Thursday, October 4, 2007

FREE, seriously

I know, in this day and age its hard to really trust free. But you can really count on these two deals...they are really free. Skiers and boarders take note...

Crested Butte is giving away Free Lift Tickets between November 25 and December 15, 2007. Absolutely, positively, incredibly, 100 percent FREE, no strings attached! Check their site if you want to read more.

At Okemo you can learn to ski or snowboard completely free. Free lower-mountain lift ticket, free rentals, and a free level 1 or 2 beginner lesson. No joke. Tell a friend and come on out! Read more on our site.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Don't Let The Season Pass!

It’s already that time of year when the air is a little more crisp, the brightly colored leaves begin to fall and your thoughts turn to how many days you plan to ski this winter, and more importantly, where. As you may know there have been a lot of ski resort transactions in the area with the dissolving of American Skiing Co. The new owners of Killington seem to be focused on the skiing. That’s a good thing… we’ll see. The new owners at Mount Snow are betting the farm on fan-type snow guns. Meanwhile Okemo’s owners (for the past 26 years) remain consistently focused on providing the best overall skiing experience possible, from the snow surface on up. Okemo has once again scored highly in Grooming, Snow, Terrain Parks, Family Programs, Lifts, On-Mountain Food in SKI Magazine’s Reader Resort Survey, October 2007. So, go with whom you know and spend your season with your friends at Okemo. The best laid plans are made by Monday, October 8th to get the best season pass rates this fall.

I’ve learned that Okemo’s opening date has been slated for Saturday, November 17, 2007, weather permitting, of course. Or should I say temperatures permitting? We all know what Okemo’s mountain operations team can lay down when Mother Nature cooperates.

As for variety, there’s truly an offering for just about everyone. Whether you are a weekday, a weekend, or a weekend/holiday slider. Or maybe you’d like to try nearby Stratton Mountain on occasion, or perhaps venture to Crested Butte Colorado. If you’d like to save all season, you should consider the Flex Card that offers between 25% and 50% off every day of the season on full-day as well as half-day and Sunday Solution tickets. There is also the 8-Pack and 12-Pack which is a good bet for primarily weekend holiday skiers and riders that gives you one free ticket with the purchase of seven, or two free tickets with the purchase of 11 tickets. 8/12 Packs are transferable, Flex Cards are not. Season passes are direct-to-lift. Flex Cards and 8/12 Packs require a stop at the ticket window.

You don’t have to own a second home in the mountains to enjoy the many cool benefits of owning a season pass. The best value is value’s namesake, the Value Pass Plus, aimed at weekday and weekenders this pass has only 17 black out days (those holidays, when you probably have other commitments anyway!) all season and is good at Okemo, Mount Sunapee and Stratton.

For the gotta-have-the-best set, the Ultra Pass may be used at Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Stratton or Crested Butte every day the lifts turn. For first trackers, Okemo and Stratton will send you up the lifts at least 15 minutes before the rest so you can enjoy a few magical moments of powdery bliss or corduroy solitude like only a ski patroller can.

I can't believe my eyes

My morning commute almost always includes a stop at the bottom of Okemo's access road. Sweet Surrender is an a.m. oasis of fresh-baked goodies and hot Green Mountain coffee. A set of well-worn wooden stairs leads from the parking spaces to a wide wooden porch and on a cool fall day, the heat of the ovens meets me at the screen door like a welcoming warm embrace. Although the glass case is stocked with sweet treats, the "counter intelligence" (as the countertop tip jar indicates) workers know my preference and have a whole wheat blueberry muffin in a bag with the top neatly folded over, waiting on the counter before I finish fixing my coffee the way I like it.

The joke among marketing folks in the industry is that ski season starts August first. All the prep work that goes into ad buys, brochures and press kits starts well before that, but it all reaches the boiling point in mid-summer. By October, we're counting down the hours until opening day and everyone in the department is consumed by thoughts of winter and hopes for plentiful snow.

Granted, I can be in a fog before that first cup of java brings the world into focus ... and I have been surprised to find the weather in Ludlow much different from my point of origin 20 minutes south, but one day last week I found myself wondering how in the world it could have snowed in September!? I could hardly believe what my eyes were seeing as I made my daily pilgrimage to, as one co-worker refers to it, the muffin place.

The ground beneath the stairs was covered in white and as I climbed each step I felt certain I was in a dream. A light dusting of snow appeared to have fallen - but it was 60 degrees! It had the look of a typical first snow - just a light cover of granulated crystals that collect on less-than-frozen ground and melt away within hours of settling. It was as bright white as the season's first snow and it looked like a light breeze could send the frozen flakes aloft again.

It only took a few seconds for me to realize that what I was seeing was the result of a delivery-gone-bad. A wayward bag of sugar destined for the baker's oven must have broken open, leaving a coating of what my winter-obsessed mind could only interpret as snow. I felt foolish and delighted at the same time and was thankful for the brief premonition of the season ahead.