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ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH? Vermont is becoming a destination for tough winter races and attracting top endurance athletes. Here are 8 winter races that will test your mettle. But are they too tough? P. 9
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5 THE START Where's Winter? 7 SPEAK UP A Plan for Change, by Mike Donohue 14 HEALTH Hypothermia 411; Can Chocolate
GET BACK IN SHAPE! 10 ESSENTIAL YOGA POSES Make these 10 essential yoga poses part of your winter training routine and you'll be ready to rip come spring. P. 12
Improve Your Time Trials?
26 GEAR & BEER
The Best New Backcountry Must- Haves, plus a taste of Sunshine.
28 READER ATHLETES
New Members of the Northeast 115 Club; A Snow Sailor
31 CALENDAR Alpine, randonnee and nordic events,
FAT TIMES AT SEYON LODGE Two woefully unprepared fat bikers set off for a legendary lodge in the middle of winter. What happens next is hilarious. P. 16
crazy winter races and more.
34 ENDGAME Racing Cancer, by Karen Newman
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THE BLACK DIAMOND AWARDS THE BEST OF VERMONT Our readers' picks for the best ski areas, trails and lifties; races and festivals, trails and retailers, and the people who made a difference in 2015. P. 20
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WHERE'S WINTER? Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York; And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house In the deep bosom of the ocean buried…” —William Shakesepeare, Richard III
ll I’ve been able to think about these past few weeks is that Shakespeare must have had an El Nino winter: I live at 1,100 feet and I can’t remember the last time I saw grass in my yard in February. Though I know this winter may be a fluke, caused by the natural ebbs and flows of warm Pacific currents, it’s a fluke that we may have to get used to. Already, 2015 was the warmest winter that we have recorded on our planet. And it doesn't look like it is going to get much better. According to a 2011 report commissioned by the Agency of Natural Resources: “For the lower emissions scenario, the projected temperature change for Vermont is about 3°F by 2050, and about 5°F by late century. For the higher emissions scenarios, these increases in temperature are larger: 4°F and 9-10°F, respectively.” Sure, a lot of people might welcome milder winters and more time to ride a bike on snow-free roads. What’s a few degrees temperature change mean anyway? More storms like Tropical Storm Irene, more Lyme disease as infested ticks (which were rare here a decade ago) move in, more floods, less snow…. And for an economy based on skiing and winter tourism, that can be devastating. As Mike Donohue, Chief Instigating Officer for Outdoor Gear Exchange (which is our Black Diamond Awards winner for best ski/ride shop), writes in Speak Up: “Unless we address the trend in climate change, I fear the jobs we’ve created and those of many similar businesses in our state will be in jeopardy.” Donohue doesn’t just talk the talk, if you read his column you will see he walks the walk and shares
SLICES • CREATIVE ENTRÉES • GLUTEN-FREE MENU • HEALTHY KIDS MENU CRAFT BEERS • GAME ROOM • DELIVERY many ways we can too. What else can we do, as individuals and, collectively as a state? Governor Shumlin has taken bold moves with his renewable energy goals and now is urging Vermont to divest from coal and Exxon Mobil. It's an idea we might all consider. Recently, I sat down with climate change activist Bill McKibben for an interview for our sister publication, Vermont Ski + Ride (posted at vtskiandride.com). McKibben’s forecast was, expectedly, not encouraging but he left me with some words that I have taken to heart: “I never take a snowstorm for granted.” Nor should we. This issue is about winter adventures and while it may take several more storms before we are thigh-deep in backcountry powder, there are still plenty of things to do and places to explore by fat bike, by uphill skiing (and downhill on groomed trails), by hiking and snowshoeing, by taking advantage of a season when the ice is excellent to explore our state’s many ponds and lakes. We can sit home and bemoan the lack of snow. Or, we can take the attitude of the folks at NE Randonnée. They were nearly gleeful about the sketchy “excellent” conditions during the Q Burke Adventure Race and consider this winter as just another challenge we have to endure. We are Vermonters, we’re good at challenges. —Lisa Lynn, Editor
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THE GREAT OUTDOORS
ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH?
VERMONTERS TAKE A MASOCHISTIC PLEASURE IN WINTER. AND RECENTLY, THAT MASOCHISM HAS BEEN FUELED BY A GROWTH OF EXTREME RACES.
initial ascent from the lower base to the summit was a mix of good skinning, very tricky skinning, and four bootpacks (i.e., eight transitions for a single ascent). The very long bootpack on the middle stretch kept you paying attention with sudden changes between postholing, rock and ice. East Bowl was a mix of frozen moguls, ice, grass and rocks with an inch or so of fresh snow obscuring all of the aforementioned hazards. So overall, excellent race conditions!” Such was a Facebook post about the recent Q Burke Backcountry Adventure Ski Mountaineering course, which drew competitors from as far as Oregon and Colorado and sent them on a “tour” of a 7.5 mile course, with more than 4,000 feet of vertical gain and 7 transitions. Dressed in a red speed suit, grass skirt and draped in Hawaiian leis, Marshall Thompson had a ball. The Crested Butte, Colo., native zipped around the course in 1 hour, 50 minutes, beating second-place finisher by George Visser, of Bromont, QC by four minutes. Visser shouldn’t feel so bad: Thompson won the 2014 Ski Mountaineering U.S. National Championships. Vermont is fast becoming a destination for mountaineers and endurance athletes from around the country with a spate of new races that are challenging even the toughest Rocky Mountain natives. Already this year, the Endurance Society’s “Extremus” sent hikers on a 50-mile non-stop group trek along the Long Trail. And in February you can participate in the Society’s “Frigus” with options to snowshoe, ski and/ or sled (or any combination thereof) around the Moosalamoo backcountry at Blueberry Hill. On March 6, the Camel’s Hump Challenge sends skiers on a 13-mile, five- to seven-hour loop around Camel’s Hump. And on March 19-20, Bolton puts on the first-ever 24-hour backcountry ski mountaineering race. On March 20 Sugarbush also hosts a longstanding Mad River Valley ski mountaineering race that has top contestants climbing, descending and traversing 10.2 miles along three peaks as well through the backcountry of the Slide Brook Basin Wilderness.
learning, training and self-discovery to earn what will become a coveted achievement.” And you can cap off winter with Rasputitsa, the East Burke gravel grinder bike race that last year involved hiking your bike through snowdrifts. The ride, which draws top cyclocross racers from around the U.S. benefits Lea Davison’s Little Bellas this year.
Crested Butte's Marshall Thompson, the 2014 Ski Mountaineering World Champ, hula danced his way to the lead in the grueling Q Burke Adventure Race on January 30. Photo by Herb Swanson
If you think that is child’s play, Joe De Sena (founder of the Spartan and Death races) has a few entertaining events planned in Pittsfield. On March 18-19 there’s a Peak Snowshoe Race with a 100-mile option and on Feb. 12 the Agoge was held, a 60-hour test of
mental and physical stamina. Though the details remain secret, the event noted that “to complete the Spartan Agoge, one overcomes mental and physical obstacles that aim to develop the body, mind and spirit. Most people will need to undertake months of
How tough is too tough? Sound like fun? For many, yes. “The chance to push your limits and see how your body and mind react is something most people don’t get to do,” says Cristina Kumka, 32, of Rutland. A strong athlete who recently ran 104 miles in 48 hours during the 2016 Infinitus race in Goshen, Kumka was one of two, along with Tim Midgley, 36, who called for help during Extremus, the 50-mile “group hike” along the Long Trail. Though the weather seemed deceptively mild for that event, gusts at the top of Mt. Mansfield measured 117 mph and rain beat down hard. After hiking more than 30 miles, Kumka became disoriented, hypothermic and even started hallucinating. “I kept seeing suitcases and black cats in the woods,” Kumka recalled. They called ahead to the rest of the group, holed up at Taylor Lodge,and triggered a call to Stowe Mountain Rescue. “Confronted with the situation they were in, the folks did the right thing in asking for help. The race organizers called 911 and put an emergency rescue into action,” says Neil Van Dyke, Search and Rescue Coordinator at the Vermont Department of Public Safety. The pair were located and, with help, walked out safely and were treated for hypothermia. “In my experience of 40 years in search and rescue the most lifethreatening conditions are when it is wet and cold—35 degrees wet and windy is more dangerous than 15 below zero. When you get wet, we consistently see hypothermia in temperatures,” Van Dyke notes. In early May, 2014, a young man hiking in Fayston in a cold rain died of hypothermia, Van Dyke recalls. “At the point the call came in for help during Extremus it was raining
Continued VTSPORTS.COM 7
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Conditions were horrendous, costumes encouraged and the competition was ruthless at the Q Burke Adventure Race. Photo by Herb Swanson
hard with temperatures in the 40s.” Considering the weather, the rest of the Extremus group aborted their hike.
Safety Plans Van Dyke’s position was created by the legislature in 2013 after state police found a boy’s car late one January day at a trailhead in Ripton. The police failed to conduct a search and rescue that night. The boy, Levi Duclos, 16, died on the trail of hypothermia. Part of Van Dyke’s role now is to work with search and rescue teams around the state and with event organizers to ensure even the toughest races have adequate safety measures The state of Vermont requires a permit and a safety plan for every event held on state land. Van Dyke works with the organizers, as he did with Andy Weinberg and Jack Cary of Extremus, to make sure that the “what ifs…” are answered. “While we have strict permitting requirements on state land,” Van Dyke notes, “I am not sure federal land permits get the same scrutiny." "We’ve learned a lot from working with Neil, such as knowing to ask for keys to access road gates.” Weinberg notes. “And Vermont’s permitting process is way more thorough than it is on federal land.” Van Dyke, himself an avid outdoorsman, understands both the allure and the risks involved in extreme events. “When people play in the outdoors, things are bound to happen. I’m pretty careful not to pass judgment and it’s a fine line from when something goes from being reasonable to being reckless.” And that line varies with every individual.
WINTER’S TOUGHEST RACES
WANT TO TEST YOUR METTLE? CONSIDER RACING IN ONE OF THESE EVENTS. FOR DETAILS, SEE “CALENDAR” PAGE 31.
Q Burke Backcountry Adventure Ski Mountaineering Race (1/30): 7.5 miles, 7 transitions and 4,000 feet of vertical gain, all in the wackiest costumes you can come up with.
Spartan Agoge (2/12): From the founder of the Death Race and the Spartan Races comes “Agoge,” a test of “purpose, commitment, resiliency and knowledge.” While details on the Pittsfield event are a closely guarded secret, expect a 3to 4-hour team building event, a 12-hour team building and individual testing event and a 60-hour “physical, tactical, mental and team-based training and testing” event. Kinda like joining the Navy Seals. But in winter… and in Vermont. Frigus (2/27): Sledding, skiing and snowshoeing all around the Blueberry Hill Inn may sound like someone’s idea of a winter vacation. Until you realize that the variations on Frigus include competing on ungroomed or backcountry trails in distances ranging from 10K to 60K, including a triathalon and a 5k sled run, helmets required.
Camel’s Hump Challenge (3/6): a 13-mile backcountry ski around Camel’s Hump to benefit the Alzheimers Association. Expect to take five hours. Don’t expect good weather.
24 Hours of Bolton (3/19): How many laps can you do in 24 hours on a 3.5 mile daytime loop or a 2 mile overnight loop – with skins on, skins off? Of course, you can book a room at Bolton to sleep but then again, sleeping will just cut into your laps. The race benefits Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports.
Cristina Kumka (top left) and a friend negotiate a ladder during the 50mile Extremus on the Long Trail in early January. Photo by Scot Nickerson.
Sugarbush Mountaineering Race (3/20): The pro course is 10.2 miles with more than 5,120 feet of vertical and plenty of backcountry downhills. You can also opt for the “short” 7.8 mile route.
Peak Snowshoe Race (3/18-19: Spend a day, or two (depending on whether you opt for the 10K, half marathon or 100-mile options) looping a 6.5-mile course in Pittsfield with an elevation gain of 1200 vertical feet. Rasputitsa (4/6): A 45-mile unsanctioned gravel road bike race around the Northeast Kingdom and East Burke that can take riders through mud, snow and a gnarly section known as Cyberia in a season when most cyclists are content to sit on the indoor trainer and watch Star Wars. —Lisa Lynn
By Mike Donohue
A PLAN FOR CHANGE
IF WE WANT TO PROTECT OUR OUTDOORS, WEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;RE GOING TO NEED A PLAN TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE.
s co-owner of the Outdoor Gear Exchange, I spend my time outfitting Vermonters and visitors with gear to help them recreate in Vermontâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s woods, lakes and mountains. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an environment that I revere, and one I have personally seen change in the more than 20 years that I have been in Vermont. This past year was the warmest on record and unless we address the trend in climate change, I fear the jobs weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve created and those of many similar businesses in our state will be in jeopardy. Climate change is scientifically irrefutable, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an issue that is so large and overwhelming that it can be hard to grasp how any individualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s actions could have an impact. I have solar panels on my roof, I heat my home with wood that I cut myself, I drive a Prius, and I buy my food from local producers. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot. But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not enough. My actions need to be complemented by the actions of my neighbors and their neighbors in order to have an impact. Together, we need to come up with a broader plan for our local community and other communities inside and outside the borders of our state. Climate change is the environmental behemoth of our generation. The only way we can tackle the issue is to work togetherâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;citizens and businesses and local governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;to devise creative strategies to preempt the continued effects of climate change. While my individual actions and the cumulative actions of all Vermonters are a tiny fraction of the actions of the earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 7.3 billion human inhabitants, I see the impact that working to proactively develop a climate change action plan can have. I know it can strengthen our
leader, with knowledge to share with other regions, while continuing to strengthen our local economy. Last fall, the Vermont Council on Rural Development hosted a series of forums on Vermontâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Climate Change Economyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;part of an initiative to help Vermont address the coming challenges posed by climate change, reduce our footprint and strengthen the state economy at the same time. Innovative and thoughtful local speakers and participants from throughout the state contributed their ideas and perspectives to a climate economy plan being developed for the governor and legislature. By taking action and sharing the knowledge we develop along the way, we help protect Vermontâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s natural beauty and we help to mitigate the impacts of climate change globally. This means that we can continue to recreate in the mountains and cliffs and lakes and forests we revere, and that we can share that beauty with our friends and family and visitors for generations to come. VCRD is already planning a climate economy Summit for February 22 when we can all start putting the ideas in this plan into action. For info visit www. vtrural.org.
