Vermont was the only state in New England that I hadn’t set foot in before. It eluded me in February last year as did a ski trip to the same state. This year, however, I was determined to make both happen!
So in the thick of a Nor’easter, on the last Friday of February ’10, M, D and I set sail (nearly!) for West Dover in Vermont. Despite a very late departure and negligible traffic en route, it took over 5 hours of very persistent driving – most of it spent ploughing through a blizzard, in a vehicle (no offense to the Kia Amanti!) that was clearly not meant to be driven on any surface other than dry asphalt! Understandably, the driving was split between the three of us, and in doing so, I was to record another first on this trip – driving through snow! Fun to begin with, severe tension thereafter!
While NYC was in the process of recording its largest February snowfall, 5 ft of snow had already fallen in the state of Vermont in less than a week, and that was somewhat evident as we desperately looked for a spot in a parking lot at West Dover!
The few hours of sleep that followed (in a sleeping bag on a hardwood floor!) were far from restful and left me sorer than two days of skiing would at the end of my trip!
The lodge we were staying in was bursting at its seams – with people emerging every other minute from the woodwork – operating at what appeared to be 250% of its recommended occupancy!
Outside though, it was a different story – peace, calm, and my first experience of winter wonderland!
Chaotic as it might have been from the inside, our lodge was impressive as ever from the outside, and was pretty much in the middle of nowhere! It’s a small miracle we even found it the previous night!
Prior to this trip, the closest I had come to any winter sport was ice skating – not a completely successful venture, I have to admit, and even less enjoyable was the ordeal of putting on those god awful skating shoes!
But just like ice skating, the first order of day in skiing was to get into ski boots! Yet again, I was faced with the same dilemma..
About a half hour, two helpers and many attempts later, I was all ‘geared up’ with nowhere to go! Or as my Flickr caption more aptly reads, ‘the poise before the fall’!
Meanwhile, Messrs M & D were busy attacking the more serious slopes on their snowboards!
I had the good sense of signing up for a lesson – a two hour one at that – and was hoping to overcome my trepidation by the end of it, and emerge somewhat confident!
At the end of it, of the 9 people in my batch of ski trainees, only 2 were taken up the ‘lifts’! The rest of us had to suffer the indignity of making do with the ‘magic carpet’!
Later that day, at the largess of D, we bailed out of our cramped lodgings and checked in to the Grand Summit Hotel, where amongst other things, there was a soft bed awaiting, a ‘vigorous back rub’ (that’s how the spa advertised it!) on hand, and 8 solid hours of sleep to look forward to!
Day 2 was a new day and without much ado (except in putting on those god damned shoes!), I decided to brave the ‘lifts’ – something that we hadn’t all been given training for the day before!
It wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d thought, and of the 9 trips I made up, I only held up proceedings (read dislodged equipment!) on one occasion, when I decided to be gracious and share my lift with an attractive member of the opposite sex!
And once on top, the view made it all seem worth while..
The junior slopes, or the ‘bunny hills’ as they’re lovingly referred to, are the lowest of the hills in any ski resort, and in Mount Snow, it was no different! Despite this, to a first time skier like myself, they certainly appeared a lot more daunting than the view from the ‘magic carpet’!
The ‘wedges’ and ‘pizzas’ (ski parlance for turning and stopping!) never seemed to come to easily to me and ‘French fries’ (skis pointed straight for speed!) was about the only thing I could manage in my descent down the bunny hill! End result(s) – a lot of crashes and awkward falls, the most memorable being me ploughing through a snowdrift (Sorry no pics!), with a bystander remarking, ‘that was very graceful’!
No doubt, skiing, or snowboarding for that matter, aren’t easy sports to learn, but looking around I soon realised that I should have possibly started – at the risk of dating myself – a few decades earlier!
On our way back to NYC, we stopped just outside the town of Wilmington, to pick up Maple syrup (Vermont is rumoured to produce the best in the world!) and such. It was early evening at the time, the sun was out, the snow had been cleared of the roads, and the weather was generally much better.
The observation deck attached to the store, had little to offer in terms of views – thanks in no small measure to some of the largest snowbanks we had ever seen! A reminder – even to a novice like me – that we had just experienced some of the best ski conditions to grace the US northeast!
Would I go again? Possibly. Will I ever get the hang of it? Can’t say. Nevertheless, I give myself full marks for trying 😉
For a full set of Mt.Snow pics, click here.