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NEW ENGLAND’S OUTDOOR MAGAZINE ON THE COVER: Sue Johnston, on her way to hiking all 48 of New Hampshire's highest peaks in every month of 2016. Photo courtesy Sue Johnston


Angelo Lynn -


Lisa Lynn -


Emma Cotton



Dr. Nathan Endres, Dr. David Lisle, Dr. James Slauterbeck —University of Vermont Robert Larner College of Medicine; Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation


Sarah Tuff Dunn, Brian Mohr, Phyl Newbeck


Christy Lynn | (802) 388-4944

The Black Diamond Award winners are in! And the best ski area in Vermont goes to... See p.20 for all the results.

Photo courtesy Sugarbush Resort

ADVERTISING SALES Greg Meulemans | (802) 366-0689 Michael Giorgio | (802) 388-4944

5 The Start


Dave Honeywell | (802) 583-4653

By Lisa Lynn

Our favorite new gear for


EDITORIAL AND PRODUCTION OFFICE Vermont Sports | 58 Maple Street Middlebury, Vt. 05753 | 802-388-4944

Vermont Sports is independently owned and operated by Addison Press Inc., 58 Maple Street, Middlebury, Vt. 05753. It is published 9 times per year. Established in 1990. Vermont Sports subscriptions in the U.S.: one year $25. Canada: (US funds), please add $5 per year postage. Email

BE SOCIAL! Twitter: @Vermont_Sports

Will Vail Change Vermont?

6 Great Outdoors

Whitewater Season!

The rivers are running and here's where the action is.


Pro Tips: Fatbiking

Large and In Charge

Noah Tautfest dishes on how and where to fatbike.



Healing Tendons

A new medical approach uses your own blood to heal tendinosis. By Dr. David Lisle


Sidecountry Sweet

exploring the backcountry.



A Year at the Top

Here's how Sue Johnston hiked 48 of New Hampshire's highest peaks last year—every month.



2017 Black Diamond Awards

Who's the best in Vermont? Our readers choose their favorite shops, people, resorts and more.


Weekend Away

Spring Flings in Ludlow

Head to the Okemo Valley for spring corn snow and some sweet adventures.


Featured Athlete

Winter Endurance Racer

Meet Stephanie Manosh. By Phyl Newbeck



Race & Event Guide

34 Speak Up

Strength in Numbers

The outdoor industry bands together to protect land. By Mike Donohue


ADVERTISERS! The deadline for the May issue of Vermont Sports is April 15. Contact today to reserve your space!









Sat & Sun, Mar 25 – 26






FRENDLY GATHERING at MT. ELLEN Thu, Jun 29 – Sat, Jul 1



Thursdays, non-holiday

For more information on restaurants, activities and events call 800.53.SUGAR or visit


Community is Better at Sugarbush There’s something more to the Sugarbush experience than the legendary terrain variety, the meticulous snowmaking and grooming, the fabled history, and the authentic Vermont mountain setting. Come discover what makes Sugarbush different. For the best deals on season passes, discount tickets, lodging and more, visit




n the next few weeks, skiers and riders should start thinking about buying a 2017/18 ski season pass. Why? In the wake of Vail Resort's intended purchase of Stowe’s mountain operations, pre-season deals on 2017/18 season passes are coming out earlier (and are cheaper) this year. Sugarbush is now part of The Mountain Collective pass: a $399 (early pricing) pass that's valid for two days each at 17 resorts including Aspen, Telluride, Squaw Valley and Chamonix. Bolton Valley's Value 7 pass is $489, if you buy before April 3. Mount Snow announced on March 3 that its Peak Pass (good at seven ski areas around New England) is $599 for adults, if purchased by April 30. All three passes are about $100 cheaper than they were last September. Vail’s current Epic Pass went for $809 when it was announced on March 8, 2016 and its 2017/18 Epic Pass is expected to come out any day. This year it will include access to Stowe and Whistler/Blackcomb as well as Vail’s 12 other resorts. “This is going to bring more people to Vermont,” was the reaction that Parker Riehle, the president of Ski Vermont had after Vail Resorts' announcement. Vail Resorts' $50 million purchase includes all Stowe lifts, the land and leases the trails and ski operations are on, the Spruce Peak Camp and new Adventure Center and the Nordic center. It doesn’t include real estate, the Spruce Peak hotel, skating rink, Alpine Club, townhomes and condos or the buildings and former hotel near the Toll House base area. Around the state, resort operators from Sugarbush to Jay Peak were cautiously optimistic. “Vail has huge marketing power,” noted Win Smith, owner of Sugarbush Resort, “and I expect we’ll see a lot more Europeans coming here.” In a survey by our sister publication, VT Ski+Ride, 65 percent of respondents felt the purchase would be a good thing for Vermont’s skiers and riders. Nearly 81 percent thought it would bring the price of a season pass down. And 75 percent thought that lift lines and parking would take longer. For those worried that Vail’s purchase will bring crowds, Blaise Carrig is the guy to set your mind at ease—at least he did so as we took a few runs in late February. Carrig, 65, started out what he calls his “career as a ski bum,” in 1976 as a ski patroller at Sugarbush and worked his way up to become managing director there. Since 2002, he’s worked for Vail Resorts and ran Vail (the ski mountain) from 20082014. Carrig is now overseeing acquisitions.

“We don’t want our resorts to all be the same,” Carrig assured me. He promises the first thing Vail will address is the parking and traffic situation, which has been a problem on busy weekends this season. The Spruce Peak complex already has a 300- to 400-car parking garage on its Act 250 plan, which could repatriate some of the parking that spilled onto the Mt. Mansfield side. Vail also hopes to expand parking around the Mt. Mansfield base and at the Nordic center. “I don’t think you are going to see things get too much more crowded,” Carrig said. He also noted that Stowe would have the EpicMix app, which crowdsources skier locations to let you know about lift lines and traffic. It also provides snow condition updates, tracks your vertical, has a photo function and can share your location. As for the rumors that Vail might also buy Smuggler’s Notch? Smuggler’s Notch spokesperson Mike Chait said, “While we’re not actively for sale, we’d certainly be open to talking.” He noted that the resort might also be willing to reinstate an old policy o that allowed skiers to traverse between the two resorts and use their pass for one lift ride up the other side. When I asked Carrig about this, he smiled. “Well, that’s interesting,” he said. As for the other resorts? In this issue's Black Diamond Awards, our readers clearly told us what they loved and why. Privatelyowned Sugarbush won top honors, while locally-owned Bolton Valley was lauded for its backcountry and coop Mad River Glen for its tough terrain. One thing won't change: In Vermont, we love our independents. —Lisa Lynn, Editor

Après The Right Way

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Rolling on the river at the New Haven Ledges race in Bristol. Photo by Evan Johnson



he best part of mud season? Whitewater. As the snow melts and April showers begin to fall, Vermont’s rivers come alive. There are a few weeks when the whitewater reaches a sweet spot and the races are on. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it—the rapids come and go in a flash. (Pro tip: keep an eye on for water level updates.) To get your stoke on, head to the Reel Paddling Film Festival at Burlington's Outdoor Gear Exchange on April 13. —Emma Cotton NEW HAVEN LEDGES RACE, APRIL 1 The New Haven River's classic run, called “The Ledges,” gives you a big bang for your buck, with boulder gardens, slides and waterfalls tucked into 1.3 miles of whitewater. And it all runs alongside Lincold Rd. in Bristol. When water levels are at their normal height, this stretch of river is characterized as a challenging Class IV (on a scale from Class I to VI, with one being easy and six extremely dangerous). Kayakers navigate several drops off the ledges before the “The Toaster,” a 15-foot drop that plunges into a pool, then sprint out, slapping a nearby buoy to stop the clock. FIDDLEHEAD SLALOM, APRIL 14 The Fiddlehead slalom, part of New England Slalom Series, sends you slaloming through a number of suspended gates on the Winooski River. Challenge yourself to hit every gate on the course near Montpelier, which takes you through Class II and higher rapids. Canoers and kayakers of all abilities can get a feel for the course by helping with set-up the day before, a process that involves hanging gates from wires above the river. RIVERFEST­, APRIL 20-23 Dartmouth College’s Ledyard Canoe Club hosts this Upper Valley waterfest. On Saturday, nationally-ranked kayakers go head-to-head in the Mascoma Slalom, the oldest consecutively run slalom event in the country. The fun continues Sunday with the Wells River Rumble, a mass-start, downriver race that includes a Class IV rapid. The Wells, a tributary of the Connecticut River, drops a total of 86 feet over the length of the one-mile course. ONION RIVER RACE & RAMBLE, JUNE 4 Canoe or kayak through the Green Mountains in Vermont’s largest river race (coming in at 125 participants last year). The course starts near Bolton and takes you ten miles down the Winooski River. Register in teams or individually, then cruise to the finish for a postpaddle and live music. This race invites both experts and casual paddlers to join in.


NEWS BRIEFS THE WINNER’S CIRCLE Vermonters have been standing on podiums around the world in recent weeks. On Feb. 19, in Austria, Craftsbury biathlete Susan Dunklee became the first American woman to ever win an individual medal at a Biathlon Worlds. She led the women’s mass start and much of the race before she was overtaken by the overall World Cup leader from Germany. Dunklee landed on the podium with silver. This finish also means she’s the first American woman guaranteed a spot at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea. Earlier in February, freeskier Devin Logan (West Dover), and Nordic racers Sophie Caldwell (Peru), Ida Sargent (Orleans) and Liz Stephen (Montpelier) tested out the slopes of Pyeongchang, South Korea—the venue for the 2018 winter Olympics—at the first World Cup event ever staged in Asia. “The pipe here is hands down the best I’ve ridden, ever,” Devin Logan told ESPN magazine. Logan went on to score second place in the women’s ski comp. Caldwell and Sargent landed a bronze in the women’s team Nordic sprint, and Sargent took third in the women’s final, a career first podium. Stephen showed

Susan Dunklee is aiming high. The Craftsbury biathlete took silver at the 2017 Worlds in February. Photo courtesy Susan Dunklee

her climbing skills to earn silver in the 7.5 kilometer skiathlon. Cochran cousins Robby Kelly and Ryan Cochran-Siegle were both named

k c a d n o r i AMadrathon Distance Festival

to the U.S. World Championship ski team. Ryan Cochran-Siegle, scored 25th in the giant slalom at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz in February. Elle Anderson recorded her best result to date at the Cyclocross World Championships in Luxembourg in January. She placed eleventh this year, moving up from last year, when she placed fourteenth.

VERMONT SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTS 12 NEW MEMBERS This April, the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame (not affiliated with Vermont Sports magazine) inducts a dozen athletes, bringing the total number of members to 61. Among the class of 2017

are: John

Caldwell, an Olympic Nordic skier, author and coach; Lindy Cochran Kelley, who won the US Skiing national slalom title in 1973 and the giant slalom championship in 1976; Austrian Helmet Lenes, a celebrated mountain

Last Rac e 2017 US Adirond ATF ack Gra Prix Rac nd e Series

guide who moved to Vermont in 1968, where he established Climb High in Shelburne; and Martha Rockwell, a member of the first USA women’s Nordic ski team.

Also named: Tad Coffin who, with his

horse, Bally Cor, was the second Vermonter to bring home two Olympic gold medals in a single year;



a Half M

DeMar, (b. 1888–d.1953) a distance runner

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Tony Robitaille, one

of Vermont’s greatest boxers; Clarence

Joseph Whalen with his record 25.54 lb. freshwater drum. Photo courtesy VT Fish & Wildlife

TWO FISHERMEN SET RECORDS In February, Vermont Fish & Wildlife formally congratulated John Konya of Bradford and Joseph Whalen Jr. for record catches. Fishing with a nightcrawler and silver spinner on Miller Pond in West Fairlee in August, Konya caught a record bluegill that weighed 1.98 pounds, measuring 12.25 inches long and 12.5 inches in girth. Whalen landed the new Vermont record for the freshwater drum, which weighed 25.54 pounds and measured 34.5 inches in length. He caught the beast in Lake Champlain.

who won the Boston Marathon a record seven times and earned an Olympic bronze medal in the marathon; and Betsy Snite Riley (b. 1938–d. 1984), the second American to win an Olympic alpine medal in 1960.