Last year, 2015, was the warmest on record for the planet and this winter, one of the warmest in Vermont's history.
communities and improve our quality of life statewide while also protecting our environment. For example, Green Mountain Power (GMP) has worked with select homeowners on its pilot eHomes initiative. The program retrofits existing homes with efficient appliances and lighting, improves weatherization and uses smart switches and thermostats to further reduce residential energy use. Homes that are part of the program have drastically reduced their fossil fuel usage, and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve also become more comfortableâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer-and livableâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;LED lights are often more pleasant than their less efficient incandescent or fluorescent cousins. The program also empowers homeowners to have control over their
energy use. Smart switches let home owners control their thermostat from their phone. Upgrades are billed monthly through the homeownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s GMP statement and homeowners typically pay the same or less than they did for energy alone. Another bonus of the program is that it creates jobs for contractors doing home energy audits and retrofits. New thinking like this can not only transform our homes but also our downtowns and our working rural landscape in Vermont. By looking at the full spectrum of issuesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; agriculture, transportation, tourism, waste management, energy production, financing and moreâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;we can become leaders in adapting our region to climate change while reducing our carbon footprint. That positions Vermont as a
Mike Donohue is the co-owner and Chief Instigating Officer at Burlington retailer, Outdoor Gear Exchange and GearX.com.
Opening your eyes to the Stowe, Vermont region and beyond
| | 2 | |
. . . FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016
By Dr. Nate Endres
GETTING COLD CAN BE SERIOUS: HERE’S HOW TO RECOGNIZE, PREVENT AND TREAT HYPOTHERMIA, FROSTBITE AND RAYNAUD’S DISEASE
rozen” — it’s my two-yearold daughter’s favorite movie right now. It’s also what it feels like when you get to the top of the chairlift on a sub-zero, windy ski day. In Vermont, many of us enjoy all sorts of winter activities—that’s why we live here. But even those of us who have lived in cold climates our whole lives don’t become immune to the cold: Everyone is susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia. Keep in mind that cold injuries don’t just occur in winter. In fact, long distance open-water swimmers are among the athletes at highest risk for injuries related to the cold.
Hypothermia Let’s start with the basics. Body temperature decreases when heat loss exceeds heat production. Most heat loss occurs at the skin. When you start to get cold, your body responds by limiting blood flow to the extremities in an attempt to maintain core body temperature. If this doesn’t work, you naturally start to shiver. This is an attempt by the body to increase heat production by firing muscles. If this doesn’t work, you may become hypothermic, which is defined as a body temperature below 95°F. Hypothermia can be further classified as mild (91.4° to 98.6°F), moderate (84.2° to 89.6°F), or severe (less than 82.4°F). Signs and symptoms are: Mild: Slight to vigorous shivering, fine motor skill impairment, lethargy, apathy, mild amnesia, and social withdrawal. Moderate: Shivering may cease, possible cardiac abnormalities, altered vital signs. Severe: Mental status changes, slurred speech, unconsciousness, gross motor skill impairment. While we often think of extreme cold weather as being the most dangerous, windy and wet conditions can be just as risky, particularly if your clothing has been soaked by rain, sweat or snow, which impairs the body's ability to conserve heat. Children, adults over 60 and those with less body fat and muscle mass are more susceptible to hypothermia. If you smoke, drink, are hypoglycemic, dehydrated or simply fatigued, you are also at higher risk. As with many injuries, prevention is key. Proper clothing is critical, with an emphasis on multiple layers. The inner layer should be lightweight, wick away moisture from the skin and transfer the moisture to the outer layers, instead of
You might work up a sweat at noon on the ski out but pack an extra base layer, socks and gloves to stay warm and dry on the ski back.
absorbing it. The middle layer is for insulation. The outer layer is for wind and water protection, but should also allow the moisture from the inner and middle layers, to escape. If you are exercising in the cold—say running or skiing uphill— and you work up a sweat you may need to remove layers, or change them if they become saturated with water or sweat. This is particularly important if periods of high-intensity exercise are followed by prolonged rest or less vigorous exercise, such as a downhill run after skinning up. If you think you or someone you know is experiencing hypothermia, try to get to a warm place where all wet clothing can be removed. Patients with mild hypothermia can be rewarmed with insulating clothing or heat-generating devices. In severe cases, heated IV fluids and warmed oxygen may be necessary. If severe hypothermia is suspected, seek medical attention immediately.
Frostbite Hypothermia and frostbite can occur simultaneously or separately. Whereas hypothermia is a whole body condition, frostbite refers to the damage caused when body tissues literally freeze. This occurs when tissue temperatures fall below 0°C. Frostbite typically involves exposed skin surfaces, but can definitely affect clothed areas, especially the hands and feet. Frostbite usually occurs gradually, but can also happen immediately if you touch a cold, conductive object, like metal. Risk factors are the same as hypothermia. If you wear tight or
restrictive clothing or footwear or use a petroleum lubricant like Vaseline on your body, you may be at additional risk. Frostbite is classified as superficial or deep. Affected areas may feel numb or burn. The skin may initially look white or red, and swollen. In more advanced cases, the skin may feel firm and blisters may form. Ultimately, the skin may turn black. If you or someone you know has frostbite, here's what to do: First, look for any signs of hypothermia. Next, if you can, warm the affected area in a bath of hot water (104°F to 107.6°F) for 15 to 30 minutes. Note: rewarming should only be started if no more freezing can occur. It is worse for the tissues to undergo a period of warming, followed by freezing, followed by another warming cycle. The rewarming process can be very painful and Tylenol and/or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve) may help with this. Make sure to avoid alcohol and smoking during rewarming. If blood-filled blisters form, they should generally be left alone. In cases of severe frostbite, head to the emergency room. It can takes weeks to months to determine the full extent of tissue damage from frostbite.
Raynaud’s Disease As I mentioned earlier, the body’s normal response to cold is to limit blood flow to the extremities in order to maintain core temperature. But if your fingers and toes are constantly cold or prone to frostbite, you may have Raynaud’s
disease or Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition where your body excessively restricts blood flow to the hands and feet in response to cold. Raynaud’s disease can sometimes be very disabling. If you think you might have this, get checked out by your primary care doctor. Certain over-thecounter cold medicines and beta blockers (drugs used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease) can aggravate this condition. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a drug to widen or dilate your blood vessels to improve blood flow. Most importantly, try to prevent getting cold in the first place: pack an extra base layer, pair of socks and warm gloves or mittens. And though it may be a myth that we lose 80 percent of our body heat through our head, wear a hat. That's just good, common sense.
Dr. Nathan Endres is an orthopaedic surgeon at the University of Vermont Medical Center. He specializes in sports medicine and fracture treatment. He is a team physician for the University of Vermont, St. Michael's College and the U.S. Ski Team.
A NEW REASON TO LOVE DARK CHOCOLATE?
e rarely need an excuse to eat chocolate, but if Valentine’s Day were not enough, a new study out of Britain’s Kingston University found that in a randomized trial a group of eight cyclists who consumed 40 grams of white or dark chocolate daily were able to improve their VO2max performance and time trial times. After 14 days, cyclists who were supplementing with dark chocolate saw an 11 percent increase in their gas exchange threshold (GET, an indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness) over those who ate white chocolate and a 21 percent increase over those who ate no chocolate. The study, published in a recent edition of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine, supported previous findings that the flavanols in dark chocolate (which is higher in flavanols than other types of chocolate) increase the bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO) which helps widen and relax the blood vessels. Other observational studies (where researchers look at behavior, instead of testing subjects) including two large studies done at Harvard and at Norwich University in the U.K., have also found a correlation between a reduced risk of heart disease and people who regularly consume dark chocolate. However, as Harvard Health Publications chief medical editor Howard LeWine observed last spring, observational studies are just that and may or may not be borne out in clinical tests. “I routinely write my patients a prescription for exercise, and sometimes for eating more vegetables and fruits. I won’t be writing any prescriptions for chocolate in the foreseeable future.” —L.L.
Winter in Vermont ~ at your pace.
Feb. 13 - 14 Nordic Rendezvous at Rikert / Back to the Barn Tour Feb. 17 Family Fun Day Feb. 20-21 ECSC/USCSA Regional Championships Feb. 26-27 Middlebury College Winter Carnival / Eastern Championships Mar. 1 Vermont State High School Skate Championships Mar. 12 Bread Loaf Citizens’ Race Mar. 18, 19, 20 NENSA/Eastern High School Nordic Championships Mar. 26 Bob’s Birthday Bash and Rikert Random Relays
Details available at:
rikertnordic.com Open daily Nov - March
8:30 - 4:30
Run the Kingdom
CAMEL’S HUMP CHALLENGE H UN TING TON, VE R M ONT Kingdom Games now offers four premier running events and two fun runs. They are accessible for all ages and all athletic abilities. They are “high level pickup games” that are challenging to the most seasoned athlete, but feature options to allow the entire running and walking community to participate, “Just for the Fun of It.”
March 6, 2016 Register & Donate At camelshumpchallenge.com
The Dandelion Run May 21, 2016 Half Marathon on dirt roads through the
world famous Dandelion Fields of Derby, Morgan, and Holland. With a 10 K running and walking option. The Harry Corrow Freedom Run July 4th, 2016 10 Mile, 5 K, and 1 Mile runs on the Newport – Derby Bike Path and the Memphremagog Ski Touring Foundation Trails. Echo Lake Road Race & Swim August 27, 2016 – 5 or 10 mile runs on dirt roads around Echo Lake in the morning, a 5 or 10 mile bike in the afternoon and a 1 and 3 mile swim later in the afternoon. Can be a stage triathlon. Kingdom Marathon Fly to Pie – Run, Bike, and Hike, October 2nd, 2016 – Running the back country dirt roads at the height of Fall Foliage, this is one of the most beautiful AND most challenging marathon courses east of the Mississippi. There are 13.1 mile and 17 mile options as well. Halloween Hustle October 31st, 2016 – A totally ghoulish costume run for all ages. 10 K, 5 K, and 1 mile on the Newport-Derby bike path. Newport Santa Run December 3rd, 2016 – A 5 K and 1 mile run down Main Street and on to the bike path and back. With support from:
TO D LE
3 AY! 1 H D
C UP TO R A N
6 1 0 ,2
An Endurance Ski Event & Fundraiser To Benefit Media support provided by Vermont Sports
and Jay Peak Resort, The Town of Derby, Passumpsic Savings Bank, Northeast Delta Dental, The City of Newport, Community Financial Services Group, Derby Village Store, The Front Desk, Mempremagog Press and Louis Garneau
GET BACK IN SHAPE! By Beth Bowen
10 ESSENTIAL YOGA POSES FOR ATHLETES IF YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY FOR SPRING, MAKE THESE YOGA POSES PART OF YOUR WINTER TRAINING
f you are running, cycling or skiing regularly, you know that repetitive motions in one plane of motion can lead to tightness, muscle imbalance and eventually injury if you are not careful. Yoga is not only the ideal counter balance to that, it can actually enhance your performance in a variety of sports if you do it correctly. In my practice as a physical therapist and a yoga teacher, I work with runners and cyclists and often recommend these poses to help improve flexibility, strength and balance in areas that tend to break down and get injured with cumulative training. I highly recommend taking a class to get trained instruction in these poses. A yoga instructor will offer cues for proper alignment in poses, which will help to prevent injury.
OPEN YOUR HIPS Too often we think of our legs as the powerhouses when it comes to running, cycling and skiing. They may be the engines that propel us, but our hip flexors and gluteals are the links to the rest of the body and they can put on the brakes. If they are not strong and flexible, you won’t get the maximum performance. The following poses can help loosen these areas and make your stride or pedal stroke more efficient.
1. Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana): The ability to slowly lower down into a lunge position with proper knee
alignment requires eccentric quadriceps control—something that is required during the landing phase of running. In Low Lunge, this half-kneeling position not only allows for the back leg’s hip flexor muscle group to stretch but it also recruits the stabilizers in your hips and core to hold this position.
2. Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana): Whether you are trail running or jumping a curb, you know how easy it is to lose your balance. This pose, which has you balancing on a single leg, works your dynamic balance as you start with a standing quad stretch and
then fold forward slightly. It also allows for a hip flexor and quad stretch in the rear leg.
KEEP YOUR GLUTES FLEXIBLE Keeping your “back door” flexible is very important as the miles accumulate. If you don’t work these muscles you’ll find yourself stiff and it will be harder to bend over.
3. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Raj Kapotanasana): This pose allows for a deep stretch to the front leg’s hip rotators and gluteals—both of which are recruited to stabilize the pelvis and hips while you run. In addition, the rear leg hip flexors are stretched. Be careful, though: if you don’t do this pose correctly there is a risk of straining the sacroiliac joints (SIJ) and the sciatic nerve. To avoid a strain, take caution to keep the sacrum level and don’t allow one buttock to drop lower than the other. Be careful not to force this pose or you may irritate the sciatic nerve.
4. Bowing warrior (Parsvottanasana):
stance allows for a more intense stretch in the hamstrings. Take caution to avoid damage by softening or bending the knees (especially front) to avoid too much of a stretch. The ability to hinge at the hips and slowly fold forward into this bowing warrior pose demands eccentric hamstring control which is also required in running and cycling.
5. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): An inverted triangle pose, this helps lengthen the entire spine and stretches the calves, hamstrings and paraspinals (the long muscles that run parallel to the spine). By keeping active arms and legs in this pose, you will also use the stabilizers of the shoulder and shoulder blades (scapula). Pay attention to hand and feet position: keep your hands and feet a hips-width apart, spread your fingers and toes and keep a slight bend in the elbows and knees. In this pose your shoulders must flex forward similar to the way you reach forward to the handlebars or aero bars on a bike.
This standing folded pose in a split
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STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE Think of your core as the hinge that holds your body together. As your legs strengthen with running or cycling, the rest of your body needs to catch up or you are likely to put strain on your lower back. These poses help strengthen both the core abdominal muscles and your upper body as well.
6. Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana): A one-arm balance pose works the core and adds to total body strength. This pose requires a lot of stabilizing action in the abdominal and thoracic (middle spine) musculature. If you hold this position properly, it requires less effort. 7.
