Saturday, November 22, 2008

Opening-Day Jitters

I don't know about you, but every year when I'm heading up the lift for my first run of the season I'm a little bit nervous. Maybe it's a combination of being anxious to take my first run and worrying that over the summer my body somehow forgot how to snowboard. But sure enough, every year when I strap in and get going it all comes back to me and I can breathe a sigh of relief. Muscle memory is an amazing thing. It's funny because I'm usually pretty confident in my abilities, but for that brief few minutes when I'm riding the first chair of the season to the top of the run, I have doubts whether I'll be able to pickup where I left off the previous season.
(No opening-weekend worries here. For this ripper, the rails on Sapphire were a welcome sight after a long off season.)

So all this got me thinking yesterday while I was riding the Sachem chair up to the top for my inaugural run. Do the first-day jitters ever go away? At a certain age and after decades of skiing or snowboarding does the year's first run become no big deal? Maybe after experiencing opening-day anxiety enough times and subsequently overcoming it, you realize that it's not worth harping on. I'm not sure though, because I still get it. Maybe after another decade or two I'll see the other side. It's kind of nice though when you take that first run and after just a few yards down the trail, all your worries wash away -- both the first-day jitters and all the rest too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

And we're off!

Lifts are turning, trails are open, and Opening Day 2008 is underway!

What are you waiting for?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Can you believe it?!

This is it...the eve of opening day for the '08-'09 season! Our snowmakers have done an outstanding job of covering the entire mountain in a way that will have us skiing and riding from top to bottom tomorrow. The Northstar Express high-speed quad will be spinning us back up to the peak so we can get in as many runs as possible from open to close. Although this is my first season working at Okemo, it's been said that this may be the best opening day ever (or at least in recent history). The weather couldn't be better right now -- sunny with base temps in the upper 20s. It's expected to be much the same tomorrow and for the weekend, so dress accordingly, and not in your typical opening day shells and lightweight baselayers. In my opinion, temps in the mid 20s are ideal for riding; the conditions stay good all day and you don't overheat at the end of each run.(This was taken today from across the valley. If you look closely (or click the pic to enlarge), you can see snowmaking on the far right side. Also, the cats were already out smoothing the surface for us. )

Give yourselves a pat on the back for making it to this moment. I know, it hasn't been easy. Tonight, skiers and snowboarders everywhere will be putting the final tunes on their equipment and laying out all their gear so it's good to go in the morning. I know I will. Put some coffee in me and a little food for fuel and I am out the door. I look forward to seeing you all out on the slopes tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Opening Day This Friday!

Well Okemo Skiers and Riders winter is in full motion here at the mountain, cold temperatures are here to stay, and our snowguns have been blasting all week long covering our trails in white! And, thanks to all the great weather and snowmaking happening around the mountain we’ve bumped up our opening day to this Friday! That’s right everyone, the wait is almost over and you now have just two more days to prepare for the start of the winter ski season. So make sure you have your skis and boards ready for this weekend so you don’t have to sit home while we’re all out cruising the fresh slopes.

For Friday’s opening we will have six trails open with top to bottom skiing and riding, serviced by three lifts. Our F-10 carpet will surf you up to our Sachem Quad where you can then take a run down Lower World Cup to our Northstar Express Quad to ride the rest of our open terrain. The other five trails open will include Upper World Cup, Countdown, Link, Fairway and Open Slope. On Saturday we will be adding even more trails to the mix, so stay tuned, and two additional lifts with the Green Ridge Triple, and South Ridge Quad A. All this will make for some awesome opening weekend skiing and riding conditions!

For all you jibbers out there, we’ve still got a little something for you on opening weekend with a few small bumps and jumps, and at least one rail and one box. Make sure to look out for much more to come this season because Okemo’s parks and pipes were ranked number one in Vermont by Transworld Snowboarding magazine this year and our crew of park guys are awesome! They will be bringing you new and innovative terrain park features to the mountain, along with superior upkeep on our superpipe, and our brand new SoBe Bus which will be parked at the bottom of the Superpark on Nor’easter. If you’re curious about this crazy bus feature, check out our Parks and Pipes page.

