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Spring Skiing in January

Spring Skiing in January

We had an unexpectedly small, but no less awesome, group for our trip this weekend. A week ago, when the forecast called for snow all weekend, we had 43 people sign up. But then the forecast turned to rain and people dropped out like flies, particularly on Wednesday after the bus cancellation deadline had passed. By the time the bus pulled out Friday evening, we had 19 people on board (plus Chip Martin, who drove to the lodge & skied at Stowe), including two G1s and one G3.

Nevertheless, we had good luck all weekend, starting with light traffic. The bus left Manhattan 15 minutes late, but reached the NJ folks at 7, stopped at New Baltimore at 8:45 and, after two wrong turns by our first-time driver, arrived at the lodge at 12:45.

On Saturday we headed to Sugarbush. The forecasted rain held off, but the temperature was in the 50’s. There were high winds up top, so Heaven’s Gate and Castle Rock were closed and Super Bravo closed mid-morning. Nevertheless, there were some good runs open on Gate House and Valley House. Stein’s in particular was nicely bumped. Some members did Nastar races. Ann Cooper won bronze and silver, and Karen McFarlane won two bronzes; they received commemorative pins.

Rafael Mellace and Virginia Hunt chose not to ski and spent the day exercising, swimming, and hot tubbing at the Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center.

Because the rain was forecasted to start mid-afternoon, trip leader Richard Carey decided to have the bus leave Sugarbush at 2:30. This was a good call. By 2 PM the runs were total slush and a downpour started at 2:45. After getting back to the lodge, David Wallenstein, Phil Caracci, John Cummings, and guest Motoko Naya walked over to Lawson’s for a drink.

Several people chose to stay at Sugarbush after 2:30: Vera Smirnov, Mike Pausche, and guest David Acott opted to keep skiing/boarding; Rafael, Virginia, Larry Dunlay, and I opted to prolong our après ski at Rumbles. At the end of the day we all cheerfully piled into the Mad Bus together to get home.

After dinner, Caroline brought out a cake slice with a candle and we all sang happy birthday to Evelyn Konrad, who just turned 91 and is still skiing!

Later, Phil won Left, Right, Center – a well-deserved first win after many years of skillful playing.

Richard faced a tough weather call on Sunday morning. It had stayed warm and rained all night. He decided to change our destination from Killington to Sugarbush, with stops at both bases, so that people who didn’t want to ski could stay at the lodge or go to the Sugarbush gym, and pushed back our departure time until 9 AM in hopes that the rain would stop.

It rained HARD on our way to Sugarbush – so hard that many changed their minds and decided not to ski. But, as the two Davids, Motoko, Rafael, and I tentatively disembarked at Mt. Ellen, the rain stopped and didn’t return. We headed up to Summit Quad where, miraculously, the snow was excellent – soft with plenty of coverage. Even FIS wasn’t icy! At lunchtime it began to snow and coated the runs in a few inches of powder. And yet, there were fewer than ten other people skiing on Summit Quad. It was like we had our own private ski mountain the whole day.

Siobhan Bolger and Evelyn skied briefly at Lincoln Peak and then joined Virginia at the Castle Rock Pub. Everyone else had lunch in Waitsfield and boarded the bus at the lodge at 2:30. After two quick pickups at Mt. Ellen and Lincoln Peak, we had an uneventful drive back to NYC.

This trip was the first time we had a WhatsApp texting group for all attendees. It built camaraderie and made communication much easier. Richard used it to announce bus pickup times; we used it to tell Richard and each other our location and plans. Ten people (half the trip attendees) shared photos to the group. I imagine that soon we’ll all look back and not be able to remember what it was like not to have a trip WhatsApp group. This was also the second trip where we’ve done member and guest reviews electronically, via a link sent out by email, rather than on paper forms. The days of scribbling in the dark on a moving bus and, for the Executive Committee, struggling to decipher people’s handwriting are behind us.

All in all, it was a fantastic and fun weekend. A good reminder never to plan life around forecasts, because forecasts are often wrong!

