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5 The Start
Two tragic deaths in September are important reminders to take care in the wild.
How much protein do you need? The answer may surprise you.
Play It Safe
6 Great Outdoors
Fall's Mountain Marathons Whether you run, hike or bike them, these marathons and halfmarathons dish up Vermont at its best.
8 Great Outdoors
After a hiker went missing in the Adirondacks, here's how Stowe Mountain Rescue helped with the two-week search.
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Meet the winners of our 2017 Adventure Dog Photo Contest.
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Welcome to the 21st century community hospital. Welcome to Copley. “I met Dr. John Kaeding in Copley’s Emergency Department. He was great to deal with – even when he told me I needed surgery to repair my fractured fibula. We talked to a lot of people and asked other’s opinion, before my appointment with orthopaedic specialist Dr. Nicholas Antell. Dr. Antell answered all my questions, understood my concerns, and as a result, we felt confident going forward with his recommended procedure. I’m glad I chose Copley for my surgery. In a big hospital, half the battle is having staff treat you as a person – not just ‘the patient with a broken leg.’ The staff at Copley are kind, genuine, authentic human beings who are respectful and nice to deal with. It’s a calm setting with cutting-edge equipment and good staff that have good training....Copley felt like the best of both worlds.” You can count on Copley for excellent care with expert medical providers performing minimally invasive, state-of-theart procedures matched with the warm, personalized feel of a community hospital. Top medical care close to home. To make an appointment with a Mansfield Orthopaedic Specialist, call
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PLAY IT SAFE Featured in l, reet Journa The Wall St l Gazette ea tr on M , be Boston Glo Pouce and Sur le SMOKED MEAT
Doug Veliko (seated) and the Stowe Mountain Rescue team on search in the Adirondacks. Photo by John Wehse
ermont’s landscape is intimate. It is not a place of vast forests and formidable mountains. Even in our most remote wilderness areas, it’s hard to get lost. As Stowe Mountain Rescue’s Chief of Rescue, Doug Veliko says, “If you walk 5 or 10 miles anywhere in a straight line, you’re bound to come to a road in this state.” Vermont can lull you into a sense of false security. In the Adirondacks, that’s not the case. In the last few weeks, there have been two tragic, fatal accidents in our region. On Saturday, Sept. 17, University of Vermont junior Rebecca Ryan plummeted to her death on a 90-foot cliff at Bolton. Ryan, an experienced rock climber, ski racer and a graduate of the Green Mountain Valley School, had been climbing in the area all day with friends. It was the end of the day when she finished a last climb, top-roping. Due to a miscommunication, she was off belay as she prepared to rappel and fell to her death. The other is the case of Alex Stevens, a 28-year-old hiker from New Jersey. The story of how he lost his way in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks, just across Lake Champlain, is on page 8. Stevens survived for nearly two weeks in the wild with little food, few warm clothes and no water before he died of pneumonia. It’s not easily or lightly that we write about accidents like these. They are heartbreaking reminders of our human shortcomings. While it’s easy to pinpoint mistakes that were made or point fingers, how many of us have made similar—though perhaps less costly—errors? As Veliko says: “It’s usually not just one mistake that brings you down but a series of them.” How many of us actually regularly carry the things Veliko recommends in a day pack: fire starters, a space blanket, a
compass, 6 energy bars, a water filter? How many of us have snuck into the woods by ourselves to find an untracked stache of powder? How many consider the worstcase scenarios before we set out beyond the implied safety of cell-phone range? How many discuss safety plans in an adventure? Vermont has an inordinate number of top outdoorsmen and women and athletes. We have outdoors schools and guides such as Petra-Cliffs, which make teaching backcountry safety and techniques a priority. Vermont is the birthplace of the National Ski Patrol and we have excellent patrollers at every ski resort. We have one of the best rescue teams in the nation in Stowe Mountain Rescue. And we have the former head of Stowe Mountain Rescue, Neil Van Dyke, holding a unique state-funded position, Search and Rescue Coordinator. That position was created in 2013, nearly two years after state police failed to conduct an overnight search for Levi Duclos, 19, opting to wait until morning. Duclos had headed out for a trail run in Ripton late in the day on Jan 9, 2012. He died of hypothermia. In September, Van Dyke received a Commissioner's Award from the Department of Public Safety for his efforts to continuously improve search and rescue efforts across the state by conducting regular trainings and coordinating response processes from public safety groups, be they search and rescue or state police. For a small state, we have remarkable systems of safety nets. But none of us should rely on these when we head out in the wild, whether for an afternoon or a weekend. “You should always think ahead to ‘what if…’” says Veliko. And be prepared for that ‘what if’ to happen. This issue is dedicated to the memory of Rebecca Ryan and Alex Stevens, two people who loved the outdoors. —Lisa Lynn, Editor
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FALL’S MOUNTAIN MARATHONS TAKE TO THE TRAILS THIS MONTH WITH A NEW FIVE-PEAK MOUNTAIN MARATHON AND A FEW CLASSIC FAVORITES.
