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.
Waiting for da snow… flowin’ on water, wheels and in the woods… and making new stories. That’s what’s Miramar is about in the warmer months and this summer was no exception — tales told true in the Summer 2016 edition of Liftlines, which members can download from the archive and read in it’s entirety.
I like eating fish. I like catching fish.
Finding a seafood restaurant in Manhattan is easy, but finding a place to fish, not so much. And, If you threw a line in the East River, would you be inclined to eat anything you caught? Hmmm … a little too close to the Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal.
Well, it turns out there is another option, and it’s convenient. On East 23rd Street and the FDR Drive service road there is a tiny marina that you might not even know exists. That is the home of the Capitol Princess.
I learned about this family owned and operated fishing boat from an email, and I was eager to give it a try.
Of course, you all know that Miramar was a yacht club before it was a ski club. Our ski club is directly descended from Sheepshead Bay sailors. So a Miramar boat trip is not a new thing.
The original trip, with four people, was planned for Labor Day, it was canceled because of a hurricane watch. That turned out to be a good thing because it gave us an extra week, and we ended up with a group of 15 mostly Miramartian fisher people.
The journey lasts six hours, which is great because you have about an hour of travel time to get out to the fishing spots on both sides of the Verrazano Bridge. There is a lunch break too. The price also includes water, soda and lunch. Beer was available for purchase.
The boat has an upper deck with padded couches and wide open breezy viewing in three directions. Perfect for the sightseeing part of the day.
Every once in a while someone would reel in a sea robin, which looks more like a bird than a fish. A few sharks also found their way into the boat. Some were very kissable.
The biggest catch was not from our group. I saw a dude a few feet away from me pull in a 10 pound monster fluke.
In all there was about three hours of fishing time. The boat supplies the rod, reel and bait, as well as lessons, if anyone is in need. The entire crew was delightful and eager to make sure everyone had fun. When a business takes that much care of their customers, you know they want you back. Look for a Miramar fishing trip on next year’s summer schedule.
Miramar began in the sea and this summer we returned to the sea thanks to Peter Maloney and the Sebago Canoe Club who hosted a 8-mile paddle across Jamaica Bay into the Gateway National Recreation Area.
We watched cormorants drying their wings, osprey curiously observing our fleet of Miramartians, and had a rare sighting of two tilt-rotor osprey coming in to land at JFK. Trippers and friends included Peter and Virginia Maloney, Rose Ng, Liz Meyers, Gail Reiken Tuzman, Mich Rowen, Wendy Shepard, Aaron Hoglund, Renata Tenenbaum and Richard Carey. With special thanks to John Daskalakis of the National Park Service who joined us, and Bonnie from Sebago for her helping wrangle our group and providing these excellent photos [click to view full size].
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.
[click to enlarge]
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!
The view of Nosedive from the top of the Gondola.
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.
Forecasted Polar Vortex for Presidents weekend did not deter 19 hardy skiers (including 4 guests) from heading to Vermont. With over a foot of snow that had fallen during the week the snow conditions were great and those who had been on the previous weekend were amazed how different it looked.
Saturday 15 downhill skiers had a fantastic day at Sugarbush while 4 cross country skiers went to Trapp which also had great conditions. Saturday night we welcomed approximately 25 of the Swiss Ski club to our lodge for cocktail hour which was a lot of fun. Valentines Day we woke up to -26F temperatures with real feel of -42F. With it forecasted to be even lower on the mountains and Sugarbush lifts on “Cold Hold”, decease there were still 6 hardy downhill skiers who headed to Stowe and 3 cross country skiers went to Craftsbury.
As long as you wore the appropriate layers they reported a fantastic day of sking and didn’t want to leave the mountain! Monday was almost balmy by comparison. Woke up to -11F and expected to go up to 17F. When one of our skiers announced to the ticket scanner at Sugarbush that “it’s like spring skiing” and it was still below 0 you know that we are definitely hardy East Coast skiers! With great snow conditions people had another fantastic day of skiing. Let’s say the bus was very quiet on the way home as everybody wore themselves out skiing!
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.