Killington, 2010

A friend of mine at work invited me along to a group ski trip to Vermont, and Cris was able to come along as well. 14 of us stayed in a rented house just off the Great Eastern ski run at Killington resort.

Fri Feb 5, 2010

I dutifully set the alarm for 7am and tried to be ready to go by 8. Then I couldn't get the bike rack off the car. Then I couldn't find the ski rack that I was sure was in thee garage. Cris helped with both, but then I realised that we'd never installed the locks on the ski rack, I'd used my ski lock to secure the whole thing to the rails when I used it to store my skis outside during a trip. Cris talked me down, we got the rack on and my skis in the back seat and had a quick drive to my work. Cris walked to the T and I found a parking spot in the gas station lot across from my office, where I could keep an eye on the car by craning a bit through my window. I went out at lunch and picked up a bag of apples to share with the group, and then again at the end of the day to get myself some food for the road. A slight misunderstanding meant that I was late picking up Cris from the T, but at least the car was full of gas and I was wide awake. I ended up driving us to Vermont, with a quick stop at the NH liquor store/rest area, before handing over to a now awake Cris. I didn't like the two lane twisty steep route 4 that we had to take off of I89 to get to Killington, but Cris handled it with aplomb. We turned off onto the road where we thought the house was, but double checking the directions, we were on Trailview instead of Trailside, luckily the correct address was a minute away and we were soon pulling into the large parking area in front of the 76 House, just before 10pm. Despite a bit of worry, we weren't the last to arrive, and James, the organiser, was nice enough to let us claim the last double bed left (there were tons of single beds in the two lofts). We brought our stuff inside and had a bit of the salad they'd made for supper (using a recipe I'd suggested via email) and some wine as the house filled up. Some of the group made a bee line for the outdoor 8 person hot tub, but it filled up too fast for me to claim a spot. I was happy enough to sit basking in the warmth of the fireplace, someone had built up a blazing fire and it was putting out lots of heat. I was pretty worn out from the drive and ended up heading to bed at around midnight, lying awake reading for a while. Unfortunately, the sound insulation was non existent from the great room, where everyone was drinking and talking, to our room, and the foosball table was right above our bed, and the sauna door (right outside our room) would bang as people went in and out. I got fed up at around 2:30 and got up to close as many doors as possible and ask people to be a bit more quiet. I think I drifted off finally at around 3am.

Sat Feb 6, 2010

We got a late start on Saturday morning, everyone was moving fairly slowly and looked really sleepy. Dor handed me half an omelette and Cris toasted some bread, and I made some tea. Cris jumped in with Dor and the group that needed to rent skis and got a lift to the rental shop. I got ready to go and joined the group walking across the road and over to the slope and skied down to the Skyship base lodge. I got a 2 day lift ticket, then road the gondola up and then took another lift to get to the top of the Snowshed runs where I was to meet Cris. I waited a bit then gave him a call, only to find out that the were at the base of another lift altogether, but luckily one one run from where I was. I joined them and we all went up together. I think in the K1 gondola, took Great Northern down, and poled a bit to get over to Ramshead. We skied there for a while, but there was only one blue, the other was closed. The beginner group was getting good and all made it down the blue run. By that point it was getting close to 1pm, so Cris and I headed over to the K1 base to meet up with Sonia and the expert group. We all eventually settled at a big table on the top level, and the beginner group joined us as we were finishing up. I sat with our stuff at first while others went to get food, but Cris was unsuccessful in spending the money I gave him on a veggie chili or soup. I went off to forage and ordered the special pizza, but buffalo chicken turned into hamburger and sausage when it came out of the oven, so I ended up with two slices of cheese instead. We were all a bit tired, Junichi was almost nodding off, and I saw a guy two tables over napping for half an hour. I eventually pulled myself to my feet and got going. Cris and I split up for the afternoon, I went exploring some of the blue runs and we agreed to met up back at the house at 4pm.

It was close to 2pm when I started the afternoon, so I didn't get very far. I found a couple of nice blues up near the North Ridge chair. At one point I went up a lift with a woman and we started talking about the new equipment that we were breaking in. She turned out to be an off duty ski instructor and offered me a quick lesson. Made a huge difference since I was still skiing as if I had my old straight skis on, and the shaped ones took a slightly different technique. I had an awesome afternoon practicing the new technique, though I did run into more ice in the middle of the resort. It was brightly sunny and just cold enough to make you notice it, but I was warm in my new ski pants. I made a wrong turn trying to get to the Great Eastern run and had to backtrack very close to the lifts closing at 4, but I ran into the beginner group bombing down Great Eastern and we fetched up at the house together.

