Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve

Tonight night I will be gathering with many ski friends to celebrate a Killington New Year's Eve.  My friends believe 9 PM is the New Midnight.  We will celebrate the evening, toast the New Year (at the new midnight), and then head home.  While the late night revelers recuperate from there late night shenanigans, we will catch first tracks 8 AM New Year's morn on a quiet mountain.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Skiing Muse

Gravity is love and every turn is a leap of faith.  Author Unknown via quotegarden.com

Skiing is a dance, and the mountain always leads.  ~Author Unknown
via quotegarden.com

Talking morning to night about sex has helped my skiing, because I talk about moving, about looking good, about taking risks.  Ruth Westhiemer via thinkexist.com




Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Adventure in the Kitchen: Split Pea Soup

There is nothing better then coming home after a day of skiing to the smell of homemade soup.  Before taking off today I put on a crockpot of split peas soup.  Lauren, Sam and I ate the whole pot for dinner.   I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

1 Ham Bone
1 lb of split peas well rinsed and drained
1 1/2 qts of water
1 cup chopped onion
2 stalks of chopped celery
2 carrots chopped
2 small potatoes chopped
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 T herbs de Provance from Stonewall Kitchen (or you can mix your own from dried fennel seeds, basil, lavendar, thyme, savory, or just be creative Bay Leaf is good too)
1/4  t ground pepper
1/2 t garlic powder (fresh garlic would be better, but I was out)

Put all the ingredients in a large crockpot, start on High.  If you leaved on high it will be ready in 3-4 hours.  If you want it later in the day, turn it down to low once it starts to simmer, or before you walk out the door and it will be ready in 5-6 hours.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Killington: Winter Storm

I skipped the gym, and I rushed to get up here before the storm yesterday.  Stoked, I had visions of fresh powder dancing in my head.  Then I waited, and waited.  The snow didn't start until around 9:30 pm, and the wind started to howl.  Excuse me, the gentle Killington breezes began.

I set my alarm for 6:15 am expecting to see significant snowfall on the ground.  I am not sure how much snow we received, because most of it is swirling in the air making the visability a challenge. 

Did I mention Lauren and Sam are up as well?  Generally, I wake my guests up bright and early if they want to ski with me.  Today I am letting them sleep.  I expect some significant wind holds on the lifts and a late opening. 

I feel like a kid, looking outside pacing and whining impatiently waiting to go out and play.  It has been almost a week since my last ski fix.  I just keep telling myself the wait will be worth it.  So the images of skiing fresh powder keep dancing in my head.

It is now 8:07.  There are a few lifts open.  Lauren and Sam are going to wait and ski this afternoon.  I think I am going to brave it and take a few runs.  Wish me luck!

Update 9:20 PM:  Never skied today.  We ended up snowshoeing at the High Altitude Adventure Center at Sunrise Mountain, Killington instead.  There was no wind in the peacefull woods and the sun even peeked out for a while.  We took a break for lunch at Noel's Restaurant.  All seemed right with the world.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas

Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home.  ~Carol Nelson

I am blessed with a loving family.  Even though I am divorced, my ex and I come together with the kids to celebrate the holidays.  It is like magic, for a few hours we are a family again. 

Today he is hosting the festivities at his home.  He just finished renovating an old Brownstone circa 1910.  It is his dream house; full of  character, history and even a ghost.  It's decked out for the holiday.  My daughter calls it the Christmas house.  One of those homes reminiscent of a home from one of her old American Girl books.

The guest list included the four of us, plus our son Iggy's girlfriend, Lauren's boyfriend, my mom and a few friends.  It was a pleasant evening.  I have to say I enjoyed not being allowed in the kitchen.  Lauren and her dad prepared and served the meal and then cleaned up.  What a refreshing change.  I can easily get used to this tradition.

When I depart from my ex's home, I am struck with the warmth I still feel for him.  He is now dear old friend with a long shared history, nice to visit and nice to say goodnight to as I leave for my own home content. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Interesting Perspective on Todays Technology

This was to good not to share.  I have had many conversations of late, debating the advantage of one smart phone over another, computers, and other technology related Christmas gifts.  I thought this a clever discussion of the topic.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Killington Challenged!

I too have heard rumors on lifts and by friends that other Vermont ski areas have more open terrain.  Mt. Snow and Okemo to be specific.  I was reluctant to believe such hearsay.  I heard the challenge and responded accordingly, as any Killington Snob would.  So, I did a little research this morning.

Mt. Snow is close, but not quite.  Mt. Snow 305 acres vs. Killington 306 acres.  Okemo does have the most terrain open with 396 acres.  They sure must be blowing up a storm to have that many acres open.  I have to wonder about quality and the depth of the base…   Killington was the only resort that lists their base. 

