Deep into a Steep Vermont December

In December 2016, on an early-season trip to Killington, our group planned to visit Okemo on the second day. Conditions in the region were typical for December—the snow was hard, crusty, and mostly manmade with a slick layer of ice hiding underneath. When I saw the next morning that Jay Peak had landed nearly two feet of surprise snowfall, I headed north in search of powder, with or without my friends.

I arrived to waist-deep powder runs on some of the steepest trails and glades in the northeast, making the day trip well worth the five hours of extra driving. That was my first day as a “powderhound,” obsessively checking the weather and allowing Mother Nature to steer my Subaru to the mountains I would visit.

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Coming Home to Windham

I arrived at Windham on Sunday morning delighted to find six inches of fresh snow waiting for me on the slopes. After grabbing the first chair, I skated along the ridge and made a quick descent down The Wall, a short double-black diamond headwall that connects to Whistler below.

new snow at windham

I stopped to admire the picturesque view of the Catskills on a perfect bluebird day, and I thought back to the weekend less than five years ago when my addiction to skiing was born.

In January 2013, my girlfriend (now my wife, Rachel), suggested that we spend a weekend skiing. I’d never tried the sport, but I loved exercise and was looking for a way to overcome the seasonal depression that plagued me annually during the dreary, gray days of northeast winters.

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Mount Snow: November Send It

As I loaded my skis onto the roof rack, a neighbor on his way to work stopped and looked at me, clearly perplexed. “Where are you going with those? There’s no snow!” I hear this line every November when there are still leaves on the trees. Like the ringing of the bell to open the stock exchange, it marks the beginning of my ski season.

mount snow november morning
photo courtesy Mount Snow

I’m a big fan of early-season skiing. Sure the conditions are variable and often mediocre, the days are short, trail counts are limited and the dreaded “r-word” is often in the forecast. But the long, warm months of summer and fall are behind us and I can relish six months of skiing in my immediate future.

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