In team sports, inductees include:

Missy Foote, who has dedicated herself to the Middlebury College field hockey team; Guy Gaudreau, who led in scoring for both his high school and college soccer and ice hockey; Ed Markey, a student-athlete who became Saint Michael’s director of athletics, and coached the basketball team through successful seasons for 19 years; Bernie Cieplicki, (d. 1999) a leader in bringing basketball to Vermont and Dan Fillion, (d. 2015) a sportswriter who worked at the Burlington Free Press and the St. Albans Messenger. For full bios on the inductees, see —Emma Cotton


PRO RIDER NOAH TAUTFEST SHARES HIS TIPS ON GEARING UP AND GETTING IN SHAPE FOR FATBIKING. Tautfest, on his way to winning the Stowe Derby in 2015, the first year a fatbike division was included. Photo courtesy Noah Tautfest




atbiking is huge right now. From coast to coast, some 100,000 fatbikes are rolling around the country, according to Gary Sjoquist, the advocacy director for QBP, which gathers statistics on the state of the cycling industry. The fatbiking business generates more than $50 million per year and doubled every year from 2012 to 2015 And that’s all the more true in Vermont, where winter lasts until April. With events like Uberwintern (held at Stowe’s Trapp Family Lodge in January), Fatstock (held in Woodstock in late February) and Winterbike (the first weekend in March at Kingdom Trails), fatbike festivals are taking off. “But fatbikes aren’t just for winter,” says Sjoquist. “Dual suspension and lightweight components have made them the go-to bike for a lot of riders during the warmer months, too. And it’s not just hard-core mountain bikers riding fatbikes. With the low seat heights, easy gearing and cartoonish tires, a lot of non-cyclists purchase them just to be able to ride around on frozen lakes or beaches.” With that in mind, we reached out to Sjoquist and Noah Tautfest for their pro tips.

GEAR UP “Adjusting tire pressures down into the single digits is critical when riding a fatbike,” says Sjoquist. “Too much air in the tires, and the tires will dig in and no longer float on the snow. Most fat bike riders have too much air in their tires when they try to ride on snow.” The sweet spot for tire pressure on a 4-inch or 5-inch fatbike tire is 4 to 8 psi, he adds. “Long-time mountain bikers might have a hard time wrapping their heads around such low pressures,” says Sjoquist. “With fatbikes, it’s about traction, not speed, and you need those big tires to flex.” Sjoquist also points to pogies (large covers that attach to the handlebars, typically with some kind of plug and a Velcro fastener around the brake or shifter cables) as critical if you want to ride yearround. “You can ride in cold weather but have your hands protected from wind,” he says. “At first, they may seem cumbersome, but you’ll be surprised that you can shift and brake like normal inside the big covers.” Then there’s your personal apparel. “When riding a fatbike, many people overdress with too many layers, or wrap themselves in large or bulky garments,” says Sjoquist. “As soon as you start riding, even slowly, you start to generate heat. And if you’re overdressed, you’ll get tired out more quickly. The key things to keep warm are your toes and fingers.”

GET FIT TO RIDE “Cardiovascular fitness in general is great for fatbiking,” says Tautfest, who relies on running (about 3 miles) or cross-country skiing in the winter to stay in shape for the sport.

Airing it out on the Cady Hill trails of Stowe during January's Uberwintern fatbike festival. Photo by Grant Weiler

He also gets a cardio kick from fatbiking itself and in the spring transitions to mountain biking to spike his heart rate. Tautfest also switches between longer, endurance rides of about 8 miles early on in the season to more short intervals as he prepares to peak for a race. “Try intervals of 3 minutes on, 1 minutes off, and do three sets of those,” he says. “It’s a short, punchy workout you could be doing twice a week at most; balance between recovery and effort, recovery and effort for the maximum effects out of a building process.” Balance exercises are key, too, adds Tautfest, who recommends using a balance or BOSU ball do to one- or two-handed planks. “Do different types of squats, too, to get to the next level,” he says. “It seems like it doesn’t make sense, but on the fatbike it really makes a difference and helps you control the bike.”


the state. “One of the really great things about the sport is being able to ride at night,” says Sjoquist. “You may not get home from work until after dark, but with a couple of inexpensive bike lights—a white one mounted on the handlebars and a red blinking light mounted on the seat post, you’ll be amazed at how much light will be shining on the trail, and how cool riding at night is.” And with a bit of snow on the ground, the light will reflect, making visibility even better. Tautfest adds that compared with mountain biking, you’ll find yourself sitting on the seat more, just letting the tires roll and enjoying the scenery. Just be prepared with a fresh tube of Colgate toothpaste at home, however; that big white smile plastered on your face just might get plastered with mud this spring. “Get ready to have some fun,” says Tautfest.

THINK AHEAD “Fatbiking is a slower pace than road biking and mountain biking," says Tautfest. "Your surroundings, and knowing the conditions you’re riding in, are really important.” This is especially true in spring’s unpredictable conditions. Approaching a knoll could also mean approaching snow, ice, or mud, or all three. “You have to think 5 feet ahead of you at all times,” says Tautfest, who adds that Vermont’s unpredictable winters can be great for the sport. “When the conditions are bad for skiing, they are often awesome for fatbiking. You can’t really go out and ride a fatbike in powder after a three-foot snowstorm, but if it’s been warm, with a meltdown to hard pack, you’ll get a ton of grip.” Even the longer spring days can still feel short to Vermonters, which is another reason fatbiking is gaining traction in


ome of the state's best mountain bike trail networks, including Kingdom Trails, are putting as much effort into grooming or prepping trails for winter fatbiking as they are

for summer treads. But just as many trail networks also frown on—or forbid—fatbiking so it’s best to know where to go. This past year, the Vermont State Parks started a pilot program allowing fatbikes on a limited number of trail networks. Included in the pilot were Central Vermont trails in East Coolidge State

Nordic or VAST snowmobile trails and how to help preserve trails. For that guide, maps and information, visit http:// That said, there are plenty of places that welcome and even cater to fatbikes and provide rental bikes, starting at about $15 an hour. In the northern part of the state, Kingdom Trails grooms 25 kilometers of trails and you can rent fatbikes at East Burke Sports or the Village Sports Shop. Jay Peak’s Nordic center also provides bikes and trail access.

Forest, near Plymouth and the D&H Rail Trail near Castleton. In

Near Burlington, Catamount Outdoor Center opens all 20

Groton State Forest, the Butterfield Loop, Depot Brook and Seyon

miles and has rentals and Rikert Nordic Center, in Hancock has 55

Lodge trails were opened. And in the Stowe/Waterbury area, loops

kilometers of trails, as well as rentals.

were approved in Camel’s Hump State Park and an extensive trail network that connects Little River State Park and Cottonbrook. The state also published a helpful guide to fatbike etiquette, which is critical to follow if we hope to keep expanding trail

In southern Vermont, Ascutney, Grafton Ponds and Stratton Mountain Resort all offer fatbiking trails and nearby rentals. For a full list of trail networks and trail conditions, visit the Vermont Mountain Biking Association,

access. The guide includes rules of the road when riding on






s an athlete, there may come a time when you suffer from chronic pain due to tendon injuries, such as tennis elbow or jumper’s knee. Tendon injuries can be very painful and difficult to heal—even with rest, medications and physical therapy. Standard treatment can include medication, physical therapy and sometimes even surgery. But there’s another option, a relatively new approach that involves injecting your own blood into the injury to stimulate healing. The University of Vermont Medical Center is one of the only centers in the region that offers platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP). Dr. David Lisle, M.D., an orthopedic sports medicine physician at the UVM Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at the UVM Larner College of Medicine, explains.

VS: What’s the theory behind this PRP process? DL: The whole idea of re-injecting platelets in an area is get the body to recognize an injury and jumpstart the inflammation process that begins the healing. When we do the procedure, we create a small injury to let the body know that tendon needs to be healed. The platelets are just a more robust method to allow the


Tendinosis like "tennis elbow" happens with repeated tearing of the tendons. That's when PRP might help.

The literature shows that most patients respond. I think the percentages out there are between 66 to 75 percent.

Vermont Sports: How do you get tendonitis in the first place and why is it so painful and hard to heal? DL: Tendons connect our muscles to bones, via many thousands of threads. Think of uncooked spaghetti, if you will: tendons have a very organized, linear pattern. They also typically have relatively poor blood supply and they are subject to different stresses. For instance, the rotator cuff sees some tensile or stretching type stress as well as compressive forces. The Achilles mostly sees some tensile stress, as well. Each tendon has its own load that can be subject to injury over time. With tendinosis, over time injuries create small, microscopic tears in that tendon and the body tries to heal those. With repeated, back-and-forth tearing and healing, the body shuts down the attempt to heal and often that tendon becomes stagnant in a painful state.

body to recognize an injury and heal it. Platelets are very pro-inflammatory and inflammation is the first stage of healing.

VS: Just what are platelets? DL: Platelets are in our blood and we know them most commonly as a blood clotter— when we cut ourselves, they clot the blood. They also have a very powerful ability to signal to other cells and start the healing process when we damage our tissues. VS: When people give blood, they just take the platelets out, right? DL: Most of the time when you donate blood, they do leave the platelets in. Those are primarily blood donations to harvest red blood cells. When we do PRP, we’re actually trying to remove those red blood cells from the preparation before treatment. VS: How do you do that? DL: It’s as simple as a blood draw at our office and much less blood is taken than what you would have if you’re donating blood. It’s usually anywhere from 30 to 60 cc’s. Then we take that blood and we put it in a centrifuge and spin it down, remove the red blood cells and just take the platelets.

VS: Then it’s a process of reintroducing those to the area where there’s trouble? DL: Right. Depending on where the patient may have trouble we use special imaging modality with ultrasound. Musculoskeletal ultrasound helps us see the damaged tissue, and we just re-inject the platelets into the area with a needle. Often, we’ll create a small injury to that area, it’s a controlled injury to help stimulate healing while we inject the platelets. VS: So the “intentional” injury helps draw healing elements to that area. Does it hurt and how long does it take to heal? DL: We use some anesthetic to help numb the area. I liken it to having a tooth pulled. Initially, with the numbing medicine, it feels pretty good and when that wears off, patients do feel it a bit. It’s like getting a bee sting, but the platelets activate pretty much immediately and they begin that healing process. That being said, tendons

HEALTH are very slow movers when they heal. I’m very careful to let patients know that this is not a quick fix. The PRP injection is just the beginning of the process and it can be six weeks to even three months before the tendon is close to its normal state. VS: How well does it work? DL: The literature shows that most patients respond—I think the percentages out there are somewhere between 66 and 75 percent. In my experience, that’s about right. But not everybody responds to PRP, and we’re not entirely sure why. Some patients aren’t able to rest after the procedure, which slows the process. Also, if they have more severe symptoms coming in, healing is harder. I’d say about three fourths will respond. VS: Do certain tendon injuries respond better? DL: Each tendon has its own challenges. The most common one might be the lateral epicondyle, which is the tennis elbow, the lateral part of the elbow, and the medial epicondyle also called golfer’s elbow. Those

seem to respond pretty well. I’d say the Achilles tendon and the rotator cuff tendon respond the least and are on the lower side of the percentages for healing. VS: How long do you need to be quiet? DL: After the procedure, we like to immobilize the joint for 48 hours. If we can get a patient to take a week or even two weeks off of any heavy manual labor, that’s very helpful. Sometimes it’s just not possible. Some folks need to go back to work after three or four days. After the procedure, I am careful to give them a note for work. They either get a sling or a knee immobilizer or a walking boot to keep that joint shut down for a few days. They also get a physical therapy referral, which starts at the two week mark, and that’s extremely important for the whole process. VS: Who are the best candidates? DL: Anybody with tendinosis is a potential candidate. We do, obviously, have a visit to discuss the procedure and also get a sense of how severe the tendinosis is. One thing

to consider, too, is that most insurances do not cover PRP except for Workers Compensation. One of the barriers, unfortunately, is cost. But we have worked hard to keep the cost of PRP down to help provide it for as many patients as possible. VS: Are insurance companies coming around on that? DL: At the moment, it’s still listed as an experimental procedure and as more and more literature shows a positive result, I think it will shift to a covered procedure. VS: How long has PRP been around? DL: It started in ’06 at Stanford University. The initial studies were only on the elbow and the studies were so positive that other scientists started looking at platelets a little more carefully. A lot of the studies on tendon repair are done in Scandinavia and a lot of those articles and experiments are extremely positive. It’s been around for over 10 years now and taken hold. I would say that almost everywhere in the country, there are folks using platelets to heal tendons.

VS: Can you use PRP for other injuries? DL: I do get asked to do PRP injections for injuries in places that have no studies or no literature to base that procedure on. For instance, most recently somebody asked to have PRP in the AC joint, the acromioclavicular joint, a smaller joint on the top of the shoulder. There really is no evidence for PRP to work in that region, so I wasn’t really comfortable taking that leap. VS: For the folks for whom it doesn’t work, what happens then? DL: It depends. If there’s a partial response and we’re just not quite where we want to be, sometimes we’ll try a second PRP. If we had absolutely no response to the platelets, then in certain instances, we do look into a surgical correction. But we do know that the surgery is for tendinopathies or for tendinosis is not 100 percent successful either. That’s why we like to do the noninvasive or minimally invasive procedures first.




G3 Scala climbing skins

Seirus Transpack

Osprey Kamber

Peak 10

Scarpa Maestrale


emember powder and skinning? After a miserable 2015/16 season, winter came back with a vengeance in February, giving us a chance to test out some of the new ski and backcountry gear. Scarpa’s Maestrale RS and Gea RS, $729 (the Gea women’s model, shown here) have that 120 flex that earns respect on hardpack, ice and steeps. But they also have a ski/walk function and a 37-degree range of motion so you can bootpack out to your favorite sidecountry. The boots also weigh in at just 3 lbs., 7 oz. so if you are doing more uphill than downhill, you’ll be happy. While there are other newer models on the market that claim to be great alpineto-backcountry crossovers or backcountryto-alpine boots, this one is in the sweet spot that could make it your quiver-of-one boot.