(Phalakasana into Chattaranga Dandasana): Plank pose is a core and total body strength pose that also requires attention to alignment from head to toe for optimal efficiency. Moving into Chattaranga Dandasana is the lowering phase of a push up with elbows hugging in towards the sides of the body. It is excellent for upper body strength, which is important to add to both running and cycling training schedules. If your upper body isn’t strong enough to handle this pose properly, then modifying it by lowering your knees and chest will help to avoid strain to the shoulder and neck regions. This pose can help to strengthen the muscles
you use to maintain proper trunk alignment on the saddle in cycling.
8. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): Lying on your back, this pose is a great way to strengthen the hamstring, glutes and core while lengthening the muscles through the front body (abdominals, hip flexors and quads). Adding dynamic movements to the arms and legs while keeping a steady lifted bridge can help to strengthen the pelvic core. Working against gravity, you extend your hips upward, which will strengthen the hips for extension required in both running and cycling.
10. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana): Lying Keep Your Spine Aligned One of the most common complaints runners and cyclists often have is back pain. That’s because we don’t stretch and work the back muscles the same way we do our legs. These poses build strength and flexibility that will help keep your spine aligned.
9. Child’s Pose (Balasana): Folding forward while on all fours allows the spine to move into a long flexion curve, lengthening the erector spinae muscles that run lengthwise down the spine. It also requires the knees, hips and spine to flex. Take caution not to force through any pain when attempting to get into this pose. Props may be necessary under the front of the ankles
or behind the thighs if there is cramping or restriction. This pose is a good hip flexor mobility exercise. Having adequate hip flexion is required for the top part the pedal stroke and allows for smooth fluid cadence without having to strain the muscles in the lumbar spine (low back). This is a good pose to check for hip flexor mobility as you add on the miles and intensity in your training routine. You will notice that it is more difficult to get the hips to the heels after a hard workout and it is a good pose to do on the day after a race for recovery.
on your belly, this pose allows the front of the hips, thighs, chest and biceps to lengthen while engaging the back’s spinal extensors, hip extensors, shoulder extensors and shoulder blade retractors. Bow pose is a nice counter pose to the roundedness that happens from both cumulative miles sitting on the saddle of your bike or sitting at a desk all day. This pose allows for the hips and spine to extend by engaging the largest muscle group (gluteals) which is important to keep strong for the powerful cycling stroke required to go uphill.
breath is crucial. Your diaphragm is one of the strongest muscles in the body and the primary one in inhalation. Practicing and learning how to use it to breathe is key to maximizing performance and increasing your VO2 max. It is also important in releasing tension/stress. When you are stressed, there is a tendency to take shallow breaths (which uses the neck and chest muscles) and the breath doesn’t fill your lungs completely. Practicing diaphragmatic breathing during yoga will have carry over to your sport. In general, in yoga poses where you fold or lower your body you exhale, and when you rise up or lengthen, you inhale. By familiarizing yourself with this connection of breath to movement during poses, you can use the breath to help during running or cycling or any physical activity. To practice while running or cycling, think about timing your breath to your stride or cadence. Create a rhythm that connects movement of breath with a constant flow of energy. Work on improving your awareness of how you are breathing so you become aware if you are holding your breath or taking short breaths. After all, breath is essential to life.
Practice Breathing and Relaxing Lastly, yoga is a discipline where the connection between movement and A former alpine ski racer, soccer player and now a cyclist and runner, Beth Bowen, MS PT, earned her masters of science in physical therapy from Regis University in Denver, Colo. She has been practicing for 18 years and currently works at Appletree Bay Physical Therapy. She is also a certified 200-hour yoga teacher who works at and is currently teaching Yoga for Runners at Green Mountain Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine in Burlington, on Monday nights 6:15-7:15. Tara O'Reilly (demonstrating the poses) is an actor, mother and former ski racer. She teaches private yoga classes to top-level athletes and executives in Stowe. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
IN R U O E T OZY K I B AT NG A C F A AN DI IT. H N F I T F O R ? TE ER HE END T T E N B I T W ’S WHAT IDDLE OFFOREST ATLL THE ME IN THE CHRISTINE HI LODG ND PHOTOS BY YA STOR
WIth just a change of clothes, a credit card and a sleeping bag, Tyler Van Liew rides toward Seyon Lodge on a groomed Groton State Forest trail.
ast winter my buddy Tyler Van Liew and I got fat bikes within a week of one another. We decided to celebrate with a ride around the trails behind Colchester High School. We were so caught up in our excitement about our new bikes that we totally forgot about the necessities of food and water. If you know Tyler, you know that this is wildly out of character. If you know me, you know that this is pretty standard. Both of us were new not only to fat biking, but to riding off paved roads at all. We were surprised by how physically demanding mountain biking was. Riding through snow and over ice certainly added to the challenge. To say that we were feeling frantic after four hours of getting lost in the woods sans trail mix would be an understatement. We talked about food the whole 20-minute ride back (food is mostly what we talk about, but this time our conversation about macaroni and cheese had an edge to it). The next day when I texted Tyler, “I feel like I got hit by a bus,” he only responded with a single syllable: “Guh.” We’ve come a long way since then. And after hundreds of miles and dozens of [mis]adventures over the past year, our bikes and our bodies are a little more dialed in. Considering our initial shortcomings and recent progress as non-competitive fat bike enthusiasts, it felt pretty good when our most recent fat bike adventure—just about a year after our first ride together—was absolute perfection. It started like this: Glenn Eames, founder of Burlington’s Old Spokes Home bike shop, told Tyler of a mystical, beautiful place named Seyon Lodge located deep in Groton State Forest. He told Tyler of miles of off-road trails that would lead us directly to this quaint lodge in the woods. Glenn said that when we arrived, beautiful, glowing hippies would feed us nourishing food and give us a place to sleep. It had been 15 years since Glenn was there so he couldn’t tell us exactly what route he had taken but Tyler and I were enthralled and determined to find our way there on our fat bikes. Planning and preparation are integral to a successful trip, so Tyler and I exchanged several text messages on Friday night to firm up our plans for the ride the following day. With just a few more details to work out, I showed up at Tyler’s house bright and early at 10:30 am on January 2 without my bike and with nothing packed. I found Tyler in his long johns. He was making coffee and all of his gear and maps were strewn about his apartment, covering the furniture and floor. None of the maps had Groton State Forest on them. Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, we discovered that Seyon Lodge
Warm, fed, and ready to ride, Tyler and Christine (above) head out from Seyon Lodge for the trails in Groton State Forest (below). The forest features miles of trails for snowshoeing and cross country skiing and a few pilot loops that are being tested out for fat bikes.
“Tyler and I are both accustomed to camping on our bike adventures, so packing for a trip that ended in a fourwalled, heated place with a roof had us looking like a couple of confused puppies confronted with a staircase for the first time.” is essentially a rustic, bed and breakfast tucked away in Groton State Forest and operated by the state park. I called the lodge to see if anyone there could tell us how we might get to there on fat bikes. I spoke with a helpful woman named Tiffany. She wasn’t sure about the trails. Neither were we. I could hear the concern growing in her voice as my questions got more and more stupid. It was getting late in the day and our obvious lack of knowledge about the area and lack of a plan for this trip was
sending off red flags. I knew that Tyler and I would be fine, but I didn’t know how to convey that to Tiffany, so I quickly changed the subject to lodging. Tiffany explained that for $90 each, Tyler and I could ride our bikes all day and arrive in a warm place with beds, showers, a fireplace, and have dinner and breakfast made for us. She didn’t say anything about the food being prepared by beautiful, glowing hippies, but we we’re trusting Glenn on this detail. Since it was getting
late for a day ride and eating food made by beautiful, glowing hippies is practically sport for us, we were sold and planned to spend the night. Tyler and I are both accustomed to camping on our bike adventures, so packing for a trip that ended in a fourwalled, heated place with a roof had us looking like a couple of confused puppies confronted with a staircase for the first time. Unable to fully comprehend what a lodge is, we each brought our sleeping bags. We did not need the sleeping bags. But even with the sleeping bags we were each able to fit everything we needed (and then some) into a frame bag and a seat bag. “Credit card touring,” as they call it, was already feeling pretty deluxe. Still unsure of our route, we decided to drive to Plainfield and just ask someone about what trails would take us there. We eventually found what we thought was the trail. The first 20 minutes, the terrain was pretty bad. Only a foot-wide section was packed down by foot and cross-country ski traffic and I was starting to worry that I’d spend all day bouncing off the banks of snow on each side. Just as I was about to express my concern to Tyler, the whole trail became damn-near perfect. The trail had been groomed for (and by) snowmobiles and was ideal for fat biking. [Important disclaimer here: what the pair didn’t know is that much of the trails they rode are off limits to fat bikes. While all VAST (snowmobile) trails on state land are open to fat bikes, it turns out the
Groomed for snowmobiling, VAST trails on state land are open to fat bikes and make for some great riding. Above, Tyler banks by a frozen bog in Groton State Forest.
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CROSS VERMONT TRAIL - Map 3
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trail they were riding on was on private land and they did not have permission to be there. To find the right way to ride to Seyon Lodge, see sidebar, “Seyon Lodge and Groton State Forest”.] The trail we were on eventually brought us to Groton Sate Forest. The transition from one trail to the other was unnoticeable to me, but I’m chronically unobservant when it comes to signage and any and all navigational tools and always leave it to my travel partner to make sure we’re not getting abysmally lost (right now my ex-boyfriends reading this are no doubt saying: “well at least she’s starting to acknowledge it.”) The trail continued to be totally flat but with more beautiful, natural wonders popping up. We first passed Marshfield Pond, then Owl’s Head Mountain, then Lake Groton, and Ricker Pond before hitting Route 302. As we neared the end of the trail and the intersection of 302, we checked out a few different maps on information boards to see what our options were. We noted several trails that cut from the trail through the woods directly to Seyon Pond Road. These trails were an alternative to riding on the road that would cut off distance and perhaps save us time. But in the winter they may not be groomed. If you’re a hardcore fat biker who would rather carry your bike over your head for a few miles than ride on the road, then these trails might be a great option for
YO N P ON
Though not yet open to fat bikes in the winter, the Cross Vermont Trail is great for XC skiing.
you. But if you’re a couple of space cadets in long johns and leather boots who got on their bikes at 1:30pm in the dead of winter to bike 20 miles in the snow who are mostly in it for the glowing hippies’ food... you just bike the 3 miles on the road and it’s all copacetic. We hit 302 and it was up, up, up. We turned right onto the well-marked Seyon Pond Road, and then it was up up up again. I was exhausted, it was getting dark, and due to my poor navigation skills I wasn’t even sure we were in the
right place (sure, we were on ‘Seyon Pond Road,’ but does that really mean anything?). I started to get a little miffed (again my ex-boyfriends are thinking: “Yep, yep, sounds about right...”) The sight of Seyon Lodge lit up at the top of the hill was most welcome. At first it just looked like a regular house and we wondered if we were in the right place. Shortly after spotting the “Seyon Lodge” wood-burned placard above the door, a woman literally leaped out the door with arms flailing, shouting,
“YOU’RE HERE!!! YOU MADE IT!!!” We quickly deduced that this was Tiffany from the phone. We learned that the workers and the guests at the lodge were pretty sure we weren’t going to make it. Apparently two hikers staying at Seyon Lodge back in October went missing on a short hike and Tiffany had to call in a rescue squad to find them. This explained the justified concern in her voice as she talked to Tyler and I about fat biking there. The lodge may feel ‘rustic’ to Marriott Rewards members, but to a chick wearing a sweaty helmet and cold, wet socks who is accustomed to dealing with nylon, zippers, and tent stakes after an arduous bike ride, the lodge seemed positively luxurious. I immediately took a hot shower in one of the very clean shared bathrooms, helped myself to some chamomile tea in the dining room, and joined Tyler and the other guests downstairs by the fire. Children played board games with respectful indoor voices and the adults quietly read and worked on their laptops. Tyler and I exchanged holy-crap-this-is-amazing sideways glances as we wiggled our toes in our fresh socks and sunk into the comfy couches with our magazines and mugs of tea. We were in good company at the lodge. A couple from western Massachusetts was up enjoying some cross country skiing. Another couple
SEYON LODGE AND GROTON STATE FOREST
et deep into the Groton State Forest, 30 minutes from Barre, an hour from Montpelier and 30 miles from Interstate 91, there’s a lodge by a lake with your name on it. Welcome to Seyon Lodge State Park. One of the few state parks that operates year-round, it’s home to a lodge that makes for a great weekend away and a home base for exploromg by snowshoe, fat bike or cross country ski.
The reward at the end of the ride? A fire, a hot shower and a gourmet dinner at Seyon Lodge.
from Pennsylvania was there to hike and explore the area. And a dad and his three kids were visiting from Burlington and having outdoor fun for the weekend. Everyone kept to themselves while we lounged by the fire, but the conversations flowed once we all sat down at the dinner table together. We exchanged backgrounds and stories over a nourishing three-course dinner of squash soup and bread, soba noodles with eggplant and basil, kale salad, and roasted beets, and carrot cake and coffee for desert. Tyler and I exchanged several more holy-crap-this-isamazing giggles throughout dinner. After dinner we all sat around the fireplace and one of the guests asked Tiffany about the history of the lodge. “Ooooo we’ve gotta get Chris out here!” she exclaimed. Ten minutes later the guy who had cooked much of our dinner came out of the kitchen, wiped his hands on his apron, and threw a log on the fire. The guests gathered around like school children at story time and listened intently as Chris told us about the transformation of Seyon Lodge from a privately-owned Vermont vacation estate that was sold from wealthy baron, J.R. Darling, to a wealthier baron, Harry K. Noyes, into what it is now: Vermont’s only state operated lodge on the shores of Vermont’s only public flyfishing only trout pond. In addition to serving as a remote getaway for outdoor enthusiasts, the lodge hosts school groups, weddings, meetings, and is apparently a popular place for quilting conventions.