hether you run, walk or hike them, Vermont’s fall mountain marathons all guarantee the same thing: stunning scenery, challenging terrain and no cars or pavement. Over the past few years, a number of new mountain trail running events have gained popularity. Routed almost entirely on dirt trails, much of it singletrack, these races or runs are perhaps the best ways to take in fall foliage. Here are four of our favorites. Oct. 8 | North Face Race to the Summit It’s not really a marathon but if hill sprints are your thing, sign right up. The North Face Race to the Summit in Stratton is a deceptively short 2.18 miles. It’s the elevation gain of 2,003 feet that will
6 VTSPORTS.COM | OCTOBER 2017
get you. You can, of course, hike or walk it. But there’s a $600 first place prize ($300 for second and $100 for third) for the top male and female finisher. For everyone else, there’s the view from the summit of southern Vermont’s highest peak, at peak foliage. stratton.com
Oct. 14 | Westmore Mountain Challenge In its first year, the Westmore Mountain Challenge already has our vote for the most spectacular (and challenging) trail run in Vermont. The route takes runners and hikers on a one-way, 26-mile run up five mountains in the Northeast Kingdom, with 4,423 feet of elevation gain. It ends as you pass the southern end of the fjord-like Lake Willoughby and run five miles out to finish at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center. The route is almost entirely singletrack trails, built by Conservation Corps and other volunteers. It’s not so much a race as a challenge, says organizer Rebecca Midthun, and you can do shorter distances, thanks to shuttles arranged at strategic checkpoints after Mount Hor, Mount Pisgah, Haystack and Bald Mountains. Start is at Moose Mountain and finish is at the NorthWoods Center. There, Sterling College professor and ultra marathoner Pavel Cenkl will give a talk on his Climate Change Run across Scandinavia. Registration is capped at 120. northwoodscenter.org Oct. 14 | Trapp Mountain Marathon The cross-country trails at Trapp Family Lodge’s 513 acres have almost a surface that
makes them ideal for trail running either a half-marathon or doing two laps for a full 26.2 miles. The trails criss-cross the hilltop property past pastures where Highland cattle and sheep graze, through orchards, high meadows and up to hardwood forests. More than two-thirds of the route is doubletrack with the rest on winding singletrack trails. At the high point, Slayton Pasture’s classic rough-hewn cabin serves as a rest stop, but the best stop and reward is the Trapp Bierhall at the lowest point. All finishers get a custom finisher's glass which you can fill with your Von Trapp brew of choice. trappmountainmarathon.com Oct. 14 | CircumBurke Challenge and Trail Run The trails around Burke Mountain might be best known for mountain biking—and most people do this 26-plus mile route on knobby tires. But CircumBurke is also a running race that follows new sections of singletrack trail as well as logging roads as it careens around the wilder sides of Burke and Umpire Mountains. This is an “epic, grueling” race. Last year, runners took between 3.5 and 7 hours to finish and the top cyclist finished in 2 hours, 45 minutes. circumburke.com
You may not win the race but at the Trapp Mountain Marathon you'll definitely pass a few Highland cattle. Photo by Steven Goodhue/Vermont Vacation
OCTOBER 2017 | VTSPORTS.COM 7
The Stowe Mountain Rescue team was flown in to a base camp at Scott Pond, northeast of Wallface.