I went to Weather.com to find Mt. Snow and Okemo.  Upon investigation, there wasn't a significant difference in base depths.  I am thinking quality vs. quantity.  Killington will let you ski through the guns, in the whales of snow and soft bumps.  It is my understanding the other resorts, make you wait until the snow has been properly groomed.  I prefer the man made blizzards.   Am I reaching or what in defence of my home mountain. 

I think the bottom line on this debate - the best place to ski is where ever you are as long as you have sticks and snow under your feet.  It doesn’t matter how good it is somewhere else if you aren’t there.  There is the friend factor as well.   Sliding down the hill is always better with a friend.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Killington after dark

I enjoyed a long day of skiing today.  A few of my friends weren't thrilled with the hard pack conditions, one said she felt like Dorthy Hamill as she slid across Superstar.  Some how I found snow to turn on, and I toured most of the mountain.

This evening a few of us met at Baha Buritto for drinks and dinner. I had never dined there before.  We enjoyed a comfortable layed back evening, and I was delightfully surprised with my yummy shrimp burrito.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Views from Killington

Morning view from the top of Superstar


View of Bear.  Rumor has season opening on Wednesday.

Killington: Committment (or lack there of)

Yesterday was my first day skiing at Killington after a week's absence, still trying to shake off a cold.  I promised myself I would only ski a half day, but somehow I didn't want it to end.  I skied until 3 PM.  The sun was out, the wind was missing, and the snow was good.  Well at least under the guns the snow was good.  A little scraped off in other areas.

As I skied with my Adult Season Program (ASP), I noticed a commonality between my skiing and life.  Lately, I have been having real commitment issues.  I want to get involved in relationships, community, causes, but I am really hesitant to commit to any one thing. 

Saturday, while skiing bump or hard pack runs, if I was afraid and didn't  commit down the fall line, I would slide across the slope toward the woods out of balance and with very little edge control.  Frustrating, ineffective and not much fun.

When I committed myself to the mountain, by moving my body forward down the fall line, trusting my edges and using the skills I worked on during race week.  My skis turned with little effort and I stayed in control.  It was definitely more effective and fun.

I think life is the same way.  It is easy to wonder from one interest to the next without a commitment.  I know from past experience, without commitment life just sort of happens by default, like ending up in the woods.  I am not in control, life feels out of balance, and I waste a lot of energy.  Commitment puts me in charge, choices come naturally and my efforts are used effectively creating a better life experience.  I guess I do have one thing I am committed to this winter, skiing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Household Hint: Neti Pot

My friend Di brought me a Neti Pot today to help with my congestion.  It helped.

Recipe: Turkey Vegtable Soup

I have been hanging out in CT since Saturday night.  Just laying low, trying to shake off a cold.  When I am at Killington, it is hard to stay in and take it easy.  The slopes call me and I over do it.

Soup sounded like just the right medicine for my cold.  I took out the remains of my Thanksgiving turkey from the freezer, mostly bones, a little skin and meat.  I threw it in the crockpot along with 2 qts of water, and cooked it on low for 6 hours.  I strained it and kept the broth.  I used half the broth on Monday for some Turkey Noodle Soup, and today I used the rest to make yummy Turkey Vegetable Soup.

Place in a large soup pot:

1 qt Turkey Broth
1 cup peeled coarsely chopped waxy rutabaga
2 peeled coarsely chopped carrots
1 small unpeeled coarsely chopped golden potato
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 stalk coarsely chopped celery
6 Crimini (Baby Bella) mushrooms sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 t of chicken bouillon
1/8 t black pepper
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t sage
1/2 t marjoram
1/2 t rosemary
1 bay leaf

Bring to a boil, and simmer until the vegetables are barely soft.  Then add:

1/2 can of well rinsed dark red kidney beans
3/4 cup of frozen corn
A large handful of spinach/arugula
Chunks of pre-cooked turkey (saved frozen from Thanksgiving)

Bring back to boil and simmer an additional 10 minutes.

Sprinkle some Romano cheese and serve a piece of with crusty bread.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Household Hint: Easier Snow Shoveling

We had our first snowfall here in CT last night.  That mean's it is time to break out the snow shovels.  I would like to share a household hint my dad and a good friend gave me to make the shoveling a little easier.

Spray the shovel with either cooking spray (like Pam) or a silicone spray before you start.  It will keep the snow from sticking to the shovel.  The snow will glide right off the shovel as you toss/push it onto the side.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Killington Ski Week summary

I found this video by Sean Warman. It sums up the major themes we worked on during ski week.



