Blue Hills’ “Harper”

Blue Hills (partial) review ’15: Announcing “Harper”; Awaiting Snow

In early September 2015 – it was Labor weekend to be more specific – I visited Blue Hills just outside of Boston. It was my second visit to this charming facility. The first occasion was to introduce my youngest grandson Henry, to the great sport of skiing. As I recall, it was a Ski Patrol fund-raiser, and my son-in-law, Mike generously sprung for our feast: hot dogs, chips and yes, even brews.

Well, on this my second visit, I was doing my best to pretend I could be of assistance in ushering and welcoming my newest grandchild into the world! So here we “men” were, nestled in the shadow of the highest peak of the bay area, Blue Hills Massachusetts -635 feet high! (exact IPhone elevation, not true vertical).

Blue Hill review ’15 (er … almost)

OK, OK. It’s not a 1-K, and I still haven’t skied it … but …

Blue Hills Ski Area is located maybe 10 miles outside of Boston in the suburban Milton community. It is just off I-93 which turns the beltway traffic flow south toward the Cape. My heart is enraptured by this tiny facility: 60 acres of skier and rider terrain; a vertical drop of 309-feet; with 90% snowmaking coverage; offering 12 trails and a terrain park.

Yes, Blue Hills has night skiing. So close to urban based career households and suburban families, under the lights and solid instruction are critical and accomplished here. Indeed the view of Boston from the top of Hills, especially as the night lights twinkle, is worth a stop.

Blue Hills features a double-chair, magic carpet, wonder carpet and a handle tow. The lodge was warm and cozy as were all the patrons and staff. Now this is a family-friendly, learn to love, local operation! It might even rival my home-town “hide-out” the Buffalo Ski Cub.

So I have yet to ski Blue Hills. I did chat extensively with a fellow instructor and a Patrol-person. It was a pleasure. We saw a lot, and what we saw (and heard), we liked. They are excellent instructors embodying a heritage established by past instructors with Olympic and World Cup credentials.

Lesson of life:

Henry returned with his parents (not me) the following season to glide a short distance, the “beginner’s mile” on his plastic, infant skis. He liked it. He loved it. But as we’ve learned, always exit at the peak of the experience. This leaves a burning thirst in their spirit, craving more and eagerly anticipating their next visit. Don’t push a good thing to exhaustion. Things can wear down, even break. Timing is everything.

Been there, haven’t done it

Needless to say, on this hot late summer day, we were not at the Blue Hills Reservation to ski. We instead fully utilized the expansive playground at Houghton Pond and meandered on the sand beach lapped by the waters that pool the run off melt of the Hills.

Yes, Blue Hills Reservation is a pristine state park with an informative Visitors Center, a neat little zoo of rescued local wildlife, and miles of hiking tails –  all within minutes of the city!

We shall return, hopefully this winter season, to release our grandson upon the ski world and finally personally ski the hill.

Here she is!

Oh yes, one more item of personal delight: That night Kiki released “Harper Elizabeth”, 7-6#, 20.5″, healthy as God can create, baby girl into the world. Mother Kiki and father Mike, are all doing well. But now we’ve got another skier in the making!

Come. Ski With Me!

Loveland ’15

Loveland Ski Area review + Checking out/in Salida
(2nd in the string “Competing CO” @ end of ’14-15 ski season)

My Colorado bucket was proving to be a tough one to fully fill.  There were three sticklers, all in the southwest corner of the state. I had made two previous assaults there , but both had to be prematurely halted. This was now my third attempt. But through this trip, I could fill the CO bucket – drop it from; and chalk it off my master list of states. Just two more resorts, within reach by extending our annual pilgrimage to Denver and the Rockies. Continue reading Loveland ’15

Brighton review ’11

Utah Tales: Brighton review ’11: Big Cottonwood Canyon B
(Part 2 of 7 part series: Utahan Tales, a 5/5 frolic in Utah:  ’11-12 ski season)

Today’s visit is the second day in the chain of  visits to the SLC area ski resorts. I have skied this area several times in the past, but never had the opportunity to ski Big Cottonwood Canyon, the region that holds two adjacent resorts, Brighton and Solitude. Yesterday it was Solitude. Today it’s Brighton.

Up before sunrise for day two of the Utah frolic” (or day three if we count the evening of the flight that delivered us to the Salt Lake basin.) Down to the breakfast buffet for coffee and food.; even a free USA Today newspaper. I love such a breakfast!

We’re at the slopes for the first tracks ’cause we’re following in yesterdays foot print. Up the canyon, a scenic and delightful; ride, especially when you=re in the “mother-in-law” seat. No responsibility here. Just enjoy the scenery and perhaps even a “breakfast brew”.

Brighton review ’11

Utah’s Big Cottonwood Canyon averages 500 inches of natural snow, Wasatch Powder is the term I prefer. Its a large area spreading over 1,050 skier and rider accessible acres. the vertical is 1,745 feet with 66 named trails, but here are many additional off-piste runs.

Brighton offers diverse terrain accessed by ample lifts. Crowds and lines are simply not a concern. Skiers, riders, young and old are funneled to a centralized base area to ride the lift together again. And descriptive of both Solitude and Brighton and even the entire Salt Lake a region, Utah is a family-friendly culture.

Another picture-perfect day. I duck into the woods and pop out to meet Jeff and Bob  who tend to work the finely groomed and manicured runs. But we ride up together. Well almost. On one mid-day ride up, I’m rambling at the mouth bloviating about who knows what and hesitate at the exit point of the high speed quad.

Hey I’ve only been skiing for over a half century and I drill the proper egress lessons into all my students. But he who hesitates (me!) is lost! So I drop off the chair before tripping off the emergency stop. How embarrassing! the drop is only a few feet, but I just not I strong as I think and collapse into a pile of debris as my knees carve upon contact. And springing up on a flat surface is just not feasible anymore.

Bob (immediately joined by Jeff) leads a chorus of guffaws to my total chagrin and complete humiliation. And do you think Bob stops here? NO! He tweets it to the world and doesn’t let it die even to this day.

Again, tail gating is fully in order and socially acceptable. Dinner is taken at Jeff’s recommendation. We just don’t have this quality back home in Western New York. A good night as assessed by male, stag principles.

Repeat of the prior evening but adding a bit of macho-male dialogue prior to nodding off in exhaustion and anticipation of tomorrow’s target: powder mountain, outside of Ogden a bit to the north.

And there are additional resorts on nearby in the Salt Lake Basin environs. we’re here for five days, and it’s our goals to visit at least five new areas. Hence we’ll  use the “handle” that is derived from five new areas in five day, the mantra: 5/5.

Come, ski with me!

[Link to next day in this trip] [Link to 1st day of this trip: Solitude ’11]