OVER LABOR DAY, ALEX STEVENS SET OUT TO CAMP ON ONE OF THE ADIRONDACKS’ MOST REMOTE PEAKS. TWO WEEKS LATER, STOWE MOUNTAIN RESCUE JOINED THE SEARCH PARTY FOR HIM. BY LISA GOSSELIN LYNN PHOTOS BY JOHN WEHSE
f you Google ‘Wallface Mountain, NY’ the first site to come up is a climbing site, Mountain Project. The description is almost beckoning. It reads: “Wallface is the largest and tallest cliff of New York State: almost 800 feet of very steep rock. With its quite long access from the end of the road and rather undefined access to the base of the cliff, Wallface definitely has an alpine dimension. Don't be scared though, climbing this huge cliff is really very interesting and enjoyable!” It may have been that description, or a similar one (or simply the mountain’s reputation in climbing circles), that enticed Alex Stevens to seek out this rocky buttress in the remote Western High Peaks Wilderness of the Adirondacks. Stevens, a 28-year-old from Hopewell, N.J. was fascinated by Wallface—enough so that he drove alone to the Adirondacks for a Labor Day weekend camping trip. Though he had been climbing at his local gym and took trips to boulder and climb around the Northeast Kingdom’s Mt. Pisgah, Stevens hadn’t planned to climb Wallface. He carried no ropes or other climbing gear. Friday, Sept. 1, was sunny with a high of 54 degrees in Lake Placid and overnight lows dipping to the 30s. On Saturday morning, Stevens parked at the Upper Works trailhead in Newcomb. He marked in the Indian Pass trailhead register that he planned to spend three days hiking and camping. Stevens trekked the 6 or so miles to the base of the cliffs, accounts report, carrying a
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Wallface's sheer 800-foot cliffs have put it on the checklist for many Northeast climbers. Few people make the bushwhack to the scrub-covered summit at 3,727 feet where evidence of Steven's campsite was found and marked as "clues" on the search maps (opposite). silver foam bedroll, a light green backpack, a hammock and tarp. He left his sleeping bag in the car. At the base of Wallface’s towering cliffs, Stevens paused and spoke with two climbers. The New Jersey man, the climbers noted, was wearing a blue cotton t-shirt and open-toed sandals. His blond hair was tied in a bun. They were the last two to see him. On Sunday, Sept. 10 at 1:45 p.m. the Department of Environmental Conservation Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a family member saying that Stevens was missing after he failed to meet up with friends, as planned, in New York City. That’s when the search started.