To continue to building on these skills, I joined Killington's Adult Seasonal Program (ASP) aka 4241* Club. It started yesterday and runs through March. It allows me to continue working with Steve O'Connor, and I hope to adapt my new race skills onto a wider variety of terrain and snow conditions. Steve is the same pro I had for Race Week, and the pro leading our ASP group.

ASP is also a social group, and a good way to meet other skiers. The Saturday clinics end with apres-ski at the Long Trail Pub in the Snowshed Base Lodge. The program also includes optional opportunities to join the ski school's staff development clinics on Friday afternoons, and on Sundays.


*4241 is the peak elevation of Killington Mountain

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Killington: Race Week Day 5

This has been an awesome week, a little bruised from a couple of falls, but content.  I am not as exhausted tonight as I was mid-week, but then I called it a day by 2 PM instead of 3:30 PM.  The ski conditions on were just about as good as they get.  Today was cold in the morning (7 degrees at the bottom) then low 20's by afternoon, with no wind, sunshine and plenty of snow. 

Yesterday was the culmination of the week's activity with the GS Race on Bunny Buster, followed by the awards banquet in the evening.  Today we did a little free skiing and worked on slalom race skills.  It was fun skiing with the guys all week.  I feel like I have 8 new ski brothers. 

Our coach Steve O'Connor is one of the top ski instructors not only at Killington, but in the northeast.  After spending a week with him, I understand why he deserves that distinction.  His personalized instruction helped all of us improve our skiing both on the race course and the rest of the mountain.

Steve is in the burnt orange jacket in the photo below.  The photo was taken on the top of Superstar Lift on Skye Peak around 3:30 PM yesterday afternoon.  Not everyone is in the photo, a few of the guys had already gone in for the day.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Killington: Race Week Day 4

Today was the big race.  Lots of fun, and lots of waiting around in between the fun. 
Waiting for the race to begin

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Killington: Race Week Day 3

Today was another full day of skiing, 9AM -3:30PM, on Race Week day 3.  During my lunch break, I participated in the first Ski Bum Race of the season. 

Ski Bum races are ski races for Killington locals held on most Wednesdays during the season, and my motivation for the Race Week Clinic.  There are 2 levels of Ski Bum racers.  The serious A racers, today's top time was 24.3 seconds, then there are the B racers.  I finished 84th in the B group with the humble time of 39.99 seconds. 

Now I could be discouraged, especially since I have been working hard all week on my racing skills.  Instead am going to focus on my goal.  My goal is to improve a little each week, hopefully I'll have better times and ranking by the end of the season.  With an 84th ranking the bar is set pretty low, so I should be able to reach it.  Last year after my first race I ranked 11th for the B group, and somewhere near the bottom by the end of the season.

A big motivating factor for joining the Ski Bums is the weekly apres ski race parties sponsored by the local restaurants.  Today's was at the Lookout Bar and Grill.  At the party a video of the race is shown for your glory or not, lots of food, friends and a drawing for the days prizes. 

I would love to have taken photo's of the race for you today, but it was just too cold to take my gloves off.  I took a photo from the parking lot this morning on my way to the mountain.  Please note the blue sky to the left of Killington Peak.  A snow cloud (or Killington cloud) has been parked over the mountain all week, leaving over 20 inches of fresh snow since Sunday.

Race Day 2 Muse

I thought I would share a quote from Lisa Densmore to sum up her race advice during today's clinic.

      “One of the biggest things ski racing taught me was to look ahead. Don't look at the gate you're about to turn around, or you'll turn too late. Look two or three gates down the course.”

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Harbor Day

My Dad is my hero, and a very lucky WWII marine veteran.  His ship left Pearl Harbor a few weeks prior to the the Japanese bombing on December 7, 1941.  He survived both the battle at Tarawa and Iwo Jima.  The interesting thing is my Dad never told us about the battles.  He chose instead to share the softer moments of his experiences.  So in memory of my Dad, and Pearl Harbor Day, I am sharing some of the photo's I found in my Dad's scrapbook of the war in the Pacific.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Killington: Race Week Day 1

I am exhausted, and it is only day 1 of Race Week here at Killington.  If anyone would have told me 10 years ago that I would sign up for a week long race clinic and be the only woman in a group of 8 men, I would have told them they were nuts.  What can I say, I refuse to let a little fear stop me, instead I am facing my fears and having the time of my life.

It had to one of the coldest days yet.  I was glad I wore my warmest cold weather gear, and my boot heaters are new BFF.   It is hard to believe we skied from 9am-3:30pm.  Remarkably, I stayed pretty warm.  The day started with ski drills then progressed to a few runs through the gates.  Today was mostly about working on form and getting comfortable with a course.  A steady snowfall kept the snow conditions fresh.

