Eager for First Tracks of the Ski Season
To say that I was eager for my first ski trip of the winter would be the understatement of the year. I had my gear out and organized on Sunday and by Wednesday I was packed and ready to go. One problem...I wasn't leaving until Friday. What can I say, I was excited. With every passing hour on Friday, I could not wait to hop into the car and begin my drive up to Vermont. My wife knew not to hesitate when the work day ended, because doing so would get her left in the dust. Within minutes of me cranking my engine, I could see her hustling down the parking lot to hop in. We needed to get on the road so that we could take full advantage of a Friday night out in good old downtown Ludlow. Not a bustling metropolis by any stretch of the imagination, this quaint little Vermont town still has some fun dining and drinking spots to offer and missing out on them would be a drag. Despite two minor traffic incidents that set us back slightly, we reached our destination with plenty of time to prime ourselves for the fun and exciting weekend at Okemo Mountain.
Okemo Media Weekend
For the second year in a row, my wife and I kicked off our winter ski season at the Okemo Mountain, and I would not have it any other way. Okemo Media weekend is a wonderful and informative event where lasting friendships are formed through a passion and love for a sport and a mountain that binds us. In a setting that provides an opportunity the learn all that Okemo Mountain has to offer (and there is so much that they do) it is great to see old friends and reminisce about past tales of epic days spent together on and off the slopes. It is also a time to get out and mingle, meet new people and form new relationships that are built to last. There is something about our sport that brings people together more than any other that I have been a part of. More importantly, there is something about Okemo that enhances these connections through all that they have to offer.
The Snow Guns Never Stopped
To say that we had a bad winter in the East last year would be an understatement of monumental proportions. In fact, in my 25+ years I have never seen so little snow. However, things are starting to look up for us easterners thanks to Mother Nature. Early season snow and long stretches of prolonged cold temps have blanketed the mountains with enough snow to have them comparable to their snow depths at the height of last season. In fact, as I laid in bed each night in my room at Jackson Gore Lodge, I could hear the beeping of the snowcats amidst the din of the snow guns as they never stopped blowing and grooming snow all weekend long. The capacity that Okemo has to make some of the best snow in the East made for a formidable first weekend of skiing. It even gave us an opportunity to get out and carve a few turns from the lifts at Jackson Gore Village, something that was not even a thought this early in the season last year.
Friendships are Formed Over Food
For Italians like myself, it's all about the food (and drinks, of course). Food is comfort. It is the backdrop on which some my closest friendships have been formed and continues to be a passion of mine. Okemo Mountain, with their abundance of good food and drinks only fuels this passion while creating an experience to remember. The spread for lunch at Epic at Solitude is reminiscent of a wedding cocktail hour. The mound on my plate consisted of a variety of sliders, sashimi tuna and vegetables complimented by a build your own hot bowl that I loaded up with even more tuna, wagyu beef and noodles. Throw in some tasty après ski beers from Long Trail and I had more than enough food to catch up on missed time with old friends while recalling funny tales of past luncheons for our new ones. Tales like this can only be aided by even more good food and drink, and that is exactly what the Coleman Brook Tavern had to offer that evening. A few old fashioneds, some wine from their renowned collection, tasty food and some new, lively additions to the crew had our table eating, drinking and laughing the night away. There is nothing like some great food, drink and tall tales told between friends (old and new) to make for some great après ski.
Coffee, Bacon and First Tracks
Breakfast on Sunday was the beginning of the end to this enjoyable weekend. Recalling the previous day's events as we sat and ate, we said our goodbyes and made plans to carve a few more turns with friends before we set out on our trek home. Nothing like a breakfast of coffee and bacon to get you revved up and ready to take laps on some new snow. The car already loaded, we headed out for first tracks at Jackson Gore. Having opened for the first time that morning the snow was pristine and ready for the taking. Sending it, one run after the next we banged out a few more runs, much to our delight. Not wanting this bluebird day to end, I contemplated staying, but responsibility got the best of me and we eventually put an end to another eventful trip to Okemo Mountain.