It’s crunch time now, so if you’re still looking for gear to sport for the winter season, don’t forget about Okemo Mountain School’s annual Ski Swap Sale happening this weekend on Friday from 4-7 pm; Saturday from 9-5 pm; and Sunday from 9-1 pm. If you need new equipment or a new jacket, OMS’s swap has great deals on both new and used equipment and outerwear. Purchases made at the sale will benefit the kids at OMS, so you can get some great gear for the winter all while helping out a good cause. If you’d like to sell some of your own used gear at the sale, today is your last day to drop-off equipment. You can bring your used gear down to the First Aid Building at the Main Base of Okemo.

Also, don't forget to check out the Rates and Rentals section of our website for Okemo's steals and deals this season. We've got plenty of ways for you to save this winter, and options for every type of skier and rider. So whether you visit the mountain religiously all season long or if you can only make it out a few times a year we have many ways for you to help keep your wallet full. Some great options for our frequent skiers and riders include the Flex Card offering visitors the utlimate in flexible savings, and our Okemo Pack Deals. There are also many discount days offered this year as well as online deals so make sure you stay updated by visiting our website.

Just two days skiers and riders until we’re carving the fresh powder for the first time this season! Grab your buddies and get on up to the mountain this Friday, November 21st for what will be an opening day you don’t want to miss. Keep checking back with our snow report for all the latest updates on the mountain, and we’ll see you all out on the slopes!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Inside Scoop on Snowmaking

The cold temperatures have been AWESOME! Okemo snowmakers have been hard at work on Buckhorn, Count Down, Upper World Cup, Lower World Cup, Defiance, Sapphire, Upper Arrow, Route 103, Drop Off, Link and Fairway. Check out our photo of the day!

The better news is that the temps are here to stay! For Opening Day on Saturday Nov 22nd we anticipate having top to bottom skiing and riding on Upper & Lower World Cup as well as Sapphire, Route 103 & Upper Arrow. Lifts on tap include the F-10 carpet, Sachem Quad, Northstar Express and Green Ridge Triple. As always, this is subject to change, so please keep a close eye on

Oh yeah, one more detail. Lift ticket rates. Look for those to be available sometime on Friday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

5 Days till Riding... :-)

We’re down to the final stretch. Opening day is almost here and it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been out boarding on the snow. Recently I’ve been craving getting out on the snow so bad due to my large dosage and intake of ski/board movies this past weekend. My ultimate favorite, which I have watched about three times now in the past few days (and am now thinking I may have to watch again tonight), is Warren Miller’s Playground. This movie shows some sick locations around the world that skiers and boarders travel to in order to get their fix of adrenaline through their love of snowsports, and on top of that it has a sweet soundtrack! These places they visit have more fresh powder than I could ever dream of, with terrain so steep and extreme, and cliffs so high you get chills while watching. But if you share the same love of snowsports, no matter how scaled down your own boarding actions and available mountains may be, you can’t help but get drawn in while watching and dream of what you may be capable of yourself.

Now, I don’t expect to be featured in any Warren Miller movies anytime soon, but the excitement and energy of the pros featured in the film is contagious. Watching all the speed and air some of these riders catch on the mountains has gotten me so excited about trying to conquer some of those huge jumps that are often laid out across the Superpark on Nor’easter. In the past I’ve been incredibly intimidated by most of the jumps in Okemo’s parks, but this year it will be different. Because firstly, this year will be the most time I’ve ever spent on my snowboard and I intend on pushing my limits as far as I possibly can, and secondly I am awaiting the arrival of my helmet in the mail. I've never worn one before but I have changed my ways and decided to deal with the "hair effect" and I’m hoping this will not only boost my level of safety but give me that “whatever, I’m just going to go for it” attitude when riding the mountain. I will state now, that it is my personal goal this year, not only to improve my skills overall, but to conquer (and land) the massive bumps and jumps in the terrain park and possibly even the Superpipe. I say that last part with caution because it is still early in the season, and I’m unsure if the pipe is a little too ambitious. But we’ll see, and I will try. And at least I’ll have my helmet now.

The picture you see on this post, that will be me this season.

P.S. If you haven’t watched this Playground movie yet, I highly recommend it. I also would like to use the end of this “p.s.” segment of the blog to repeat my favorite line from the film just because I think it's funny. The Burton Smalls kiddos (wicked good 7 -12 year olds sponsored by Burton) are featured in a segment of the film showing off their skills and being interviewed about what they want to do when they grow up. Most of the kids say pro snowboarders, one kid says a Dentist, and this one other kid ponders the question, saying, “When I grow up I just want to…I don’t know…chill.” Haha, wouldn’t that be the life, boarding and chilling for a living. Dream big Burton Smalls, dream big.