It isn't like it hasn't snowed. Think about this for a moment. For most of the last month, how many times have you gone out to start the car — assuming you are a true Vermonter and use your garage for stuff instead of cars, or at least cars that run — and not had to brush some fluff off the windshield?
Down in Scribe Land, not too many mornings without snow. But the deep snow, it has all been down south of here.
The signals about this impending storm are really trending up. If the snow gods smile favorably upon us, this place will be awesome throughout the next few days.
In fact, The Scribe, after rambling on a week back about the tough times in the woods, actually decided this past weekend to do some fact-finding. Surprisingly, it was a bit better than might have been expected. Not great, mind you; still plenty of ledges, stumps and assorted other obstacles still in play, but yet, when skied gently and on older boards, it was quite pleasant. Even better, after six runs on Saturday, your Scribe encountered not another party in the woods.
While conditions off the beaten path were reasonable, it hardly seemed a great time to be adventuring yet again. Assorted parties managed to get themselves lost and subsequently rescued in places ranging from Killington to Camel's Hump to, yes, the back side of Mt. Mansfield.
The latter is an adventure that the Scribe has taken, as have many other locals, but there are different flavors of getting off the beaten path. Your Scribe and others of his acquaintance have simply hung a little too far left out of Eagle Pass, missed Lake of the Clouds and had no shot at Hellbrook.
But here is where the difference lies for some locals. They know the terrain; they know they blew it. They know skiing downhill dramatically beats slogging uphill. You can ski down into Cambridge, you will soon be on a road, and you will then begin figuring out whom you can sweet-talk into hopping into a car to drive for an hour to come rescue your sorry butts.
But every year, there seem to be those who don't have the faintest idea of where they have gotten to, or the savvy to simply ski or ride down till they reach a road. They end up wandering around until dark or depending on spotty cell-phone connections to get someone to come up on the hill and rescue them.
Now, if this mega-dump that the weathermen are predicting does in fact deposit a foot or two of fresh snow, hazardous-terrain teams might as well start planning for their next night on the hill. As Peter, Paul and Mary once said, “When will they ever learn?”
Returning to more mundane matters, it has been Speed Week here in Stowe.
Last Friday was the annual running of the Stowe Schuss, a citizens' super-G, while this Tuesday, the ski and board bums got to run a similar super-G in lieu of the regular ski-bum giant slalom.
The Schuss was a big success for the racers this year. Although the numbers were down a little — to about 60 skiers — a tweak of the format was well receive-. Instead of combining a speed run with a run of slalom, the organizers, led by Terry McNabb, opted for two runs through the course, with the better time counting. The snow was virtually perfect, temperatures were in the high 20s as opposed to the arctic weather of the last two Schusses, the sun was shining and, best of all, no wind.
No one had more fun than Eric Johnson. A veteran of Cochran's and later Dartmouth racing, Eric has always loved speed events. His first run made a big statement to everyone else, as he clocked a time of 41.09. Only Brain Irwin at 41.74 seemed to be in the same league, but six-tenths plus is a lot to make up on a short course. After two runs were in the books, it was still Eric and Brian, in that order. Rounding out the top five were Elliott Wilkinson-Ray and two strong Masters vets, Mark George and Jim Nash.
Topping the women's field were Jacqueline Levy and Lucy Harrington, with ski-bum racer Carla Hunter in the third spot.
This successful super-G led into a very fun weekend on the hill. The crowd from down south was hungry, driven up into this part of the world by the excitement of big storms that had piled huge quantities of snow into the suburbs of Boston, New York and Philly.
While there still is a shortage of natural snow on the traditional Front Four routes, as well as in the glades, anything that the snowmakers had hit was in great shape. Good snowmaking, good grooming and lots of happy visitors — cash registers were ringing and Stowe Mountain Resort folks were smiling.
On Tuesday, gentle snow was falling and a long day of super-G lay ahead. The ski bums were pumped; Wednesday and Thursday were setting up as must-ski days, and Tuesday was its race day. How much better can it get?
If you were Roger Brown of Trapps Lager, Tuesday was a perfect day. Roger is another of the endless stream of fast-skiing Cochrans of the current generation, and he laid down an absolutely smoking ski-bum run. Considering that a longtime rival of his, Eric Johnson, had captured the Stowe Schuss four days earlier, it must say something about the longtime Cochran tradition of the Bomber Run to close the ski day. Cochran's may not be the biggest hill around, but boy, does it provide good speed skiers.
Among the local heroes, a controversy was bubbling over the suits vs. no suits. There were some very fast skiers clad in suits, and Nate Hazard of Metropolitan Music and Edgewise ace Graham Lonetto were the closest to Roger. Next in the standings were Kurt Pearson of Town and Country, who has always been a formidable speed skier, and James Laughlin of Broken Toys.
It is not entirely clear which of the fast guys opted out of suits, but it might be that J.P. Seeley of Race Stock was the fastest in that category, followed by Travis Apple of Poachers and then P.J. Dewey, also of Race Stock.
The three fastest women all went for suits, pleasing, of course, to the late George Tormey, watching from his perch above the clouds. Carla Hunter continues to demonstrate her prowess in speed events as she posted a very nice run of 49.86, good for 21st overall. Right behind her was LeeLee Goodson of the Sick Puppies and Kelly Kirkpatrick of Situation.
Pete Hussey of Two Rock was the top telemark finisher, while Oliver Fosterfell cranked out the fastest run on a board.
Led by Carla Hunter and Roger Brown, it was no surprise that Trapps claimed the Smugglers' Bowl when it appeared at The Shed a few hours later for the post-race party. Tim Griffin and Arturo Lyon filled out the winning team's roster.
Finishing just eight points off the pace set by Trapps was Metropolitan Music. Adam Juzek joined Nate Hazard in the top 10 with his best run of the season, and Rob Juzek and fastest boarder Oliver Fosterfell rounded out the foursome. The third team in the standings this week was Pickwick's Crusaders — Alle Ruschp, Barb Nash, Adele Taplin and Ginny Chenoweth.
All in all, it was a happy bunch that gathered at The Shed to enjoy a great feed and some of Stowe's most treasured home brew.
Two final thoughts from your Scribe — Andrew Ginelli was flying when he crashed, and Wednesday was definitely a ski day.
Kim Brown, a ski bum by winter and a hacker by summer, lives in Waterbury Center with his very understanding family. Comment on this article on stowereporter.com, or e-mail letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.