4th of July Weekend Report
by Patricia Costa-Giomi
It was my first time at the lodge during the summer, and I took my road bike and my kayak with me with the hopes of putting them to good use. The trip did not disappoint me, the weather was so beautiful, the lodge is so comfortable, and the Miramartians are so nice that it could not have been any better.
On Saturday I joined a group of three guests determined to do a hike that was not a “walk in the park.” Indeed the nine mile, 4000 feet elevation Camel’s Hump trail was definitely a challenging hike, but well worth the effort. The views from the top were stunning, despite the strong winds. In addition, we came across the wing of the B-27J Bomber plane that crashed into the side of the mountain near the summit in a training mission in October 1944 during World War II.
After the invigorating hike, I noticed the sun was still shining on the Mad River on my way back to the lodge, so I skipped Happy Hour, to favor delicious ice-cream from the Sweet Spot while lying on the rocky beach bathed by the end of the day sun.
On Sunday, Rose led the Burlington bike path ride which departed from Local Motion in downtown Burlington right on the bike path at the shore of Lake Champlain. We took the bike path to the end and then continued in the Colchester causeway, a narrow strip of land that takes bikers to South Hero in a Lake Champlain island. An opening in the strip of land allows boats to go through and bikers are able to cross it by means of a cute “bike ferry” that transports you and your bike across the short cut in the strip leading to the island.
Once on the island, Rose directed us to a beach with tables under the trees were we had lunch and some of us went for a swim in the unexpectedly warm, calm and clean waters of Lake Champlain. The water felt delicious after the long ride and the hot sun.
We rode back to the cars and the lodge while everyone in the town of Burlington was getting ready for the largest display of 4th of July fireworks in the state of Vermont (or so they say). I opted to leave Burlington behind and drove directly to Blueberry Lake for a sunset paddle.
Cars were leaving as I put the kayak on the calm waters of the small lake and the peaceful sunset paddle followed by a swim to an island in the middle of the lake was worth missing dinner at the lodge. I managed to put the kayak on the car before it got completely dark, and I did get a chance to have a drink at the lodge upon my return, a fitting end to an awesome day.
On Monday, 4th of July, I decided to celebrate Independence Day with a paddle at Waterbury Reservoir. I used the Blush Hill Boating access to the reservoir, there is just parking and a ramp at this site. The parking lot is small fills quickly, but cars also park on both sides of the road leading to the reservoir.
The weather was picture perfect and by 10:30 am, I was in the water. The reservoir is large, with an area for water skiing and, at that hour, was not very busy with motor boats. I paddled for a while and settled on a small beach to swim and read. Finally, around 1:30, I reluctantly concluded the time had come to pack up and face the drive home to Summit, NJ. The ride back was cheered, however, with the prospect of a repeat Waitsfield respite come next Fourth of July, though I might try a paddle at Blueberry Lake this October. I’m told it is surrounded by gorgeous autumn leaved hills in the fall.
My skier friends are very familiar with a trail at Stowe, VT’s Mt Mansfield called Nosedive. It’s not the biggest baddest trail on the hill but it does present a challenge. The top section has the reputation of being icy and generally more difficult than the rest of the trail. It is rated a Black Diamond (expert) trail just because of the top section. The 95% that follows is pure Blue (intermediate) skiing. I generally ski it when I’m at Stowe and most of the time do so without incident. But last Sunday was noteworthy.
I had already been on Ridgeview, Sunrise, North Slope, Lord, T-Line and felt hat the conditions were pretty good on every trail I sampled today. Some ice but more snow (or groomed machine made snow anyway). I spoke to another skier who offered that Nosedive was pretty good today. So I headed there immediately because it could get skied off and may not be so good later in the day.
The approach to Nosedive was as good as everything else I had been on so I made the right turn with sufficient confidence and began the steep descent of the first pitch, the hardest part.
Whooooooooaaaaaaa!!!!! PLOP!!! I don’t know what happened but I was instantly aware of a few things. I had fallen, I was sliding, and I was picking up speed heading down this completely icy slope head first on my stomach. This was NOT the plan!
