Thursday, March 31, 2011

Skiing Adventure Bormio Day 4

Wednesday morning we hit the slopes of Bormio early and skied only a couple of hours.  In the afternoon, we went to the Bagni Vecchi Spa to relax, rejuvenate and bath ourselves in the 2000 year old Roman baths, natural hot springs and open air pool overlooking the valley of Bormio.  Over the centuries these thermal facilities have been enjoyed by royalty, weary travelers, even Leonardo DiVinci and now me too.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Skiing Adventure Bormio/Livigno Day 3

Before I tell you about day 3 skiing and shopping in Livigno, I need to back up to Monday evening.  Every Monday evening in Bormio there is a welcome celebration in the Piazza, or town center.  The celebration includes hot spiced wine in a big cauldron, fruit bread, music, and a welcome invitating everyone to the weeks events. 

Photos via Jean

After Monday evening's celebration, Tuesday morning we boarded a motor coach for Livigno, Italy.  Livigno offered 29 sq miles of terrain, or more skiing then we could ski in a day, maybe even a week.  Most of the trails were above the treeline, and in the clouds with poor visibility. 

The clouds and no treeline offered all kinds of challenge.  I had issues with vertigo, since it was difficult at time determine the fall line and pitch of the trail.  I tried to stay near lift stanchions, or trail markers to help me determine what I was skiing.  I also found following a more experience skier helped the a lot.

After a few hours on the slopes I headed in to town for a nice leisurely lunch and a little duty-free shopping.  I really didn't buy much except a couple of bottles of wine.  Many of the Italian wines for sale were excellent, and the prices a fraction of what they are in the US.  I wish I could have brought them home with me. I settled for buying just what I could consume by the end of the trip, so it was party time in my room.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Skiing Adventure Bormio Day 2

First thing Monday morning we were totally pumped as we headed up the Gondola to ski Bormio.   The gondola took us up to the mid-station.  The mid-station lift was aptly called  Bormio 2000, and it was at 2000 meters. 

Via Erik's Facebook
This lift took us above the tree line to almost 3000 meters (around 9000 feet).  Up there we were surround by the peaks of the Alps, and felt as close to heaven as humanly possible.

I found it interesting that there were acres of untracked off pista snow.  The Europeans for the most part stay on pista.  I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised considering only traditional skis were available at the ski rental store the night before.  No fat or rockered skis, very few twin tip or skis over 80mm under foot.  

Last year when I was at Snowbird UT and Jackson Hoe WY, fat and rockered skis seemed to be the norm.  At the western US resorts, skiers were off trail (pista) almost as much as they were on trail, to catch any fresh untracked snow.  In Bormio, I felt like a kid in the candy store, and looked forward to a sample of fresh untracked snow under my skis.

Via Erik's Facebook

I was grateful to be skiing with seasoned backcountry skiers like Erik and Maria.  They scoped out a couple of areas they felt would be safe to venture off pista and led the way.  We had about 10 inches of snow over solid hard pack.  We floated down quite a while before getting back on trail.  Smiles all around.  A perfect first day adventure.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Skiing Adventure Bormio Italy

You might have wondered where I've been the past week or so.  I was skiing the Italian and Swiss Alps.  There is much to share.  I think it will be best told in a few posts.

A group of friends I met while working at Ski Sundown in CT travel somewhere in the world each March.  This year it was Bormio Italy.  We flew out of JFK on Saturday March 12th, and we landed in Milan, Italy the following morning.  On arrival, seven of us found out some of our luggage didn't arrive in Milan.

We were reassured our luggage was rerouted on a different flight, and that it would be delivered to our hotel that evening.  Although my skis were missing, I was glad my ski boots were with me.  It is easy to rent skis, but good fitting rental boots is a rarity.  Our bags ended up arriving 3 days later, and I skied on rental skis the first 2 days of our trip. 

Most of the group stayed at the Hotel Larice Bianco, but they were over booked, and four of us stayed at the Hotel Derby just around the corner.  At first we were disappointed that we were staying at a hotel seperate from the rest of the group, but it worked out.  Our hotel was across the street from the World Cup Course a little shorter walk to the ski lift, and our rooms were a little bigger and nicer than our friends at the Larice Bianco.

Maria, Erik, and Kathy in front of Hotel Derby

We were on the American Plan, which included our breakfasts and dinners with our hotel stay.  We ate our meals with the rest of the group at the Larice Bianco.  The food and service were great.  The view of the ski hills and the quaint middle evil town of Bormio soothed my nerves, and I went to bed that first night full of anticipation of a good week of skiing, friends, fun, and food.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Recently a good friend of mine, Kary, had major surgery to reverse a temporary colostomy*.   Last year she, ended up with major complications after routine bowel surgery.  The complications left her weak, emaciated and with a temporary colostomy.  It took her months to rebuild her strength, rest her bowel and heal.

