I can’t think of a better way to enjoy skiing the east than Vermont’s most easterly ski resort, Burke Mountain. I love the long steep blue runs like Willoughby and Powderhorn and challenging myself on my favorite black runs–Lew’s Leap and Lower Doug’s Drop. The ski resort is divided into two areas: the lower mountain is primarily green runs and is a great area for young families and beginner skiers. The upper mountain, which is served by one high-speed quad and a poma for the Burke Mountain Academy, is suited for intermediate and expert skiers. The thing I like best about skiing Burke is you can develop a flow to your skiing because you never wait more than a minute in line on the busiest of days and the high-speed quad takes a skier to the top of the mountain in a few minutes. The views from the top are fantastic! To the north skiers can’t miss the beauty of the sheer cliffs (Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor) that surround Lake Willoughby in the distance. If you ski the East Bowl trail, you will be rewarded with views of the entire Northeast Kingdom. The Northeast Kingdom, referred by Vermonters as simply “The Kingdom” because of its heavenly beauty and splendor. The area comprises of one-fifth of the state’s land and is considered the most beautiful and undisturbed region.
It is refreshing to see the Burke Mountain Academy skiers racing and perfecting their turns on the trail next to the chair lift. They know they too could become the next Mikaela Shiffrin to grace these slopes. Shiffrin, a Burke Mountain Academy graduate went onto becoming the youngest Olympic Gold medalist in women’s Slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Thanks, Burke Mountain for another great season of skiing in The Kingdom!
Ride #2: Arlington to North Bennington Date: Sunday, July 31, 2011
Riding Buddies: Todd
(Moderate Terrain-more like Difficult)
Liz’s Rating: 10
We started the day with a nice breakfast at the South Shire Inn. Todd got the car packed up while I sat on the front porch trying to plan out the day’s ride. Todd was anxious to get going as usual. I was determined to see the Bennington Battle Monument. We arrived at the site and took the elevator to the top. The view was awesome however the little windows made it difficult to take pictures. It was fun reading about John Stark and his strong-willed and determined wife Elizabeth “Molly” Stark. I pictured them as a great team who loved each other very much.
So now that I managed to spend the whole morning doing everything but biking, it was probably 11am before we started pedaling. The day presented itself as the perfect iconic Vermont summer Sunday. A small yellow farm house struck me early on the ride with its picket fence, flag, and old maple tree in the front yard. It was located on quiet Maple Hill Road and seemed like the most peaceful place on Earth to live. We rode past giant fields of bright yellow sunflowers with bumble bees buzzing around and past corn fields at their peak height.
We did not realize it at the time, but this ride was the turning point for Todd and I. We were metamorphosing from caterpillars into butterflies. The tour proved to be very difficult for both of us due to its length, terrain and the humid weather we were faced with.
We stopped for lunch at a historic hotel/restaurant while crossing into New York State (somewhere near NY Route 22). I can’t remember the name but we ate outside on the front porch area. There was also a long side porch where guests could eat as well.
The ride continued to get more difficult as we continued on some steep hills and dirt roads. It was a steamy hot summer day and we rode past hoards of people enjoying the Battenkill River while tubing or jumping off bridges. We couldn’t wait to find our quiet spot on the river when we finished.
Soon we encountered a heavy rain shower which served to break some of the humidity. We finally finished the ride around 5pm, the rain had stopped, and we plunged into the chilling waters of the Battenkill. It felt so nice to get the sweat and mud of the day off of our bodies before heading back on the long car ride home.
Ride #1: Putney to Westminster Date: Saturday, July 30, 2011
Riding Buddies: Todd
Liz’s Rating: 8
Todd and I left on a Saturday morning ready to conquer two bike rides (one on Sunday) in Southern Vermont. We reserved a room at the South Shire Inn, a bed and breakfast in Bennington. I had always wanted to visit this part of the state since moving here 25 years ago. We started the ride in Putney. This is the town where our current governor is from (Peter Shumlin). Before starting our journey, we fueled up with lunch at a diner in Putney. While waiting for our food, I found myself eavesdropping on some local conversations (which I often did just to get a flavor of what the towns were like) by an elderly woman whose dialect sounded just like Todd’s grandmother, Theresa Young.