If you’re someone who has a long drive to the mountain and you’re not one to go into the lodge to put your boots on, (or you are nowhere near a lodge) you will love the Seirus Transpack Heated Boot Pro ($199). We do, and not just for the fact that we can plug the bag into the 12-v outlet (formerly known as the cigarette lighter) to keep boots warm on the drive. You can also charge the pack at home and it has three heat settings. Best, it has a snug, lowprofile fit but enough pockets and straps to hold all your gear. In most instances in the Northeast, there’s probably not enough avalanche risk to warrant an inflatable ABS airbag (though slides do occur). But know that if you have the Osprey Kamber ABSCompatible ($230) pack, you can zip

an ABS Vario airbag system to it. The pack comes in two sizes (22 and 42 liters of volume) and can carry skis or snowboards and with multiple straps, there’s the option for A-frame or diagonal carries for skis and horizontal or vertical for boards. We love the fact that it has well-insulated hydration system that doesn’t seem to get clogged with ice. Speaking of getting clogged with ice, that’s a complaint we have had about some pairs of climbing skins. But not the new G3 Scala climbing skins ($209). What’s different about these is the first part of the skin has the Hybrid Tip Connector, a section of urethane scales that cuts through deep snow with a little less resistance than the traditional nylon (or mohair) skins. They also pack down fairly easily and lie flatter than most skins, something we always appreciate.

Now that the sun is starting to shine again, don’t forget the sunscreen. Though temperatures may still be cold, snow can reflect 85 to 95 percent of the sun’s ultra violet rays and UV exposure rises by 10 percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level, according to the World Health Organization. Skincare executive Connie Elder developed Peak 10 Skin Colorado Sunscreen ($28 for 4 oz.) with that in mind. The SPF 30 sunscreen uses natural minerals and titanium dioxide to block the rays in a lotion that also contains soothing green tea and aloe. We tried it during those near-record warm sunny days in February and loved the non-greasy feel and the fact that it doesn’t actually absorb into the skin, which makes it non-allergenic. And yes, it works in Vermont.








17 | 18

17 | 18



A YEAR TOP at the



On 44 days, Sue logged more than 20 miles a day, often traveling light and alone. Photo courtesy Sue Johnston


WHAT’S IN HER PACK? While Sue Johnston doesn't hike with a Personal Locator Device she carries an iPhone and extra battery charger and uses the iHike app. In winter, she usually carries: Emergency bivvy Chemical handwarmers Huge puffy down jacket Insulated pants, (which she rarely put on) Black Diamond mittens Thermos of hot tea Snowshoes, crampons, or microspikes Food, water, extra hat, extra gloves Matches, first aid iPhone and GPS app, battery charger Headlamps, batteries


here are 48 summits in the White Mountains that rise above 4,000 feet in elevation. Some hikers set a lifetime goal of climbing them all. Others try to hike all 48 peaks during the winter months only. “Gridiots” devote years to scaling each of the peaks in all 12 months of the year. And then there’s Sue Johnston. On Dec. 26, 2016, the Northeast Kingdom native completed what her fellow hikers thought was impossible: she climbed all 48 peaks every month, for a calendar year. Yes, that’s 12 times 48—a total of 576 peaks climbed in 2016. “The accomplishment was what I aimed for, but it’s the journey that makes me happiest,” Sue said after reaching Mt. Pinkham, the last summit in her list, the day after Christmas. “I’m not really a religious person, but I find hiking to be a spiritual process. There’s deep meaning and purpose in nature. The long hours alone on a trail are inspiring and peaceful.”

SUE JOHNSTON’S YEAR 3,181, miles hiked 1,001,820, vertical feet climbed 206/366, days hiked over 4,000 feet (includes other, non New Hampshire 48 hikes) 289/576, GRID peaks soloed 599 total peaks summited over 4,000 feet. 12,632 highest elevation reached (Santa Fe Baldy, New Mexico, not a GRID peak!) 44, days hiked over 20 miles 3, days with over 10,000 feet of climbing    294.6, miles for highest mileage month,  September 210, miles for lowest mileage month, October 20, times (as least) hiked the Lincoln Woods Trail 0, days I didn’t feel like hiking

CONQUERING THE “GRID” Hiking all 48 peaks in every month of the year is a feat called the “Grid,” and it has taken hikers years to accomplish. The name comes from a spreadsheet 48 rows deep (representing the 48 mountains) and 12 columns wide (one for each month of the year). The website states that a hiker who wishes to remain anonymous first completed the task in 1989. Since then, 68 other hikers have

added their names to the list. No one had done it in one calendar year. “This has never been done before,” says Mike Dickerman, a hiking historian and

owner of Bondcliff Books in Littleton. An avid hiker himself, Dickerman co-wrote The 4,000 Footers of the White Mountains: A Guide and History.

Sue is no stranger to endurance hiking. She has hiked the entire length of these eastern trails: Cohos, NorthSouth, Catamount, Long Trail (four times), Appalachian, MonadnockSunapee Greenway, Laurel Highlands and Massanutten. Out west, she’s completed Backbone, Colorado, John Muir, Wonderland, High Sierra, Ouachita, Tuscarora, and the Alta Via 1. She has hiked no less than 50 miles in each state and stood on each state’s high point (aside from a mere 400 feet left to go on Mt. Denali in Alaska), a goal she set and accomplished before her 50th birthday this year. She also has finished 100 ultra-races, including 26 100-mile races. She skied the entire 326 miles—the length of Vermont —on the Catamount trail during a 26-day adventure that she spread out over two months. Her fourth time hiking the Long Trail, she completed the entire hike in nine and a half days. “I enjoy being outside,” she said in a recent interview in Littleton, N.H. “I feel healthy. I also like numbers. I like lists and checking things off. I’m weird that way.” She lives by the philosophy, “Every day’s a holiday; every meal’s a feast.” Growing up in the Northeast Kingdom, Sue wasn’t much of an athlete. “My family was not active,” she says. “I didn’t do sports in school and it wasn’t encouraged.” After graduating St. Johnsbury Academy, she went to Champlain College. “I was a smoker and didn’t quit until I was 20,” she admits.


Cutline here Photo by

Then she began hiking and running and doing longer hikes. In 2003, after 15 years of hikes, she became the third person to complete the Grid. The idea of trying to complete the Grid in a single calendar year didn’t occur to her until nearly the end of 2015. “It started as an idea,” she remembered. “But then I thought, why not?” She put one foot in front of another, turned her face to the wind and started her quest Jan. 1, 2016 with a 12.8-mile hike and 5,500 feet gain in elevation traversing the summits of Mt. Moosilauke and Mt. Tecumseh. “Last winter was mild, which greatly helped my success,” she said. Sue checked weather reports constantly before any climb, and made last minute decisions on where she would hike. “Mt. Washington is not a mountain I want to hike on a particularly windy day. High winds and cold rain will keep me from hitting the trails. I’m driven, but I prefer to be safe.” The summits above tree-line are saved for days with the best weather. “I also should take more pictures than I do. It’s incredibly beautiful on many of these summits, but I like to stay warm and my hands get cold easily. I prefer to get to the summit and back down, or to move on to the next summit quickly.”

HOW SHE DID IT Sue admits she’s blessed to be able to live an abundant amount of her life hiking nearby mountains. “I was traveling to the White Mountains from our home in Danville each time I hiked," she says. "We had been planning to sell our home this past year and it sold, it was like a door opened. We decided to rent a house in Littleton while we were looking for a new home in Vermont. That allowed us to be closer to the trails and cut down on travel time." She also notes that there are three other factors a person absolutely needs before attempting to complete the Grid in a year: "You wouldn’t


now retired and working as a consultant,

Sue didn't only hike the Whites, she added in some side trips. Just for fun.

no longer travels as much as he once did for work. Sue used to occasionally accompany

Photo courtesy Sue Johnston.

Chris on his business trips, but other times she would use the time he was away to hike or run. During this time, she began to enjoy hiking alone. “I like lacing up my shoes and hitting the trail,” she said. “I get lost in my own mind, or I let things go. Either way, hiking alone is peaceful.” She has three pairs of hiking shoes but often casts those aside for the cushy comfort of her Hoka One running shoes. When asked to choose a favorite season for hiking, Sue smoothed her brown hair, leaned her elbows on the table and paused to think. “Hmmm. Well, summer is great for hiking with long hours of daylight. I’m a morning person and like to be on the trails before the sun comes up. But in the winter, I have the disadvantage of a late sunrise and an early sunset. I prefer to start my hikes and end them on the same day. I like a hot shower, meals, a good beer, the comfort of my two kitties and my own bed. It’s harder to log the same number of miles in the winter as one does in the summer. I’d say I prefer summer hiking for that reason.” Still, her miles in any given day, even in winter, are impressive. On 44 days, she logged more than 20 miles in a day.

Cutline here

She can only think of one minor injury

Photo by

that has happened, an injury that wasn’t significant enough to cause her to lose any trail time.

want to have kids at home; you’d have to be retired or have enough money to take time off for the year; you need to be in good health.” Sue adds a fourth “must” to her list: a strong support person or team. Her husband Chris Scott—a former ultra runner and avid hiker—is her lifeline and, endearingly, her greatest fan. “He cooks for me, packs real food, keeps me supplied with essential gear, drops me

off at trailheads and picks me up at the end of a hike. Sometimes we hike together, though.” She looked at Chris. He nodded and smiled, but admitted he only joins her for a small percentage of her hikes. Occasionally, she is joined by friends. Sue quit her job as a medical transcriber when she was 40. “We’re not wealthy, but we live frugally and simply,” she says. Sue doesn’t have children (unless you consider her two beloved rescue cats) and Chris,

“I believe I owe my health to the fresh air,” she said. “Being outside in clean air is good for my body. There is definitely a difference in how I feel when I spend time inside versus outside.” Surprisingly, Sue doesn’t follow a nutritional plan. “I eat when I want to eat. When I’m hungry.” She points to her pizza and craft beer and laughs. “I love food. Chris feeds me real food.” She admits that she had been strict about her nutrition plan years

Winter at the top of the world often found Sue alone, surrounded by snow. Photo courtesy

YOU NEVER CLIMB THE SAME MOUNTAIN TWICE A quote by travel writer Lito Tejada-Flores, which she posts on her blog, runsuerun., sums up her sentiment about the mountains more concisely, “You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountains, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves.” As for the hikes, Sue doesn’t seem to favor the easiest routes. On the contrary, she keeps it interesting by completing as many personal challenges as possible. For the month of July, she decided to complete the 48 peaks Direttissima-style. Direttissima is Italian for “most direct route.” For Sue, it meant returning to the spot she left off

hiking the previous day. According to Sue’s blog, this means climbing the 4,000 footers in the most direct manner using only trails and roads, starting at one end and walking all the way to the other. The Direttissima took 10 days of hiking to complete, with four days off for poor weather conditions. Her main goal was to have fun and speed wasn’t a priority. Most days she would go home at night to sleep and return to the spot where she finished the day before to continue her route. It took her 119 hours to cover 234 miles with 74,000 feet of elevation gain. She hiked 37 of the 48 peaks alone, and the remaining 11 with Chris. Her blog proclaims Day 5 of the Direttissima, “Wild Kingdom Day.” On this day, Sue watched a fox run with a gallonsized bag of dog food in its mouth. Later, a deer ran across the road. Encountering wildlife is one of the perks of hiking. “Once,” she said, “I was attacked by a grouse. It came at me and just started attacking my legs. I’d hate to think the damage it could have done if I’d had shorts on.” But then Sue talks about other sights on the trail. “Once we met a man who was hiking with nothing more than a thong on. I don’t know what he was thinking, but Chris and I couldn’t stop laughing.” Then there’s the hiker who figured out that Sue


Sue Johnston kept a log and blogged about her journey on Here’s what her December included. Note: missing days were rest days. 1. Tecumseh - 4.2 miles, 2200 ft. 2.  Carrigain - 10 miles, 3350 ft. 3.   North Twin, South Twin, Galehead, Garfield - 15.5 miles, 5100 ft.  4.  Owls Head - 16.5 miles, 2900 ft. 5.  North Kinsman, South Kinsman - 10 miles, 3900 ft. 6.  Jackson, Pierce, Eisenhower - 12.4 miles, 3750 ft. 