Needless to say she was very nervous to have the colostomy reversed to restore normal bowel function.  I sent her Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster A Guide of Mind-Body Techniques by Peggy Huddleston, the book and relaxation Cd.  It had helped other friends in the past achieve positive surgical results.

Kary read the book, used the mind-body techniques and relaxation CD prior, during and post surgery.  A few days after the surgery, she is home, the surgery a success, and she is on the road to recovery.

* A colostomy is an alternative channel for feces to leave the body through a surgical opening in the abdominal.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Another day of rain.  I came back to Connecticut yesterday to get away from the rain in Vermont.  I find it sad to see the rain wash away the snow on the ski trails.  Now I am sitting in Connecticut listening to the rain as it washes away what is left of the snow here.  I thought it might feel a little less sad and lonely if I had someone to share it with.  So I hope you don't mind if I share it with you. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Killington Wander: In Search of the Ledgewood Yurt

I was sitting on the lift with my friends this morning, and Jim brought up the new Ledgewood Yurt.  He wondered where at it is located at Killington, since it isn't visable from any of the regular ski trails. Killington guests are taken by a snowcat driven sled from the Snowshed Base Lodge to a Yurt in the woods.  At the Yurt they are served a five course meal as live saxophone music plays in the background.

Jim has mentioned wondering where the "secret location" of the Yurt a few times this season.  I suggested a snowshoe this afternoon in search of the Yurt.  We narrowed the location down to an area near Snowshed.  I suggested it might be off one of the ski home trails that funnel off the Snowshed Slope.  That is where we began our search.

We wandered up the ski home trail, then up one of the service roads.  We ended up near the Northbrook Lift and decided we over shot our target.  We bushwacked a bit back in the direction we thought it should be, and then we saw it up on the ridge.  We continued to bushwack up the hill until we arrived at the Yurt.

We were close with our guess of the Yurt's location.  It was on Highridge/Fall Line ski home trail.

The way back was much easier following the groomed trail back to the Snowshed Lodge. 

* Ledgewood Yurt update, the dining experience.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Evening Muse: Thurgood Marshall 1908-1993

Thurgood Marshall Black Heritage Stamp

I recently watched Thurgood on HBO.  Thurgood is a one man play filmed at Lincoln Center in New York City starring Laurence Fishburne as Thurgood Marshall the civil rights attorney and Supreme Court Justice.  It is the interesting story of Justice Marshall's life from childhood until his retirement from the Supreme Court.  Enjoy a couple of the quotes I found inspiring.
"In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute."
 “What is the quality of your intent?

Certain people have a way of saying things that shake us at the core. Even when the words do not seem harsh or offensive, the impact is shattering. What we could be experiencing is the intent behind the words. When we intend to do good, we do. When we intend to do harm, it happens. What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through. We cannot sugarcoat the feelings in our heart of hearts. The emotion is the energy that motivates. We cannot ignore what we really want to create. We should be honest and do it the way we feel it. What we owe to ourselves and everyone around is to examine the reasons of our true intent.

My intent will be evident in the results."  (via

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Skis! I'm in Love Again

Today was one of the 1/2 full or 1/2 empty kind of ski days.  Yesterday's warm temps and freezing rain combined with last nights and this morning's cold temps "firmed" things up quite a bit.  Today the sun shined brightly, and unfortunately many of the trails were too.  I figured I could either complain about the conditions or make the best of it.  Which meant it was a perfect day to demo some new carving skis.

I did my homework online and narrowed my choice down to skis.  The Atomic's D2 VF 75, Nordica Firefox all woman specific skis.  I narrow it down to 2 pairs. 

I took out the Atomic D2 VF 75 first.  According to Atomic, they have this new double deck vario flex technology that provides two freely gliding decks to combine maximum agility with an optimally smooth ride.  I am always leery of techno mumbo jumbo, but these skis really lived up to the manufacturer's hype.  I easily got them on edge and ripped up the hard pack with one smooth ride.  One note they are a ski that needs to be skied actively, or they will "get away" from you.

I then took out the Nordica Firefox.  I generally love Nordic's and really expected to love this one.  It is a traditional carving ski, and very similar to my old Nordica Olympic Speeds that I was replacing.  Their ride paled to the Atomics.  The Firefox chattered and felt pretty limp.  After a few runs, I put the Atomics back on and enjoyed the rest of my ski day.

When I finished skiing I headed back to the Basin Ski Shop and bought the Atomic's.  I can't wait until tomorrow to rip up the hill all over again.