~ Blythe Austin

 

Liftlines – Summer-Fall 2017

Liftlines – Summer-Fall 2017

From work weekends to the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and fall leaf-peeping on Columbus Day, there’s always something going on at the lodge in Waitsfield, Add bike rides, kayak trips, and the odd tavern Tuesday in the city and you’ve got enough stories and pictures to fill the Summer-Fall 2017 edition of Liftlines. Thanks to all the writers and photographers for their contribution, and to Paul Banks for pulling it all together!

Liftlines Fall 2017 T3P2.1

2016-17 Starts Big and Ends Strong!

2016-17 Starts Big and Ends Strong!

In the hot-off-the-digital-press new edition of Liftlines, Phil Caracci reports, “…Snow started falling early in November, and the resorts all opened up by Thanksgiving Day. The Nov-Dec snowfall will likely exceed all of last season. But lots of things were the same. Ray picked us up in The Hampton Jitney on West 23rd St. Alena baked brownies for the bus. Carolyn had hot cider waiting for us in the lodge when we arrived, and Saturday night featured a loud disco dance party. Yet some things were different. Nate was missing from the kitchen staff; the Bernsteins started their own ski club, and The Golden Corral was not on the menu. We’ll cover all that, but the big story of the trip, and the reason it was near capacity, was the snow…”

Read all the details in the Winter 2016-17 edition of Liftlines

2016 Went Out with a Bang!

2016 Went Out with a Bang!

By Amy Sunshine

The third bus trip of the year was uneventful on the way up to Miramar’s lodge in Waitsfield, Vermont, until we were a few miles from the lodge. Turning on to Plunkton Road from Route 100, the bus hit a patch of black ice, fishtailed and ended up striking a rock wall. Everyone was a shocked, but fine. We even arrived at the lodge more or less at the normal time.

It turned out, though, that the door had been banged up enough that our driver Ray couldn’t open it. Members Paul and Rafael were already at the lodge and came out with crowbars to open the door for us. The next morning, Ray dropped the skiers off at Sugarbush and drove down to Stratton to get a new bus.

The new bus took the group to Stowe the next two days, though there were a few hardy folks who preferred to go to Sugarbush. One of those was Dennis, who took a bit of a fall on Spring Fling. He was helped by kind strangers and the ski patrol. It turned out that one of them was our cook’s chimney sweep, and he drove Dennis back to the lodge. Of course, he was invited to stay for cocktail hour.

Riding the Goat

On the slopes, conditions over the weekend rivaled, if not exceeded, the best of last year, and there were some significant skiing breakthroughs. Ruth, Renata, Sandy and guest Ron all skied Goat. It was Ruth’s first time, and she made it down without falling. In fact, the only one to fall was Sandy, who took a spill at the top. Ruth thanked Sandy for all she learned from him.

Earlier in the day, Virginia had made multiple trips down Morningstar with Renata and Sandy and was still glowing over Renata’s praise, “You look good!”

Maureen Cavanaugh made a triumphant return to downhill skiing after her bike accident, and you could not wipe the smile off of her face.

Off of the slopes, New Year’s Eve was also the last night of Chanukkah. Sharon brought her family menorah and had a bunch of the goys light the candles as the Jews sang the prayers and explained the meaning of the holiday, which turned into a debate that lasted well into the night.

Colleen Curry and Susan Weintraub were the before dinner bartenders and made excellent prosecco cocktails that were heartily enjoyed by all. Yours truly also donated a bottle of French absinthe to the bar, which many enjoyed that night, but not so much in the morning.

It being Miramar, there was an intense game of Left-Right-Center. In the end, it came down to Sandy and Liz. Liz prevailed.  She’d explained the game to everyone, but she swears she didn’t load the dice.

We were also treated to the unveiling of Robin’s commissioned painting of the back side of Sugarbush as seen from Bristol. The way the painter captured the Vermont light is truly amazing.

I’d like to add a personal thank you to Ray: You drive us up every weekend, often in awful conditions. This is the first time anything has happened. I don’t know that I trust you with my virtue, but I most definitely trust you with my life.