Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Echo of Weedwackers

As I ran through the morning mist, the echo of powertools filtered through the trees...the weedwacking has begun!!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

GUEST BLOG: Two Former Ski Patrollers Hike Killington

A couple of my buddies who used to work as Killington Ski Patrolers met up for a meanderous hike up to the Peak. One of the patrollers, raised in Bridgewater, had never actually hiked Killington in the summer before.






Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn Afternoons are for Climbing

Taking advantage of the perfect fall weather means date afternoon at the local crag with the BF.



Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunset Hike with the Ladies

Met up with some of my local ski sisters this evening to watch the sunset from atop Skye Peak...


G.E.D. The Game has Changed.

I have been trying to get down to SkyeShip Base for a few weeks now, but have been putting off the inevitable. Below midstation, there are no bike trails, only wide open ski trails exposed to the beating sun.




Sunday, September 25, 2011

Up RamsHead with the Sun

Literally. Vespi and I pulled into the K1 Parking lot at 6:30 this morning, ten minutes before sunrise. As the sun rose in the sky, we rose in elevation.


Friday, September 23, 2011

So...this is what Killington looks like at 7am


As I transition from one lifestyle to another, I find that the only way to breathe the fresh air is to be up and out the door by seven o'clock in the morning.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Umbagog Day 2: From New Hampshire to Maine

It's a beautiful day to wake up on the lake shore :) On the shores of Umbagog Lake in Maine, the colors are starting to make their way into the forefront...
...and the hot toddies are saving the day!!








Monday, September 19, 2011

Umbagog Day 1: Magalloway River to Umbagog Lake

We were all set for our canoe camping expedition up to the Maine-New Hampshire border. Three days, two nights and approximately 20 miles of paddling. Included amongst our belongings a bottle of Sailor Jerry, Maker's Mark, Yellow Tail Shiraz, just a few beers...oh yeah, and all the leftovers from two separate catereing gigs. May the paddling being!





Friday, September 16, 2011

Good Morning Autumn!!

Woke up this morning - and it was fall!! The air was clear, the wind was brisk...and I was really glad to have opted for a long sleeve base layer this morning :) holy crap, was it a beautiful morning!!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just A Ski Bum: Peace of Movement

I have been and always shall be a ski bum. While throughout my life, the journey has varied greatly, the message has always been the same: there is no peace, no salvation, without the feelng of floating across the surface of the earth. This may appear in different forms, in varying forms and seasons or sometimes not even seem like movement at all. I am kenetic. There must be movement, a graceful and rhythmic movement to the story of my life.





Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So Was it a Mud Slide or What?

Since Irene hit Killington more than two weeks ago, avid skiers and riders in town have been looking up at Double Dipper...and wondering...What the hell happened up there?



Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Should We Always Remember?

Ten years ago, my little sister lived on Waterstreet in lower Manhattan. She was an undergraduate student at New York University. Instead of running away, she ran toward Battery Park to find her friend.





She ran toward the towers.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Killington Peninsula: Turning PINK for Foliage?

NOTICE: Killington Resort is CLOSED to the public - and for good reason. Please DO NOT go meandering up on the mountain. Give us the time to clean up after Irene and get ready to welcome you for foliage!!




Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Killington's Island Day 11: I Need A Snow Day!!

If this was winter, Vespi and I would have skinned out into the snowy winter woods and found peace in the powder. Since it's raining on the island, these photos and quotes will have to do as we dream of that first magical snowfall.







Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Killington's Island Day 10: Back on the Mountain!!

CAUTION: Killington Resort is CLOSED to the public. Please DO NOT venture up onto to the mountain. There are exposed wires, hanging tree limbs and numerous places where you can just disappear. It is extremely dangerous and we do not have the time or resources to go rescuing idiots off of the mountain. We have enough to do to get ready for ski season as it is.









With that said, come join me as I returned to explore the mountain today. It was heartwarming, it was heartbreaking...it was different.

Killington's Island Day 9: Quotes from the Island












"I've never been afraid of rain before."

"Are the cones gettting further toward the middle of the road?"

"Stay in the middle of the road."

"Welcome to the Island. The Ferry runs twice a day."

"Where's Bernie?"

"I could really use some fried chicken!"

"Do we have to be there at 6:00am? What if we're late? Maybe we could go in the middle of the day or..."

"Did you see Jim Cantore cry about the damage in Vermont on the Weather Channel?!"

"So do you think there are any new tree trails or chutes on the mountain?"

"I am Vermont Strong!"

"I can't believe Biggie's house made it!"

"Can I get another Long Trail please?"

"East Mountain Road is still closed, right? So, does that mean I can't drive down East Mountain Road?"

text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to the Vermont Foodbank

"Snap Off Dance Party! Go!"

