Fantastic Snow Thursday

By Bob Geier - Posted on 20 February 2014

Ah, beautiful Thursday! You could not ask for a nicer ski day. Bright blue sky, warming temperatures, relatively fresh snow. This was grand.

Half the boys were off on their own exploring and free-skiing the mountain. We hear that Brandon crashed on the bunny hill, and Aedan tried to board a two-person chairlift with three people, but other than that all the boys were having great fun exploring all of the intermediate trails all over the mountains.

In the afternoon, Scouter Steve also brought out his SkyNet drone, to try taking aerial photographs of intrepid Troop 8 skiers. Maks dutifully helped with keeping the civilians away from the drone while Andrew, Andy, and Noah skied with a drone in pursuit to the amusement of all. Unfortunately, Steve is not the Energizer Bunny and had some battery issues, so the drone wars were cut short prematurely. More tomorrow!

Oddly, we also have had a steady stream of scouts who keep coming back to us with requests for “More instruction, please!” Gotta love guys who just can’t keep themselves from trying to get better.

After a morning of working on pole plants and how to properly edge turns with Scouter David and Jason instructing, Liam, Maks, and Ben were looking really pretty solid. So a race ensued down Toll Road, the longest (almost 3 miles!) run on the mountain. Unfortunately, Maks and Ben missed a turn and went down the wrong run to lose the race by a wide (45 minute) margin. They took the run labeled “Stowe Derby” that leads not to a lift, but to condominiums. While their reading ability might not be the best, they both displayed surprising grace and wit and simply walked on back from their misadventure.

Most of our telemark crew returned for another day, and Steve “Blue Whale” Zekany and Bob “Bloody Vulture” Geier led the crew for the morning, as we worked from a refresher on the bunny hill to a mile-long green trail and eventually up to mixed powder and blue square (Vermont intermediate/Michigan advanced) runs. There was much carnage. After the powder ski run Steve commented “it looks like a Vietnam battlefield. Comrades down everywhere!” Drew had the most spectacular face plant, just short of a minor stream.

Still, despite the carnage and the repeated calls of “Black Hawk Down! Red Eagle Down!” as individual scouts augured in, the group as a whole made remarkable progress. Pike, Shane, and Drew were looking really sharp, and Thomas completely fixed his issues from the previous day to rip it up in fine telemark form on the steep intermediate run “North Face.” Patrick also was showing great improvement despite a tendency to over-steer and swing around backwards. Dawa and Nima had no problem leading the group, with an occasional face plant or collapse in exhaustion. In fact, by the end of the morning there was a lot of collapsing in exhaustion.

Meanwhile Joe, PJ, and Jack joined Scouters Ray and Nathan for more advanced instruction in the morning, starting out with the basics of how to ski moguls (giant snow mounds/obstacles) while on a run aptly named “Chin Clip.” Needless to say, it didn’t take long for PJ to do a spectacular faceplant! Later, after Joe managed to lose the group for 45 minutes, the team was game to try a double black diamond run – the hardest category on the mountain – and they skied it with grace and excitement. Props to Jack for doing it all while being the only one in the group on telemark skis! Telemark jump turns are next for him.

Here at the Round Hearth, Robbie and Adam are building things with the giant-sized Jenga blocks, there’s a vicious Risk game going with Thomas, Maks, and Brandon. Drew, David, Aedan, and Joe are working on Gambling Merit Badge, some others are in the hot tub, and Pike is leading a James Bond marathon. PJ is actually doing math homework, Dawa is working on the navigation and timing plan for the return trip, and things are settling into a quiet evening. Outside, it is snowing like mad, and we’re hoping it will keep up for the night and then stop before we hit rain tomorrow.

[ADDED] In the evening's final amusement, Pike made off with the Vulture's chocolate pudding in a well-executed pudding raid. Vulture was able to get another pudding from the kitchen, however, and knowing how hungry Pike can be was kind enough to give Pike the extra pudding.

We’ve got the Round Hearth to ourselves tonight, and with the various high school ski groups gone the one big take-away is just how awesome all these kids are.