By Ed Brennan

Some aspect of the skiing experience is quite simply the being outdoors. Booting up in the parking lot, I huddled under the protection of my rear door hatch as the snow was falling and blowing all around. Winter was back. Winter, crisp and cold, once again.



Wind and snow, the elements. Some of us are fascinated with them: sailors, skiers and the outdoorsmen and women who find these phenomena worthy of study. Wind speed, windchill, snow depth, just chill. Sailors and skiers leave nothing to chance, except that the whole adventure is exactly that, a throwing of caution to the winds. Caution is found on a couch and that has proven to be dangerous, addictive, and hard to recover from.

Up in the mountains, watching the winds that slam into the western flanks of the Green Mountains and then roil over the summits, driving clouds easterly and depositing snow. The Super Bravo lift had that cold headwind that blows heat out of skiers who shivered and thought twice about going higher. Experienced skiers of Nancy Hanks Peak know that the Heaven’s Gate chair is in a protected hollow, out of the cold winds.


President’s week and a reported 8 inches of snow graced the flanks of the Green Mountains. Dry, cold, and wintry; that was the condition of the skiers at the end of the day as well as the condition of the skiing. Fortunately for skiers, Vermont is the No. 1 per capita producer of craft beer, so the dry part is palatably satiated with a raft of hazy IPAs. Being cold is part of the winter skiing experience, as is the warming of the core, the bones, next to a hot woodstove with a hot cocoa.
The skiing was spectacular! With anything like a decent edge, the skiing was “can’t miss em” carving turns on soft, chalky snow. With that kind of skiing, I was thinking about the new “celebrity skis” coming out of The Big Sky in Montana.

No, it’s not what you think. There is no Bill Hickey “Dirt Bag King” signature model coming out -- at least not yet. It is the new Bode Miller skis which are getting rave reviews. Stands to reason, if Bode would be happy with a ski, it must be a good ski. There is the story of the mysterious Super G ski. The story goes that one set of skis from Bode’s Super G ski quiver was far superior to the others. He even lent them to Lindsey Vonn and she was amazed. Once the skis were skied out, Bode tore them apart to see what was different about them.

It turned out that a technician, while installing the plate had cut or removed a small piece of material somewhere around the toe-piece. It seems logical that a slight weakness of the ski structure, at that position, would allow the ski bend more easily and would invite the racer to sink more deeply into the turn as the shovels carved into the snow. Some innovations appear by accident.



It is an interesting innovation that could certainly add something extra for a World Cup level Super G racer. It takes confidence to crush into the skis with flexing ankles and knees and then extend to get an accelerating kick out of the turn. I’m just not sure if a different ski is necessary to make that happen.

But lately the snow has been heroic carving snow and the skis seem to bend at will with total security of position. I could compare it to waterskiing on a glass calm lake.

Riding the Valley House chair, I watched a young woman in the blue Sugarbush instructor coat charging, absolutely charging the Mall, and hot on her heels, just a few turns behind her, were her very young charges, also charging and mimicking her style.


It is much like the stoppage of time, New England skiing. It seems not much different from the old movies that glamorized the charming towns, the cozy inns, the cocktails around the hearth, the sharpening and waxing, it is just a joyful experience. The old photos of skiers captured in time, in the sunshine, enjoying life and skiing. That is true today as well, and the photos taken today are the follies that will be there tomorrow, for others to regard.
I’m going skiing. Enough of the couch, the books, enough of everything else, I’m going skiing. To the winds, snows, and hills, I’m going to the summit and I’m going to fly downhill.