Other obligations, other passions, and winter weather that took its own sweet time in coming had kept my sweetheart Marilyn (a passionate skier in her own right) and me off skis until the 11th of December this year. Not to worry . . . there’s still plenty of winter yet. We’ll be skiing until April, at least . . .
Because of our late start, we decided to begin with something special – a long weekend ski-and-stay package at Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vermont. As usual, we hit the slopes early to enjoy the best conditions of the day. Our first turns of the 2010/11 ski season were made on Okemo’s signature deep, soft, smooth corduroy . . . easy to turn on, forgiving . . . the perfect surface for polishing the off-season rust from our technique.
Marilyn’s working out some knee issues, so she quit after a half-dozen runs and headed back to our slopeside room at the Jackson Gore Inn for some therapy: rest, ice and elevation. Early-season is not the time to push too hard and risk a season-ending injury.
Meanwhile, I worked my way across the face of Okemo north to south and back again, sampling nearly every trail they had open, except the terrain parks where hordes of younger skiers and riders were obviously enjoying themselves. At noon, I ducked into Epic—an on mountain eatery you can only reach by skiing or riding to it — grabbed a healthy, tasty lunch ( Cesar salad with grilled chicken). Note to people who like to eat well: Okemo is one of the rare ski areas where Marilyn (a nutrition counselor by profession) and I prefer to eat on-mountain rather than brown-bagging a lunch. They have lots of healthy options and every on-mountain restaurant here offers gluten-free choices.
After lunch it was back onto the hill to ski until my legs gave out. Okemo had enough terrain open to spread everyone out nicely. The corduroy was sliced and diced, but the surface was still soft and edgeable in all but a very few steeper, high-traffic spots. In all, it was a perfect first day on snow—just what I expected from Okemo.
The next morning the weather looked ugly enough that Marilyn decided to stay in and rest her knee more. I bundled up against the wind and snow and headed out into the fog and murk. The forecast was calling for windy conditions (they were right!) and early snow followed by a change to mix and rain. Lot’s of people stayed in, obviously. Yeah, the wind was blowing, and the snow sandpapered any exposed skin on your face. So what? Cover any exposed skin and enjoy yourself!
The first three hours of that morning, with empty slopes and soft, freshly falling snow on top of a groomed base, were a whole lot of fun—and plenty for my early-season legs. I didn’t mind at all when the snow started changing to rain . . .
What a GREAT start to a long and happy season. Have you been on snow yet? If not, why not? There’s now on the slopes . . .what are you waiting for?