THE SEARCH BEGINS The area around Wallface Mountain, though just 10 miles south of Lake Placid, is some of the most remote and densely forested in the Adirondacks. Cell phones don’t work here. The few trails slash their way through the dense forests. “At times, you’re not even walking on dirt, just pine branches, and crawling over blowdowns,” says Doug Veliko, Chief of Stowe Mountain Rescue. In lower parts, the terrain is so boggy you can sink in mud to your thighs. On Sunday afternoon, the day of the phone call, three local forest rangers set out and searched the trails on foot with two scouting from a helicopter above. By Monday, Sept. 11, more than 27 people
from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), New York’s Homeland Security and state police force were involved in the search. Search and rescue and logistics personnel were called in from around the state, some driving from as far as Long Island to participate. On Sept. 12, searchers discovered signs of a camp at the summit of Wallface and found some items belonging to Stevens, including two water bottles, earplugs and a strap from his hammock. For a week, teams walked grids through the forest, searching the understory for any sign. By the end of the week, they still had not located Stevens. That’s when they called
Stowe Mountain Rescue was part of the search grid , covering the northwest side of Wallface. Stevens was found where the red X is on the map, near Wallface Ponds. in Stowe Mountain Rescue. “We often get calls from the Adirondacks because we know that type of terrain and have worked with the teams over there,” says Veliko, a rock climber and backcountry skier with extensive wilderness experience. To even become a member of the elite 20-person search and rescue team, you have to come in with a strength in the outdoors, says Veliko who also holds a fulltime job as an electrical engineer at Global Foundries, in Essex, Vt.. “We look for people who are accomplished rock climbers, have done extensive hiking, mountain biking or backcountry skiing. We expect you to know the mountains and wilderness. Then we start teaching the rest.”
There is a rigorous exam, a six-month probationary period and weekly two-hour trainings. The team practices rescues high in the cliffs of Smuggler’s Notch and in lakes and rushing streams, in all seasons. As SMR’s website stipulates: “Our team includes personnel with Emergency Medical Responder training all the way to Advance Emergency Medical Technician qualifications. These skills may be deployed while on the edge of a cliff or in the middle of a flood.” When Vermont created a state-wide Search and Rescue Coordinator position in 2012, it tapped Neil Van Dyke, a 37year veteran and former Chief of Stowe Mountain Rescue to help coordinate search
efforts among the various law enforcement and safety groups around the state. Van Dyke was also part of the team that headed to Wallface. On Saturday, Sept. 16, Veliko and six other members of the rescue team headed to the Adirondacks for what was to be a threeday stint on the search. A camp had been set up on Scott Pond, below the mountain. The Stowe team was flown in by helicopter, the same that had begun the search a week earlier, using infrared cameras to scan the cliff face for a sign of human activity. “Everything was supremely well organized,” says Veliko. “They had a logistics team in place that took care of food and supplies and a management team that
was organizing the search. It was up to us to get out there and look for him.” The teams had already gleaned a few clues. Stevens had bushwhacked his way up the cliff most likely following the remnants of an old climbers’ trail. He had set up camp at a tiny clearing on the summit on Saturday. He had run out of water. Two water bottles were found on the summit, one on the western slope. “The water bottles had signs of moss in them which may have meant he was trying to squeeze water out of the moss that grows on the rocks up there” says Veliko. There was no other water source near the exposed summit. On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 2, temperatures dipped down below freezing
OCTOBER 2017 | VTSPORTS.COM 9
The forests in this area of the High Peaks Wilderness are so dense often the only paths through were via drainages (above). Veliko (far left, with backpack) and the Stowe team get briefed on their search mission by New York rangers at the improvised helipad at the top of Wallface Mountain. in the town of Lake Placid. At the 3,727foot summit of Wallface, where Stevens camped, they would have been much lower. On Sunday, Sept. 3, the weather turned bad. Rain started early in the morning and continued throughout the day. “We figured that at that point he broke camp and started down,” says Veliko. Stevens didn’t go down the way he came up. “He may have looked for a short cut or thought he could bushwhack his way to the base,” Veliko surmises. The Stowe Mountain Rescue team joined the grid of searchers on Sunday, September 17, covering Wallface’s northwest face. “When you do a grid, you walk in a straight line within eyesight and earshot of another searcher,” says Veliko. Normally that might be 15 or 20 feet away. “Here, the trees were so tight and dense that we were five feet away from each other and couldn’t see each other. Tree trunks were sometimes inches apart.” The dense krummholz and spruce and balsam scrub was nearly impassable in places. There were no trails. Blowdowns and boulders often blocked the teams’ progress.