We aren’t talking about a great distance but flying downhill on your belly towards an even steeper drop can perhaps distort ones senses a bit. It seemed like I had gone far and I knew what was ahead and I wanted no part of it.
I lost one ski up top and one pole but managed to use the remaining pole as an ice pick and jammed it into the icy trail. This caused me to pivot around the pole and now slide feet first as snow accumulated inside my jacket acting as a plow as I moved along. It also slowed me down and I eventually stopped sliding. Phew!!!
The first thing I did was inform those watching this epic fail that I was indeed OK. Nothing seemed to be damaged. One kind dude picked up my lost ski and delivered it to me. I reached up to get the ski from his hand and then…
As soon as I released the pole that had stopped my slide to grab the ski he was handing me, I once again resumed the downward journey! As luck would have it the route that gravity chose was across the tips of the skis of my delivery friend. My added weight essentially flattened out his skis and he lost the grip and now we were both sliding toward the “end” of this slope. Because we were now aided by finely waxed skis we were moving towards the edge even faster!
Luckily not for long because he fell on top of me and once off his skis we managed to stop laughing long enough to terminate the skid.
By this time we had attracted a fair number of spectators, mostly because the yard sale had more or less blocked the trail. Several rescuers surrounded us this time and assembled all the pieces much like Humpty Dumpty but with a much happier ending. Besides noting that snow and ice had worked its way into my underwear, I was fine and resumed my ski day with wetness but without further incident.
We came, skied, dined and danced on a fantastic trip led by Len Frank and Sharron Lieberman. In Cortina the weather gods cooperated, with two powder dumps, two days of flurries, two bluebird days, and for many the unforgettable 55km Sella Ronda tour. The weather in Venice was sketchier but, ever resourceful, the Miramartians started a new black-bag fashion trend and everyone managed to stayed dryish. [Click on an image to enlarge, then use the L and R arrows on your keyboard to go forward or back at your own pace.] Photo credits: Ruth Yashpan, David Wallenstein, Susan Weintraub, Colleen Curry, David Martz, Richard Carey.
The Miramar Race Team came away with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the MET NY Ski Council Races at Pico. Here are the results:
Super Elite Women
Karen McFarlane: GS-Silver, Slalom-Gold, Combined-Silver
Susan Weintraub: GS-Gold, Slalom-Gold, Combined-Gold
Colleen Curry: GS-Gold, Slalom-Gold, Combined-Gold
Chip Martin: GS-Silver, Slalom-Bronze, Combined-Bronze
Miramar Ski Club – Silver
Cross-country skiers are welcome on Miramar’s weekly ski bus trips to our lodge in Vermont. Depending on which downhill area we visit the day’s snow and weather conditions, the usual XC destinations are Ole’s in the Mad River Valley, The Trapp Family Lodge, or the Stowe XC Center.
Ole’s , Warren Vermont — http://www.olesxc.com/
The closest cross country ski facility to our lodge in Waitsfield, Ole’s was opened by a legendary Norwegian cross-country skier. Still locally owned, Ole’s features rolling trails through the woods and fields and past local barns. Beginner, intermediate and some challenging trails for more experienced skiers are offered. Helpful staff, excellent lessons for skiers of every level and a bright welcoming sky-light lit lounge with soup and sandwich offerings round out the experience. Occasional acoustic music jams occur at lunchtime as well as a memorable local distillery tasting.
Mansfield/Stowe Cross County in Stowe, Vermont — http://www.trappfamily.com/
Where skiing began before they invented the ski lift. Enterprising cross country skiers unearthed the old trail maps of Stowe Ski Resort and recreated the original trails. Just down the mountain from the Stowe Alpine Resort, Mansfield offers some challenging black runs with serious downhill stretches in addition to a multitude of beginner and intermediate trails. Facilities include a warming hut along the trail serving hot chocolate,and a yurt by the lodge to relax in. Trails connect to the Toll Road trail at the downhill resort where gravity’s pull can be experienced to its fullest. High quality instruction and rentals are available. A connection to the nearby Trapp Cabin is available for hearty souls willing to head uphill approximately four kilometers, A fireplace, soups sandwiches, hot apple cider and cookies are served. Of course after heading uphill you get to race back downhill when you have finished your destination dining experience in the woods.
Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont — http://www.stowe.com/ski-ride/xc/
A true resort in addition to an excellent cross-country ski venue, Trapp Family Lodge offers an on site brew-pub an Austrian bakery as well as the Trapp Cabin. A well groomed and extensive trail system provides trails for racers as well as expert, intermediate and beginner skiers. Yes, this venue was opened and run by the Trapp family of Sound of Music fame and the hills are alive and the trails are exceptionally well groomed.
Mads Juul-Nyholm leads the Miramar A-Team at Aspen Highlands – March 2015.
Even if the weather outside is frightful, the weather inside Miramar’s lodge is smokin’ — and you won’t need your long-johns to be warm!
Not sure what to give that special someone this year, or maybe you need to treat yourself to a holiday break?
Even though the weather is frightfully unseasonable (thanks a lot, El Nino!), if you haven’t locked in your New Year’s plans our lodge in Waitsfield, Vermont is the place to be.
Powder shots after breakfast may not be on the menu this month, but Stowe has 21 trails open and Sugarbush 8, so there’s that. And the venerable Single Chair Weather Blog just posted about the likelihood of a “Madden-Julian Oscillation” occurring and its “capability of re-dealing the cards” on the weather. Hey, if there’s a chance it’ll work you can set me up with two shots of MJO right now, please!
But even better than shots of MJO is New Years weekend in Vermont with Miramar. Great people, great meals, great dancing, and maybe a few ski runs, too So step right up, click one of the buttons below, and buckle your seat belts for a great time!
The lifts at Sugarbush and Stowe are running and so is Miramar’s bus. Registration is now open for the following trips:
- December 11 to 13 — First Trip of the Season
- December 24 to 27 — Christmas Weekend
- December 27 to 31 — Mid-week Car Trip
- December 31 to January 3 — New Years Weekend
- January 8 to 10 — Mad Mambo Weekend
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
Extra, extra, read all about Miramar’s awesome 2017-18 winter season in Liftlines. From Vermont to Val D’Isere Miramartians new and older ruled the slopes and pistes. You can download or read the new edition here.
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!
Skiing and snowboarding isn’t cheap, but as a card-carrying Miramar member you’re entitled to big discounts all season long. Here’s a calendar of 2017-18 season deals available all over the north east. Just flash your validated members card at the ticket window (but we recommend contacting the area to confirm before driving hours and hours!).NY Metro Ski Council 2017-18 Discounts
Flash your valid membership card and save money at Magic Mountain.
——– Original message ——–
From: [email protected]
Date: 10/09/2017 1:00 PM (GMT-05:00)
Subject: Magic Mountain Council days
Below are the Council days given to us by Magic Mountain, Vermont.
17 th and 18th: $44
April: 6,7,8: $39.00
Ski Magic, LLC
Early season your thing? Vermont for the holidays? Maybe club racing, mid-winter freshies, or spring corn snow are more your style?
Whatever you’re craving we’ve got it all this year, so pick your dates and mark your schedules now!
Additional information and registration links will be posted in our calendar approximately 30 days before the departure date for each trip.Miramar 2017-18 Winter Trips
Wow, flash your up-to-date Miramar member card with a MNYSC sticker, and Mount Snow will show you love all winter long with prices as low as $39 per day. Can’t touch that!Metro_NY_Ski_Council_Awareness_Days_17-18
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…”
If you’re a Miramar member, and our trip to Val d’Isère next winter is not your thing, you can bag four of the finest ski areas in the continental United States —Jay Peak, Snowmass, Lake Tahoe and Sunday River — on these 2018 New Jersey and Metropolitan New York ski and snowboard council trips.
Click the destination to find out more, then turn down the temp on your air conditioner and imagine you’re there!
- Jay Peak — January 28 to February 2 with the New Jersey Ski and Snowboard Council
- Snowmass — February 24 to March 3 with the New Jersey Ski and Snowboard Council
- South Lake Tahoe — March 17 to March 24 with the Metropolitan Ski Council
- Sunday River — March 18 to March 23 with the New Jersey Ski and Snowboard Council