I spent twelve years living within 40 minutes to my favorite places to ski, and could sneak out for some midweek afternoon turns, so I never considered myself to be a weekend warrior where I had to cram all my outdoor pursuits into the weekend. After the last two weekends, though, it’s official. I’ve become a true weekend warrior.
As I alluded in a previous post, during Martin Luther King Weekend I skied 17 of Maine’s mountains in 3 1/2 days. This past weekend, I left my house at 5:20 a.m., met friends at Sugarbush at 8:30, and skied till 12:00. I took an afternoon/evening break, shopped and dined with a friend who doesn’t ski (I think that I have two friends who don’t ski), then headed out early Sunday morning to meet-up for hike that starts near Pico across from the Inn at the Long Trail. Afterwards, I took a 20 minute nap at my friend’s house, then headed over to Landgrove, Vermont for a moonlight xc ski with my cousin. I decided that after skiing all those mountains during MLK, fitting in a few activities over one weekend would be simple. After an unintended leisurely dinner at a restaurant, I headed home and landed in bed at 10, a bit tired. Anyone who hails from metro New York, or even Boston, might not give me my official weekend warrior title, but I think I did pretty well.
The skiing at Sugarbush was delightful. Getting to a mountain first thing in the morning, especially on the weekend, is really worth it. We skied in freshly fallen snow, and despite it being Saturday morning, I parked in the second lot from the lodge and did not deal with crowds since I was on the mountain before the masses actually arrived. It took me years to admit that it really is better to wake up early on the weekends and ski first thing rather than sleeping in and getting to the mountain around 10-11. It’s really not the skier traffic on the trails that bothers me so much, it’s the overflowing parking lots and the crush of everyone buying tickets and getting dressed in the lodge. So, that is my tip — get to the mountain first thing to avoid that.
Balancing out the rest of my weekend with winter hiking and xc skiing was wonderful. Since my friend lives in Rutland and there was hardly any snow on the ground there, we did not pack our snowshoes for the hike. Wrong plan since there was so much beautiful snow on the trail. It was still fine to hike in boots with good treads because the trail was packed, but we probably could have gotten further in three hours wearing snowshoes. I should have known that there would be more snow near Pico than in Rutland. I used to live at Pico and on more than one occasion would struggle to get out of the snow-filled parking lot, only to drive to work through snowless towns just 10 minutes away. Anyone considering whether or not to head to the mountains and basing it on what is in your backyard (even if the backyard is only 20 minutes away like it is between Rutland and Pico/Killington) should reconsider. A little elevation makes a big difference on the snow line.
I was even more amazed when I headed to Landgrove, which is near Weston, home of the Vermont County Store. It was snowing, and the banks were even bigger than in central Vermont. I was happy since I love snow. My cousin and I skied on sleigh ride trails that she knows well since she works at Pfister Farms, leads horse-drawn rides . The trails are beautiful and meander by streams making for a gorgeous xc ski, especially at night. It was also nice because I got rid of my old xc boots that gave me big blisters and wore my brand new pair of Alpina boots. Blisters are no fun, but brand new boots that are comfortable and fit well are fun. And when you are a weekend warrior like me, you cannot afford to get blisters!
I can’t wait to hear about your adventures.
Read more New England Ski tips from Heather Atwell.