SURVIVING IN THE WILD At 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, another search team found Alex Stevens. His body lay in a scree field, in the bottom of a drainage near Wallface Pond. He was on the opposite side of the mountain from the trail he had come up and, as the crow flies,
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a half mile west from his campsite on the summit. There was no sign of an injury. The coroners’ report stated he had died three days earlier of pneumonia, what was termed an “easy diagnosis” based on the build-up of mucus in his lungs. Wallace had been wandering that stretch of forest for more than two weeks before he succumbed. Had he made it to Wallface Pond, he might have found a side trail that leads from Wallface and Scott Ponds two miles back to Indian Pass Trail, the trail he set out on on Sept. 2.
“When you are in forest this dense, it’s easy to walk in circles,” says Veliko, adding: “Stevens had run out of water and food, we know that, and was probably already dehydrated and disoriented.” “You can survive for a month in the wild with no food,” Veliko continued, “but the longest you can go without water is about three days. Your body starts to break down and becomes more susceptible to sickness.” As the Essex County Coroner Francis Whitelaw, who examined Stevens body, said: “Your brain lives on carbohydrates
for the most part, and if you don’t get carbohydrates over a long period of time it’ll really play with your mind, and you are going to make bad decisions, and just not going to be able to function after a while.” Among the other things that searchers noted: there was no sign that Stevens carried any thermal clothing. He was wearing a cotton shirt and hiking boots when his body was found. He had a cell phone (though there is no service in the area). He had no compass or fire-starting materials. “Whenever I hike, I carry a small daypack that has six or seven Powerbars, a space blanket, compass, a firestarter and first aid,” says Veliko. “Even the most experienced hiker should never set out in an area, particularly in the Adirondacks, that you don’t know alone. If Stevens had been with someone or even told someone where he was going, we might have found him when he was still alive. Any time you set out without a means of communication and alone, you’re opening yourself up to risk.” For Veliko and other members of Stowe Mountain Rescue who handle up to 40 rescues a year it was one of their few searches that did not end in a rescue. For the Adirondack teams, it was one of many. In 2016, there were an unprecedented 350 backcountry searches in the region. “It’s wild terrain out there,” says Veliko. “People need to go out prepared.”
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HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO YOU REALLY NEED? IF YOU’RE AN ATHLETE, IT IS MORE THAN AVERAGE. HOWEVER, IT COULD ALSO BE FAR LESS THAN YOU THINK. BY JAMIE SHEAHAN, M.S., R.D.
GOOD SOURCES If you have a friend who is a body builder, chances are you’ve been lectured about how you just aren’t getting enough protein. Even the foods lining our grocery aisles would seem to indicate as much with everything from cereal to pasta touting “added protein.” So how much do we really need? The current recommendation for adults is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day, or 46 grams for the average woman. The average American eats far more than that. However, as is usually
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Meat, fish, poultry, eggs are considered complete proteins, but vegetarians need not fear: quinoa, shown here in a bowl salad topped with peanuts, is a complete protein, as is buckwheat.
Most people equate protein with building muscle, but proteins have many other functions in the body, like producing hormones and enzymes, bolstering immunity, and transporting and storing small molecules—to name a few.
ay the word “protein” and your mind may wander to images of hulking body builders guzzling protein shakes in between sets of squats. However, protein is not just for strength training or bulking up—it’s a major factor in every athlete’s health and performance. It’s also one of the most misunderstood elements in the American diet. Understanding how much you need and how to make sure these needs are being met could just be the missing piece that will take your performance to the next level. Most people equate protein with building muscle, but proteins have many other functions in the body, like producing hormones and enzymes, bolstering immunity, and transporting and storing small molecules—to name a few. So what is protein, really, and why is it so essential to our body? First of all, protein is made up of amino acids. Of the 20 different amino acids used by the human body, nine are considered “indispensable” because the body cannot create them. The remainder are deemed “dispensable” because the liver can manufacture them—unless the body is placed under undue stress (e.g. from prolonged endurance exercise). A protein is considered “complete” if it contains sufficient amounts of all nine indispensable proteins. Animal proteins such as those from meat, poultry, fish and eggs are complete proteins, which explains why many people immediately turn to these foods when aiming to meet their protein needs. Most plant proteins, on the other hand, may be missing one or more indispensable amino acids, classifying them as “incomplete” proteins. Vegetarians need not despair. Having a variety of plant proteins throughout the day will likely provide enough amino acids for your body to meet its needs. The matching up of different incomplete proteins is commonly referred to as complementary proteins.