When the hiker went into detail about how Sue should finish the Grid, she just looked at him and said 'I've got this,' and took off.

ago, but no longer pays much attention to her diet since she mostly eats healthy foods. She also is hard-pressed to choose a favorite mountain. “I like that I’m hiking them in all months of the year. I’ve noticed that a mountain I might not have admired before often becomes more interesting the next time I hike it. I never really dislike any of my hikes. Well, there is Owls Head,” she smirks and gently nudges Chris. “I mean, who really likes Owls Head besides you?” They share a tease, but Sue quickly admits that she’s grown to appreciate that hike.

was attempting to complete the Grid in a year. When he went into detail about how she should finish the Grid, she just looked at him and said, “I’ve got this,’ and took off to do just that. A follower of her blog figured out her plan when she posted, “Halfway!!!” in June. That follower anonymously posted, “… this [Grid] is something a friend of mine and I discussed last year and deemed nearly impossible. We figured it would take someone getting paid by a sponsor. We apparently figured wrong. Good luck in December.” What drives her to attempt and

7. Waumbek - 8 miles, 2800 ft. 8.  North Tripyramid, South Tripyramid, Whiteface, Passaconaway - 16 miles, 5400 ft.  9.  Cabot - 7.8 miles, 2750 ft. 11.  Wildcat D, Wildcat A, Carter Dome, South Carter, Middle Carter - 14.5 miles, 5900 ft. 13.   Bondcliff, Bond, West Bond, Zealand - 23 miles, 4550 ft 14.  Moriah - 8 miles, 2800 ft.  15.  Cannon - 3.5 miles, 2200 ft. 16.  East Osceola, Osceola - 7.6 miles, 3120 ft. 17.  Hale - 9 miles, 2400 ft.

accomplish such goals? “It’s fun. It has to stay fun,” she explained. “If I’m not enjoying myself, there’s no sense in doing it. When it stops being fun, I quit. It’s as simple as that.” Sue admits that she likes lists and she likes setting goals. “I usually I have an A goal or a B goal. I like to aim high. The most important thing for me is to enjoy what I’m doing. I got into running and ultra running for about 15 years or so. Then it got more popular. It used to be this fringe, unknown thing. Now you have 1,000 people vying for 150 spots. The whole competition thing got old. I wanted to just be out there on the trail versus competing against other people. What will come next? Sue simply shrugs. “Everyone asks me that. I don’t know. Maybe we’ll move closer to Kingdom Trails. That’s a beautiful area with plenty of outdoor recreation. I don’t see myself getting serious about mountain biking, although I do enjoy it. I’ll also enjoy spending more time with my kitties and Chris. There will be more time for yoga. Probably at first I won’t know what to do with myself, but I’m sure there will be something. There’s always something. It’s one day at a time.” Sue logs her accomplishments on her blog. Just as the trail conditions and seasons change, so does the flora and the animal patterns. She posted a picture of crimson leaves in September. By October, the songbirds disappeared with the leaves and the conifers provide additional shelter for the numerous chickadees and shrub jays. With only two months left to go, Sue logged October’s 48 peaks onto her blog and marched into November. Ah, November. Perhaps to give herself additional motivation in this second-to-last month of her feat, she posted, “Courage is staring into the unknown and taking that first step. Faith is the belief that you’ll see it through.” She concludes with, “November was eventful…its ending marked the beginning of my last month in the Calendar Year GRID quest. Nearing the end of this(and any) big project I have pursued; my feelings are all over the place, happily satisfied to be almost ‘done’ but also quite sad that December will be the last time I ‘must’ climb these mountains.” This article originally appeared in The North Star Monthly

19. Moosilauke - 10.6 miles, 2900 ft. 20.  Monroe, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison 15.3 miles, 6050 ft.  21.  Field, Willey, Tom - 10 miles, 3450 ft. 23.  Flume, Liberty, Lincoln, Lafayette - 13 miles, 5650 ft.  24.  North Hancock, South Hancock - 9.8 miles, 2700 ft. 26.  Isolation - 12.5 miles, 3400 ft.  28.  Old Speck - 7.6 miles, 3000 ft. 29.  Parker Mtn. - 4.5 miles, 950 ft. 30.  Mt. Martha - 3.8 miles, 1900 ft. 31. Bald Cap Peak Ledge - 6 miles, 2000 ft.  Total: 237.2 miles, 77,270 ft.



“WHAT’S THE BEST IN VERMONT?” we asked in our annual Black Diamond Survey. This year, more of you answered than ever. You told us about your favorite shops and items of gear, the places you love to recreate and where you go to chill out after. And lastly, you voted for the people who made a difference to Vermont’s outdoor scene and who inspired you. Herewith, the winners and runners up:

This sweet run through the woods is one reason why Vermonters love Sugarbush. Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur/Sugarbush

SKIING & RIDING BEST SKI AREA If there’s one thing you can say about Sugarbush skiers and riders it’s this: they are passionate about their mountain. For several years, Sugarbush has focused its brand messaging around its sense of community and that community pays it back in spades. Yes, Sugarbush has some of the hardest terrain in the East with trails like Rumble ranking high in our survey for toughness and Slide Brook Basin providing some of the best sidecountry terrain in the state. The Lincoln Peak base area and Castlerock Pub are a hub of activity (and Castlerocks’ bartenders are perennial winners in our ‘Best Bartender’ contest.) It has some of the best on-mountain food in the state, too, with cozy dinners at Allyn’s


Lodge on the mountain, farm-fresh fare at the Vermont Fresh Network-certified Timbers Restaurant and local brews and wine at the newly renovate mid-mountain bar, the Glen House. But what really sets Sugarbush apart? The people who call this mountain home. They include legendary restauranteur Henri Borel, of Chez Henri, who celebrated his 90th birthday in this past January. Or extreme skiing legend John Egan, who will be inducted into the U.S. Skiing Hall of Fame this April. Owner Win Smith remains one of the few (along with Bill Stritzler of Smuggler’s Notch) owner/ operators who are truly hands on. There’s hardly a day that goes by that doesn’t see Smith on the lifts by 9:00 am or posting on his blog. His attention to detail shows. WINNER: Sugarbush Resort. RUNNERS UP: Stowe; Jay Peak; Killington; Bolton; Mad River Glen.



If you want to ski what our readers call the toughest trail in Vermont (and, by the way, numerous ski publications agree), head to Mad River Glen. At the top, take the Long Trail, traverse a singletrack off Stark Mountain and you’re in for the type of treat that make East Coast photographers salivate. Paradise is a narrow, twisting line through the trees that starts with a 38-degree slope and 8-foot waterfalls coated in blue ice. From there, Paradise's side lines let you find your own freshies (if you get there early enough) in the woods. But you better be able to turn ‘em quick or you’ll find yourself treed.

No doubt about it, everyone’s favorite ski area event (no matter what resort you are at) involves getting wet. Pond skimming won this category hands down. Need we say more?

WINNER: Paradise, Mad River Glen. RUNNERS UP: Goat, Stowe; Rumble, Sugarbush; Outer Limits, Killington; Face Chutes, Jay Peak

WINNER: Pond skimming (everywhere). RUNNERS UP: Stowe Derby, Stowe; Castlerock Challenge, Sugarbush; Ski the East Freeride Tour, multiple venues; Unconventional Terrain Challenge, Mad River Glen; Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge, Killington

BEST BACKCOUNTRY A few years back, no one would tell you about their favorite backcountry or sidecountry trails. Now, thanks to the explosion of glading and relaxed resort policies, backcountry and sidecountry exploring has

taken off. While it may not come to mind as the toughest of ski areas, Bolton Valley leads in backcountry with terrain that extends way beyond its ski area map. It also features two huts for overnight stays: the newly renovated Bryant Lodge and Bolton Lodge, which is next in line for a rehab. The ski area has been a leader in promoting skinning and ski mountaineering races and has an inspired policy: on designated days buses will retrieve those who choose to do the Bolton-to-Trapp Family Lodge section of the Catamount Trail. Mount Mansfield and Sugarbush’s Slide Brook Basin are other obvious contenders in this category with the newly-cut Brandon Gap glades maintained by the Rochester Area Sports Trails Alliance coming in hot and Ascutney and Big Jay close behind.

Burlington, with its growing waterfront, remains best sports town. Photo by Sebastian Ventrone

WINNER: Bolton Valley. RUNNERS UP: Brandon Gap/RASTA; Mount Mansfield; Sugarbush’s Slide Brook Basin; Ascutney; Big Jay.

PLACES BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS Kingdom Trails in East Burke regularly ranks as one of the best mountain bike destinations in North America. It's no surprise that the mountain bike Mecca with more than 100 miles of trails and killer terrain takes top spot in our list of favorite places to mountain bike in Vermont. The trail network continues to grow as a yearround destination with fatbike trails (including 25 kilometers of groomed trails) and events such as Winterbike (March 4-5), the Circumburke Challenge (October, 2017) and the New England Mountain Bike Festival (June 16-18). WINNER: Kingdom Trails. RUNNERS UP: Millstone Trails, Barre; Cady Hill, Stowe; Catamount Outdoor Center, Williston; Mad River Valley/ Blueberry Lake Trails, Warren; Fellowship of the Wheel Trails, Hinesburg.

BEST LAKES, PARKS & CAMPSITES Take Lake Champlain out of the picture (which we did) and the question, “what’s the best lake in Vermont?” becomes a little tougher to answer. But not so tough our readers didn’t come back with a resounding vote for what many believe is the best-kept secret in Vermont: Green River Reservoir. The quiet, remote reservoir just north of Hyde Park is closed to motorized traffic, largely undeveloped and features paddleto campsites along its coast and islands. At

Stowe Mountain Lodge wins for "Best Hotel/Lodge" with smaller boutique hotels like Hotel VT and Red Clover Inn in the running. night, the only noise you’re likely to hear there are the calls of loons or the slap, slap of beaver tails and the only lights, from the stars above. Waterbury Reservoir, though was a close second and Little River State Park, with its reservoir access and new mountain bike trails won for Best State Park and Best Campsite. WINNER: Green River Reservoir. RUNNERS UP: Waterbury Reservoir, Lake Willoughby, Blueberry Lake, Silver Lake, Lake Dunmore.

BEST SPORTS TOWN It’s hard to think of Vermont’s largest city as a sports “town” but when you consider all that it offers, it’s also difficult not to be impressed. In the past year, the Queen City has seen dozens of upgrades. On the waterfront, a new skatepark was completed in 2015. The bike path that leads to the Champlain Islands was rebuilt with picnic and rest stops along the way. In late February, Burlington was awarded a National Parks Service grant to add 12 acres of land to extend the bike path and add a community garden. Last fall, Burlington’s Community Sailing Center announced two,

Little River State Park wins for "Best Park" and the adjacent Waterbury Reservoir (above) came in a close second in the "Favorite Lakes" category. Photo by Jesse Schloff

million-dollar grants that will allow it to build a permanent home: a 22,180-square foot facility to be named the Pomerleau Waterfront Campus and Raymond P. Sullivan Sailing Education Center. Finally, last summer the long-standing plan to build a 160-slip marina was approved by City Council. So if you think Burlington’s a great sports town now, wait a year or two: it’s only getting better. WINNER: Burlington. RUNNERS UP: East Burke; Stowe; Waitsfield; Middlebury; Bennington.

FITNESS CENTER Where do you love to work out? As with bike shops, everyone has a local favorite. But the folks in Lyndonville are especially passionate about Fortitude Fitness, the overall winner. Fortitude specializes in personal training and fitness programs, and its website features testimonials and photos of those it has helped to lose weight and get into better shape. Classes focus on obstacle course training, barbells, yoga and youth programs and can be coupled with nutrition counseling. The brainchild of self-confessed “fat-kid turned fitness entrepreneur” Ben

Warstler, the Lyndonville gym is the place to go if you want a total body makeover— and the motivation to do so. WINNER: Fortitude Fitness. RUNNERS UP: Edge Sports and Fitness, Burlington; Upper Valley Aquatic Center, White River Junction; The Swimming Hole, Stowe; Sugarbush Health and Recreation Center, Warren; Vermont Sun, Middlebury.

BEST HOTEL/LODGE Vermonters love our staycations. Afer all, in how many other states does a “deer camp” qualify as a second home? But we also like to have a little luxury. So, when asked what the best hotel/lodge in the state was, the majority of our respondents said “Stowe Mountain Lodge.” The hotel at the base of Spruce Peak not only has ski-on access, an outdoor skating rink and pool but also a world-class spa, the new Adventure Center with Stowe Rocks climbing wall and the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center nearby. WINNER: Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stowe. RUNNERS UP: Hotel VT, Burlington; Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe; Hotel Jay, Jay Peak; Red Clover Inn, Mendon; Pitcher Inn, Warren.


GEAR BEST BIKE SHOP You really, really love your bike shops. In fact, just about every respondent had a favorite and 37 different shops from around the state were named "best" in our survey. In the end, with its focus on expert service, Skirack won. Comment after comment on the shop’s Facebook page praises the staff’s care and attention to customers. Scott Aldor Anderson of Burlington had this to say: “Went there not knowing anything about biking. Luckily I found excellent service in the form of Luke [Bayus]. He went above and beyond to help me find a bike and the necessary accessories to make riding comfortable and fun. He even went so far as to install the accessories himself to make sure I could have the bike that same day. Later that same day Vinnie helped me pick out a bike rack for my car and helped another employee Doug install it for me. All three of them made this experience fun, comfortable and pleasant for a newcomer.” Like other good shops in this list, Skrack also hosts group rides, including weekly road and mountain bike rides and special women-only rides and events. WINNER: Skirack, Burlington. RUNNERS UP: Village Sports, Lyndonville; Onion River Sports, Montpelier; Earl’s, Williston; East Burke Sports, East Burke; West Hill Shop, Putney.