"Don't Mess with the Beast!"

"Who's playing at the Concert for the Killington Region at the Outback on October 2nd?"

"Aren't there any better uses for dump trucks than road blocks?

"I wish I had a dirt bike - or even a four wheeler."

"There's a Star Wars marathon on Spike? Sick!"

"I could hear the rocks scratching on each other as they floated down the mountain, it was so loud you had to yell and I thought please don't let the house go..."

"We've got to get all these roads fixed before the suits shows up."

"Are the Plymouth boys really trying to Dukes of Hazzard the ditch?"

"How can I help?"

"There's BACON! We're Saved!"

"When will Killington get back it's feet?" - Reporter
"We're already on our feet." - Whit

"I'm hiking into Rutland tomorrow - anybody need anything?"

"Cots? They sent a town with thousands of beds - cots?"

"Is there any gas available?"
"Nope, there is no more gas coming into Killington."
"Hey - there is a gas truck at the Phat Italian!"

Join Killington Flood/Hurricane Relief on Facebook to find out different ways you can help the Killington Region recover

"We would have voted you off the island anyway!"

"We are decorating for foliage: Adopt a Cone on Your Street Today!"

"Phish show tonight streamed live on the big screen!"

"Sugar Maples love water." - Gov. Schumlin on CNN

"How can we get these MREs to Pittsfield & Rochester?"

Each Killington's Island t-Shirt donates $12.50 to the Killington Flood/Hurricane Relief. All the cool kids are getting them.

And the number one most popular quote on the island:

"So...when will Route 4 in Mendon be open to Rutland?"



May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum :)




Location:Killington, VT

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Killington's Island Day 8: Signs of the Beast

The Beast is showing signs of renewal - literally! As anyone who comes to Killington knows, the marquees that line the Access Road don't just tell you where to find the cheapest beer. These signs mark the story of our residents and our town.








Over the past week, signs have gone from shouting "Come On, Irene" to proclaiming our great strength as Vermonters. I quick pedal around the Access Road reveals that that our community has banded together to fight the devesation that has hit us and the surrounding communitites.








These signs are also a constant reminder of what has happened. Instead of encouraging passersby to stop in for the Killington Classic this weekend, the town sign has posted where residents can find emergency information.








But the signs also show how stubborn we are. "Don't Mess with the Beast" reads the marquee at JAX, which isn't opening until 7pm. Several Killington residents have had to leave town to find temporary employment elsewhere so they can pay their bills. Those that have called unemployment have found themselves on hold for a rather large portion of the day.








"And you thought the Beast Couldn't Swim" at Casey's Caboose acknowledges our winter strength, but reminds people how tough we are really are. I think thst the resiliancy of Killington residents has surprised a lot of people. We are going to have most of our full-time roads repaired before the federal disaster bureaucracy shows up. While we would much rather have snow, we certainly didn't drown.








The Grist Mill, a favorite of the long time residents, pays tribute to our homeland. "We LoVermont!" And we do! What a most beautiful land we are fortunate enough to live in. Remember, all the mud and rocks thst now cover our once beautiful marshlands will soon themselves have plants growing up through them. Vermont will be green again. We are a state that respects Mother Nature. She will work with us.








"Killington: Still the Beast"
Hell Yeah we are! Gotta love a town where the toys owned by the boys are excavators! 'Cause we're beasts, that's why! There's a whole in the road? Well, just fix it. The Beast doesn't let some silly tropical storm walk all over us. As Whit said, we are already on our feet. We are still the Beast!!








Because we will not go quietly into the night. Even though the Birch Ridge is closed for two nights, we are not taking a break. Frizz is donating time to feed to workers and volunteers, Bill & Mary have been spending days at the command center and answering emails for the town. We are not shutting down, but reorganzing the entire menu and bar to make sure that anyone who wants a relaxing night out this week, a much needed break, will get it. We are Killington residents, after all - and the Birch Ridge has one of the best wine cellars in the state - gotta have access to that!








But we can still laugh at ourselves. Amidst all the seriousness, the sign above the Outback reads "Best Pizza on the Island." Paying homage to the shattered roads and biways all around us, we should also celebrate our times as a unique town. For the first time, Pittsfield, Mendon, Plymouth, Ludlow, Rochester...we have all had time to bond with each other as individual towns. There have been town meetings, block parties, farmer's markets, etc...where there are no tourists or out-of-towners. It's a strange feeling, but it has been a builder of strong bonds as well.








We had our FEMA town meeting today. There is a general sense of life getting back to normal both the school and the post office will reopen on Tuesday. But there is also a sense of anxiousness as the next storm approaches. May we all be safe :)








P.S. These signs - and two big trucks - mark the entrance to the resort.