The first 10 miles were unassuming and busy. Once we entered River Road, we enjoyed views of the Connecticut River and the coolness of the shade in the wooded area. The ride here was beautiful—there were new small vineyards that resembled the River Valley of Sonoma. The only problem was that the newly paved road had tire mark grooves all over the place. It was annoying knowing the road was freshly paved and smooth underneath.
While still in N.H. we stopped at Stuart and John’s Sugar House for a much needed reprieve from the hot scorching sun. We filled our water bottles, refreshed ourselves in the bathrooms, and enjoyed a cool dish of ice cream before heading back out in the heat.
This much needed break helped us get to the finish. After packing up the bikes for our car ride to Bennington, we bought some small snacks and a couple of beers to enjoy at a park. I’m not sure of the name of the park at the time of this writing, but there was a small lake and a picnic table area. Dusk was setting in so we opted not to swim but just enjoy each other’s company before heading to the South Shire Inn.
After arriving at the inn, we dressed up and took a walking tour of the town while searching for a late-night dinner spot. Ironically, there was some kind of “bike art” theme being displayed around the store fronts. We walked back to the inn and enjoyed a peaceful night’s rest.
January 21, 2015
As I write this, I just realized that at 52 years old, I have spent exactly half my life in Vermont. Wow! That’s why this quote from former President, Calvin Coolidge of Vermont has so much meaning to me. I’ve always felt that one can accomplish anything with hard work and persistence. I reflect back at some of the goals that I have accomplished here in Vermont because of persistence: MBA from UVM, a career that led me to interesting environments and people, solo bike ride back home to Ohio, all “25 Bicycle Rides in Vermont” during summer of 2011, many hikes and treks all over the state, raising two beautiful outstanding daughters, and a happy marriage of 25 years. It has been a lovely adventure…
Today I had the opportunity to ski at Mad River Glen for a half-price lift ticket because I purchased a “Ski and Ride with the Point” button for $5 earlier in the season. This promotion allows skiers to ski for half price at participating ski resorts every Friday throughout the season. A different ski resort is chosen every Friday. I think this promotion is a great opportunity to try out different resorts.
The great thing about Mad River Glen is that they have a single chair lift. This may be the last of the single chairs in the world. It’s great when you are skiing alone because you don’t feel like the only person amongst strangers on the lifts. After you disembark the chair lift it’s you and the mountain–and the mountain at Mad River Glen is fantastic! I love the long runs that take you from the top to the bottom of the mountain. The terrain is steep enough on the intermediates to make life interesting. I’m sure the woods were full of powder today; but for me there are too many tree trunks to bang into.
I also love the small-town feel of this resort. That along with the music playing from “The Point” made for a perfect ski afternoon.
January 3, 2015
I’ll call this a hike because we did not wear snowshoes for this trip. The Burrows Trail leading up to the summit from Camels Hump State Park is well travelled year round. It is 2.7 miles to the summit. There hadn’t been much snowfall for a couple of weeks, so we knew we’d be ok with simply wearing hiking boots. We noticed from the sign-up book that we were not the only ones trying to burn off some holiday calories. It wasn’t a brutally cold day (upper 20’s) at the base, so I wasn’t overly concerned when we headed out about clothing choice. I quickly learned that layering is key to this type of hike. It only took about 30 minutes before we starting sweating out our holiday toxin buildup. By the time we reached the summit we were soaked! That quickly changed to FROZEN as the wind swirled at the top. We were the lucky ones whose cell phones weren’t frozen so we were able to snap a few quick pictures before our fingers needed to get back into our gloves. The trail down was pretty icy by this point with all the folks hiking, so crampons were the norm. We did not have crampons so the walk down was slow and slippery for us but we survived unscathed with smiles on our faces.