Friday, July 18, 2008

Take a Hike!

No, this isn't the attitude of the front desk staff in lodging at Okemo. However, it might be a recommendation for something to do, if you are seeking an activity in the area.

And speaking of stuff to do. I had the opportunity to go to Vermont's own Circus Smirkus earlier this week in Brattleboro Vermont. What a great show! if you've never heard of them, I highly recommend learning more about the circus. Did you ever want to run away and join the circus as a child? Well, now your children can! Yup, Circus Smirkus is all about kids performing great acrobatic feats and entertaining children of all ages. And yes, they are all kids, with a few adults thrown into the mix. Your children can actually go to circus camp. Although the camp is not here in Ludlow, it's pretty cool. The circus travels around and performs in numerous locations around New England under the Big Top. A wonderful old fashioned experience with something for everyone.

I've lived in Vermont on-and-off again for about 8 years, and every summer I learn more about cool stuff to do (during the summer). For example, if you like watching people hang glide, there's a hang gliding center in West Rutland (watch them from Rte 4A) and over at Ascutney. I find the whole concept fascinating.

And back to the title of my post today - "Take a hike"! get out there and explore the area.

See you on the trail!

Mountain Music

Earlier this month I found myself amidst an aural display of music in the mountains. On Friday evening I took in the spectacular Vermont Symphony Orchestra's performance here at Okemo's Jackson Gore, complete with the 1812 Overture set to a backdrop of fireworks. The next morning I ran in the Race for Grace 5k, then proceeded home to Weston, VT passing by Kinhaven Music School. The students were performing The Flight of the Bumblebees for their instructors, parents and anyone that passed by, on the lawn outside of the practice hall. A little further down the same road at the Weston Recreation area the Jenny Brook Bluegrass festival was in full swing... all this great music, playing simultaneously and all within a few mile radius. A few days later on July 4, local rhythm and blues phenom Fry Daddy delighted a crowd of nearly 500 at the Jackson Gore Outdoor Music Series. Anyone thinking that the backroads and byways of Vermont lacks culture is surely mistaken.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Trails

Okemo has saved the best for last. The final two trails of the original Jackson Gore layout are slated for completion in time for this winter’s ski season. For years, skiers and riders traveling to the Jackson Gore summit on the Jackson Gore Express Quad have looked longingly upon the partially cleared trails located on skier’s right halfway down Quantum Leap.

“These are not your typical Okemo trails,” says Okemo Mountain Resort VP of Operations Barry Tucker. “Offering some of the steepest pitch at Jackson Gore, they have lots of character with natural outcroppings and contours to enhance the way these trails will ski.”

Looking a little like a scene from the History Channel’s Ax Men, the summertime trail clearing at Jackson Gore took on an innovative approach to some timber removal challenges. To avoid a wetlands area located downhill from the trail-clearing operation, felled trees had to be hauled with a winch, uphill to a point where they could be loaded onto trucks and removed via Mountain Road.

Although they have not yet been named or officially ranked, Tucker thinks the new trails will be rated double black diamond. One of the new trails will measure about 1,000-feet long and the other will be about 2,600-feet long. The latter will have a vertical drop of 850 feet. Together, the new trails will add about eight acres to Okemo’s skiable acreage total – now 632 acres.