BEST SKI SHOP If there’s one thing you want from a ski shop, it’s the sense that the people who work there really, really know what they are doing Again, Burlington’s Skirack stood out above the rest. Why? Perhaps it’s thanks to its expert bootfitter, Doug Stewart who is also a PSIA Examiner. Or that Jake Hollenbach, who works in the Nordic department, is a sponsored Salomon skier who has won events such as the Stowe Derby and Lake Placid Loppet. Or the fact that this year, for the first time, Skirack offered a Junior Lease Program of Rossignol Terrain gear coupled with a free Jay Peak Junior season pass. Close behind though was Outdoor Gear Exchange (with a note that they excel in outfitting folks for backcountry adventures) and Warren’s Alpine Options, whose customers rave about its great service. WINNER: Skirack, Burlington. RUNNERS UP: Alpine Options, Warren; Outdoor Gear Exchange, Burlington; Village Sports, Lyndonville; Pinnacle, Stowe; Alpine Shop, Burlington.

BEST VERMONT-MADE PRODUCT Vermonters love to buy local. In fact, 77 percent of our respondents said that they buy their gear from a local retailer. You also love Vermont-based brands and had no trouble naming your favorite: Darn Tough Socks. Maybe it’s Darn Tough’s lifetime guarantee. Maybe it’s the fact that second-generation owner Ric Cabot has

Locked and loaded, the Subaru Outback once again swept our "Best Car" awards. Photo courtesy Subaru

kept the business here in Vermont while so many other apparel companies move offshore. Maybe it’s the fact that Darn Tough has grown substantially since the brand launched in 2004 and now sells 5 million pairs a year. Maybe it’s the annual November ‘stick season’ sale that can draw as many as 14,000 to Northfield. Or maybe it’s just that you love the socks. But Darn Tough was the clear winner. Also mentioned were emerging brands, Skida hats, Dodge’s carbon fiber ski boots and Renoun Skis. WINNER: Darn Tough Socks. RUNNERS UP: Ibex wool layers; Burton snowboards; Skida hats; Dodge Ski boots, Renoun skis; Concept2 rowing machines.

Skirack's team of bike and ski experts won you over and earned the Burlington shop props as best ski and best bike shop. Photo courtesy Skirack.


BEST CAR FOR OUTDOOR ADVENTURES Let’s face it: Subaru Outbacks are to Vermont what bicycles are to Beijing—the primary form of travel. Pull into a ski resort parking lot or a trailhead and there will be a fleet of them, muddied, with racks packed with gear and looking like their owners live out of them. And some do. For years, the Outback has answered Vermonters call for a high-mileage (25 to 32 miles per gallon), low-profile, all-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle that can fit a pair of skis in the back (with the seats down), and a bike or a kayak on the roof without having to stand on your tiptoes. The car’s reputation for reliability has also served it well. However, it’s no longer the only kid on the block. We found our survey respondents were equally

Darn Tough, the 802 loves you back. Photo courtesy Darn Tough.

passionate about their Jeep Cherokees and Toyota Tacomas.

At work at the original American Flatbread Photo courtesy American Flatbread

WINNER: Subaru Outback. RUNNERS UP: Toyota Tacoma, Jeep Cherokee, Honda CRV, Chevy Suburban; Audi A4.

EVENTS Best bartender? Castlerock Pub's Rich Kendrick.

TOUGHEST EVENT You have to be tough to live in Vermont and survive winter. You have to be even tougher to do some of the state’s most grueling events. Vermont is, after all, the birthplace of Joe DeSena’s Spartan Races. While the ultimate challenge, the Death Race, is no longer in play, the Spartan Ultra Beast (held Sept. 16-17) takes its place. The Ultra Beast challenges participants to run, climb, carry, swim and scramble through 50 obstacles (everything from rope climbs to fire jumps to sandbag carries) over a 26-mile course in Killington. Miss an obstacle and your penalty is burpees—lots of them. If that doesn’t sound like fun try the similar Tough Mudder, mountain bike or run 50 miles on the Vermont 50; run or ride Circumburke around Burke Mountain; or cycle 40 miles of dirt and mud roads in April’s Rasputitsa gravel ride. WINNER: Spartan Race. RUNNERS UP: Tough Mudder, Vermont 50 (bike and run), Vermont 100x100, Circumburke bike/run, Rasputitsa.

WACKIEST EVENT As for the “wackiest” events in the state? Getting wet led the day with the Penguin Plunges, followed by pond skimming. In 1996 a few hardy souls jumped into Lake Champlain during the Burlington Winter Carnival and raised $8,000 for Special Olympics Vermont. Today, the Penguin Plunge is Special Olympics Vermont’s largest annual fundraising effort with events in Burlington (in early February) and Stratton Mountain (March 25). In 2016, 1,200 brave souls jumped into Vermont’s icy lakes raising a record breaking $474,000 to support sports training and competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities. There are, of course, lots of other icy plunges held around the state. All for a good cause, we hope. Other events that registered on the "wacko-meter:" the Stowe Derby, for the sheer insanity of skiing from Mt. Mansfield into town on skinny skis and Burlington's Santa Run (you dress for it) and Color Run. WINNER: Penguin plunge. RUNNERS UP: Pond skimming; Stowe Derby, Santa Run, Color Run.

Photo courtesy Rich Kendrick.

Castlerock boasts an impressive cocktail menu, too, but Kendrick is known for his go-to beverage, a shot called the “Hooter.” Curious minds will have to visit the pub to discover the ingredients, but Fuschetto guarantees the shot’s ability to dazzle. “I swear to you, it’s delicious,” he says. “It’s a Valley original.” While the Hooter is a local favorite, Kendrick’s spirit is what keeps locals coming back. “He makes a connection with the regulars that’s very special,” Fuschetto said. “He’s got high energy–to put it mildly–and it’s infectious. When he’s here, you’re going to have fun.”        


APRES BEST PIZZA Don’t call it “pizza” or you’ll get reprimanded: Whatever you do call it, everyone loves what comes out of the wood-fired oven at Waitsfield’s Lareau Farm: flatbread topped with local vegetables, meats and a signature toppings. That’s the original American Flatbread and with two other locations (in Burlington and Middlebury) it’s hard to beat, especially after a long day pounding the nearby trails. But there’s plenty of great true ‘za to go around, with Stowe’s Piecasso and Bluestone Pizza (now with locations in Waterbury and Waitsfield) ready to take a piece of the pie. WINNER: American Flatbread. RUNNERS UP: Piecasso, Stowe; Bluestone, Waitsfield and Waterbury; Parker Pie, Glover; Ramunto’s, Bennington.

BEST APRES BAR When it comes to “apres” anything, Stowe’s The Matterhorn has made national lists ranging from USA Today to Ski Magazine. And it’s not just its location as the first bar coming down the Mountain Road from that makes it such. Owners Charlie and Louise Shaffer have found the right blend of classic ski bar (ski instructors have their own mugs that hang over the bar) and a sports bar

with pool table, TVs and arcade games. Yes, it serves piping hot pizza from the wood burning oven, but there’s also something a little more oh-so-Stowe: a sushi bar with views over the river. Close on the heels: Sugarbush’s Castlerock Pub, Waterbury’s Prohibition Pig, newcomer Doc Ponds and the seasonal food truck/outdoor bar that caters to East Burke’s tribe of mountain bikers, Mike’s Tiki Bar. WINNER: The Matterhorn, Stowe. RUNNERS UP: Castlerock Pub, Sugarbush; Mike’s Tiki Bar, East Burke; Prohibition Pig, Waterbury; Doc Ponds, Stowe; General Stark’s Pub, Mad River Glen.

BEST BARTENDER If you’ve ever ordered a drink at Sugarbush’s Castlerock Pub on a Saturday, odds are bartender Rich Kendrick topped off your glass. Kendrick has been serving drinks with Shawn Fuschetto, his college buddy, since the pub first opened 20 years ago. Now, Fuschetto is the manager, and Kendrick, a history teacher in Northfield, works part time on the weekends. Kendrick, who has been in the food and beverage service since he was 13, has a passion for Vermont’s craft beer scene. “We live in a world of IPA heaven—there’s just so many,” he said. “One of the nice things about the bar is it’s got the most rock ‘em, sock ‘em beer line up you can imagine, for every type of palate.”

Quote from Rich: “I don’t have a favorite drink, but this is one I like making a lot of, because when I do it means spring-time skiing.” 1 oz Citron A dash or two of ginger syrup A splash of lager Sour and Lemonade Mixed to a froth and served with lemon wedge in pint of ice. WINNER: Rich Kendrick, Castlerock Pub. RUNNERS UP: Jerry Goto, Mad River Barn, Waitsfield; Shawn Fuschetto, Castlerock Pub, Sugarbush; Jesse Sanguedolce, The Matterhorn, Stowe; Willie Dietrich, The Den, Stowe.

BEST BREWERY On January 17, the world’s largest beer rating site,, came out with its annual list of best brewers in the world. For the third year in a row, tiny Hill Farmstead, run by Shaun Hill out of Greensboro topped the list. Our survey respondents agree and placed this cult beer above some of Vermont’s other breweries with strong followings, such as The Alchemist of Stowe, Lawson’s Finest and relative newcomer, von Trapp Brewing. And, while it’s not a brewery, Citizen Cider made this list as well. WINNER: Hill Farmstead. RUNNERS UP: Lawson’s Finest, The Alchemist; von Trapp Brewing, Long Trail; Citizen Cider.




BEST PHOTOGRAPHER There’s no shortage of scenery or action in Vermont and even less of a shortage of photographers to shoot it. All our finalists are top athletes in their own right and out there doing it every day. This year, Montpelier’s Jeb Wallace-Brodeur takes the title of best outdoors photographer. When not skiing or hiking or biking on his own, you can find Jeb shooting his son, downhill and enduro mountain bike racer Aidan Casner, 18, who has been chewing up the Eastern Cup (and now national) circuits. WINNER: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur. RUNNERS UP: Brian Mohr and Emily Johson/EmberPhoto; Brooks Curran; Berne Broudy; Herb Swanson.

MOST INSPIRING ATHLETE: MALE Kevin Pearce sees double. He can no longer perform the same snowboard moves that once made him an Olympic contender and a threat to gold medalist Shaun White. But Pearce, whose parents founded Simon

Kevin Pearce, helping others love their brains too. Photo courtesy Love Your Brain.

Pearce (the gift and glassware giant), has not let that stop him. Ever since he hit his head in the halfpipe in 2009, Pearce has devoted himself not only to recovering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that threatened his life, but to helping others recover as well. His Love Your Brain foundation raised more than $375,000 in 2015/16 to help TBI victims overcome their injuries by hosting retreats, yoga workshops

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and educational programs. Equally inspiring to many of our respondents were Nordic U.S. Ski Team veteran Andy Newell, World Cup ski racer Robby Kelly, Sugarbush ambassador and former extreme ski film star John Egan and trail builder Knight Ide. WINNER: Kevin Pearce. RUNNERS UP: Andy Newell, Robby Kelly, John Egan, Knight Ide.


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This year, above all others, Vermont was ready to claim ski racing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin as its own. Shiffrin grew up ski racing just over the border in Hanover, N.H. and honed her craft at Burke Mountain Academy. So when she returned to win the Audi FIS World Cup at Killington this past November, the state’s ski racing fans went nuts. Shiffrin, a three-time slalom World Champion just keeps getting better and better. On February 17, she won a slalom race by the largest margin in slalom history: 1.64 seconds. And then, on February 26 won her first Super Combined (Super G and slalom) event. And at 21, she’s the youngest World Cup champion ever. The runners up are all inspiring in their own right. Lea Davison took home a World Cup silver this past year. Liz Stephen has been a top finisher for the U.S. Nordic team in World Cup racing, biathlete Susan Dunklee became the first woman to qualify for the 2018 Olympics by earning a silver in the Biathlon Worlds in Austria this past February. Kelly Brush, the former ski racer, inspires thousands as

her Kelly Brush Foundation helps prevent ski racing injuries and raises money for adaptive sports. Lastly, at 71, Trina Hosmer is still competing internationally on the Nordic masters circuit. And winning.

around the state. VMBA helped open new land to riding, connect trail networks such as Little River State Park with Cottonbrook and Stowe’s trails and created a statewide map and directory for mountain biking. The only statewide alliance of its kind in the country, VMBA is moving into a new role. In 2017 it will be working with other outdoor and mountain bike organizations (ranging from the Jersey Off Road Bike Association to Maine Huts & Trails) around the region to build the Northeast Mountain Bike Alliance. At the same time, it is engaging a small group of successful businesses such as Outdoor Gear Exchange, Cabot Creamery and FUSE Marketing to “establish a new business culture in Vermont that recognizes the impact our amazing outdoor recreation infrastructure,” and build on it. And this July 21-23 VMBA will celebrate its tenth Mountain Bike Festival at Sugarbush’s Mount Ellen. There’s a lot there to celebrate.