Who knew? Our breakfast of eggs, bacon, and toast the next morning was equally pleasant and Tiffany provided us an enthusiastic send-off that rivaled her onewoman welcoming celebration. Before leaving, we had contemplated taking one of the trails off Seyon Pond Road back to the rail trail, but folks at the lodge emphasized how hilly they were and guessed that they were not groomed. We weren’t prepared for hiking, so we decided to take the same route down Seyon Pond Road to 302 and back to the trail. We were happy to keep things easy and enjoy the predictable ride home. It was even more gorgeous than the day before since morning snow flurries covered the world in a couple inches of bright, fresh powder. It took us about five hours to get to Seyon Lodge on the first day, covering about 20 miles, and took us about three hours to get back because of the six miles of downhill at the beginning of the ride. We were starving, nonetheless ,and on the way back stopped at Prohibition Pig in Waterbury for cheeseburgers and turkey pot pie. We earned it. It’s been a month since we did the ride and I’m still flabbergasted by the perfection of this trip. But If I could do the whole thing over again, I would: 1) take the legal, mapped trails, 2) bring my XC skis, and 3) bring beer. But it’s probably for the best that I didn’t think of that the first time. My head would have exploded from too much of a good thing.
In Vermont’s early history, the surrounding landscape saw dramatic changes including heavy logging, several large forest fires in 1876, 1883 and 1903 and even a hurricane in 1938. The addition of a railroad in 1873 allowed seasonal travelers to enjoy summers on lakeside campsites. The state bought its first tract of land in 1919 and continued to expand its holdings to 27,000 acres of preserved forest and lakefront, making it the second-largest state land administered by Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. While Vermont’s state parks technically close their facilities after Columbus Day, you can still enjoy what Groton State Forest and other nearby state parks have to offer. While many parking areas are closed, the trails in the neighboring state parks and forest can still be accessed from the Groton Nature Center, the Overlook, Kettle Pond, the Northern Parking Area and New Discovery. The day use parking area at Kettle Pond is plowed and provides access to the pond and the trail around it. In the summer, anglers flock to Noyes Pond, just outside of Seyon Lodge, for some of the best fly-fishing in the area.
The Lodge Far from rustic, Seyon Lodge feels like a simple B&B and comes with attentive lodge keepers, WiFi, homecooked meals (on request) and a great room with fireplace. It’s often booked for weddings, conferences and retreats and can accommodate 30 day guests and 16 overnight guests with 8 private and group bedrooms. With fresh linens, towels and all you need, this is far from primitive. After a snowshoe, curl up by the fireplace. The lodge’s kitchen and lodge keepers can also serve three very good meals a day for a fee and can accommodate any dietary needs. Dinner might be wood-fired pizza, a salad with carrots stored from the summer garden or a hearty stew. During holiday weeks, the 16 beds fill quickly, so make reservations by calling 802-584-3829. Overnight stays are $85.00 to $95.00 per room (all are double occupancy, $10 per extra person). Season: December 27, 2015–March 20, 2016; April 15–November 13, 2016. For more information visit www.vtstateparks.com or call 802-584-3829.
Exploring the Forest Right out Seyon Lodge’s front door is the Groton State Forest with many trails, some groomed and others not so check with the lodge. The lodge also has a
supply of snowshoes available for rent. Ten miles away, on the shores of Lake Groton, the Groton State Forest Nature Center (closed in the winter) has four trails for day touring including the milelong Little Loop that overlooks a wetland and can access other trails.
Fat Biking Trails While fat biking is allowed on state land on VAST (snowmobile) trails, many VAST trails cross private property where landowners have not yet given permission for two-wheeled traffic in the winter. At present, the Vermont Mountain Biking Association, a number of local bike clubs and the state’s Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation are working together to create pilot trail networks that are approved for fat bike use and groomed. Within striking distance of Seyon Lodge are three pilot areas: the Seyon Lodge trails, Butterfield Loop and Groton Depot–the last two which use VAST trails. For a good, shorter (approximately 8-miles) ride to Seyon Lodge, park at the Northern Parking Area on Route 232 near New Discovery State Park. Go south on the Rail Connector Trail, turn right onto Lanesboro Rd., then left onto the Montpelier-Wells River rail trail. After a long scenic ride past glaciallysculpted mountains and ponds turn right onto Depot Brook Trail and then connect to the Depot Brook Loop which will lead you to Seyon Lodge. For details on these trails visit http://fpr.vermont.gov/node/1604 You can rent a fat bike in Burlingotn at the Old Spokes Home (oldspokeshome. com). For more on fat bike trails and trail etiquette, visit vmba.org
The Cross Vermont Trail The Cross Vermont Trail, which stretches from Wells River all the way to Burlington, crosses Groton State Forest between Groton and Marshfield and is great for cross-country skiing but not open to fat bikes. Much of the trail from Montpelier to Wells runs along an old railway bed and is relatively flat. Trail Map 3 covers a 12.74 mile section from Marshfield to Route 302 in Groton and can be found at www.crossvermont.org. This trail is made possible through cooperative agreements with towns and private landowners and travels through a valley and remains open throughout the year to a variety of users but not, at present, to winter biking. The organizers are working to change that but until permission is secured, they ask cyclists not to jeopardize the relationships they have worked hard to build. So for this year, bring your cross-country skis or snowshoes. —Evan Johnson
ach year we ask you, our readers, to name the best Vermont has to offer in a wide variety of categories. This year, we got an overwhelming response. After carefully
culling through more than 200 responses (duplicate votes were not accepted and we kept our eyes peeled for ballot-stuffers), we found a remarkable variety of great recommendations
for everything from skiing and riding to cycling and après ski around the state. Think of this as your guide to the best in Vermont. And don’t forget to vote next year.
t was neck and neck this year in reader voting between Stowe (with its extensive new Spruce Peak development and upgraded snowmaking and grooming) and Sugarbush, a perennial local’s favorite. In the end, Sugarbush edged out Stowe this year for the title of “best overall ski area.” The ‘Bush also took home honors for toughest trail, Rumble, and best liftie, “Bogo.” But the other category winners —Killington for its terrain park and snowmaking, Jay Peak for its powder and tree skiing, Bolton for its backcountry and Smuggler’s Notch for its kids programs speak to the amazing diversity our state offers. So get out there!
Best Ski & Ride Resort: Sugarbush With its iconic New England setting, Sugarbush offers two great mountains with six peaks, 111 trails, three terrain parks, tree skiing in the remote 2,000acre Slide Brook Basin, a fantastic outdoor adventure program for kids, cat skiing, and some of the nicest people in the industry. So it’s not hard to see why Vermont Sports readers voted Sugarbush as the Best Ski Resort in Vermont, as well as Toughest Trail (for Rumble). But Sugarbush is more than fantastic skiing, of course. It also features terrific dining on mountain at Allyn’s Lodge or at the base area Timbers Restaurant. Stop in for après ski at the Castlerock Pub, spend the night at Claybrook, and explore the idyllic towns of Waitsfield, Warren and Fayston that keep life real. That all breeds happy people, which may be why Alex Boguzewski (ak.a “Bogo,”) a lift attendant at Sugarbush, was named the Best Lift Attendant in Vermont and Castlerock Pub’s Sean Fruschetto, Best Bartender. Runners-up: 2. Stowe, 3. Killington, 4. Jay Peak, 5. Smuggler’s Notch.
Plowing up Jay Peak's legendary powder
Photo courtesy Jay Peak Resort.
Best Smaller Ski Area: Cochran’s Ski Area With night skiing, a world-renowned racing program, lollipop races and a family-friendly vibe that comes from being still owned by … a family, the tiny Cochran’s Ski Area, just off the I89 exit in Richmond has a following like few other smaller ski hills in the country. Don’t miss out on the state’s other smaller gems. The rewards are no crowds, cheaper lift tickets and a feel for what Vermont skiing used to be. Runners-up: 2. Magic Mountain, 3.Mad River Glen, 4. Suicide Six, 5. Middlebury College Snow Bowl.
Best Powder: Jay Peak Whether you believe in magic or not, believe in “The Jay Cloud.” There’s no better way (without going into a bunch of meterological mumbo jumbo) to explain how Jay Peak consistently gets more snowfall than just about anywhere in the U.S. At an elevation of 3,968 feet,
Vermont’s northernmost ski area receives an average of 369 inches of snow over its legendary 78 trails, glades and chutes. This season, the Jay Cloud returned to give Jay Peak 32 inches of much-needed snow over a five-day period in late December and early January. Yes, we believe in magic. And the Jay Cloud. Runners-up: 2. Stowe, 3. Killington, 4. Mad River Glen, 5. Sugarbush.
Best Tree Skiing: Jay Peak There are plenty of great glades to ski around the state, but for true “tree skiing” you sometimes need to venture more than a little ways off the beaten trails. That’s where Jay Peak, Sugarbush and Stowe reign. Jay Peak, with both its epic powder, glades like Valhalla and the excellent hike-to terrain off Big Jay takes the lead this year with Sugarbush’s backcountry and Stowe’s sidecountry as runner-ups. Runners-up: 2. Sugarbush, 3. Stowe, 4. Killington, 5. Bolton Valley.
Best Backcountry: Bolton Valley While the terrain off Stowe’s Mt. Mansfield and Smuggler’s Notch has become worldfamous for trees and steeps, Vermont locals know that if you want to find some of the best untracked powder after a storm, the backwoods around Bolton Valley deliver the goods. This year, Bolton has owned this title by putting on a series of uphill touring and ski mountaineering events and attracting backcountry skiers from around the East. Runners-up: 2. Stowe, 3. Smugglers’ Notch, 4. Jay Peak, 5. Sugarbush.
Toughest Trail: Rumble at Sugarbush While several ski areas have comparably tough trails, Sugarbush’s Rumble starts high on Castlerock Peak and then ducks left into the trees. There, it immediately offers a five-foot drop over a rocky outcrop into a narrow gully that cascades down the fall line like a wild brook. It wends through rocky outcrops that you can either huck or skirt (snow permitting)
Best Party Scene: Killington Killington not only has the best party scene in Vermont, for years it has been named one of the best après-ski party scenes in the country, with perennial favorites such as The Wobbly Barn and The Pickle Barrel hosting crazy nights people talk about for years. The celebrations start as soon as the skiing stops, with more than 50 places along Killington’s Mountain Road vying for “best happy hour.” And it continues on into late night with the thud-boom-thud of live acts and house music. That said, it’s hard to find a ski town in Vermont that doesn’t have a great party scene. Runners-up: 2. Stowe, 3. Sugarbush, 4. Jay Peak, 5. Smugglers’ Notch.
Best Ski Area Event: Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge, Killington
Getting ready to Rumble at Sugarbush, on Vermont's toughest trail.
with short chutes off the side to drop if you dare. Barely a ski-width at the top, it gradually widens into a pleasant doubleblack diamond run. But don’t stop there try these too if you dare: Runners-up: 2. Ovation, Killington. 3. Black Hole, Smuggler’s Notch. 4. Goat, Stowe, 5. Paradise, Sugarbush.
Best Snowmaking: Killington
Photo courtesy Sugarbush.
got high scores from Vermont Sports' jibbers. From the space-themed Neff Land with its rocket jibs, planets and more, to the natural features of the Burton Stash park (one of only six in the world), if you’re looking for imaginative features for a variety of styles and abilities, Killington has you covered. Runners-up: 2. Stowe. 3. Sugarbush, 4. Q Burke, 5. Mount Snow.
What do you get when you combine soft snow, sun and legendary bumps on one of Vermont’s toughest trails? One of winter’s most anticipated events. Located on the double-diamond Outer Limits trail, the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge is an amateurs-only dual mogul challenge with men’s and women’s divisions throwing tricks off bumps—all in clear view of the day-long party at the Bear Mountain deck below. This year’s competition is slated for April 9. Runners-up: 2. Pond Skimming, Sugarbush, 3. Pond Skimming, Q Burke, 4. Stowe Derby, 5. Mad River Valley Ski Mountaineering Race.
Best Ski Area for Kids: Smuggler’s Notch With a full range of programs for kids ages 2 to 20, a tree-top Arbotrek zipline that runs all winter, Airboard slalom sledding and the Teen Alley Teen Center, Smugglers’ Notch has established itself as a destination for families. As an added bonus, the all-day programs for 3 to 15 year olds uses Flaik GPS to track miles, vertical feet and trails skied each day. Runners-up: 2. Sugarbush, 3. Bolton Valley 4. Pico, 5 Q Burke
Best Non-Skiing Resort Activity: Downhill Biking, Q Burke More and more ski areas are developing other ways to have fun and our readers’ top pick for 2016 is downhill biking at Q Burke Resort. On weekends, you can access a 12-mile downhill trail system via the Sherburne Express High Speed Quad. Starting at 3,271 feet, these trails descend through flowing banks. Be sure to look up the Knightslayer trail, a milelong, man-made jump trail for advanced riders; Enchanted Forest, an advanced mile-long downhill singletrack with natural and man-made features. Runners-up: 2. Pumphouse Waterpark , Jay Peak, 3. Downhill mountain biking, Killington, 4. Downhill mountain biking, Sugarbush, 5. Beer drinking.
To see how good snowmaking can get, you only needed to ski Killington this past October 19. Last year, Killington added a fleet of 400 snowmaking guns. This year, in one hour the resort could cover 80 acres with 12 inches of snow. To get ready for opening day, the jets ran for 28 hours straight, building up a base depth of a foot. Fortunately, the state’s other large resorts are not far behind. Runners-up: 2. Stowe, 3. Sugarbush, 4. Okemo, 5. Jay Peak.
Best Grooming: Stowe If you want to carve your name in fresh corduroy, Okemo is famous for its velvety runs. But in the last two years, Stowe has spent more than $10 million on snowmaking and its grooming. And in a year when Mother Nature didn’t cooperate that made a difference. Runners-up: 2. Okemo, 3. Killington, 4. Sugarbush, 5. Stratton.
Best Terrain Park: Killington Sporting five parks and two halfpipes spread out across five peaks, Killington
The Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge shows that Killington knows how to party like its 1999.
Dean Zorn, voted best Ski/Snowboard instructor, started teaching skiing because of his kid. Photo courtesy Dan Zorn
Best Ski/Snowboard Instructor: Dean Zorn, Jay Peak Dean Zorn has won this award every year that Black Diamond of Excellence Awards have been held. At 53, the Montgomery resident is a 16-year veteran of the Jay Peak Ski School, where he manages a staff of over 100 instructors. It’s a position he found himself in by coincidence after he dropped his daughter off for a lesson. He got a job that winter and has been returning every year since. “I like being outdoors and sharing what I do with others,” he says. While he enjoys taking the advanced students into some of Jay’s legendary expert terrain, some of his favorite lessons are the beginner levels. “It’s how the sport grows,” he says. “If they don’t love the first lesson, there won’t be a second.”
