Vermont Report: Brrrrr! Cold!

By Bob Geier - Posted on 30 December 2009

Brrr.....

The snow of yesterday continues this morning, as temperatures plummet to around zero and the wind kicks up.  Awesome!   As we say in Troop 8, there is no such thing as bad weather, only poor choices in clothing!   However, with the wind and snow kicking up, the mountain has shut down a number of lifts, so we enjoy a more leisurely breakfast of eggs, french toast, sausage, and home fries before heading up in the mountain traffic to the hills.   With a triple chair open on the main mountain, we settle in there for a morning of instruction.

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The slopes today are truly interesting.  The tops are pretty icy, as the wind sweeps the snow away, the middles are a complete white-out from the snow making equipment, and the bottoms are smooth-as-silk powder about a foot deep.   Ahhhhh...   So at the end of every run, you have this really marvelous powder skiing experience, which makes you want to go again.... and then you get 10 minutes of frigid chairlift ride, and then ice, and then whiteout and a face full of snowmaking fluff... and ahhhhhh.... smooth as silk powder.

The telemarkers lose Bob at the lodge, but Steve and Colin work them out on Toll Road (a loooonnnnnggggg green run) and some of the adjacent main mountain runs.   All of them are progressing well.  Steven Lawton in particular is now showing true tele form despite the "unique" challenge of transitioning from ice to powder and back again.   After running up and down the mountain a few times, even Tim admits "Wow, you can get really tired by skiing!"    Bob eventually catches up with them after taking a few runs with photographer Max, and they continue the free-heel shenanigans.

The downhill skiers had their own set of challenges to face. Copious snowmaking led to patches of slope with near zero visibility, but Mike, Luke, and Reggie quickly learned to trust their instincts and "ski by feel". In spite of the cold and ice, great progress was made all around, and the group ended their morning with Hayride- one of the oldest black diamond runs at Stowe. After watching Killian demonstrate how not to jump off of various rock ledges by planting his face in the snow, Tyler was glad to show him how it's done. Ray was even kind enough to record a series of terrain park jumps and one spectacular crash with his helmet cam, which was replayed later for the troop's amusement.

After some boot trouble upon arrival Jackson quickly came around and was tearing up the slopes with his classic "I can take that on!" attitude.  Accompanied by a stalwart (and occasionally snowballing) Chris, the pair raced down icy slopes and found their way through the clouds of freezing, icy, snow-making mist.  The day earlier the pair, accompanied by Dan, had been cajoled into taking the big Spruce lift up to "Main Street", a "Blue Run".  That afternoon, Main Street was most definitely a "White Run", and the trio managed to eek down the precipitous slope in a raging white-out.  By this afternoon they were used to the chaos, enjoying a full afternoon of lift-closing-condition skiing!

Lunch at the lodge is the usual mix of sandwiches and cookies (Patrol A has allocated 8-10 cookies apiece for every meal it seems!), and the guys set out again for the afternoon.    We've had a few gear nigglies, with Ryan's boot sole coming off and Connor's boot buckle still to fix, so those two and Mark headed off with Steve and Bob to Benny's custom boot shop (one of the greatest ski boot fitting spots in the world!).   Of course, to get there they have to poach some powder down one of the sidecountry routes, the "Easy Mile" down from the summit.   Ah, the delight of telemarking where no others can ski!    Connor's boot repair took about 3 seconds, but Ryan's is glueing overnight.

The evening featured a delicious lasagna meal, followed by the group meeting and then the fun!   Tim Kenny finally becoming a Star (scout that is), as he successfully completed his Board of Review.   Scouter Killian began instruction in Gambling Merit Badge with a Texas Hold 'Em poker tournament, Bob had the Venture leaders out in the frigid dark trying to locate buried avalanche transponders hidden in nefariously difficult places.   Movies, chess matches, hot tub sessions and Neale flirting with the cute Brazilian ski bum chicks who help out at the Hearth were all featured prominently.   We even had a visit from Merry Vigneau, TRH's owner and a long-time friend of the Troop.

Tomorrow is our (much needed!) off day from skiing, so that we can rest and recover before hitting the slopes again.   We're looking forward to a break in the weather and some fun on the town.