Lea Davison, our Outdoors Person of the Year Photo by Michael Cerveny

WINNER: Mikaela Shiffrin. RUNNER’S UP: Lea Davison, Liz Stephen, Kelly Brush, Susan Dunklee, Trina Hosmer.

OUTDOORS PERSON OF THE YEAR If winning the silver at the UCI World Cup Championships and taking seventh in the Olympics weren’t enough to make Jericho mountain biker Lea Davison our 2017 Outdoors Person of the Year, perhaps finishing second in the three-day, 161-mile La Ruta de los Conquistadores would. After racing in the grueling event that sent riders on a coast-to-coast adventure through the jungles and mountains of Costa Rica, Davison admitted she felt like a “zombie.” While Davison excels at nearly every sport she tries (she’s a strong alpine and Nordic ski racer as well as a cyclist), it’s her work with the foundation she and her sister started in 2007, Little Bellas, that earns

her perennial love from Vermont Sports’ readers. In the last 10 years, Little Bellas has grown into a national movement pairing young girls ages 7 to 16 with mentors and offering mountain bike camps to help them build skills and confidence. Among the runners up were Mikaela Shiffrin, John Egan, Tim Tierney, the executive director Kingdom Trails and Tom Stuessy, executive director of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association.

WINNER: Lea Davison. RUNNERS UP: John Egan, Mikaela Shiffrin, Tim Tierney, Tom Stuessy

GREATEST CONTRIBUTION TO THE OUTDOORS Over the last five years that he’s served as the Vermont Mountain Bike Association executive director Tom Stuessy has worked hard to leverage and link mountain bike organizations as well as mountain bike trails

WINNER: Vermont Mountain Bike Association. RUNNERS UP: Catamount Trail Association; Rochester Area Sports Trails Alliance, Vermont Adaptive. Fellowship of the Wheel.

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Okemo's trails spill right into the town of Ludlow. Photo by Angelo Lynn


f you haven’t been to Ludlow in the past few years, you owe it to yourself to visit. One of the few places in the Green Mountain state where the base of the ski mountain (Okemo) spills into town, Ludlow has been gradually growing as a year-round destination for skiers and athletes alike. The town now plays host to a half-dozen new restaurants as well as classic inns that range from the hip Homestyle Hostel to the venerable 1905 stone mansion, The Castle. Ken Tofferi, a local who was at the forefront of freestyle skiing in the 1970s (he co-starred in early ski films such as “Hot Skis” and “French Kick,”) has owned Totem Pole Ski Shop, located near the base of Okemo, for 50 years. “It’s a nice, quaint little town,” he says of Ludlow. ‘Quaint’ seems an appropriate word. Route 103 meanders quietly past forests and fields until it reaches Ludlow’s downtown border, where pops of yellow and green buildings lead you to Okemo’s access road. The best spots are tucked into unlikely places: the acclaimed Mojo Cafe takes up the edge of a building that also houses Cyco Bike Shop. Locals head to weekly pick-up ice hockey games at Jackson Gore’s Ice House. The Healdville trail, perfect for snowshoeing in the summer and hiking in the winter, lies on Okemo’s undeveloped western side. The town’s lively side emerges on weekends when skiers and riders carve turns through Okemo’s newly minted



The folks at Java Baba's Slow Food Cafe dish out sandwiches and smiles. Photo by Donald Dill. corduroy. Snow blasts from 18,000 feet of brand new pipe, adding to a system that now covers 98 percent of the trails. But alpine sports are not Okemo Valley’s only adventures. When spring comes around, hikers can wander the 7,323 acres of Okemo State Forest or head to Buttermilk Falls to watch the snowmelt plunge over a series of boulders. Come summer, there are swimming holes to explore. This small town and surrounding valley offer more than what meets the eye. Spend a weekend or a few days and you'll agree with us, these are some things you shouldn’t miss.

EARN YOUR TURNS AT OKEMO If you’re wallet’s feeling a little thin and you’re looking for an adventure, put on your skins and mosey up one of Okemo’s groomed ski trails. The mountain is one of a few Vermont resorts that allows free skinning and snowshoeing during operational hours, and it rents alpine touring skis and skins, at the Clock Tower Base Lodge. Okemo warns uphill travelers to stay on beginner and intermediate trails, on the slope’s edge and skin in a single file line The complete uphill travel guidelines are available on okemo. com. When you’ve reached the top, enjoy the ride—you’ve earned it.

Spanning town and county borders, the Okemo State Forest is one of the largest parcels of state-owned land in southeastern Vermont—and it's easy to explore on skinny skis. Just one mile north of the mountain, Okemo’s Nordic Center hosts 22 kilometers of tracked and groomed ski trails, and an additional 13 miles dedicated to snowshoers. Trails wind through wooded terrain, meadows, hillsides and along the Black River. Section 10 of the Catamount Trail spans almost 12 miles of backcountry territory, running from Buttermilk Falls, just north of Okemo, to Patch Brook Road at the southern tip of Coolidge State Forest. The steep trail switchbacks up from old Route 103 on retired logging roads, then passes over rolling hills, flanked by hardwood and softwood forest. After crossing a powerline, the trail edges along Tiny Pond, then Tiny Mountain, before arriving at Patch Brook Road.

FATBIKE AT JACKSON GORE For the second year, Jackson Gore’s new fatbiking terrain is open to the public. Rent a bike ($25 for half-day, $45 for full-day) from Mountain Outfitter’s fleet, where you can find one with 20-speed gearing, suitable for riders of all abilities. Then, head out on four miles of trails that meander across open fields and through woods.

Bikers are welcome to explore areas off the trail, though Okemo asks that you stay on resort property. Mountain Outfitters supplies outlined trail maps upon request.

HEAD TO THE HEALDVILLE TRAIL The Healdville Trail is a year-round favorite in Okemo Valley and leads you to Okemo’s 3,343-foot summit. Grab some snowshoes at Tygart Mountain Sports ($20), then head five miles down Route 103 to the trailhead. The 5.9 mile round-trip hike will take you on a gradual incline until you reach 2.8 miles, at which point you’ll ascend steeply and reach a clearing, where you’ll see a chimney—the only remaining structure of an old fire tower watchman’s cabin. Just ahead, you’ll find the fire tower itself, which is open to hikers. Climb for a panoramic view of the Green, Adirondack and White Mountains.

With 98 percent snowmaking coverage, 18,000 feet of snowmaking pipe and some of the best grooming around, Okemo is the king of spring corduroy. Photo Okemo Mountain Resort.

ZOOM THROUGH THE BACKCOUNTRY If you’re looking for a speedy way to experience a whole lot of backcountry, you might want to consider a blood-pumping ride on a snowmobile with the largest and oldest touring company in the state. Snowmobile Vermont provides a twohour, 25-mile ride into Calvin Coolidge State Forest. Rent one of the new Polaris snowmobiles ($154 for a single) then go at your own pace and follow guides through the varied terrain, including straightaways, woods and hills.

LEARN A CRAFT If you’re feeling crafty, head to the Fletcher Farm School, housed in a building that once belonged to former Governor Allen Fletcher, and learn a classic trade. This spring, create your own basket with Fletcher’s single-day basket weaving course (March 18). Make your own 14-inch seat cushion or wall hanging with the beginner’s punch needle rug hooking workshop (March 18-19). Surprise the family with rings, chains, pendants, bracelets and earrings after learning to design and create your own jewelry in the silversmithing class (April 29-30). Or, later in the season, experiment with the intaglio printmaker, a medium that transforms original drawings, paintings, photographs and collages into etchings using solar light (May 13-14). For a full course list, visit

CHOW DOWN Last year, at Okemo’s executive chef Scot Emerson bought a steer for $8,000 and sold the steaks for $140 a piece at the Coleman Brook Tavern. Emerson emphasizes local ingredients, and even tries to use every part of the animal. To his credit, the restaurant, located in Jackson Gore’s lodge, earned Vermont Fresh Network’s “Gold Barn” award for procuring over 30 percent of its food from Vermont producers. Stop by for some sauteed butternut squash ravioli,

Brunch at the Homestyle Hostel is not to be missed, nor is the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster at Okemo, right. Photo above courtesy Homestyle Hostel. At right , Okemo.

mountain trout or a farmhouse burger. If you’re looking for locals, you’ll find them at Tom’s Loft Tavern, or “The Loft.” A sign outside this mountain-adjacent pub reads, “Home of Lousy Food, Warm Beer and Grumpy Owner,” but don’t be fooled, this one’s a favorite. Venture in at the end of a long day on the slopes and you’ll quickly be surrounded by skiers, locals and mountain regulars, including Tofferi. Grab some nachos and wings, and make a few ski buddies for the next day. Java Baba’s Slow Food Cafe is the perfect stop for skiers en-route to or from the mountain. Located on the small section of Route 103 between Jackson Gore and the Clock Tower Base Lodge, this joint serves breakfast as early as 5:30 a.m. and cruises right through dinner, closing at 10. Their extensive offerings include wraps, sandwiches, salads, soups, quiche, ice cream, specialty coffee and baked goods— not to mention a full pizza menu. Down the street, Mojo Cafe is doing creative things with a Tex-Mex combination of Mexican, Cajun, and, as the owners say, “anything else our creative desires lead us to.” With a promise to keep ingredients fresh (backed by the Vermont Fresh Network) and

prices low (tacos start at $3.50), the menu alone will have your mouth watering. Stop by for a local draught and a crawfish tamale, some gumbo, or an “enchurito”—something between an enchilada and a wet burrito. For casual fine dining, visit the Downtown Grocery, located just off Main St. Chef/owner is Rogan Lechthaler, who has cooked at Boston’s Mistral and The Ritz Carlton as well as at Warren’s Pitcher Inn. He'll treat you to his thoughtful style of locally-sourced comfort foods such as house-made pasta with Maine crab and spicy garlic tomato sauce, Northeast Family Farm grilled ribeye au poivre, and desserts like the molten chocolate souffle.

STAY A WHILE In Ludlow, lodging in style and sticking to a budget are not mutually exclusive. For $40 a night, crash at The Homestyle Hostel on a memory foam mattress in a clean, dorm-style room, then wake up to a complimentary breakfast of homemade granola before you hit the slopes. Thursday through Sunday, dine with the locals at the hostel’s restaurant, and pick from menu items like the beef brisket: “creamy pan fried Parmesan polenta cake, pulled brisket,

sauteed kale and roasted shallot” and craft cocktails like the Good Ol’ Boy. Don’t miss game night on Wednesdays, where you might win a local brew as a prize. If you’re looking for slopeside lodging, Jackson Gore Inn is your best bet. Stroll out the door in the morning and ride up the Coleman Brook Express Quad to get first tracks, then take the Quantum Four lift to access Okemo’s main slopes. You’ll have everything you need with a pool, hot tubs, a fitness center, arcade, and in-house access to the Coleman Brook Tavern. Day care centers, the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster and the Mountain Outfitters shop are all within a short walk of your room. Rates start at about $200 per night. Immerse yourself in Ludlow’s history with hotels that date back to the turn of the century. For a true getaway, head south on Route 103, then turn onto Castle Hill Drive, a narrow winding road that will lead you to Castle Hill Resort, or “The Castle.” The mansion, built in 1905 in the English Cotswold style from California Redwood and gneiss stone, was commissioned by wealthy Vermont governor Allen Miller Fletcher. Today, many of the hotel’s original features are intact, and it's a member by Historic Hotels of America. Stay in one of the mansion’s ten Castle Rooms, each with its individual design and furnished with period pieces–along with the expected modern-day amenities such as Wifi, cable TV and a coffee maker. Echo Lake Inn, a Victorian hotel built in 1840, was visited frequently by thenPresident Calvin Coolidge, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. A quick ten minute drive north of Okemo on Route 100, the complex has a pool, tennis courts and traditional rooms and suites. The adjacent Echo Lake and Black River make for great fishing, boating and swimming in the spring and summer.

DON’T MISS... When the snow turns spring-soft and the sun comes out, Okemo breaks out the beer and funky costumes. On March 25, Okemo celebrates the start of spring with the ‘80s Roaming Retro Jam. Dig into your closet for some acid-washed jeans and brightest neon, then impress judges with your most outlandish retro gear and your hippest and funkiest moves. Then, on April 1, head over to the Hops on the Snow Brewfest in the Jackson Gore Courtyard. Take a few runs, then sample new seasonal beers and ciders and grab some food, hot off the barbeque. Dare to get soaked on April 8 with the Slush Cup & Splash For Cash, classic pond skimming with a twist: when the skimming day is done, a kicker, stationed at the water’s edge, will send cash flying above the pond. You’ve got one chance to run, jump and grab the cash. Visit for details.