Best Lift Attendant: Alex “Bogo” Boguzewski, Sugarbush According to Alex Boguzewski— known by his friends and co-workers as “Bogo”— it takes three things to make a great lift attendant: “Personality, entertainment and great customer service.” For the past four years, Bogo has provided all three of those at Sugarbush Resort. Quick with a joke and a highfive, he’s been known to start “the wave” with the line waiting to head uphill. Bogo's favorite lift: the Village Double. “You see beginners starting out there,” he says. “But by the end of the day, you see them progress to the point where they’re skiing more intermediate trails. It’s great to see.”
Elite skiers make Craftsbury Outdoor Center their winter stomping grounds. Photo courtesy Craftsbury Outdoor Center.
ith more than 30 crosscountry ski areas scattered across Vermont's hills and valleys and miles of scenic, groomed trails there is no excuse not to Nordic ski. And, thanks to modern technology, snowmaking has kept areas such as Craftsbury, Trapp Family Lodge trails and the Rikert Nordic Center open during the worst thaws of this past year.
Best Southern Vermont Nordic Trails: Grafton Ponds Set in Grafton Village, and part of the Windham Foundation (which also owns the town, the Grafton Inn and Grafton Cheese Company), Grafton Ponds feels like a step back in time. The 15K of tiller-groomed Nordic trails, combined with another 15K of backcountry, will give you enough of a workout to justify a hot toddy at the inn and big slice of Grafton’s famous cheddar for après ski. Runners-up: 2. Prospect Mountain, Woodford, 3. Wild Wings, Peru. 4. Brattleboro Outing Club, 5. Stratton/ Nordic Center.
Best Central Vermont Nordic Ski Trails: Morse Farm, Montpelier It may not be the biggest of Nordic centers, but Morse Farm’s 28 kilometers of trails just outside of the state’s capital are among the best-loved in Vermont, turning out generations of great Nordic skiers including current World Cup superstar, Liz Stephen. Still run by iconic Vermonter Burr Morse, Morse Farm not only delivers sweet skiing but, come spring, the sugarhouse is in full action. Stop in for syrup, visit the farm life museum or watch multimedia displays on the history of sugaring at the woodshed theater. Runners-up: 2. Rikert Touring Center, Ripton, 3. Ole’s Cross Country Center, Waitsfield, 4. Mountain Top Inn, Mendon, 5. Blueberry Lake, Waitsfield
Best of Northern Vermont Nordic Trails: Craftsbury Outdoor Center Set in the snowbelt of north central Vermont, Craftsbury Outdoor Center is hard to beat when it comes to Nordic trails. Its 105 kilometers of groomed
trails also intersect with Greensboro trails to provide a huge area of fields, forests and hills to explore. And, thanks to two million gallons of water for snowmaking, Craftsbury is able to cover the essential race courses it uses for events such as the Craftsbury Marathon, which recently had its 35th running. Runners-up: 2. Trapp Family Lodge XC Center, Stowe, 2. Bolton Valley Nordic Center, Bolton Valley, 3. Jay Peak Nordic Ski Center, Jay.
Best Nordic Event: Craftsbury Marathon Some of the best cross-country racers in the country mark their calendars every January to head to northern Vermont for the Craftsbury Marathon. This year’s event drew more than 425 racers, ranging from kids to grandparents, to compete on the 12.5K loop for the 25K or 50K title. The competition in this category was fierce though with the downhill Stowe Derby a close second. Runners-up 2. Stowe Derby, 3. Catamount Trail Association’s Bolton to Trapps Tour. 4. Camel’s Hump Challenge. 5. Bromley Ski for Heat.
With a waterski course and slow-wake areas and stand-up paddle races and clinics, Waterbury Reservoir has a little something for everyone.
rom lakes and rivers to mountains, trails and parks, this tiny state is home to some of the best areas in the country for outdoor recreation. With 52 state parks, there’s something for every interest and the variety is reflected in the culture of some of Vermont’s bestknown adventure towns. Here, readers pick their favorite places to hike, swim, paddle, spend a weekend or just relax.
Favorite Body of Water: Waterbury Reservoir We asked for any body of water other than Lake Champlain (which would win by virtue of size alone.) This year’s winner is located just minutes from Waterbury, Stowe and Montpelier. This 900-acre reservoir is a favorite spot for swimming, paddling, boating and picnicing. Swing by on a Tuesday evening in July for SUP clinics and rentals from Stowe and South Burlington-based Umiak Outfitters.
the west shoulder of Mount Mansfield features seven lean-to sites and two tent campsites for quiet weekends and includes a log shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. For hiking, the Sunset Ridge Trail, three miles to the summit, is popular. Vermont’s Long Trail traverses the summit ridge and, with several trails from the eastern side of the mountain, many loops are possible on the rare alpine terrain. Runners-up: 2. Burton Island State Park, 3. Brighton State Park, 4. Groton State Park, 5. Button Bay State Park.
Best Gym: Waterbury Crossfit
Best Camping Area or State Park: Underhill State Park
If you’re looking to get into shape, the people at Waterbury Crossfit are there to help. A certified CrossFit facility, Waterbury CrossFit runs a series of strength and conditioning programs that combine a variety of functional movements (like lifts and squats) performed at high intensity. You won’t find any weight machines here – expect freeweights, chin-up bars and tractor tires. If you’ve never tried CrossFit before, the gym offers a free introductory class every other Saturday morning.
Easy access to trails and stunning views from the highest peak in Vermont made this our readers’ favorite spot for camping. This small state park on
Runners-up: 2. Metro Rock, Essex 3. Recfit, St. Johnsbury 4. The Swimming Hole, Stowe, 5. Petra Cliffs, Burlington.
Runners-up: 2. Green River Reservoir 3. Lake Memphremagog 4. Lake Willoughby 5. Echo Lake.
Photos by Sarah Hoffmeier/VermontVacation.com
Boats, bikes and now a skatepark make Burlington's waterfront the city's playground.
Best Sports Town (Large): Burlington With Vermont’s largest lake a stone’s throw away, a wealth of craft brewers, local fare restaurants, sports outfitters and a young and athletic populace, the Queen City is a perennial favorite for this category. With the Rec Path running by the Lake Champlain Sailing Center and the new skate park, the waterfont has become a true playground. Add to that the climbing gyms, sports stores and bike routes and it’s no wonder that Burlington leads many national lists of the best outdoor towns in the country.
Runners-up: 2. Montpelier 3. Middlebury 4. St. Johnsbury 5. Rutland
Best Sports Town (small): Stowe/Waterbury This category was a virtual tie between the top three but Stowe/Waterbury won by a nose. With skiing at Stowe Mountain Resort and Trapp Family Lodge, miles of mountain biking between Waterbury’s Perry Hill, Stowe’s Cady Hill and the Trapp Family Lodge Trails, paddling and kayaking on the Waterbury Reservoir and literally hundreds of bars, restaurants and excellent brew pubs, these towns are fun in any season. Runners-up:2. Waitsfield/Warren/Fayston 3. Burke/Lyndonville 4. Killington 5. Woodstock/Quechee
Each year, hundreds of cyclists make a pilgrimage to central Vermont for the Long Trail Century Ride, which ends at the famous brewery.
rom the packed streets of Burlington’s Vermont City Marathon to gritty, gravel grinding rides on the remote and rugged roads of the Northeast Kingdom, if you’re looking to go the distance, get dirty, set a new personal record or just have fun there’s a Vermont event for you.
Best Running Race (Under 13K): Santa Run, Burlington Santa suits, running shoes and an Irish pub—these are the ingredients for our readers’ favorite 5K race that’s held each December. Starting on Burlington’s Church Street, runners follow a rolling course through Burlington with only one tough hill up Battery Street. Your Santa suit is supplied. As an added bonus, Ri Ra’s hosts an Irish breakfast at the restaurant following the race. Runners-up: 2. Mother’s Day Fun Run, Burke. 3. Corporate Challenge, Montpelier. 4. Stowe 8-Miler, 5. Catamount Trail Series.
Photo courtesy Long Trail.
Best Running Race (13K and over): Vermont Cty Marathon, Burlington The Vermont City Marathon continues to hold its place as our reader’s favorite and for the May 29, 2016, event organizers have altered the route for better safety and a more organized finish. But if you haven’t tried any of the runners-up, please do so: there are few better ways to see the most beautiful parts of Vermont. Runners-up: 2. Middlebury Maple Run Half Marathon, 3. Leaf Peepers Classic Half, Waterbury 4. Covered Bridges Half Marathon, Quechee 5. Mad Marathon, Mad River Valley.
Best Road Biking Race or Tour: Long Trail Century Ride It was a close call between Addison County’s Kelly Brush Ride, the Long Trail Century Ride and the new, supertough Gran Fondo. But Vermonters’ top pick for a road biking event this year is the Long Trail ride. Challenge yourself on 20-, 60-, or 100-mile routes through
Banks and berms on Burke's downhills make it a preferred place to play. Photo courtesy Q Burke.
the quiet roads of central Vermont while fundraising for Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports. Stick around for the post-ride party and barbeque at the Long Trail Brewery – you’ve earned it. This year’s ride is scheduled for June 25. Runners-up: 2. Kelly Brush Ride, Middlebury, 3. Vermont Gran Fondo, Ripton, 4. Green Mountain Stage Race, Burlington, 5. Rasputitsa, East Burke.
Best Mountain Biking Race or Tour: Circumburke Looking for a challenge? Our readers picked the Circumburke for its rugged and remote terrain: the forests and hills around Burke and Umpire Mountain. The race is scheduled for Oct. 22. Runners-up: 2. Vermont 50 (Ascutney), 3. Frozen Onion, Montpelier. 4. Leaf Blower, Stowe. 5. Killington Up and Down.
Best Mountain Biking Trail Network: Kingdom Trails
Wackiest Event: Santa Run Put a bunch of runners in Santa suits (complete with beards), send them off on a 5K run around Burlington, promise them breakfast at the end and you’ve got reader’s favorite wacky event. But there’s plenty more so consider the runner-up which might have you floating pumpkins in Lake Champlain.
When you want the best biking in the state, head north to the Kingdom Trails in East Burke. Since 1994, the Kingdom Trails nonprofit has maintained a complex and varied network of over 100 miles of trails in cooperation with 50 different property owners. From rolling double track to terrifyingly technical, advanced rides, to meadows filled with wildflowers, these trails have something for every ability.
Runners-up: 2. Pumpkin Regatta, Burlington. 3. Penguin Plunge, Colchester. 4. Sugarbush Annual Dog Parade. 5. Duct Tape Derby, Mount Snow.
Runners-up: 2. Cady Hill in Stowe, 3. Ascutney trail network, 4. Hinesburg Town Forest, 5. Killington trail network.
Best Point-to-Point Hike: Monroe Skyline
Best Festival: NEMBA-fest, East Burke When the New England Mountain Bike Association holds its annual festival at the mountain bike mecca that is Kingdom Trails in East Burke, there’s no better place to be. A day at NEMBAFest starts when you roll out of your sleeping bag and head to the dining tent for a pancake breakfast. Then grab your bike and hit the trails or pick up a demo for a lap. In the evenings, catch live music and enjoy the food trucks and beer tent. But don’t stay up too late— you’ve got another day of riding in the morning. Runners-up: 2. Burlington Beer Festival, 3. Vermont Mountain Bike Festival
Known as "The Sweetest Half," the Middlebury Maple Run is a tasty 13K.
at Ascutney, 4. Grand Point North in Burlington, 5. Hop Jam at Bolton Valley.
Most Competitive Event: Circumburke Every fall, cyclists and trail runners head to East Burke for a tough cross-country race through the forests and hills in the Northeast Kingdom and around Burke Mountain. Distances in two divisions include 20-mile and 26-mile races on singletrack, ancient logging roads and
Vermont has no shortage of hikes with stunning views, but this year our readers’ favorite point-to-point hike is the Monroe Skyline, an 11.6-mile stretch of the Long Trail Between the Lincoln and Appalachian gaps. It’s a full day or an overnight hike across the summits of Mount Abraham, Lincoln Peak, Mount Ellen and General Stark Mountain. You’ll have views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks to your west, the Mad River Valley to the East and the rugged spine of the Green Mountains in front of you.
Photo by Trent Campbell
double track. The event also includes an enduro component for riders to test their downhill skills. Along the way, you’ll get foliage views from Burke, the White Mountains and Victory Bog. This year’s race is scheduled for Oct. 22. Runners-up: 2. Vermont 50 Race, 3. Spartan and Death Races, 4. Stowe Derby, 5. Tough Mudder.
Runners-up: 2. Appalachian Trail (Vt.), 3. Hellbrook Trail to Mansfield Chin, 4. Long Trail to Camel’s Hump. 5. Skyline Trail: Hunger Mountain to Worcester Mountain.
hat makes Vermont a great place to recreate? It’s the landscape, for sure, but it’s also the people and organizations who have helped to clear it, shape it, share it and ensure we have access to it.
state a place that people come to ride from around the U.S. This past year, VMBA published the result of many years of hard work: a statewide trail map showing more than 16 networks. VMBA also worked closely with local groups to help protect 133 acres in the Kingdom Trails network and helped the Trust for Public Land acquire land around Ascutney Mountain.
Vermont Outdoors Person of the Year: Tim Tierney at Kingdom Trails Over his past 12 years as executive director, Tim Tierney has quietly built the Kingdom Trail Association into one of the great recreation success stories in the country. Tierney and team have worked to build a network of more than 100 miles of single and double track. The system now gets more than 70,000 visits per year from people across the continent, bringing an annual economic impact to the region of more than $6.5 million. This past year, Tierney helped the organization raise more than $150,000 from 870 donors and secured another $150,000 grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.
Best Outdoor Organization: Catamount Trail Association What started as an organization dedicated to preserving one of Vermont’s best-loved trails has turned the 300-mile winter
Runners-up: 2. Outdoor Gear Exchange, 3. Rochester Area Sport Trails Alliance (RASTA), 4. RunVermont. 5. Green Mountain Club
Best Outdoor Photographer: Brian Mohr/Emily Johnson, Ember Photo Vermont Sports contributor Brian Mohr and his wife and partner Emily Johnson not only document the best of Vermont’s outdoor world, they live it every day and have been active voices in preserving and growing our backcountry trails. The couple document their snow/bike/surf/ camping adventures with their two young daughters in a way that just makes you want to be them.