At 4:30pm we met at the Grist Mill for apres ski with an interesting talk by Lisa Densmore, author of the book Ski Faster.   Lisa ranked 10th while she was on the Women's Professional World Skiing Racing Tour from 1985-1990.  She has a long list of other ski honors.  Tomorrow, our group will cllinic on the snow with her for the entire afternoon.  I can't wait.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Adventure in the Kitchen: Hot Cereal

Brrr, woke up to another cold morning.  The funny thing is twenty degrees seems cold now, but it will feel down right balmy after a few below zero days.  On cold mornings, nothing warms my belly like hot cereal with a little fruit and nuts mixed in.

Oatmeal is good, but I prefer a mixed grain version.  I will give you my basic recipe.  I vary it depending on what is available in my kitchen or at the grocer.

In a 3 cup bowl (or big enough to prevent cereal from boiling over) add the following ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of oatmeal or mixed grain cereal, currently I am using Bob's Red Mill 5 grain plus flaxseed blend. 
  • 3/4 cup water (if you use steel cut oats or grain increase water to just shy of 1 cup)
  • 1 banana or 1/8 cup of raisins or dried cranberries
  • a couple of shakes of cinnamon

Microwave 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high.  If water is not fully absorbed stir and heat 1 minute at 50% power (if using steel cut oats or grains heat to 2 minutes at 50%). 

Then stir in chopped walnuts, milk, and sometimes I'll add a little protein powder to for a little extra energy.

If any of you have your own favorite version of hot cereal, please share.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Killington, the winter vibe has begun

The ski season officially begins this weekend.  Last night, the official "Back in the Saddle" Pot Luck Party kicked off the season.  Most people start to think about winter and snow in December, there are a few of us who jumped the gun...  Anyway, the winter people are back, and the winter vibe has begun.

The Beast (aka Killington) didn't disappoint either.  It's amazing how good the conditions are considering the heavy rains and strong winds on Wednesday.  This morning, the snow was fast very hard pack, covered with loose granular granular on top. Plenty of terrain is open, lift lines were managable.  Tomorrow the Superstar chair begins to roll, expanding the terrain to Bittersweet and Skylark.  Life is good! 


My apres ski included lunch at the Long Trail Brewery, dropping my skis off to get tuned, then I ended with the annual condo association meeting and cocktail party.  I could have hung out with friends tonight, but I am pooped.  PJ time, a little TV, then this girl is off to bed so I can do it all again tomorrow when the lifts open at 8am.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Evening Muse

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
C. S. Lewis via Brainy Quote

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wanders in Connecticut: Pennwood State Forest

Today was one of those rare November days in Connecticut.  The sun was shining, the air crisp, and I had the time to take a hike with a friend.  
View from Penwood State Park
Pennwood State Park

We decided to explore Pennwood State Forest and entered the park from Route 185 in Bloomfield.  We had the choice of two trails, a lower trail around Gale Pond or a higher trail that joined the Metacomet Trail.   The Metacomet Trail is a blue blaze hiking trail that follows the 50+ miles of the Metacomet Ridge across central Connecticut. 

We hiked the higher trail.  We could hear the leaves crinkle under our steps.  The skeleton of the bare trees contrasted the back drop of the blue sky opening up to the view of the Farmington Valley below.  There was a little stream rippling across the trail that disappeared over the steep ridgeline.  We took in the beauty of our surroundings, and by the end of the hike we felt our friendship and spirit replenished. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Seasonal Transition

This morning when I awoke thinking of my bike in the garage.  It is calling me for one last ride before I put away until spring.

Unfortunately it is another grey rainy day here in Connecticut.  I go online to check Killington's ski conditions, it is raining there too, at least I'm not missing a good day of skiing.  I am antsy.  I need a little fun and the high of an adrenaline rush to take my blues away.

I head out to the gym for a spin class, dressed like I am really going for a ride with my imagination fully engaged.  I when I get to class, I close my eyes and decide to take one of my favorites rides. 

It starts behind the Passiflora Tea Room in the center of New Hartford, passing Ski Sundown with a beautiful view of Lake McDonough on my left, all the time climbing with a few short dips in the road.  Then  I head west by the Saville Dam, turn south on the next road, over Holcomb Hill and back down to the center of New Hartford.  A pretty good ride for only an hour.  I walk out of class, drenched with perspiration, adrenaline pumping feeling like a junkie who just had a fix. 

When I get home, I see my bike, I say to myself yet again, time to put it away until spring.  I then spy my snowshoes hanging on the wall.  I smile knowing winter will be here very soon, well if not here, in Vermont, and I am counting the days until head back up.