May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum :)









How to Help: Purchase an "I am Vermont Strong" T-Shirt. All proceeds benefit the VT foodbank.


Location:Killington, VT

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Killington's Island Day 7: Storm Stories




Our job today was to visually inspect each and every home in the East Mountain Road Area for the Killington Fire Department. They wanted to know if there was anyone is residence, to check for any visible damage to the property, was the road passable and if there was electricity. I am happy to report that while almost every home was visibly alright, many of the driveways and acess roads still remain either impassable or accessible only by ATV or foot. In other words, I walked a lot today.



Spoke with one gentleman who lived at the bottom of a side road from Rim Road where practically every single culvert had blown wide open. Knowing that this gentleman had a tiny kybota, one of the road crew brought him two tanks of deisel at the beginning of the week. "Here you go," he said, " Dig yourself out.". And dig himself out he has. He has rebuilt enough road for his ATV to get out onto East Mountain Road, rerouting the river that now runs through his road. All he asked for was more dirt and diesel. Hell Yeah!


A friend of ours was cruising around on his dirt bike, making his way to Woodstock to get a new chain for his chainsaw. Pretty sure thst he was enjoying his journey. Checking in with us, he described how loud all the water runoff was on Sunday afternoon. They could hear all the rocks scratching each other as they made it around his house (thanksfully) and down the hill toward Route 4. He and his girlfriend were so worried they were going to lose the house, but the mud created a kind of barrier forcing the water around. Like a clay dam.


He also told this story of a guy who had his motorcycles in a box out front...the water picked up the box and was boucing it around like a buoy on the ocean. While he could hear the bikes scatching against each other in the box, he feared for the damage to his beautiful babies...but they were totally fine! Except for all the scratching, the bikes started right up! Amazing :)


There are so many more stories like this - some friends of ours sat on their roof drinking vodka drinks while they watched their cars float down Rt 4 toward Woodstock. For the motorcycle, however, they waded through rapidly moving waist deep water to pull the bike up onto the deck and tied it on with an electrical cord. Post Irene: the bike came through without even a tarnish on the chrome. I had to shake my head as he was showing the BF his bike today. Small miracles everywhere.


Oh, and all the marking cones seem to be moving ever so slowly toward the middle of the road. The undermined sections of road are continuing to collapse. PLEASE be careful driving around - more and more pavement is collapsing and the cravasses are definately getting bigger - and so is our cairn in the middle of Bear Run! It is twice as big as it was on Sunday afternoon when we built it. They even rebuilt the road around the cairn!! We just couldn't stop laughing. It's the little things that make you smile :)



May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum :)

Location:Butler Rd,Killington,United States

Killington's Island Day 6: The Return of Ethan Allen!

The mountain is flush with stories of tragedy, of heartbreak, of renewal and near missses. There are so many of us in the surrounding area, each of us with our own stories to tell, some more heart wrenching than others, yet each and every single one represents the experiences of a natural disaster. We are all Vermonters and we are all different threads of the same story woven together. These are two.









Got woken up from a deep sleep this morning so that I could escort the second round of American Red Cross workers around to assess the damages to buildings within the town limits. To my great surprise, one of the workers was from Georgia - and his name is Ethan Allen Yep, Ethan Allen. He had never been this far north before, prefers the flat farmlands of Georgia and has never seen snow. But he knew the story of one of Vermont's greatest legends by heart.









How did a Georgia boy end up know about the Green Mountain Boys and the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga? Apparently, after the Revolutionary War, Ethan Allen's brother moved to Georgia and started a family. The Ethan Allen I met today was a direct descendant of this brother. For the first time in his life, he was associated with a great Revolutionary War hero, rather than an expensive furniture company :). He felt good.








After I left the bureaucratic finaglings of the Red Cross, I pedaled up to the Killington Elementary School for lunch (there was turkey dinner with all the trimmings for those working hard in the command center). Over hamburgers, coleslaw and fresh greens, I spoke with an older resident of Killington. She was watching her ten-year-old grandson, who must have been running sround somewhere because I never saw him, and was wondering if the bus to Rutland was indeed running.









She explained to me that everything with her house was fine, but when the rain stopped on Sunday afternoon her son had called her from out of town to check on his house on River Road. At 3 o'clock on Sunday afternoon. Three O'Clock!! He was on vacation and wanted his mom to check on his house and three car garage. So she got in her car - at three o'clock in the afternoon - and headed down Route 4 toward the Church. When she saw the rapids raging across the road, she started to shake. I could barely hold the steering wheel, she explained as she turned away from the water as fast as she could.








Not understanding what was really happening, she called her son. Try going down Route 100, he suggested, get to River Road that way. She was shaking her head in disbelief as she told me she drove toward 100. The woman explained that she wasn't really sure what to do, she was frightened but nothing was really making sense. Thankfully, someone had closed Route 100 North. With a sigh of relief, she told her son the road was closed so she couldn't possibly check on the house. I was lucky, she sighed.