Photographers Brian and Emily Mohr with the oldest model, Maiana Photo by EmberPhoto
use trail into backbone of backcountry skiing in this state. The CTA not only helps to organize events along its trails but has helped backcountry skiers gain access to new terrain and fostered events ranging from ski mountaineering races, to training clinics to tours. The CTA has also been integral in galvanizing efforts to create new glade skiing via the Vermont Backcountry Alliance.
Runners-up: 2. Fellowship of the Wheel, 3. Kingdom Trails, 4. Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports, 5. Rochester Area Sport Trails Alliance (RASTA).
Greatest Contribution to Vermont’s Outdoor Community: VMBA Over the years, the Vermont Mountain Bike Association has worked closely with local groups and landowners to make our
Runners-up 2. Herb Swanson, 3. Jeb Wallace-Brodeur, 4. Hubert Schriebl, 5. Tristan Von Duntz
in Vermont you are never far from a really great beer or bar, truly local fare and rocking music. These are the rewards at the end of the run or the trail. You know them. You love them. You earned them. Here are your favorites:
Best Lodge, Inn or Hotel: Stowe Mountain Lodge With its pool, fitness center, spa, new ice skating rink, Hourglass Bar and Solstice restaurant, Stowe Mountain Lodge was a clear favorite this year. Oh, and did we mention it is ski in/ski out? Runners-up: 2. Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe. 3. Willowburke Inn, Burke, 4. Lareau Farm, Waitsfield, 5. Hotel Vermont, Burlington.
Best Après-Ski/Bike Pub: The Matterhorn, Stowe. Stowe’s The Matterhorn is so legendary that this year it leads the running for top ski bar not just in Vermont but in the entire U.S, as determined by USA Today. Owners Charlie and Louise Shaffer have managed to take the classic Mountain Road ski bar and make it into that rare breed of place that serves up both awesome sushi and Southern rock, wild nights and family afternoons where the kids play pool. Generations have met here, married and now bring their kids. Runners-up: 2. Inn at the Long Trail, Mendon. 3. The Lookout Tavern, Killington, 4. Three Penny Taproom, Montpelier, 5. Prohibition Pig, Waterbury.
Best Vermont Brewery: Hill Farmstead Vermont brewers such as the Alchemist, and Lawsons have become worldfamous but none is as legendary as Hill Farmstead. For the second year in a row, the Greensboro brewer (with brews named for family members such as Everett or Earl), has once again been named the best brewer in the world by Ratebeer.com. Runners-up: 2. Long Trail 3. Alchemist 4. Lawson’s Finest 5. Lost Nation
Best Vermont Cider: Citizen Cider Let’s face it, Vermont’s cider houses rule (our apologies, John Irving.) While Woodchuck remains the big one (now available in every state), Citizen Cider’s cans of lighter, sparkling ciders are gaining a following as are Shacksbury's ciders, which use heirloom apples—some found in old abandoned orchards—to recreate
Pretty much every winter weekend night is a party at The Matterhorn in Stowe.
Photo courtesy The Matterhon
the flavor of the ciders our forefathers brewed. Runners-up: 2. Woodchuck Cider, 3 Shacksbury Cider, 4. Cold Hollow Cider, 5. Eden Ice Cider.
Best Vermont Distillery: Smugglers’ Notch Distillery Using pure water from the Mount Mansfield watershed, charred American oak barrels and untold amounts of family elbow grease, the Elliots have turned Smuggler’s Notch Distillery a very wellrespected small-batch distiller. Their first creation, a vodka, won one of 12 double gold awards at the 2011 World Spirits Competition and they have gone on to turn out hopped gin, wheat whiskey, bourbon and other spirits. The runners up can also claim an impressive array of awards, including Caledonia’s Barr Hill for “gin of the year,” in the 2013 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits competition. Runners-up: 2. Caledonia Spirits, 3. Mad River Distillers, 4. Vermont Spirits, 5. Whistle Pig.
Best Bartender: Tie: Kevin Kerner & Shawn Fuschetto Ask Kevin Kerner what he’s got on tap and you might get an earful. The manager and bartender at the Three Penny Taproom has more than 10 years of experience as a brewer and usually has about 20 different craft brews on tap. Meanwhile, Shawn
Blue Stone Pizza now serves up pies in Watebury and Waitsfield.
Fuschetto has earned such a following at Sugarbush’s Castlerock Pub that Jan. 16 of this year was declared “Shawn Fuschetto Appreciation Day,” at the resort to honor his 20 years of service.
Best Pizza: American Flatbread Vermont’s pizza landscape keeps heating up but American Flatbread’s home base at Lareau Farm in Waitsfield still takes home first prize with Stowe’s Piecasso (which Food & Wine once named on of the 11 best pizza places in the U.S.) and Waterbury’s Blue Stone hot on their heels.
Courtesy Blue Stone Pizza
Runners-up: 2. Piecasso, Stowe, 3. Blue Stone, Waterbury, 4., Positive Pie, Montpelier, 5. Parker Pie, Glover.
Best Live Music: Higher Ground, Burlington Higher Ground has brought in some of the biggest of old names and new to its Burlington concert hall. Runners-up: 2. Killington’s Pickle Barrel, 3. Stowe’s Rusty Nail, 4. Jay Peak’s Amphiteater. 5. Nectars, Burlington.
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ear G i k S XC d e t c ikes e l B t se a F and
f you want to spend a full day on the trail, lake or road, gear shops have what you need. These aren’t just places where you find your energy gels, changes of tires, and get your skis waxed: they are also some of the best resources around for local knowledge on trails, conditions, events, gear and training. Many have weekly rides and runs and organize events year-round. Here our readers' picks for great gear and advice on how to use it.
extensive calendar of skills clinics, group rides and community events throughout the year including century rides, races and even winter rides like Frozen Onion.
Best Alpine Ski/Snowboard & Backcountry Gear Shop: Outdoor Gear Exchange
At the Ski Rack Run Center you get video of your gait, a chance to run on a treadmill, personal fit analysis and even a great 30-day return policy on running shoes—even after you’ve worn them. Plus, the store hosts run clinics and talks by the region's top athletes.
Outdoor Gear Exchange, or “OGE” as it’s known in Burlington, is a top choice for the latest in camping, backpacking and climbing gear. But it is equally loved for its extensive consignment section in the downstairs portion of the shop with lots of high quality, pre-loved gear. OGE also received the highest marks for ski and board tuners, boot-fitters and backcountry and Nordic ski knowledge. Runners-up: 2. Alpine Shop, Burlington, 3. Alpine Options, Warren, 4. Ski Rack, Burlington, 5. Basin Sports, Killington.
Best Road Bike Shop: Ski Rack, Burlington One of Vermont’s best outdoor towns is home to some of the best outdoor stores, with Ski Rack leading the way as a top pick for road bikes and maintenance. It has been open since 1969 at the corner of Main and Pine streets. The shop’s technicians are experienced in modifications, repairs and customizations and professional fitters can pick out the right frame for your body. Runners-up: 2. Onion River Sports, Montpelier, 3. Outdoor Gear Exchange, Burlington, 4. Earl’s Cyclery, Burlington, 5. West Hill Shop, Putney.
Best Mountain Bike Shop: Onion River Sports, Montpelier Tucked away on quiet Langdon Street in downtown Montpelier, Onion River Sports has been central Vermont’s mountain bike resource since 1974. In addition to the full service tuning, the shop is known for an
Runners-up: 2. Outdoor Gear Exchange, 3. Ski Rack 4. Stark Mountain Bike Works, Waitsfield, 5.Green Mountain Bikes, Rochester.
49 Brickyard Lane, Putney Vermont
Best Running Gear Shop: Ski Rack, Burlington
Runners-up: 2. Onion River Sports, 3. Fleet Feet Sports, Essex Junction, 4. Outdoor Gear Exchange.
Best Fishing/Watersports Shop: Orvis, Manchester When it comes to picking out fishing and watersports shops, Vermont Sports readers appreciate a Vermont original. Founded in Manchester by Charles F. Orvis in 1856, the company is America’s oldest mail-order outfitter and longest continually-operating fly-fishing business. Today, the company leads fishing trips to Argentina, Belize and beyond, but you can still swing by the Manchester store for the basics in fly-tying, a guided excursion on the local water or some extra tippet.
exus, 5. Audi
Runners-up: 2. Umiak Outfitters, Stowe, 3. Outdoor Gear Exchange, 4. Clearwater Sports, Waitsfield, 5. Middlebury Mountaineer.
Best “Sports” Car: Subaru The Subaru is about as Vermont as it gets. Drive to any trailhead and you’re bound to see at least three, replete with bike or ski racks and Thule boxes and overflowing with wet clothes, kids, dogs and the fixings for a barbeque. They’re tough, all-wheeldrive cars for the Vermont winter. The only downside: you might have a hard time remembering which one is yours.
PHOTO BY MARK ROSOLEN
GEAR & BEER By Sue Halpern & Bill McKibben
GREAT GEAR FOR THE BACKCOUNTRY Sonic R1 and R2
OR Endurance Gaiters
Darn Tough Bjorn
WSI Arctic Diamond tops and long johns Fischer Spiders
ermont is a state of mind, but it’s also a state of forests and hills and, happily, of trails. In the winter, the trail is the Catamount—some of which crosses well-groomed Nordic areas where you can skate laps and hit the warming hut when you want. But most of it lies deep in the backcountry, and you’ll be far happier with equipment designed for the sometimes gnarly, sometimes icy, sometimes snowy trail.
in less than ideal conditions and good float in deep snow. (Remember to wax the tips and tails.)
made from a highly flexible soft-shell fabric that wraps around your shins and acts like a gasket for your legs.
Pair the skis with Swix’s Sonic adjustable poles to power up hills. The Sonic R2 ($149) is a sturdy workhorse, but for the weight-conscious, the carbon Sonic R1 ($249) comes in at 200 grams (a little less than half a pound) lighter. (The design is essentially the same and both can be adjusted without removing gloves.)
Slip on a pair of Darn Tough Bjorn (men’s) or Elka (women’s) socks ($24), designed specifically for the rigors of Nordic skiing. Made from merino wool, they have padding where it counts, and keep your feet from overheating and your boots from becoming stinky.
Fischer Spiders ($249), which at 62mm are a bit wider than typical waxless skis (but not so wide that they can’t be used in groomed tracks), have end-to-end metal edges that offer excellent control
When you don’t know if you will be wading through piles of snow, you would be advised to head out wearing a pair of OR Endurance Gaiters ($85),
When the New England Patriots recently needed long underwear for a particularly cold game, they called WSI. WSI has been making base layers for everyone from sports teams to the military using its WikMax HEATR fabric that expands
and actually heats up with skin contact, yet wicks and stretches. The Arctic Diamond tops and long johns ($149, each, in men’s and women’s) uses the fabric in the arms and legs and the top features a zip collar, thumb holes and even pockets making it a great ski-toapres ski choice. We get hungry when we are out in the woods, and we also get thirsty, and sometimes we want to carry an extra layer, or shed a layer, and so we carry the Camelbak Snoblast ($90) insulated hydration pack. It offers easy access to unfrozen H2O and enough space for clothes, a first aid kit, flashlight and our go-to snacks: Field Trip jerky ($6.50)
Field Trip jerky
UnTapped Maple Waffle
Lawson’s Double Sunshine
and UnTapped Maple Waffle ($2.25). Both are free of preservatives, corn syrup or other additives, and both are a treat for the tongue. Between the jerky (beef or turkey, in flavors like sesame and cracked pepper) and the waffle (made with pure Vermont maple syrup, the elixir of both gods and athletes), you will have enough fuel to motor to the end of the trail.
BEER: Lawson’s Double Sunshine If you’re skiing the Catamount Trail end to end, you’ll be about halfway done by the time you get to the Mad River Valley. And you’ll be ready for a hit of civilization—of which, in central Vermont, the Big Picture theater/bar/ restaurant is the epitome. It not only
shows serious movies, it pours serious beer. The real bonus is access to at least a couple of the hyperlocal Lawson’s ales, which are delivered on Tuesdays from the Warren brewery and kept on draft. Everything that Lawson’s brews is delicious and it’s all in short supply, since they have a tiny brewhouse. (Lawsons often collaborates with other breweries: try the Double or Nothing barleywine made in conjunction with Middlebury’s Otter Creek). But the key word to remember is Sunshine, as in Sip of Sunshine, or Double Sunshine, both world-class big IPAs. You’re cold, you’re weary, you’ve made it down Lincoln Gap in one piece on your skis—Sunshine is what you need, and lots of it.
THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE NORTHEAST 115 CLUB
Bayliss at the summit of Katahdin (top.) Below, the duo made Mt. Abe, their local favorite, the last of the 115 summits. Photos courtesy Bayliss/Ouellette.
here’s nothing like spending a sunny winter day hiking up a mountain. But how about driving four hours to hike more than 4,000 feet to the summit? How about wading through armpit-high snowdrifts while braving sub-zero temperatures and fierce winds? How about facing that kind of challenge 115 times on mountains throughout the Northeast — and only during the winter? That’s a feat that Weybridge neighbors Michele Bayliss and Dean Ouellette completed in January. With their ascent of Mount Abraham in Lincoln, Vt., on the second-to-last weekend in January, the duo officially completed the “Northeast 115,” joining a very exclusive club of hiking enthusiasts who have successfully scaled the 115 peaks that are 4,000 feet or higher in New England (67), the Adirondacks (46), and the Catskills (2). “You almost feel like you’ve beaten winter,” Bayliss said philosophically of the accomplishment. “It’s kind of fun to test your limits.” During the last three years, the duo climbed all 46 high peaks in the Adirondack Mountains. As newly minted “Forty-Sixers,” they were eager to scale new heights en route to the Northeast 115 club. They took the challenge very seriously, diligently checking weather forecasts prior to their ascents and making sure to pack plenty of durable, weatherproof clothing and footwear, as well as water and food. “When there were bad days, we stayed off those mountains,” Ouellette said. Fortunately, Bayliss and Ouellette had the flexibility within their respective work schedules to make long-weekend trips. Bayliss is a consultant who works with families of high-achieving children to prepare them to get into the colleges of their choice. Ouellete is an energy
NAME Michelle Hernandez Bayliss AGE: 47 LIVES IN: Weybridge OCCUPATION: College consultant PRIMARY SPORTS: Hiking
NAME Dean Ouellette AGE: 42 LIVES IN: Weybridge OCCUPATION: Energy and Technology Manager, Middlbebury College PRIMARY SPORTS: Hiking
and technology manager at Middlebury College. The two would often plan their schedules so they could scale multiple peaks within a three-day period. Bayliss said she and Ouellette hiked a staggering 35 peaks during the 2014/15 winter, which required outings virtually every weekend. And last winter, lest we forget, was a particularly brutal one in both temperature and precipitation. “There were days when I would ask myself, ‘Why am I doing this?’” Bayliss conceded. But she invariably shook off that feeling at around the three-hour mark of each climb, the point at which she hits her stride. Ouellette has always been an avid outdoorsman and loves to test his endurance. But there were a few times when he, too, thought about abandoning a hike when the going got extremely tough. It never came to that, however. “We never turned away from
a hike,” Ouellette said. “We kept persevering. We remained focused on that goal. The conditions would dictate what we would do.” Some of the ascents were, for them, a piece of cake. Comfortable temperatures, little wind, a shallow blanket of snow and, of course, no pesky bugs. Those easy jaunts stood in sharp contrast to others. The pair recalled some steep vertical climbs through snow so deep they had to tunnel through it. Then there was the day when, at around 100 yards from one of the mountain summits, 40- to 60-mph winds blew both climbers over multiple times. There were times they lost feeling in their fingers. Ouellette suffered some frostbite on a small part of his face that was not covered by clothing or goggles. Bayliss said the Maine summits offered her a particularly big challenge. She specifically recalled their ascent of Mount Redington during a nasty cold snap. “No one had been there for weeks,”
she said, noting she and Ouellette had to break trail. She recalled falling into a snow-covered stream, crawling up a frozen riverbank and being poked by a lot of branches. Then there were the diabolical “spruce traps,” tree wells that occur when snowfall envelopes a spruce tree, but leaves an air pocket under the tree’s limbs. “You realize that nature could kick your ass next week,” Bayliss said. Ouellette and Bayliss were careful to pack adequate provisions and life saving equipment. They also brought along maps of the terrain they were covering, which at times proved a mixed blessing. For example, one map indicated they could shave a mile off one of their treks by making a detour through a snowfilled slope. That slope proved to be wildly vertical, with deep snow. Worse still, there were no exposed tree branches or rocks to grab to avoid the inevitable backslides. The shortcut ended up adding a lot of extra time to their climb. Some of their hikes lasted around half a day. Others involved 14.5-hours of at-times bone chilling agony. But they regret none of it, and made some good friends along the way with other hardcore hikers. “There is a smaller (hiking) community during the winter,” Ouellette said. “It was a great way to meet likeminded people.” The evidence of their efforts could be measured in their perspiration-saturated clothing at the end of the day. “It was like a locker-room smell,” Bayliss said with a chuckle. “You would never say, ‘It stinks.’ You would say, ‘It smells like hard work.’” Ouellette and Bayliss have submitted their names for official recognition of their completion of the winter Northeast 115. The current list bears the names of only 81 climbers, only 12 of whom hail from Vermont. Fewer than 20 on the list are women. While one would think Bayliss and Ouellette have earned a rest after the Northeast 115, they have no plans to retire their hiking boots. Bayliss wants to do more hiking in the Adirondacks, while Ouellette has set his sights on completing “The Grid.” That involves hiking all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000-foot mountains every month during a calendar year. Yes, that’s a total of 576 peaks in 12 months. Some of those who have completed The Grid jokingly refer to themselves as “Gridiots.” “I don’t mind pushing my body to a certain point to see what I can do,” Ouellette said. — by John Flowers This story first appeared in our sister publication, The Addison Independent.
THE SNOW SAILOR NAME Annie Tuthill AGE: 21 LIVES IN: Poultney, Vt. and Jamestown, R.I. OCCUPATION: Student at Green Mountain College PRIMARY SPORTS: As a snow sailor, consistently ranks among the top three women in the world for Short Track Slalom. Unicyclist. Skier.
Hooked in and holidng on Annie Tuthill sails across a lake, showing good edging. Photo by William Tuthill
sk Annie Tuthill where she likes to ski and the answer may surprise you. “Lake Champlain is the best spot,” says Tuthill, a student at Green Mountain College in Poultney. Tuthill, now 21, has been skiing since she was two and sailing almost as long. It was natural for her to blend the two activities into kite-skiing—especially since her parents, both ice sailors, had been taking her to World Ice and Snow Sailing [WISSA] competitions every year since she was born. By age 11, Tuthill was already playing with wings, using them to power her on skis, carving jibes across lakes and catching air in jumps across frozen fields.
Ice and snow sailing involves using skis or skates and anything from windsurfing rigs to kites. Tuthill prefers skis (she uses Volkl twin tips for freestyle, Attiva 180s for racing) and her Kite Wing. “I love the control, and ease of use. It fits in a ski bag, weighs ten pounds, and takes only minutes to set up, what’s not to like?” At age 15, Tuthill was on the start line at WISSA championships at Lac St. Jean, Quebec. The next year she was competing in Oravi, Finland, where she was invited to train with the Swedish team. Tuthill is now an international competitor in the Kitewing Class, and
currently ranked among the top three women in the world for Short Track Slalom, a race that takes place on a plowed patch of ice where competitors sail in close proximity, and fortunes are won or lost in just a few heats. It’s a grueling sport. “I can remember one course race in particular in which the wind was howling, it was nearly white-out conditions, and it took all of my endurance to finish the race,” Tuthill recalls. “My hands were totally numb from the cold, and I had been using all my strength to run the up wind legs. I didn’t think I was going to able to finish the race, but I continued on, mostly
spurred on by my fellow competitors.” In between competitions, Tuthill spends her time studying sustainable agriculture, a program that attracted her to Vermont and to Green Mountain College, where she’s also been studying filmmaking. She’s also a mean off-road unicyclist. But most of the winter she spends hunting out places to winter sail. A steady wind is a concern, but Vermont lakes such as Memphremagog, Bomoseen and Lake St. Catherine usually deliver. “It seems that the mountains get all of the attention in Vermont, but there are some pretty amazing lakes as well,” Tuthill says. — William Tuthill
2 Stellar Locations 2 Terrific Menus
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Stop for a Great Meal as part of your Outdoor Adventure! Offering House-smoked BBQ & our famous Blue Donkey Burgers plus many more options for everyone. ENJOY OUR GREAT FOOD AT BOTH BEAUTIFUL VENUES!
Proud to be a Winner! Thanks for ranking us near the top of the “Best Nordic Ski Trails” in Central Vermont! With a 5K loop of snowmaking for our race course, and state-of-theart grooming, we’re rapidly becoming one of the most reliable Nordic centers for snow and excellent grooming in the Northeast. We have a full rental shop, instruction and miles of trails through Robert Frost country. If you haven’t visited for a while, come check us out!
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS Listing your event in this calendar is free and easy. Visit vtsports.com/ submit-an-event or e-mail editor@ vtsports.com. All area codes are 802, and all locations Vermont, unless otherwise noted. Featured events, in yellow, pay a nominal fee.
knolls and drops as it flies down Bear Mountain. www.killington.com
27 Southern Vermont Freeskiing Challenge at Magic Mountain, Londonderry, Vt. Freeskiers head to Magic Mountain to show off their skills on the Red Line trail in the second stop of the Ski the East Freeride Tour. www.skitheeast.net
28 Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge at Bolton Valley, Bolton, Vt.
ALPINE SKIING AND RIDING
Bolton Valley hosts a popular eastern race series with a free, fun race open to all ages and abilities. Race registration starts at 8 a.m. with racing starting at 11 a.m. www. boltonvalley.com
20 Triple Crown Unconventional Challenge, Fayston, Vt.
4 Special Olympics at Suicide Six, Pomfret, Vt.
The first leg of the Triple Crown Competition Series and the first stop of the Ski the East Freeride Tour sends skiers down the Lift Line trail at Mad River Glen. www.madriverglen.com
20 – 21 Kare’s 31 Tele-fest, Peru, Vt. Bromley hosts professional clinics from beginner to advanced Telemark Skier all weekend. A classic Telemark race will be held Sunday morning. www.bromley.com
20-21 Harris Hill Ski Jump, Brattleboro,Vt. Ski jumpers from around the world head to Brattleboro to compete on southern Vermont’s historic ski jump. www. harrishillskijump.com
22 Triple Crown Vertical Challenge, Fayston, Vt. The second leg of the Triple Crown Competition Series sees how many vertical feet competitors can ski in a day. www. madriverglen.com
26-27 Winter Carnival, Hancock, Vt. Middlebury College Snow Bowl hosts NCAA alpine ski racing. The neighboring Rikert Nordic Center hosts Nordic racing. www.middleburysnowbowl.com
27 Slash and Berm Banked Challenge, Killington, Vt. Snowboarders race a technical slalom course with curves,
Suicide Six hosts the annual Special Olympics with alpine and Nordic skiing and snowshoeing for people of all abilities and age groups. www.specialolympicsvermont.org
5 Castlerock Extreme Challenge, Warren, Vt.
12 LSC Rail Jam at Q Burke, East Burke, Vt. As part of the Northeast Kingdom Veterans Summit, freestyle skiers compete and raise funds for the Ian Muller Scholarship at Lyndon State College. www.lyndonstate.edu/ rail-jam
13 Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge at Bromley, Peru, Vt. Amateur racers take to a dual giant slalom course at Bromley for a chance to advance to the national-level competitions. www.bromley.com
19-20 Ski the East Freeride Tour Championships at Jay Peak, Jay, Vt. Skiers charge Jay Peak’s most difficult terrain in pursuit of the series championship. www.jaypeakresort.com
BACKCOUNTRY FEBRUARY 20 Winter Wild Uphill Race, Ludlow, Vt.
Advanced skiers tackle the terrain on Sugarbush’s renowned Castlerock Peak to find the best skier on the mountain and claim a $1,000 cash prize. Part of the Ski the East Freeride Tour. www.sugarbush.com
Skiers skin to Okemo’s summit before skiing back down to the finish line. www.okemo.com
5 Red Bull All Snow at Mount Snow, Dover, Vt.
The Catamount Trail Association holds a series of clinics for alpine touring and telemark skiing on the Bolton Valley backcountry. www.boltonvalley.com
Inspired by skate parks, ths series challenges competitiors to throw down tricks on snow features that emphasize flow and rhythm. www.mountsnow.com
6 Jack Jump World Championships at Mount Snow, Dover, Vt.
22 Catamount Trail Association Backcountry Day at Bolton Valley, Bolton, Vt.
27 Saturday Night Lights Uphill Event, Stowe, Vt. The Gondolier trail at Stowe will be lit for the evening while skiers and split boarders earn their turns. www.stowe.com
Complete with speed, racing action and great crashes, the Jack Jump World Championships return to Mount Snow’s racecourse. www.mountsnow.com
27 NE Rando Race Series’ “The Bolt” at Mount Greylock, Adams, Mass.
6 Smugglers’ Notch Extreme Challenge, Jeffersonville, Vt.
Mount Greylock hosts a randonne race with 5,500 feet vertical gain, bootback and skintrack portions. Race is entirely self-supported. www.nerandorace.blogspot.com
Take on Smugglers’ most challenging lift-accessed terrain in this freeskiing competition, now in its fourth year. Competitors are judged on line, control, fluidity, technique, and style. www.snscvt.com
“Your Year-Round Fitness Headquarters”
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Sharon Health Center
To schedule an appointment call (802) 728-2777 12 Shippee Lane, Sharon, VT | www.giffordmed.org
CALENDAR OF EVENTS 28 RASTA Share the Stash Tour, Brandon Gap
19-20 24 Hours of Bolton, Bolton, Vt.
The Rochester Area Sport Tails Alliance leads a strenuous ski tour suitable for backcountry skiers/riders comfortable with skiing steep terrain through unmaintained glades/trees. Skis are required. Contact Karl Fjeld for meeting location. email@example.com 802.236.8023
Bolton Valley hosts the first 24-hour backcountry ski and splitboard event. Participants compete for the most overall laps in a 12- or 24-hour period. www.nativeendurance.com
Tele skiers raise funds for Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports while skiing around the mountain to different stations and taking part in activities. Raffle and apres party to follow in the afternoon. Contact Greg DeCell at gregdecell@yahoo
5 Snow Leopard Challenge, Jay, Vt. Two monster randonnée races challenge the advanced ski-mountaineer. The long course is 9 miles with 5,250 feet elevation gain. The second day of competition is across the border at Owl’s Head resort, Quebec. www.skimoeast.com
5 Frigid Infliction, Bolton, Vt. Adventure racers compete over a ten-hour period while navigating the Bolton Valley backcountry skiing, postholing, snowshoeing and more. The race is also a regional qualifier for the USARA National Championship. www.boltonvalley. com
6 Camel’s Hump Challenge, Hinesburg, Vt. The Alzheimer’s Association holds their 29th annual 13.5mile trek around Camel’s Hump, raising funds and awareness. www.act.alz.org
12 Bolton Valley Split and Surfest, Bolton, Vt. The Catamount Trail Association hosts a splitboarding festival with clinics, backcountry tours and an obstacle course. www.catamounttrail.org
12-14 NE Rando Race Series’ "The Magic," Londonderry, Vt. Magic Mountain hosts two days of randonne racing including a 7,000 vertical foot race, an uphill-only style race and an hour-long criterium-style race. www.nerandorace. blogspot.com
20 Sugarbush Mountaineering Race, Fayston, Vt. For backcountry skiers and splitboarders, the Sugarbush Mountaineering Race heads from Lincoln Peak to the Slide Brook Basin and Mount Ellen with courses for both aspiring amateurs and experts. www.sugarbush.com
26 Topsy Turvy Derby, Stowe, Vt. Culminating the evening uphill series, the Catamount Trail Association holds an evening race up the Gondolier trail, gaining 2,000 feet before skiing back down to the finish. www.catamounttrail.org
13 Tele Till You’re Smelly Pico, Killington, Vt.
26 NE Rando Race Series "The Sun," Peru, Vt. Bromley hosts a randonne race 4,793 vertical feet with a skintrack, but with no bootpack. www.nerandorace. blogspot.com
27 Pico Skimo, Mendon, Vt. Ski mountaineering action comes to Pico this winter with a new race organized by the Endurance Society, with three laps, gaining 2,000 feet up the mountain. www.endurancesociety.org
APRIL 2-3 Annual Sugar Slalom at Stowe, Stowe, Vt. Originating in 1940 and one of the oldest ongoing races in the country, the Mount Mansfield Ski Club’s annual Sugar Slalom celebrates spring with serious racing, serious fun and sugar on snow. www.teammscc.org
3 Bud Light Glade-iator at Mount Snow, Dover, Vt.
14 Valentines Paintball Race, Gilford, N.H. Gunstock Nordic Association will host its annual paintballbiathlon race for kids. Distances include 3 x 2.5K freestyle laps. www.nensa.net
19 Family Fun Day, Ripton, Vt. The Rikert Nordic Center hosts a day of family friendly Nordic skiing activities including tours, races and scavenger hunts, finished with a bonfire. www.rikertnordic.com
19-21 Canadian Ski Marathon, Buckingham, QC Novice and elite-level cross-country skiers head north to Quebec for three days of long-distance crosscountry ski touring across harsh, windswept terrain. The marathon follows a point-to-point format. Depending on which of four options skiers choose, they can travel up to 20K each day as the tour skates, kicks and glides towards Lachute, Quebec. www.csm-mcs.com/en
20 Bog Burn, North Pomfret, Vt. Nordic ski racers in third grade and higher compete in a series of classic-style races with distances including 1.7K to 13K. www.nensa.net
26-27 Winter Carnival, Ripton, Vt. The Rikert Nordic Center hosts NCAA cross-country ski racing. The neighboring Middlebury College Snowbowl hosts alpine racing. www.rikertnordic.com
27 Frigus, Goshen, Vt.
Mount Snow’s springtime challenge is one not to be missed, as competitors take on the double black diamond Ripcord in the soft spring snow. www.mountsnow.com
The Endurance Society holds snowshoe, cross-country ski and sled races with varying distances in each division, as well as a triathlon. www.endurancesociety.org
9 Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge at Killington, Killington, Vt.
