By Karen D. Lorentz
“So what do you think of Okemo?” I asked 8-year-old Josh on a chairlift ride after lunch at the main base area.
“It’s huge,” he replied.
As our chair passed by Hot Dog Hill, he exclaimed, “There’s a Rainbow Box.”
“It’s a wavy box.”
It was a warm Feb. 24 and I was fulfilling my son’s wish to ski Okemo with his kids, Josh and Evie (11). Dad Jason hadn’t skied Okemo since college as he lives in South Burlington and my grandkids, who learned at Cochran’s and Smuggs, and ski Bolton now, had never been there. We had skied Pico and Killington together so it was time to discover Okemo.
Due to Covid-19, they wouldn’t stay overnight even though they were off school for the week. Thanks to iPhone technology, I was able to track their trip and schedule my arrival to match theirs at the Jackson Gore lot. Very cool.
We did a ski boundary-to-boundary tour, leaving from Jackson Gore and riding the Sunburst Six on the way to South Face. At the end of the day they did Tuckered Out from the top of Jackson Gore. We only sampled the mountain in four hours of skiing, but their conclusion was to agree with Josh, “Once Mommy gets better at skiing [she was working] we should rent a condo at Okemo and ski two or three days.”
Here’s some of their take on Okemo as lifted from a taped breakfast conversation that Jason sent me.
Joshua Lorentz, 8
“My favorite trails were Dream Weaver, Sachem, and Whispering Pines [woods off Rum Run].
“I liked the sixpack and South Face and Jackson Gore lifts. I like the bubbles because they’re orange.”
Asked what could make Okemo better, he said, “Make all the lifts high speed and have more bubbles. I’d like to see more blues at Jackson Gore.” [His sister agreed even though we never lowered the bubbles!]
How was your cheeseburger? “Great, except the onion rings [he doesn’t like onion on a burger].”
Overall impression: “Awesome and huge. A lot of lifts and trails.”
Evie Lorentz, 11 (almost 12)
“I really liked Whispering Pines because it was fun and really nice — it was at an angle but it wasn’t straight down. I didn’t like Tree Dancer as much because there were a lot of steep pitches and I fell a lot.
“I liked Dream Weaver at South Face because it was long, and I like narrower trails. I think Tuckered Out was a great trail,but it was the end of the day and my legs sort of died on it.
“The one trail I didn’t like was Cat Nap because it was so flat.
“My favorite lift is the Sixpack. I like the orange bubbles.
“I’d like to see more tree trails that aren’t double black diamonds — more like Whispering Pines. And more blues at Jackson Gore — like Timberline at Bolton.
Overall impression of Okemo: “It was sweet.”
Jason Lorentz, dad
“I was very impressed by the width of the trails and how even on a green or blues they had different pitches and some steep sections. I liked the long trails like Limelight and Tuckered Out at Jackson Gore and Sachem at the main mountain.
“I would like to ski more trails at Jackson Gore. They should sell a lift ticket just for Jackson Gore because I could ski there for a day.
“I was surprised by the woods – so woody, wow, if I get lost in here, no one would find me. They were real woods and pretty serious trails. I can’t imagine what the black ones would be like.
“Several things impressed me: Any trail not groomed was labeled ‘not groomed’; good signage; guys running liftlines were great; and it was nice to have the shuttle to drive us up to the area. Lift tickets were easy to get and it was a great deal to ski a major Vermont resort for $53.”
Granny (me, Karen Lorentz)
I ski for enjoyment and exercise with little interest in trees or moguls. So while I guided them around the resort I didn’t ski the woods but met up with them at the lifts for their tree runs.
I could not keep up with the grandkids except for passing them on Cat Nap. I know how to take that trail at a clip — weight helps, too!
It was fun to listen to Josh when we rode the chairs together – he was very expressive. My favorite trail was Stump Jumper (they took Off the Rim next to it) and they wanted to do it, but we had to get to our lunch reservation at the base. We skied by way of Sachem and although an easy trail, it is interesting for its winding New England narrow feel and they all liked it.
One favorite moment came at the end of the day. We had just crossed over from skiing Solitude to Jackson Gore, and I came upon my son, Jason, resting at the top of Lower Limelight— the kids were long gone. It made me feel good that he was tired because he’s a lot younger. He danced off to meet them for a final run while I took my time on what was a far longer trail than I remembered.
Whereas they went up to ski Tuckered Out, another long narrow winding trail, I skied to the base. I rode the lower lift up and met them coming off Tuckered Out.
We skied to the base and I asked, “Who wants another run?” I could have handled one more easy run after four hours of skiing, but they were tuckered out! Yay, Granny.