During the winter, skiers and riders experience lots of weather-related emotional ups and downs. Okemo Mountain makes the ride worth it.
If you are a skier or a snow lover, then you know that life during the winter is an emotional roller coaster ride related directly to weather. Perhaps if you are a non-skier or snow hater, then life during the winter is also an emotional roller coaster for opposite reasons, but your ride will never experience as many peaks or valleys. The ride cannot be as fulfilling (new snow) or utterly devastating (mid-winter thaw) as ours.
Just eight days into 2014 and we’ve been up and down a few times already. I don’t want to count. What gets all of us through the lows is thinking about the highs. And of course, snowmaking and grooming gets us through too.
In early December, Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vermont, was cranking out beautiful snow and the proof was on the slopes. New for 2013-14, Okemo invested nearly $1 million in their snowmaking system and it’s being used to its full advantage.
Whenever I see a snowmaker bundled up on the mountain and working the guns it reminds me of a bad guy/good guy super hero action movie where the snowmaker is the hero with super powers to make snow. Take that unseasonable temperatures. Zap. Thwak. Spray. Okay, so I just made that up. But snowmakers and those who groom the trails really are superheros and that is not made up at all. Even better, the snowguns Okemo purchased are HKD variable flow snow guns which raise the bar for low-energy snowmaking technology. These superheros are also focused on environmental initiatives, and that is not just by accident. In fact, Tim and Diane Mueller, owners of Okemo Mountain Resort, have a clear vision for environmental initiatives which can be seen throughout the resort.
But back to my roller coaster metaphor…Waking up slopeside and looking out the window to see piles of fluffy white stuff is definitely the up part of the roller coaster ride. Realizing snow totals are 12 to 16 inches is even better. I’m not making this part up. It really happened during a recent stay at Okemo.
I arrived on a Friday night and checked in at Okemo’s Jackson Gore Inn. Just past the lobby, the fire was crackling and folks were relaxing in their apres ski garb. It’s the perfect welcoming to a ski getaway.
On Saturday morning , temperatures were chilly but the snow was perfectly groomed corduroy.
Now, to be precise, chilly temperatures in this case meant 1 degree. Call me a fair weather skier, but I decided to head inside to warm up and drink some hot chocolate after a morning of skiing. Actually, it was half cocoa and half coffee with whipped cream on top, courtesy of the friendly Starbucks staff in the Clock Tower Base Lodge. Okemo has two main base lodges, plus other lodges scattered across the mountain. So on cold days, it’s easy to pop in for a quick warm up. When temperatures dip, it’s really important to take breaks, drink water, and make sure your buddies or others you see on the slopes aren’t showing signs of frostbite. Bluish lips aren’t good either.
With all of these lodges comes quite a few dining options that run the gamut from quick bites to food you’ll want to savor. For an absolute treat on Saturday, I dined at Epic Restaurant at the base of Solitude lift. Their menu features Kobe Burgers, Chef Signature Trio specials & small plates. In one word: tasty.
On Sunday, I had lunch at the Sugar House Lodge. I’m still surprised I resisted ordering from Smokey Jo’s heated outdoor barbecue, but I needed something lighter so I had a bowl of soup from the Thai noodle bowl station. Of course, I was enjoying the smells wafting from the barbeque the whole time.
What a difference a day makes. Instead of needing to thaw my toes, Sunday was the kind that keeps everyone warm and outside with fresh powder everywhere! It’s hard to take a break on those kind of days.
Of course, at the Jackson Gore Inn, you can mix it up a little with ice skating, pools, exercise facilities.
Or even a real roller coaster ride at Jackson Gore Base Area.
Sure, I let out plenty of squeals along the way, but thankfully the roller coaster ride on Timber Ripper was purely delightful.
Yes, winter has its fair share of ups and downs for snow lovers, but great snow and great friends make the emotional ride all worth it!