Once everyone was back, the apres ski outing was launched. Cris and I had Sonia, Liz and Petter with us, and I was poking around on the GPS trying to find the bar names that people had been throwing out. I finally found the Lookout, though we went right past Double D's on our way there. Luckily the others followed us, unluckily the Lookout was packed to the gills. Laura or Myrna put our names in for a table for ten, and we coalesced into a corner where we could stand and talk. Dor and Petter helped me get close enough to the bar to get a gin and tonic, and I relaxed from the crowded conditions enough to enjoy myself. Once everyone was done, Cris, Sonia, Petter and I got directions to a liquor store and they picked up some beer. Back to the house and I threw together a pasta sauce from scratch, consulting with Cris, and we tag teamed on the garlic bread. Mandy and Myrna I think got the pasta and other sauce ready and set everything up so people could serve themselves. Some people had made a bee line for the hot tub again, but I waited until the second wave came to eat and snuck in with Cris. We had it to ourselves, wonder of wonders, and then I had it alone when he left to shower. The sky was clear and the ice on deck almost froze the bottoms of my feet, it was blissful. :) I had a quick shower and then struggled to stay awake while the others played a game and I read. Once the poker game started, I headed to bed, put ear plugs in and passed out, at around 11pm.

Sun Feb 7, 2010

The early night had be up at 7am or so, but I dozed until close to 8, then got up and made Cris and myself a blue cheese and spinach omelette. We had to be checked out by 10am, so as fast as I could I finished up, cleared up, packed up and got stuff out to the car, scraping a fine layer of ice off of the windows. I think we were first out. We drove down to Skyship, since that's where Cris's shoes were from yesterday and he'd have to return his rentals, but the gondola was down. He ran in to get his shoes and we drove around the the Ramshead base. Where I promptly freaked out when I couldn't find my balaclava. I finally tracked it down in a bag in the trunk, but then Cris couldn't find his helmet after we were both almost all kitted up and ready to go. He graciously let me start without him as he went back to the house to get his helmet. I did a couple of runs off of the Ramshead lift (omg the wind was nuts, though fine on the way down) and decided to wait for him. I figured out that I was extra cold since I'd changed from zipping my fleece jacket liner together at the front to zipping it into my jacket, and the wind was cutting through the aligned zippers. I undid the zippers and put the fleece back together again and was fine (at least in my torso) for the rest of the day. My pause worked out perfectly, Cris was there as I came back to the lift after my second run, and we skied together for the morning. I made the mistake of digging out my phone and answering it without gloves on at the top of our first run together, and we had to take a quick coffee/tea break at K1 to warm up and caffienate. I had a heart stopping moment when Cris got ahead of me and I came around a turn to only see his head sticking up from beyond the edge of the run, he'd gone off the side but luckily the loose snow had stopped him before he hit the big snow making pipe. We decided to try out the restaurant at the top of the K1 gondola, at the highest point on the mountain. It was freezing cold and so windy skis were being tipped over from where they were leaning against a fence. I was waiting to pay for my food when I heard my name called, and Dennis called me over to sit with him and Josh. They were independently up from Boston for a ski weekend as well, and it was good to catch up with them about what they'd been up to after they split off from our working group. We were reluctant to brave the freezing cold outside, but eventually managed to do it. I split off for the afternoon and revisited some new territory (icy), some insanely windy runs (had to tuck to get down a blue!), some favourites from the other day (fun!) and with a few wrong turns as usual, made my way back over to Ramshead for a couple of easy runs to round off the day. I spotted Cris on my last chairlift up and we met up at 3:30 at Ramshead lodge. They were closing down but we were able to get hot drinks and a waffle for the road. Cris drove us home, and I got to enjoy the daylight illuminating the Vermont and northern NH scenery. We made it home at around 7:30, did a whirlwind unpacking and Cris made us a quick supper of leftovers and pasta. I conked out at 10:30, unable to keep my eyes open after a hot shower. Overall, a very fun weekend, and I feel like my skiing skills got better.

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