Okemo & Killington review
9days 3&4 in the 11/10 string “Extended Circle”
Wednesday was our best full day of skiing : Okemo. It was just short of an hour commute but our route took us along a scenic New England back country approach. I was surprised at the size and the attendance was greater than the prior two areas, but still no lines! Several charter buses pulled up to unload in a seemingly orchestrated fashion, The base area was compact well organized and displayed a clear semblance of a village, Pleasantly attractive exuding a sociable warm.
The lodge was large, spacious and well laid out It was modern appearance with large wrap around windows emitting plenty of light. A stand behind reception desk was staffed with a vibrant staffer who pleasantly doled out information and suggestions to efficiently keep traffic flowing and effectively steered, Vet smooth operation,
The lift was right out the large cafeteria doors. We immediately latched into a frequent skier, not a resident, but a condo owner who appeared to use as opposed to rent his unit (a good indicator in and of itself). He loved the area and took pride in showing us his favored runs as well as “little secretes. He was very pleasant and we enjoyed his company and appreciated his advice inspire of his somewhat over-inflated assessment of obviously self-taught skiing skills.
Again, we efficiently used our time and effectively covered the much larger than antiquated area. Several lifts took us to long twisting peripheral sweeps, well-spaced mogul fields and a truly enjoyable and equally challenging glades; close knit hard woods with dips and bumps all well covered with natural snow, How sweet can it was! John found his well groomed speed runs on which he could lay it all out with abandon on several uncontested steeps. We did get separated in the late afternoon I favoring the bumps and John opting for more speed. John extended to the bitter end, most likely escorted off the hill by the closing sweeping of the Ski Patrol, while I whimped out before the last lift up in favor of food and heat, perhaps a function of age but certainly a manifestation of strength and endurance (or lack thereof).
Now the ride back was a matter of Providence. We meandered beside an iced over stream and took a slight diversion from our route down just for the fun of variety and exploration. It was still light and the scenery was worthy of wandering. The it appeared in framed distinctly between our visors and dash. Was this a mirage or was it real? It was a sight to behold: the legendary LONG TRAIL craft brewery!
And we didn’t even suspect it nor did we even dream of it. But here it was. Wide open and awaiting our entrance. The experience exceeded our anticipation! We efficiently secured two stools in the back corner, sampled two of their best, marked our spot to take the self-guided tour and returned to sample more. We chatted on with the bar-tenders ad traded stories with an animated couple next to us. Lastly we wrapped with a couple of growlers, nicely priced and filled with the bar-keep’s personal, recommendations. A great discovery and an opportunity we capitalized upon. Oh yea, and they served good food too.
Killington, the largest area in the east. Seven distinct peaks. Acres of tails. Ya can’t ski it in a day. Noted for its long season, its excellent snow making and grooming. It is a mover and shaker on the central Vermont economy. It has opened and supported innumerable careers and supportive businesses. Killington practically makes its own weather! Well that’s an exaggeration, but barely beyond the imagination.
So John and I tucked up the road to ski the resort. One draw back totally beyond anyone’s control was the weather. It was near zero at the base and well below at the summit. Unfathomable to John, I had never skied Killington! Been there for a couple races. Even dropped my youngest with his friend;s family who invited Kji to spent the weekend with them as they skied the resort. I had to go, but did I mention it was cold?
Sure, we were professionals and had the best equipment, but it was cold! John is many years my junior. Yea, OK I’m old enough to be his father! He’s is in better shape; he’s stronger and he was warmer. I was suffering. John loves to ski fast. Granted mountain maintenance groomed well throughout the night I’m sure. Corduroy abounded everywhere. But it was frozen granular corduroy! It seemed like I was crossing the gouged warning tack at the shoulder of the road, you know the ones that vibrate the car so violently along accompanied by an equally alarming notice that wakes everyone in you car and attest to your lousy driving. But the situation was compounded with a painful, indeed a painful, biting cold.
So I whined and went in after each run to hug my hot chocolate cup and hope John would prolong his next run down. He didn’t, speed merchant that he is. And I had to stall and lolly-gage all the more all day long. And I made him quit before last-lift, But we did enjoy some cold-medicine that we discreetly wrapped paper bags around so nobody would know we were breaking the rules and denying the resort of yet more revenue. Oh well, the lodge was empty. It was so cold, the usual crowd had repositioned in warmer more comfortable environs.
My first experience may be my only experience at Killington. The lodges were plentiful and pleasant. The runs looked interesting and challenging, And the resort is big. I term it :Eastern hoity-toity. I’m confident the nightlife is phenomenal, but I can’t attest first hand. I’ve now been there; didn’t do it justice, but am proud and pleased to mark it done, and hope to redo it under better condition i.e. a warmer day.
However our diner stop on the way home was one of those truly memorable experiences. And that’s another story. Then we rolled into our room to surprising news from John’s wife, Shira.. We almost scrapped the next day skiing Magic Mountain for good cause, but creative transformed a premature return into an extension! The tale continues and the trail goes multi-state. Yes! Three more states and four new areas! But that too is another story.
Come, Ski With Me!