Kicking it old school at Stowe, c. 1951-52

Prices for skiing at Mt. Mansfield (now Stowe Mountain Resort) for the 1951-52 season.

I particularly like how a season pass in those simpler days cost the princely amount of $85.00... which is the cost of a day ticket today (a season pass for the mountain costs over $1500 now). These modern prices are a big reason -- though not the only reason -- that I have little interest in alpine skiing.


Solstice light

A white expanse of ice hemmed by gray sullen hills under dark December skies: Lake Groton, Vermont, in the morning of December 22. The eclipse the night before was not visible due to the persistent cloud cover and intermittent light snow.


The real skinny

Ever since I fatefully moved to Waterbury in 2006, I have spent my winters plodding around Little River State Park on a pair of waxless, metal-edged backcountry skis. This setup has carried me way off-piste and up and down the nameless ridgelines near my home (see here for more info).

This focus on the backcountry has meant that my skate skis have sat untouched for more than four years, nestled in the rafters of the garage.

This season, however, I resolved to get out the waxing iron and get out on skate skis again: I purchased a season pass at Trapps Family Lodge in Stowe. The touring center is less than 15 minutes from my office and I have visions of sneaking in some blue sky mid-week afternoons on skis. I also hope to regain some fitness and to be stronger on the bike come springtime 2011.

The trail network at Trapps is cut into the side of a hill (some would say 'mountain'): consequently, there is very little flat, and getting to this point involves lots of climbing. . .which hurt me severely.

A wintery tableaux, but the snow cover isn't too deep as of yet.


And that's a wrap

There are too much sports today. It's always some interminable season -- baseball plays 162 games plus multiple playoff rounds, the NFL is currently trying to expand to an eighteen game season, the basketball (and hockey) playoffs finally reach a resolution in distinctly unseasonable summer weather.

So I'm glad that the US domestic cyclocross season is short, starting after Labor Day and ending before Christmas -- though next year this will expand slightly into January, which will bring the domestic calendar more in line with the rest of the world.

More photos from day two of the 2010 Green Mountain Cyclocross weekend here.


A rare vintage: Heddy Topper 2010

I have found that I enjoy living in Waterbury, Vermont. The town is quite prosperous and lively and the location is great. It's still relatively uncrowded compared to Chittenden County and the Perry Hill trail network is about 5 minutes from where I live.

Another upside to living here is that for a small town, there is actually a little bit of nightlife. The anchor of downtown is probably The Alchemist, a very (and deservedly so) popular brewpub located right in the center of town.

Belly up to the bar on an off-season Saturday night: One downside to the combination of excellent beer, good food and a growing reputation as a destination drinking/dining experience, is that The Alchemist is always crowded.

1 of 600: Heddy Topper in a bottle, displayed at another excellent Waterbury beer locale, the Black Back bar.

Anyhow, this past weekend, The Alchemist had a one off special small bottling run of one of their beers. This event drew people from far and wide and I understand that there was a pretty good line at 9:30 am for the 11 am opening (some photos here).

This is hearsay because I wasn't there, we are immersed in a condo renovation and I was preoccupied gingerly hauling debris to the dump before the first snow of the season.

I also heard, that someone showed up at this event, from Colorado (?!), in a rental car, and apparently was expecting there to be a line of people on hand the night before, and was hoping for some sort of street party at 3:30 am... Needless to say, this didn't happen, showing that most people (while willing to travel hundreds of miles for a $12 bottle of beer) do have a degree of common sense.