New Hampshire’s White Mountains I am always floored. The vast alpine splendor of these mountains can feel inspiring. While the skiing is legendary too few mountain enthusiasts have taken the opportunity to savor an airborne perspective. Still, for a skier or family looking for a diversion a scenic flight – possibly through Green Mountain Flight Training based in Rutland Airport – can offer an extraordinary escape. Truly, within seeming minutes a small aircraft – from a single engine 4 seat Cessna to a larger twin engine 6 seat Piper – can traverse from Vermont to Maine. In fact, from Connecticut to Rutland takes barely an hour. Yes, it’s much faster then that weekend trek by automobile.

Driving across the roadways from Killington through nearby Woodstock toward Lake Winnipesaukee near Laconia, N.H., for example, is a long traverse. In contrast, by air, it is a short jaunt. Skiers looking for a vastly different mountain adventure can avoid packing the family into the SUV or minivan as they head out for an afternoon off the mountain. Picture seeing Killington’s vast terrain or Okemo and Ludlow from 2,000 or 3,000 feet above the ground. Picture glimpsing the nearby Adirondacks off to the Northwest. Picture the charming beauty of Woodstock from above the winding byways. Put aside that droid. Turn off your cell. Gasp at the beauty! Then – then –  capture a few timeless photographs.

Far and away, the East is truly a home base for much of the sport of skiing.

And, by air, the vast array of mountain resorts become welcome, easily visible, markers that skiers can themselves quickly recognize on a scenic flight. These mountain resorts are a piece of skiing history. Yet, too few see many by car.

“The skiing has always been great at these resorts,” comments Dr. Robert Leve, a Southern New England psychologist and skier. “It’s also beautiful to see the mountains from the air.”

Of course, for Bob Leve, an accomplished pilot who has flown gliders from New York to France, this is not an uncommon sentiment. Now in his 70s he has spent decades balancing academic teaching and clinical work in Southern New England with outdoor adventures. “I flew helicopters in the army. Now I have one!”

Looking for a unique adventure on a day off the mountain? Standing on the top of the mountain, do you enjoy the sights of the mountains and valleys? Now imagine that view from a few thousand feet above the ground! That’s mountain majesty!

Do you count vertical feet? Try it in an aircraft!

So, what’s the point? This is it. In the East we can all enjoy this kind of wondrous admixture. Work weekdays. Ski weekends. Seeking an unusual diversion? Fly! Understand, in an afternoon, from Rutland airport, longtime PSIA Examiner Charlie Rockwell, also a partner and flight instructor at Green Mountain Flight Training, can help you reach new heights. Perhaps, like my mom, you wont stop grinning.

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