May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum :)

To help the Killington Region Recover, please go to IrenesIslands.com to make a donation or to DiscoverKillington.com to book your vacation. Thanks :)


Location:Killington, VT

Friday, September 2, 2011

Killington's Island Day 5: A Dog's View

I never imagined a dog would be concerned about the damage.


Today I took Vespi for a walk to see the damage for the first time as we walked down to the grocery store in hopes of finding eggs and bread.


Honestly, I figured that that she would be able to tell where the road was different from before, but right away I noticed a change in her. She seemed after moreand more information. Like all of us humans addicted to news reports and facebook updates, she was in search of as much data as she could handle. She practically dragged me down the road, needing to sniff and explore every piece of collapsed pavement and open drainage. And each time, aftere her initial inspection, she would inquisitively look back up at me. "What happened here, Ma?"


Sometimes, she smiled, thinking that this new swimming hole might be pretty neat in the future - but even on this swelteringly hot day she never laid down or lapped up the water. Even when I said she could, Vespi would just look at me. While the hole might look neat, she could sense thwt there was something a little 'icky' about the water filling up the space. It was not for playing.


We hitched a ride with a neighbor who was driving to the brand new Vermont State Police Mobile Command Center for the Department of Public Safety. It was conveniently located right across from both the Killington Market and the Fire Station(Now the Killington Command Center). All the town offiicals and state troopers were just moving around like busy backsons, busy, busy, busy...and tired.


But inside the market, the shelves were practically full! Upon talking with the owner, I found out that a group of tourists had cleared the market out of milk, eggs and bread, literally hoarding all the food. The owner quickly called her supplier for a rushed up order to replace all the food:
Early this morning, 11 personal pick-ups trucks of local Killington volunteers convoyed across the Mendon Rt 4 disaster and met her delivery truck at the Home Depot. They filled up and drove right back up to Killington. The truckers unloaded all of the food, even stocking the shelves. Refusing to take even coffee, they simply replied thst they had other work to do and headed out. The owner of the market was teary eyed as she told me how awesome our local boys are.


Anyway, I was thrilled to find a grocery store full of calm locals and slightly off-kilter Floridians meandering through the aisles. Yes, there was bread, eggs, orange juice and milk - but even yogurt, coffee, hot chocolate...and BACON!! Yes, they got a complete shipment of bacon. It was wonderful. Except for these asshole tourists in line behind me, who had the nerve to make sure they were only charged $2.99 for a particular item. Seriously? Access to our town is totally destroyed, my friends have lost their homes and you are giving someone shit about the price of your bread?! Do you realize that you're lucky to even have bread?!


We did wander down to the cravass on Ravine Road. Having unwisely been right next to the culvert only a few hours before it blew on Sunday, I just had to see the damage for myself. Vespi knew she had found the big one!
She knew exactly where we were - and she had no fear what so ever. She ran right up to the edge of the cravass, excited to see the destruction. It was that same uncontrollable indescribeable non-giddyness that overtook all of us as we explored on Sunday and Monday. That - "did you see this crazy shit over here" look. I recognized it. Like us, she wanted to adventure in the demolished road, to check out every little nook and crany. Like she was trying to figure out how all of this dirt had somehow vanished from the last time we were here......we even walked down a little to beyond the culvert. Vespi got right up to the stream, sniffing the huge amounts of debris.


Then all of a sudden, this light went on in her head and she just turned around and looked at me in awe.

She must have sniffed something that she recognized from somehow higher up on the mountain. She knew. Somehow, Vespi knew that this was not how things were supposed to be. This debris was not supposed to be there. After that, she walked pretty close to me and waited for permission before sniffing anything or moving away from me. She knew.


After surprising the boyfriend with bacon & eggs, I headed out with some friends to see what was going down at the Killington Elementary School, which had been set up as a temporary shelter. They have been seving lunch and dinner everyday for anyone who needs it. Concerned citizens have dropped off canned goods and other non-perishables, as well as cell phone charging stations for those residents who still do not have power. Even a Red Cross Disaster Relief truck turned up for the "festivities". While we were at the shelter, a cargo chopper flew overhead...hopefully they were bringing food and water to our friends in Pittsfield. Although I am always suspicious of corporate aid, it was still nice to see our small corner of the world actually being provided assistance.


It was a nice change of pace following Vespi around through the damage. But, if she is a good judge of water quality - which she usually is - I would definately consider boiling my water before drinking. She wouldn't touch it.


May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum :)

Location:Killington's Island, Killington, VT

Thanks for Reading!!

and thanks for all the great comments :)