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THE WINTER ENDURANCE RACER Name: Stephanie Manosh Age: 32 Lives in: Johnson Works as: Transcriber for deaf and hearing impaired Sports: Running, snowshoeing


rowing up, Stephanie Manosh considered herself to be a bit of a computer geek. Then, the end of a bad college relationship led her to start running and a friendship with a man she calls the “Barn Beast" set her on a path to competing in ultra-distance races. This winter, she’s hoping to complete her first 100-mile snowshoe race to raise money for Lamoille County Mental Health Services. VS: When did you run your first race? SM: It was the 2008 Vermont City Marathon. I did it in 4:11. I never did a 5K or 10K. I started with the longer distance and then I just kept going. I have a good friend, Jason Jaksetic, "The Barn Beast" who lived in a barn in Pittsfield for a while. He is friends with Andy Weinberg who used to be associated with the Peak Races. Jason introduced me to Ultra events and started coaching me on how to run longer distances. VS: Is that how you got involved in the Peak Snowshoe Race series? SM: Yes, I started in 2012, again with the marathon distance. I finished in under eight hours and I really enjoyed it. A lot of people don’t want to spend time outside in winter but it was really nice to breathe that cold, fresh air. You also see things other people don’t get to see. In 2014 I saw the remains of a fox that had been taken down by coyotes. You could see the tracks and the tufts of fur in the snow. It gives you an awareness you wouldn’t have otherwise. VS: What was next? SM: In 2014 I did 50 miles and in 2015 I decided to do the 100-mile version, even though the only other women entering the race were doing the marathon distance. It’s really just a matter of not falling asleep and keeping your mind and body in check. Your body is pushing through but your mind might be wandering and you start to see things. They start the longer distance people first and what actually helped was the next day when the 5K and 10K racers came out. They’re full of energy and they lap you but you really feed off their energy. Their presence made me more buoyant.

When she's not training for snowshoe races, Manosh earns her turns. Photo courtesy Stephanie Manosh

In the end, I did 50 miles, instead of 100. There was only one person who completed the 100-mile route that year. VS: How did you train for those? SM: For the VCM I downloaded a novice Hal Higdon training plan and did the best I could. I learned how to pace myself, how to fuel myself and how to avoid blisters. I had no idea what to do for nutrition while I was running so I lost a lot of weight that I wasn’t trying to lose. I’m really good at eating on the run now. Since my first snowshoe race was a marathon distance, I had a hybrid plan that included running and a lot of hiking. Hard training days were repeat summits of Camel’s Hump or heavy deadlifts or squats followed by a half marathon or longer run. For me, the training beforehand usually includes very little time on snowshoes. I’m mostly focused on increasing my endurance and getting really strong legs. When I can’t get outside I’ll hit the StairMaster in the gym with a weight vest. Sometimes I’ll simulate the feeling of a snowshoe with ankle weights. Wearing snowshoes all the time for training is hard on your body in the wrong places, especially for these distances. VS: There’s got to be a real science to what you eat and what you wear. SM: I’m mostly vegan so I ate a lot of dried fruits and really loaded up on nuts, particularly the ones with high fat content. I really like caffeinated Honey Stingers gels. I try to eat two every hour. Towards the end, you just eat anything you can because you’ve burned so many calories. My stomach turned into an empty pit. For clothing I start with Under Amour tights with windbreaker pants and an undershirt covered with a wool top with a hood, ice climbing gloves,

ultralight down jacket and thick wool scarf. I’ve even worn my snowboarding goggles to keep my eyelids from freezing. I use lightweight, insulated North Face boots, Dion snowshoes and Darn Tough socks. On really cold days I wear a shorty overboot made by Forty Below. VS: Do you want to try another snowshoe 100-miler? SM: Absolutely. This year I signed up for a 60K in Goshen on February 25 which is part of the Endurance Series that Andy Weinberg started. That's was a warm-up for the Peak race in Pittsfield on March 10. I also have a better sense of what to wear and how to train and a friend will also be running. It’s hard to do the long distance when you have to do it by yourself. I’ll be doing the race as a fundraiser for Lamoille County Mental Health Services in honor of my uncle who committed suicide after a long struggle with schizophrenia. He frequented the Oasis House in Hyde Park which is part of LCMHS. VS: Where do you like to run? SM: I enjoy running on trails and dirt roads, but not asphalt. I enjoy the solitude and the nature and the lack of cars. It’s also better on the joints and you get to see a lot more. I started running as an emotional outlet after a college breakup and then, after meeting the Barn Beast, I started doing endurance runs. I’ve done the Vermont 50 and a few other 50-mile races. I tried one 100-miler in the Black Hills of South Dakota but I wasn’t ready for the hills. VS: Have you gotten faster? SM: For me, racing has always been more about completing longer and longer

distances than about speed. I’ve always been interested in how far I can go. That said, the longer I go, the faster I get at shorter distances. When I came back from South Dakota I entered a 5K race and won without ever having run that distance before. I've inadvertently gotten faster by pushing myself to run longer. VS: Tell us about survival camp. SM: I was part of a six-day camp called Core Skills I which was given at the Roots School in Bradford. We built shelters and purified water. We slept outside, trapped and skinned animals and we did some stalking in the woods and learned how to move in the dark. VS: Have you always loved nature? SM: I was actually a computer geek growing up in Hyde Park. I went to the University of Vermont but after college I moved away for a while and it was only when I came back that I began to appreciate Vermont and being outside. VS: What do you do for work? SM: TypeWell is remote transcription of university classes for deaf and hearingimpaired people. I have a contract with a school in Massachusetts and they Skype me in. I listen to the professor and provide realtime transcription. It’s a great job because My schedule allows me to go away in the summer and it gives me flexibility to train. VS: How much training do you do? SM: In the next few months I’ll try to run 50 to 60 miles a week. I also cross-train and do yoga and rock climbing. I trying not to overwork my body too much. —Phyl Newbeck


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R U N & T R I AT H L O N S E R I E S

Registration open to individuals & teams • 388-6888 •









ALPINE SKIING/RIDING MARCH 10-11 | Carinthia Freeski Open, West Dover Mount Snow’s acclaimed terrain park builders go all out, challenging freeskiing athletes. Plus, there’s a $7,000 cash purse up for grabs and gear for prizes. 11 | Triple Crown Mogul Challenge, Fayston In the third leg of Mad River Glen’s Triple Crown Competition Series, skiers are challenged with moguls on the Chute trail. 11-12 | Slash and Berm Banked Challenge, Killington Snowboarders race a technical slalom course with curves, knolls and drops on Bear Mountain. 12 | Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge, Bromley Amateur racers take to a dual giant slalom course for a chance to advance to the national level. 15 | Craft Skis & Craft Brews, Stowe The Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum hosts a talk by top Vermont craft ski makers such as J Skis, Renoun, WhiteRoom, Silo and more. Plus the launch of the Grant Reynolds classic race ski collection. 18-19 | STE Freeride Tour Champs, Jay Peak Skiers charge some of Jay Peak’s most difficult terrain in pursuit of the Ski the East title . 26 | Duct Tape Derby, West Dover Build a sled or vehicle out of cardboard, duct tape, zip ties and paint. Take it for a ride down Mount Snow’s tubing hill and win prizes for survival and creativity.

APRIL 2 | Bud Light Glade-iator at Mount Snow, Dover 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. 8 | Annual Sugar Slalom, Stowe 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.

8 | Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge Finals, Jay For the second year, Jay Peak hosts the final event in a series of free ski and snowboard races. 8 | Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge at Killington Killington’s famous end-of-season bumps contest. See some of the best amateur bump skiers go head to head and then stick around for the party.

MAY 1 | May Day Slalom, Killington Killington hosts a final springtime slalom race on the Superstar trail.


12 | Bread Loaf Citizens Race, Ripton Rikert Nordic Center hosts a 5K cross country race with the traditional loaf of bread for the winner, plus a kid's lollipop race. Costumes encouraged. 12 | 8th Annual Maine Huts & Trails Adventure Ski Race & Tour, Carrabassett Valley, Me. Grand Falls Hut serves as the start for a day of distance Nordic races, ending at Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, including 20K, 35K and 55K options. 18 | NE Rando Race Series "The Sun," Peru Bromley hosts a randonnee race with over 4,793 vertical feet of climbing with a skintrack, but no bootpack.


18 | Sugarloaf Marathon, Carrabassett Valley, Me. Nordic skiers head to the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center for 25K and 50K freestyle races.

10-11 | Peak Snowshoe Ultra, Marathon & Fun Run, Pittsfield 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.

19 | Sugarbush Mountaineering Race, Fayston For backcountry skiers and splitboarders, the Sugarbush Mountaineering Race has a new specataor-friendly course with pro or rec course options (10 miles, 4,800 vertical feet or 9 miles, 4,100 vertical feet).

11 | Bolton Valley Split and Surfest, Bolton Valley Join the Catamount Trail Alliance and Bolton Valley Resort for some backcountry exploring on splitboards. Free demos, clinics, games, tours, food and beer.

26 | Bob’s Birthday Bash & Random Relay, Ripton Rikert Nordic Center celebrates Robert Frost’s birthday with a day of races ending with cake and a BBQ. Costumes are encouraged.

11 | Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon, N.H. Bretton Woods Nordic Center at Mount Washington Resort hosts a 42/21K, classic cross country race. 11 | Stowe Nordic Backcountry Traverse, Stowe Two low-key tours run over sections of the Catamount Trail. The shorter option, a 20K, runs for 4 hours, and the long option, a 30K, runs for 7 hours.

CYCLING MARCH 6 | Onion River Bike Swap, Montpelier Show up early to Onion River’s annual bike sale to find the best used bikes at bargain prices.

11 | Relay For Life Nordic Style, Williston Teams and participants camp out on the snow for eight hours while taking turns skiing or snowshoeing laps at Catamount Outdoor Center. Live entertainment and food all night long.

2017 US National Biathlon Championships

March 24-26, 2017

Ethan Allen Firing Range Jericho, VT

Spectators Welcome Volunteer Opportunities! Novice Race Saturday 1:30 pm

No Biathlon Experience Needed More info at:


6-7 | Vermont’s Largest Bike Swap, S. Burlington Check out hundreds of quality used road, mountain, hybrid and kids bikes at Earl’s Cyclery and Fitness. 10 | VMBA Member Kick-Off Party, Burlington Join Vermont Mountain Bike Association at Skirack for an evening of food, brews, raffles, bikes demoand films by Vermont’s own Beast Coasters. 26 | Vermont Overland Maple Ride, Reading Vermont Overland's annual 27-mile, gravel grinder adventure ride over Class 4 roads.

APRIL 22 | Rasputitsa Gravel Road Race, East Burke Cyclists charge into spring with this 45-mile unsanctioned gravel ride through some of the Northeast Kingdom’s toughest terrain, starting at Burke Mountain Resort this year. 29 | Muddy Onion Spring Classic, Montpelier Explore 34 miles of scenic dirt roads on a fully supported ride followed by a BBQ with chocolate-covered bacon, maple syrup shots and The Alchemist beer. 29 | Gears and Beer Bar Crawl, Waterbury The Waterbury Area Trail Alliance holds a beer crawl fundraiser with four bars and restaurants donating 5 percent of draft sales to WATA.


14 | Lund Center’s Ride for Children, Burlington The Lund Family Center hosts a day of distance rides of 50, 33, and 16 miles. 20 | Richard’s Ride, Cochran's, Richmond Second annual ride hosted by the Richard Tom Foundation. Ride options include a 4.4 mile Children’s Ride (easy road or mountain bike routes) free for children, challenging mountain bike trails, a 17-mile road ride for families, a 30-mile road loop, and a challenging 70-mile road loop. 27 | Killington Stage Race, Killington Cyclists tackle courses 11-, 110-, 128-, 146- and 160-miles long in this USA Cycling certified event.

JUNE 4 | 7th Annual Tour De Heiffer, Brattleboro This challenging dirt road event features 15-, 30- and 60-mile routes all with significant elevation. The less challenging, (but still hilly) 15-mile ride has paved hills and a scenic riverside section. 4 | 16th Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race, Lake Placid, NY This race includes 11 miles of uphill-pedaling over a course that climbs 3,500 feet up Whiteface Mountain, New York’s 5th highest peak. 7 – 11 | Tour De Kingdom, Newport Kingdom Games in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom hosts four days of long-distance rides through the NEK and northern New Hampshire, totaling 440 miles and 25,000 feet of climbing. 10 | Vermont Epic: Bedford, Ma., to Ludlow, Vt. Cyclists gather for three events. The 70-mile Vermont Monster is a gravel grinder with 9,000 feet of climbing. The Battlefield to Vermont ride is 134.3 miles long and has 8,101 feet of climbing as it travels from Bedford, Mass. to Okemo Mountain. Recreational rides are available in 20 and 40-mile distances. 16 - 18 | NEMBAFest, East Burke. The over-100 miles of Kingdom Trails host the annual festival celebrating New England mountain biking. Weekend includes demos, live music, competitions and exhibitions. 25 | Dirty Road-A-Coaster, Brownsville Ascutney hosts this year’s race, with 45 miles of gravel roads and a six-mile class four section. Details about the course will be updated in April. 24 | RAS Adventure Ride and 5K Run, Peru Cyclists and runners gather in support of RASopathies research. Both the ride and the run will cover class four dirt roads. Post-ride party to follow at the JJ Hapgood General Store. 24 | Route 100–200 Miles, One Day, Derby The 100/200 is a one-day bicycle ride that stretches from

the Canadian border to the Massachusetts state line. Route 100 is widely recognized as one of Vermont’s most scenic highways and the 200-mile ride is routed to minimize automobile traffic. 24 | 7th Annual Long Trail Century Ride to Benefit Vermont Adaptive, Bridgewater Corners The Long Trail Century Ride returns with 100-, 60- and 20-mile routes and family friendly/adaptive 5K routes in the morning and a party in the afternoon with BBQ, live music, vendors, kids activities and more. www. 25 | Central Vermont Cycling Tour, Montpelier The Cross Vermont Trail Association hosts their annual 15-, 30-, or 60-mile rides on scenic country roads to raise funds for the Cross Vermont Trail.

