This time I will try to stay sober...or at least less drunk. Did the alcohol induced bootfitting session help?
You will have to head up to Okemo and ski with the gang, Lola, Lil, Wendy and I think Tog is there from time to time.
The weather once again gave us a proper greeting for the Stowe Esa. Last year I drove up there on Friday morning in a snowstorm and this year it was Thursday night in a snow storm where I disregarded my own advice and took the horrendous I89 route. Owners of fresh Blizzaks and Hakkapelittas may look at it as a test track, but that road is a disaster when it's snowing. The tanker truck that blew by me disagreed apparently, causing me to hum that song, "Waiting for the Sun" by the Doors, with the new title, "Waiting for the Fireball..."
Still there's nothing like a snow storm to get one psyched up for Esa, but first....a day on straight skis?
Well, when I agreed to it I figured I'd already have at least a week on snow, but because of the weather it was to be the first day on snow! So last year the first day on snow had me not noticing that the boot boards, (zeppas), to the boots were not present when I quickly put the lace up liners on and put them in the boots then went out to a clinic. Having past the "do I remember how to ski?" stage, I kept thinking, "Damn, I didn't think these boots were so stiff", and once, "why do I feel something sharp on the bottom of my foot?". Later I discovered that was the screw from the plates on the soles poking through the footbed.
This leads to that age old question I can now answer:
"Would you rather ski a shaped ski without boot boards in your boots or a straight ski with all the pieces in your boots?"
I really can only answer that with qualifiers,
- "I still get footbeds right?"
- "How much air will there be?" because the screws will start to hurt with the landings. - "Will we have to follow Bushwacker down trails with dense powder that uh....no one else is on?"
Envision that scene from Blizzard of Ahhs and reshown in Steep where Scott Schmidt skis the Poubelle Couloir - huffing and puffing to get the skis out of the snow. That's sort of what it was like to ski the straights on Bush's steeper terrain.
It really gets confusing now, because the shaped skis float better, but the boots are much stiffer, and skiing with Bushwacker usually entails air over some sort of obstacle...so really it's better just to ski with what you've got on and not worry about it...(Given groomed trails and "normal" skiing, I'll take door #1 though)
Trapp Lodge was great for the event. I especially liked the heated driveway of Belgian blocks that was dry as a stick in the middle of a snowstorm. To get to the Trapp Lodge, you turn left at the 'T' on Moscow road. It must be this that leads people from parallel universes there.
So RachelV, TwinTip and I are in the elevator. We're dressed in ski gear plus I'm holding a pair of skis. The door opens and a woman who's a guest at the hotel gets in. With surprise she asks,"Oh, where do you go skiing?" I know, this is a ski site and you're thinking she means Mad River, Sugarbush, Smugglers, Stowe etc...Trust us, that's not the case, she was surprised that skiing was available in the area!
I'll admit this caused us to be flumoxed for an immediate response. Somehow, saying "Stowe" seemed bizarre, because I'm thinking "Wait, where am I? Aren't we in Stowe?"
I managed to come up with, "Where are you going today?" she was with a bus group that was headed to the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.
I thought I grew up with the slogan, "Stowe: Ski Capital of the East" Now I know that was just my world. Apparently there exists a parallel universe where Stowe is just a way stop between Ice Cream and Teddy Bears, maple syrup and covered bridges. If winter, throw in a sleigh ride and some hand made Christmas ornaments.
Well, that was just one person right?
So at breakfast, we are of course dressed in ski gear. This prompts the comment while waiting in line for the Muesili, "Oh, look they're so healthy, they've been outside."
I know that soon none of this will matter as Spruce Peak will be known for the tallest lodge and best Spa in the Northeast. Well maybe we can make it even taller and have teddy bear gargoyles with a Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory on the spot.
So it suddenly dawned on me at breakfast how to merge the two worlds. See, those people love the whole experience of sitting down before the bus ride and having a pleasant meal. Skiers run the gamut, from someone like RossiSmash who views breakfast as necessary for fueling the brain for such thoughts as, "Did I properly loosen the binding springs on the Look Nevadas 10 years ago?", "thank god I had time to wax the bases or I'd ruin these Rossi 4s's", (circa 1994), "good thing I've got two fresh Blizzaks - and at least this hotel is on a steep snowy road for some fun", "What the hell is wrong with Tog, why isn't he, and everyone else at the lodge by now?", "Don't they know it's time to go skiing?!", (To Rossi, we were all on a bus tour that morning.)
So the parallel universe needs to be exposed at breakfast to skiing. The best and most dramatic way to do this is.....Skijoring! Skijoring is where you pull a skier behind a horse. It's like waterskiing where the boat is the horse. There can be jumps and turns and anything you want. (No, the horse does not go over the ramp jump)
DoWork informed me that Leadville, CO has an event. "Dude, it's crazy! Youtube it!"
I looked it up....
Pictue quality is poor, but you get the idea...
So we'd have a track around the Trapp that take us directly in front of the windows, and preferably at least a couple people would get air and bounce off the breakfast room. Maybe there could be jousting too...There would have to be several horses at once to make a great spectacle. Now, when the breakfast people get on the bus, they will not stop talking about what they saw! Soon the lodge will be getting requests like, "When are they doing the horse and skier thing?" We could have betting...hey, maybe this could save OTBin Nyc.
Other possibilites: Night skijoring with a section where you go through hot coals for increased drama. (for that, rockered/reversed camber skis are recommended)
You think I'm kidding about the coals...Well, you know..., Yosemite used to have a Firefall of hot coals that was done in the evening. Seriously, here's a photo:
That's not a photographic trick, those are hot coals!
Yosemite Firefall, Mt. Clark (background), and Nevada Fall (lower left corner). Photographed by Richard Marklin on May 18, 1963.
From: Fond Memories of Yosemite By Maureen K. Hall
"You could hear the call from Camp Curry up to Glacier Point. The call would go like this--- "Hello Glacier"-the answer back from 1400 foot up off the valley floor would be "Hello Camp Curry". The call would come through clear as a bell. Curry would then call back "Let the fire fall". And the answer from Glacier was "Alright". And then the stream of coals would be shoved slowly off of Glacier Point and the song "Indian Love Call" would always be sung.
I was always moved to tears and the song meant so much to me that I had it sung at Wes' and my wedding. The firefall would usually last 5 minutes. On the 4th of July we would be treated to 10 to 15 minutes of this glorious sight. This wonderful tradition was abruptly stopped in 1968 without discussion. The environmentalists were working at changing Yosemite that many years ago." [bold added]
I broached the subject of Ski Joring to one of the authorities at the hotel, who expressed interest in the idea. (I didn't mention the hot coals part, and I should keep the source annoymous) It's important that we have proper horses for the event - we need high speed, not some clunky ClydesDale that's used to pulling a sled. Epic's wife apparently has quarter horses...that's about perfect!
Well, I've rambled on and have barely made it past breakfast! See, RossiSmash was right.....I'll have to finish this later..
Here's a photo by Pandita on the way to the Lodge.
The sign should say "Parallel Universe Ahead"
(It probably does, I just can't read it)
Upon reading the news of the passing of Maria (Louisa in the production) at the age of 99, I was reminded of the lovely time we had at ESA Stowe at the Trapp Family Lodge.
Peace to the Trapp family.