27 Silver Fox Trot, Hanover, N.H.
Killington’s famous end-of-season bumps contest. See some of the best bump skiers go head to head and then stick around for the party. www.killington.com
The Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center is the site of a BKL league freestyle race for young racers. A citizen race will follow the BKL race, with distances to be determined. www.nensa.net.
28 Strafford Nordic Relays, Strafford, Vt.
Wednesday Night Uphill Race Series, Bolton, Vt. Bolton Valley hosts a series of casual uphill races on Wednesday evenings starting Jan. 27. www.catamounttrail.org
The Strafford Nordic Center hosts a sprint relay race for teams of two. Skate race in the morning followed by classic races in the afternoon. Free Strafford Organic Creamery Ice Cream for all participants after the race. www.straffordnordicskiing.com
28 Stowe Derby, Stowe, Vt. Participate in or cheer on racers as they ski from the top of the Mountain Road, down to the Stowe bike path and finish in the center of town. Race is open to fat bikes as well. www.stowederby.com
FEBRUARY 13-14 Romance Half Marathon, Ripton, Vt. The Rikert Nordic Center hosts weekend half marathon on their trail network. www.rikertnordic.com
Ethan Allen Biathlon Club 2016 Winter Race Series
DATES January 7, 14, 21, February 4, 11, 18 TIMES 5:00 pm - Registration 5:30 to 6:00 pm - Zeroing 6:15 pm - Race Start WHERE Ethan Allen Biathlon Club Ethan Allen Rd., Jericho, VT
NEW: See our website for NEW mandatory
Safety Clinic information Info: www.eabiathlon.org
28 Bay State Games Freestyle and Classic Races, Becket, Mass. Freestyle and classic skiers head to Canterbury farm for racing in all age groups. www.nensa.net
MARCH 4-6 2016 Bill Koch Festival, Gorham, N.H. The Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center hosts the 2016 Bill Koch Festival with a weekend of racing for all styles of Nordic skier. www.nensa.net
5 Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon, Bretton Woods, N.H. Bretton Woods Nordic Center at Omni Mount Washington Resort hosts a 42/21K, classic format, cross country ski. www.nensa.net
6 42nd Mt. Washington Cup, Bretton Woods, N.H. Bretton Woods hosts a 10K freestyle race. A short-course BKL event (day-of-race entry only) will also be offered. www.nensa.net
12 Bread Loaf Citizens Race, Ripton, Vt. The Rikert Nordic Center hosts their umpteenth running of
CALENDAR OF EVENTS the 5K cross country race with the traditional loaf of bread for the winner, plus a lollipop race for the kids. Costumes and spandex are highly encouraged. www.rikertnordic.com
12 Relay For Life Nordic Style, Williston, Vt. Teams and participants campout on the snow while taking turns for eight hours skiing or snowshoeing around the ski trails at Catamount. Live entertainment and food are available all night long. www.catamountoutdoorfamilycenter.com
13 8th Annual Maine Huts & Trails Adventure Ski Race & Tour, Carrabassett Valley, Me. The Sugarloaf Outdoor Center serves as the starting point for a day of long distance Nordic races, including 20K, 35K and 55K options. www.nensa.net
19 Sugarloaf Ski Marathon, Carrabassett Valley, Me. Collegiate and recreational Nordic skiers head to the Sugarbush Outdoor Center for 25K and 50K freestyle races. www.colbytriathlon.com.
19 Fast and Female Champ Chat, Craftsbury, Vt. Join the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, the US Ski Team and other local professional skiers for an afternoon of games, ski stations, and inspirational stories. Connect with heros, meet other girls interested in sports and hear about life on the World Cup. www.nensa.net.
21-26 2016 SuperTour Finals and 30K/50K National Championship, Craftsbury, Vt. The Craftsbury Outdoor Center is the site of 10K, 15K, 20K, 30K, and 50K races in classic and freestyle races.
28 Bob’s Birthday Bash and Random Relays, Ripton, Vt. The Rikert Nordic Center celebrates Robert Frost’s birthday with a day of races ending with Bob’s birthday cake and a grill. Costumes are encouraged. www.rikertnordic.com
20 Fatstock, Woodstock, Vt. Vermont Overland invites fatbike riders to a race around the trails at the Woodstock Country Club and Nordic Center. www.vermontoverland.com
3 Winterbike, East Burke, Vt.
9 Half Marathon Unplugged, Colchester, Vt.
Kingdom Trails hosts a day celebrating fatbike culture with group rides, demos, races, food and beverages. www.kingdomtrails.org
13 Frozen Onion, Montpelier, Vt. Fatbikers and snowshoers gather at Hubbard Park for a day of racing. Choose from bike or run divisions in men’s and women’s categories. An Abominable Snowman Duathlon will also be available. www.onionriver.com
13 Fat Cupid Fat Mountain Bike Race, Northfield, Vt. Bicycle Express presents a fatbike race with multiple laps on four-wheeler track. Course will include steep hills with switchbacks on the descents. Exact distances are to be announced. www.bikeexpressvt.com
RunVermont hosts a half marathon from Colchester to Burlington on a flat and fast course with views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. www.runvermont.org
OTHER EVENTS FEBRUARY 13 The Great Skate, Newport, Vt.
3 Vermont Overland Maple Adventure Ride, Reading, Vt. Vermont Overland presents their annual 27-mile, gravel grinder ride over class-four roads. www.vermontoverland.com
16 Rasputitsa, East Burke, Vt. Cyclists charge into spring with this 45-mile unsanctioned gravel ride through some of the Northeast Kingdom’s toughest terrain. www.rasputitsagravel.com
Ice skaters, dog sleds and cross-country skiers attempt a 25mile "border buster" skate from Newport, Vt. to Magog, Quebec. www.kingdomgames.co
27 Vermont Ultimate Ninja Athlete Qualifier, Essex, Vt. Obstacle course racers attempt to qualify for the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association’s regional competitions in this test of agility and strength. www.ultimateninja.net
23 Muddy Onion Spring Classic, Montpelier, Vt.
Explore 34 miles of Vermont’s scenic dirt roads and enjoy the fully supported ride followed by a legendary barbeque with chocolate-covered bacon, maple syrup shots and beer from The Alchemist. www.onionriver.com
5-6 Memphremagog Winter Swim Fest, Newport, Vt.
MARCH Mardi Gras revelers cheer on the racers in this fast run through downtown Burlington during the March Mardi Gras celebrations. www.magichatbrewing.com
As part of the St. Johnsbury World Maple Festival, runners complete an out-and-back 5K run on the local bike path and the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. www.runreg.com
6 Magic Hat Mardi Gras 1-Mile Fun Run, Burlington, Vt.
30 Sap Lap, St. Johnsbury, Vt.
19 EGGStravaganza 5K, Bennington, Vt. Runners collect Easter Eggs from bunnies during this family friendly 5K for a chance to win raffle prizes at the finish line. www.runreg.com
Kingdom Games hosts its second winter swimming festival with 25, 50, 100, and 200-meter distances. www.kingdomgames.co
18-19 Peak Snowshoe Race, Pittsfield, Vt. Peak Races hosts 10K, half-marathon, marathon and 100mile snowshoe races on a 6.5-mile loop with 1,200 vertical feet on each lap. www.peak.com
APRIL 30 Killington Triathlon, Killington, Vt. Killington holds the kind of triathlon it knows best: ski, bike and run all over the mountain in this spring event. www.killington.com
MARCH 13, 2016 ALL SKILL LEVELS WELCOME
Clothing and gear for every season
Registration $40 Killington/Pico day pass $35 Includes placement prizes, raffle entry & pizza party
O MELLY PIC S E ’R U O Y ELE TILL Ski & Sports
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By Karen Newman
RACING CANCER TRIATHLONS NOT ONLY HELPED THIS WOMAN SURVIVE CANCER, THEY HELPED CURE ANOTHER DISEASE — A DEEP, HIDDEN ADDICTION — AS WELL.
n March 18, 2008, I was fully immersed in training for the Triathlon Age-Group World Championships in Vancouver, BC. I had qualified the year before and the race was just three short months away. Then came the call from the doctor with the diagnosis from a recent test: I had advanced, aggressive stage-three breast cancer. “Chemo right away” was on the tip of every oncologist's tongue. Racing was unimaginable—it would mean exposing myself to multiple germs. But something inside me just couldn’t let go of my dream. It was somehow vital. I needed to race to prove to myself, my children, my family and the world that I was alive, strong, a warrior. I would fight the killer and keep my slot. It took three oncologists until I found one who was willing to take a chance on me. The one caveat was that my red and white blood cells could not drop into the danger zone. Having the goal of racing during cancer treatment was a blessing. It kept me moving forward and showing everyone, including myself, that the impossible just might be possible. But at the time the one thing no one knew (not my clients, my husband, my children, my friends, my doctors) was that I was also struggling with bulimia. My first fall into the world of eating disorders happened as a child. I was dyslexic and bullied. I allowed the negative words of the world to sink deep into my soul. They changed me. I no longer dreamed of possibility. Each day I picked up more negative words until that was all I heard from the minute I woke up to the minute I lay my head on the pillow. “You are stupid, fat, ugly, a witch” and on and on. I even developed my own words: “You are worthless, unloved and you might as well be dead.” Even though I studied dietetics at UVM, became a registered dietitian and even spoke out about eating disorders, I could not control my own secret addiction. Just weeks before the diagnosis of cancer, I had reached rock bottom. I was a full-blown bulimic. I no longer wanted to live. I could no longer take standing in front of large audiences speaking about good nutrition while the taste of bile lingered on my tongue or bold-faced lying in front of my family about the missing box of waffles. I was done with the addiction that had stolen so much of my life. And at that point, death seemed a better alternative than the daily living hell I found myself in. Cancer was, in fact, the unlikely lifeline that I needed to change. It surprisingly sparked a will to live. Instinctively I knew two things: If I kept bulimia as my best friend, I would surely die. And that God was allowing me to go through the experience of cancer because he could see the other side. Triathlon training was a wonderful respite from the pain and misery of chemo. And I was determined to break norms, rise up, and defeat the odds. It took everything I had. My body was weak from the toxic chemo
“I spoke encouraging words to myself for the first time in years and it made a huge difference. 'Karen you are feeling terrific, you are strong, you can do it. Nothing is impossible,' and so on."
In 2014, a healthy Newman made the U.S. Triathlon Team and went on to place second in her age group in the Worlds. Photo by Sharland Blanchard
and barfing all night long. But I refused to give power to the negative and instead reveled in small accomplishments—like getting my feet off the bed. I spoke encouraging words to myself for the first time in years and it made a huge difference. "Karen, you are feeling terrific, you are strong, you can do it. Nothing is impossible," and so on. Our minds and attitudes are crucial to our ability to succeed and break limits. My first race after chemo was a biathlon. Just minutes before the start of the race, I was throwing up in the bushes because of the chemo toxins I had been exposed to. But it didn’t matter as I focused on the pure joy of making it to the start line. High fiving my friends and fellow athletes boosted my confidence and joy. When the gun went off, I bolted to the front and pushed through the pain and the nausea. Again, I spoke encouraging, life-giving words. And I began to believe them. I placed fourth in my age division at that race and the seeds of triumph and possibility were planted. As my body weakened with each progressive chemotherapy treatment, my mind rallied. And love continued to be deposited into my soul. My family, teammates, coaches, doctors, friends and God all loved me back to life. Against all odds, I made it to the start of the Triathlon Age-Group World Championships in Vancouver
days after my fourth chemotherapy treatment. When the gun when off the adrenaline rush trumped all the hardships. It was the hardest race of my life. The weather was so bad that the officials had to cancel the swim after our wave went off. People were being pulled out of the water because of hypothermia. The dangerous waves added to the drama. My body was breaking down, but I refused to give up and somehow muscled my frozen shoulders through the icy water. Transition was a disaster because my fingers simply would not work, a combination of cold and chemo. On the bike, I nearly wiped out because hypothermia was settling in. Crossing the finish line second to last while the world and all my friends waited and cheered was glorious. It remains one of my greatest athletic accomplishments. Triathlon remains an enormous blessing in my life. I went on to stand on the podium at a World Championship race in 2012, this time not second to last, but second in the world. This year I am representing the USA at the Triathlon Age-Group World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico. Trials are often opportunities to grow, to transform and to discover gifts. Don’t be afraid of them. Words are powerful. They can shatter your world or empower you. My three words? Go for it. In her new book, “Just Three Words,” Karen Newman (a world-class triathlete and registered dietitian from South Burlington) writes about overcoming cancer and beating bulimia. Learn more at www.thekarennewman. com
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