RUNNING MARCH 11 | Magic Hat Mardi Gras Fun Run, Burlington Race or cheer on racers in this fast, one-mile run through downtown Burlington. 26 | Kaynor’s Sap Run, Westford Runners from around Vermont gather for a certified 10K out and back on muddy, hilly, country roads through rural Westford.

APRIL 1 | EGGStravaganza 5K, Bennington Runners collect Easter Eggs from bunnies during this 5K for a chance to win prizes at the finish. 8 | Half Marathon Unplugged, Colchester RunVermont hosts a half marathon from Colchester to Burlington on a flat and fast course with views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. 22 | Rolling Irish Half Marathon, Essex Junction The Green Mountain Athletic Association hosts a certified half marathon on mostly dirt roads, starting and finishing at Memorial Hall in Essex Junction.

2017 Skills Certification Courses Hulbert Outdoor Center, Fairlee, VT

Wilderness First Aid / CPR

Cost: $270 (meals, lodging, course materials) $210 commuter (lunch, course materials)

Optional: American Heart Association CPR (Heartsaver) Cost: $45 April 8-9 • May 27-28 • November 18-19

Wilderness First Responder

May be used as first half of a WEMT bridge course with SOLO. Cost: $925 (meals, lodging, course, materials) $740 commuter (lunch, course materials) December 10-19

Wilderness First Responder Review (Recertification)

Cost: $290 (meals, lodging, course, materials) $230 commuter (lunch, course materials) $45 CPR Re-certification May 27-28 • November 18-19

Wilderness EMT Module

Cost: $635 (meals, lodging, course materials) $520 commuter (lunch, course materials) December 16-19


Cost: $160 (lunch, course materials) December 16

ACA Canoe Instructor Certifications

Levels 1, 2, and 3 (3 day training) Cost: $485 (meals, lodging) $390 commuter (lunch) Level 1 and 2 (2 day training) Cost: $400 (meals, lodging) $320 commuter (lunch) May 27-29 ** 10% Military Discount is available for all of our Skills Certification courses

For more information or to register. Please contact Lynn Daly at 802-333-3405 or check our website


Gravel bike season is here.

Come check out the best bikes for the job. 49 Brickyard Lane, Putney Vermont




29 | Sap Lap, St. Johnsbury 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.

20 | Dandelion Run, Derby Kingdom Games hosts its annual half marathon and 10K on dirt roads through the dandelion fields of Morgan, Holland and Derby. Fiddlers play live bluegrass and folk music along the run.

30 | 21st Annual Mutt Strutt, Waterbury Run a 5K in Little River State Park with your pup!

28 | Vermont City Marathon, Burlington RunVermont's annual marathon runs through Burlington, finishing in Waterfront Park.

30 | Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race, Huntington The Sleepy Hollow Ski and Bike Center hosts a hilly and muddy 10K race on singletrack and mowed trails. www.


JUNE 24 | Vermont Sun Triathlon, Salisbury, Vt. Vermont Sun's annual triathlon series starts with a 600yard swim, a 14-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile run on the shores of Lake Dunmore. Event repeats on July 16 and August 13.



3 | Colchester Causeway 5K/15K, Colchester Choose either a 5K or 15K. The race begins at Airport Park and follows a gravel trail out the historic and scenic Colchester Causeway.

5-6 | 2016 Peak Ultra, Pittsfield Recreational to elite-level runners will have the choice of running 10-, 30-, 50-, 100-, 200- or 500 mile distances on cross-country trails.

10 | 40th Capital City Stampede 10K, Montpelier Runners race a flat and fast out-and-back course on halfpaved, half dirt roads. Course is USATF-certified. Top three receive gift certificates.

13 | Reel Paddling Film Festival, Burlington Outdoor Gear Exchange hosts award-winning films and a raffle benefits the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

May 5-7 | The Run Formula Vermont Trail Running Camp, Stowe This 2.5-day training camp for distance runners of all speeds teaches how to prepare for anything from a half marathon through an ultra-distance race. Includes lodging, meals and giveaways.


20-22| Riverfest, Lebanon, N.H Grab your kayak and race the Wells River Rumble, the Mascoma Slalom or just join in for the party and cookout hosted by the Ledyard Canoe Club.

7 | The 10th Annual Sweetest Half, Middlebury Middlebury hosts its signature springtime half marathon, starting and finishing at Porter Medical Center. A 3-mile fun run is new this year. 13 | Lewis Covered Bridges 5K/10K and Half Marathon, Charlotte Race Vermont hosts an out-and-back half marathon through Charlotte. The course runs along the Lewis Creek and over two covered bridges. 13 | Spring Into Health 5K, Townshend Run or walk in this family-friendly 5K-walk/run fundraiser for Grace Cottage Hospital. 13 | The Road to the Pogue, Woodstock The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park hosts a 6.1-mile run on carriage trails to the 14-acre pond “The Pogue” and back.



1 | New Haven Ledges Race, Lincoln, Vt. Advanced whitewater paddlers challenge the ledges on the New Haven River.

1 | Berkshire Highlands Pentathalon, Charlemont, Mass. A 4.2-mile road/trail run, a 16-mile cycling leg, a 2-mile obstacle course and a climb to the summit of Berkshire East Ski Area with a downhill ski/ride to the finish (athletes carry gear to the top).


9 | Brian Bill Memorial Challenge, Northfield, Vt. Individuals and teams tackle an 8K course with 20 obstacles at Norwich University.

14 | Fiddlehead Slalom, Montpelier, Vt. Paddlers race a slalom course on the Winooski River.

29 | Killington Triathlon, Killington, Vt. Ski down Superstar trail, run a 5K, then mountain bike around the mountain. Course will be adjusted according to snow the day of the race.

19-21 | Adirondack Paddlefest, Old Forge, NY Test the newest canoes, kayaks and SUPs at the country’s largest on-water sale. Clinics, demos and classes, food and fun for the whole family.



21 | Stowe Triathlon, Stowe, Vt. Athletes compete in a 500-meter pool swim, 14-mile bike ride and a 5K run.

23-25 | Deerfield River Festival, Deerfield, Mass. American Whitewater and Zoar Outdoor host a weekend showcasing whitewater paddlesports.

6-7 | Paddlefest, Saratoga Springs, NY Test the newest canoes, kayaks and SUPs at the largest onwater sale in the east. Clinics, demos and classes, food and fun for the whole family.

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hen the Outdoor Gear Exchange opened its doors in Burlington 1995, we had no idea that the store would grow from an 800-squarefoot gear closet into the Church Street community hub that it is today. Like many of the folks in the outdoor industry (which includes gear shops, manufacturers, outfitters and ski areas), we were simply adventurers looking to live the dream. Now, with the wisdom of time we feel it’s our duty to fight to protect and preserve cherished wild places, be they large or small. We want to ensure our adventures can continue and protect connected habitat. Changes in the outdoor industry—locally and nationally—are almost as gripping as current national news headlines. Vail is buying Stowe. Eastern Mountain Sports is filing for bankruptcy for the second time and climate change continues to affect Vermont’s recreation economy by both shortening the winter and ushering in more extreme weather events. Even with the chaos, there are signs of hope for conservation and many paths forward. Thanks to lobbying by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the voice of the outdoor recreation industry, the Outdoor REC act passed the House of Representatives with unanimous support and was signed into law by President Obama last December. This now means the impact of outdoor recreation will be measured as part of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The OIA also commissioned an Outdoor Recreation Economy report, which shows that outdoor recreation contributes $646 billion in consumer spending to the U.S. economy, provides 6.1 million American jobs and contributes $80 billion in tax revenue. The “Outdoor Economy” is nearly as big as the pharmaceutical industry and motor vehicle sales and parts combined: we employ more Americans than education or construction! There is strength in numbers, and these numbers are emboldening industry leaders to take a stand for what is right for industry, recreationalists at large and the environment.

THE POWER OF A PROTEST For the past 20 years, outdoor business leaders, gear manufacturers, media, guides, and nonprofits have gathered in Utah twice annually for Outdoor Retailer, a tradeshow that contributed $45 million annually to the state of Utah. During that time, we worked with the state to encourage land conservation and to prevent repeal of protections. We were led by


or engage in any type of non-motorized recreation.


Mike Donohue wanted to live the dream. Now he's working to perpetuate it. Photo courtesy Mike Donohue industry pioneers like Peter Metcalf, Black Diamond’s CEO and Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. In the last few months, Chouinard and Metcalf have helped lead Outdoor Retailer out of Utah in an act of protest against how the state is treating its public lands. First, a little history: In 2007 the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) was able to maintain roadless protection of 4 million acres of national forest lands, leveraging the recreation community’s impact in Utah with a petition signed by more than 400 trade show attendees. This was the culmination of a campaign that started in 2003 when Metcalf threatened to pull the OR tradeshow from Utah over the issue. Fast forward to 2012 and a new Utah governor; Metcalf again took a public political stance by pulling out of a Utah Industry manufacturers group to protest Governor Herbert’s campaign to again try to repeal wilderness protections from millions of acres of federal land. Now it’s 2017, and Governor Herbert

is asking the Trump Administration to revoke Bears Ears National Monument. According to Metcalf, “Herbert and Utah’s D.C. delegation are leading a national allout assault on the sanctity of Utah and the country’s public lands.” In response the Outdoor Industry is putting its money where its mouth is. On February 16, Outdoor Retailer trade show director, Marisa Nicholson announced that Salt Lake City will no longer be the home of OR. The show will move to a state that is aligned with the industry’s values, taking its economic stimulus with it. In addition, Emerald Expositions, the trade show’s parent company, will not consider relocating Interbike, a large bicycle trade show, to Utah. In further solidarity NAHBS, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, is not considering Utah for any future shows “unless serious changes are made by government officials.” It’s a pivotal moment—not just for the outdoor industry but for anyone who loves to ski, bike, paddle, climb, snowshoe, fish

We need to build on the legacy of public lands being set aside for the good of all, for recreation and habitat, and for the protection of our national resources. Here in Vermont, this is a trend that is, thankfully, continuing. Despite all the open land surrounding our villages, less than 20 percent of Vermont’s rural landscape is conserved. Strong nonprofits like Vermont Land Trust, Vermont Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land fight to prevent habitat loss due to fragmentation and development. Their efforts also help preserve resources for recreation and protect the spaces where people can gain and cement their appreciation for nature. Recent conservation success stories include the conservation of Barre Town Forest and the Millstone Trails, West Windsor’s purchase of Ascutney Mountain, where it opened a community run ski area, and the Bolton Valley Nordic and backcountry area. The Outdoor Gear Exchange supported these projects through our membership in the Conservation Alliance, which partially funded them. On town meeting day, Richmond voters have the opportunity to permanently protect the 428-acre Andrews Forestland and turn that parcel into a new town forest. If this passes, Richmond town forest will continue to serve as a place where we can hike, bike, snowmobile and hunt. It will also remain a key link in a significant wildlife corridor that aims to preserve habitat connecting Mt. Mansfield to Camel’s Hump through the Winooski River Valley. In adjacent Williston, Trust for Public Lands is working with the Catamount Outdoor Family Center to designate the 400-acre property, the largest unbroken tract of forest remaining in the town, as a town forest as well. It is becoming clear, as OIA says, that “together we are a force.” It makes me proud as a Vermonter and a member of the outdoor industry that so many of us agree that conservation is key and that focusing on preserving land is the long view. Doing that will make sure we can have our wild playgrounds, connected habitats and protect our environment for the future. It's proof that strong working landscapes, wildlife populations and recreation opportunities can all co-exist in Vermont. Mike Donohue is an owner of The Outdoor Gear Exchange.

Technology has changed since you bought your old CamelBak. The new crux reservoir delivers 20% more water per sip in a pack loaded with our latest hydration technology. So you can do more of what you love, and stay out there longer. tm

Vermont Sports Magazine, March/April  
Vermont Sports Magazine, March/April