I've just posted this review on another site...
That's right, I went to Vermont for a weekend of skiing.
Was it worth it?
Let's start off with the WHY:
It was the Eastern EpicSki Academy, and the instructor list read like a Who's Who of top US instructors.
Now on with the story:
I skiied on the Thursday on my own. Conditions were reasonable. Nothing great, but equally, noting terrible. While there, I managed to be one of a few people who got to ride the new "Sensation Quad" which goes to the top of Spruce. This leads to a blue run with possibly the steepest pitch I've seen on anything other than a black.
It was lots of fun!
What with it still being relatively early in the season, several of the runs were closed, but snowmaking was going on at pace.
Friday morning, I went to a friend's office to finalise some details for the weekend. Our drive there was hampered by the 6"-8" which had fallen overnight, and during the morning that we spent there, about the same again fell. Since we were down in the valley, it meant we were looking for at least that much, and more, up top.
And we weren't disappointed. (well, I was disappointed that I spent Friday morning in an office, rather than on the slopes)
We stayed at the Stoweflake Resort in Stowe, which has great rooms, and a waterfall spa you have to experience.
Over a few drinks on Friday night, we met the coaches:
Robin BarnesHere's bios on them all
and the students got to meet each other too.
There were 25 students, and we were split, based on ability, evenly between the 5 instructors.
While enjoying the drinks, we also noticed the snow staring to fall again.
Saturday morning we had breakfast at the resort base, and then hit the slopes. With the new snow, many of the closed runs were now open, and after a couple of goes on Spruce mountain, our group headed for the gondola. Here we spent most of the day working on some finer points to help us ski better. After lunch we were videoed, and while most of the group felt it was our worst run of the day, at least we had something to work on.
Later in the day, we went over to the Mt Mansfield part of the area, where things really started to click well for me, and my leg muscles, which had been starting to get sore, appreciated the corrections in my stance, which took the strain off them.
Back down at the Stoweflake, I headed for the spa, and relaxed before going to the video analysis. As well as having most of the instructors there, along with my group, there was also a boot fitter, picking up on some of the problems people were having, and working on their boots for them.
After the VA, we had a dinner, which was excellent, and that was followed by the raffle. Top prize was a pair of K2 skis – any model/any length from the current range. The money raised in the raffle went to support the running of the website. I didn’t win.
Stu Campbell then led a discussion on boots and on body position, using photo montages of Mike Rogan from Ski Magazine.
By the end of the day, I only had the energy for a couple of pints, before going off to bed.
Sunday we had breakfast at the Stoweflake before hitting the slopes. There hadn’t been new snow overnight, but that didn’t stop us from having fun, and learning. After lunch we had some snow fall, and by the end of the day we left the slope tired, but happy.
So, my experience of Stowe was great – a good resort, terrain for everyone, no lift lines worth talking about, and a great hotel to relax in at the end of a fun day on the slopes.