the start of ski season, yes, really!

OK. I declare Dec. 24th my "official" start of ski season 2010/11.
In previous posts, I declared the start of ski season in stages.
Stage 1 was the ski expo
Stage 2 was the Warren Miller film.
Stage 3 is getting our skis tuned up (with coupons from the ski expo).
Stage 4 was a false start for me. Jiminy peak sent out emails on the Saturday after Thanksgiving that they had 6 trails open (for all practical purposes, 1) for $35! But it was too crowded, too narrow and too icy. After an agonizing 1st run, I hurt my knee and went home defeated.

However, yesterday Mrs. MTBMan1 and I went to Windham on our free Warren Miller vouchers along with our son Josh, 30, who is up from Baltimore visiting for the holiday.

Worked out great. Windham was the only hill in our usual roster of possibilities that did not start their holiday rates until Dec. 26th which made using our freebies possible as well as a reasonable rate for the 1 ticket we had to buy.

And the conditions were just about perfect. Little to no waiting on the lifts, good snow for the most part, especially later in the day and blue skies. Temps got up to about mid-20s I guess although we did see some water dripping off the lift towers in the afternoon.

Trees looked like they were coated with powdered sugar against blue, blue skies.

And I still know how to ski. Hooray! My best 1st day ever. I dove right into it with no severe warm up problems. No shakiness or weakness even though I ill-advisedly did a very hard workout at the gym on Tuesday from which I was still very, very sore.

So we have 1 full week to recover because next week is school holiday and the prices are too rich for our blood. Next likelihood will be Butternut or some other hill with $20 or $25 mid-week tickets the week after next.

Even though we haven't had any big snow around here, the mountains have got a few inches and the temps have been cold enough that they have been able to crank the snow guns around the clock. So conditions are good. Now if they can only hold!

Start of Ski Season ... Phase 2

The second big event of ski season prior to actually skiing is the Annual Warren Miller film.
Warren Miller has been making full length feature ski movies for over 60 years.

It's an exciting event for all the ski/snowboard junkies, everybody hootin' 'n' hollerin', fist pumping, euphoric recallin'.

Filming is done in well known ski areas like Chamonix, France and Alta, Utah but the kicker is the unlikely and exotic locations. Places like Antarctica, Iceland, and Western China.

But the big draw are the free lift tickets. For $22 admission you get 1 or more free lift tickets. That easily covers the cost of admission.

The first time we went, several years ago, we got free tickets to Killington ($79), Mt. Snow ($72), Stratton ($67) and Windham ($48). $266 worth of lift tickets for $22!

Since then, the deal has got progressively less great. This year only 1 outright free ticket to Windham and 2 for 1 deals at Killington and Pico. But it's still a bargain.

I have to admit, I'm disappointed that the ski areas have backed off from their freebies. Stratton used to give away 15,000 lift tickets every year up until last year. My wife and I would each get one.

I suppose they have to make their money. Was it really hurting them to give these tickets away? Or is it just the big corporations that own them now can't bear the thought of it? I can't say. I wouldn't want to be responsible for a ski resort! The amount of money that goes out every day you make snow and run lifts, the liability insurance must be tremendous. And the risks here in the east especially with the weather!

Now that I'm hooked, I suppose I'd go regardless!

the start of ski season

Yes, I've been skiing already but I'm not talking about that. For Mrs. MTBMan1 and I, the official start of the season is the Albany Ski and Snowboard Expo in November.

The cost is $8 but in previous years we bought them ahead of time at the local Hannaford Supermarket for $6. This year they were only selling at the door because the 1st 400 to purchase tickets at the door got a free lift ticket. Several local areas were participating and we got tickets to Plattekill.

Also, you get a book of coupons which includes some 2 for 1s for local ski areas. The first year we went Windham mountain offered a freebie but not this year.

The other thing we go for is a discount for ski tune up, edge sharpening, hot wax and stone grind, which we got. $20 at Plaine's in Schenectady.

I also won a ticket for night skiing at Willard Mtn. which I have never been to before.

That's our official start of the ski season. So now how about some snow?