Last Sunday I made my way up to Okemo, in Ludlow Vermont. Despite the complete lack of natural snow in the Northeast, I was willing to make the 4 hour each way drive from Queens, NY, as I did not want my first day of the season to be on a ten thousand foot mountain when I have never been on one.
Woke up at 3:30 in the morning, got dressed, grabbed my gear, loaded my car, an drove to pick up my friends. We were on the road by 4:30 in the morning. The drive, as you would expect, was smooth sailing. With no snow, no one is heading north.
We pulled into the lot at the Clocktower Base around a quarter to nine, gave our food donations to get a $20 discount on our lift tickets, put out our gear and sunscreen, and hit the lifts.
I will say this, it is extremely weird sitting on a chair lift in december, with green grass and exposed mountain bike trails below you, while your jacket is open, all your vents are open, you are wearing no gloves, and no face mask. Aside from where Okemo's snow makers made snow, there was not a trace of winter to be found.
Okemo claimed 17 open runs for the day. What that really worked out to was about 6 top to bottom runs.
Nor'Easter and World Cup, Jolly Green Giant, and two different ways down off Sapphire and Arrow, depending on whether you came from the top of the Sunburst or Solitude. Off the Solitude Quad, you had Heaven's Gate. Due to rain earlier that week, conditions varied between loose granular or mashed potatoes, with ice underneath. Sharp edges were definitely a plus, and there was little to no carving to be had with the conditions. But, I didn't care. I was skiing. My last day of the season was Easter, and it was just good to be back on frozen water.
We did about 13 runs for the day, for 17.5k vertical feet, and called it a day around 3.
Chilled at the lodge to relax, and then began the long journey back home. Stopped for food before hitting 91. After all was said and done, got home around 10:30, tired, but satisfied that I had skied in this snowless season.
Much credit goes out to the Okemo Mountain Operations for being able to have 124 open acres (more than Killington). It was a good day, all things considered.
Anyway, tonight I fly to Tahoe for some real snow.