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December 06, 2007

Come and get it

If there was ever any doubt that the ski and snowboard business is a fickle weather-dependent roller coaster, these two photos taken almost exactly a year apart at Stowe should confirm.

Check out the dire situation riders were dealing with on Nov. 29, 2006, compared with the unbelievable early season depicted in this shot from Nov. 28 of this year. Basically the same date, and the conditions could not be more different.

The Vermont Ski Areas Association breaks it down another way. The total number of trails open as of Tuesday statewide was 390 of a possible 1,242, the organization reported this week. That's about 30 percent (with much more on the way for the weekend). Last year on Dec. 4? Only 26 trails or 2 percent. Two percent!

In other words - get out there while the gettin's good.

We know how quickly things can change and how slowly things can start around here. We've been on snow in the rain, ridden the lift staring at bare ground beneath our boards, lapped one white ribbon of snow repeatedly with snow guns blaring in our faces. So we can truly appreciate the Autumn of 2007 for what it continues to be - that is, the best early season in recent memory including up to 30 inches this week alone. The fleeting nature of anything is sometimes what makes it magical, be it snow, love or life itself. Isn't that what Alan Ball was trying to tell us in Six Feet Under and American Beauty?

With that in mind, that dismal scene from last November can serve as effective inspiration (go ahead, look at it again.) And if you need a little more fuel for your fire, check out what's going down at Jay Peak right about now!

December 6, 2007 at 08:24 AM | Permalink

Comments

Welcome to the 7Days blogosphere, Jason! As a native Hawaiian, I have an armchair-only appreciation for snow sports. But I look forward to keeping up via your blog.

Love the Snowbloggan name and logo with the snowflake!

Posted by: Lisa Crean | Dec 6, 2007 1:18:06 PM

I've seen a lot of things in my day, but this, is, awesome....

Posted by: Jeff | Dec 6, 2007 2:00:22 PM

You're cute! Thanks for sharing your snowy thoughts.

Posted by: tbone | Dec 6, 2007 2:27:06 PM

Hey Jason
You make me want to come skiing in Vermont! Looks like fun!
cz

Posted by: cathay zipp | Dec 6, 2007 2:29:37 PM

Lisa, thanks for the warm welcome. There is skiing on the Big Island, at the top of the highest volcano -- about 11,000 feet in elevation. That's what they tell the mainlanders, anyway. I also heard that the Big Island is the tallest mountain in the world measured from the ocean floor. Can you confirm or deny?

Posted by: J Starr | Dec 7, 2007 12:40:18 PM

Mauna Kea is indeed taller than Mt. Everest when measured from the ocean floor: over 33,000 feet! From sea level, it measures 13,796. And both M. Kea and M. Loa (13,679) do get snow--both have been sporting blizzard warnings above the 8000 ft level for the past few days because the islands have been hit by high winds and storms. You have to be pretty hard core to ski them, however, because there are no lifts. So it's one run, and then hike (or drive) back up!

Most Hawaiians who ski hit the Sierras or the Rockies. I'm sure you encountered a few in your days out West!

Posted by: Lisa Crean | Dec 7, 2007 3:03:49 PM

I will now search for blizzard photos from Hawaii ...

Posted by: J Starr | Dec 7, 2007 4:36:23 PM

And I thought I would never connect with winter sports — but it all comes back to Six Feet Under, doesn't it?

Welcome to the 7D blogosphere. I'll cheer you on from the rink (my only winter sport is hockey).

MM

Posted by: Mistress Maeve | Dec 10, 2007 9:47:40 PM

Thanks MM for the welcome. You know, if you can ice skate, you pretty much already know how to ski. They are about as close as you can get in terms of muscle movement and balance points. It's all about the inside edge. In fact, if you tipped the whole ice rink on an angle and started making turns, you'd basically be skiing - until you crashed into the boards.

Posted by: J Starr | Dec 10, 2007 11:07:38 PM

Thanks! I'll take that under advisement.

But then there's that whole paralyzing fear of heights thing...

:)

MM

Posted by: Mistress Maeve | Dec 11, 2007 3:35:48 PM

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