the case, athletes don’t fit quite so neatly into “standard” recommendations. During exercise, skeletal muscle is broken down and we must ingest protein in order to allow our muscles to repair, recover and grow. This constant muscle turnover translates to higher protein needs depending on the type and volume of training. Recreational athletes should strive for
1.0 g/kg of body weight. Endurance athletes require anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 g/kg of body weight. In case you aren’t a math whiz, let’s put that into perspective. A 150-pound endurance athlete needs about 82 to 95 grams of protein per day. (The USDA has an online calculator that can help calculate average protein and nutrient needs based on weight and activity level at nal.usda.gov/ fnic/interactiveDRI/.) And ultraendurance athletes need even more, with recommendations ranging from 1.2 to 2.0 g/kg (0.5 to 0.9 grams per pound) of body weight. One important thing to note is that these recommendations assume an athlete is consuming adequate calories to meet their energy needs, and that they are also consuming good quality protein.
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? As with so many things in life, there is truth to the saying you can have too much of a good thing. Unlike carbs and fat, which have been, and still are, shunned by many, protein seems to have taken on a holier-than-thou status and as a result, many feel they just can’t get enough. One study found that almost 60 percent of Americans are actively trying to increase their protein intake and doing so largely by resorting to protein supplements and foods fortified with protein. This is despite the
fact that protein deficiencies in the U.S. are extremely rare and most individuals have no problem meeting their daily needs. Those who are still convinced that more is better should be careful not to over do it. The concern with having too much protein stems largely from a byproduct of amino acid metabolism: ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to the body, but does not normally pose any risk because our body converts it to urea, allowing it to be excreted in our urine. Research has shown that protein intake over 2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day exceeds the rate at which urea can be synthesized, leading to a build up of ammonia in the blood. Excess ammonia in the blood can lead to brain damage. But consuming that much protein is very hard to do, especially if you're relying on whole foods (as you should) to meet your protein needs. Most athletes should be concerned about getting enough protein as opposed to overdoing it. To put it in perspective, one large egg only has about 6 grams of protein. Not exactly enough to put the body into ammonia overload. Athletes can meet their needs without going overboard by including lean meats, poultry, fish and other animal products like dairy and eggs. There are also ample sources of protein-rich vegetarian options like whole grains, soy, nuts, seeds and legumes.
WHEN TO PROTEIN UP "When" you consume protein should be a consideration for every athlete. It is very important for athletes to consume protein after exercise in order to allow for muscle growth and recovery. Endurance exercise relies primarily on carbohydrates to provide energy, but remember what happens during exercise: the body also breaks down small amounts of skeletal muscle to provide additional energy. After exercise, consuming protein combined with
carbohydrates stimulates the process of protein synthesis. Chocolate milk is often touted as an ideal recovery drink, because it provides enough carbohydrates and protein for the body to replenish its glycogen stores while also supplying the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle. Many factors contribute to optimizing your athletic performance. Now that you know the facts about smart protein, you will have one less factor to worry about.
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THE PROTEIN MENU
You don’t have to be a carnivore to get all 9 essential proteins. In fact, most Americans get more than adequate protein from their daily diet. However, the more you exercise and the more muscle you are trying to build, the more protein you may need. Keep in mind, the recommendations for the ultra endurance athlete is 0.5 to 0.9 grams per pound. For a 170 pound male, that could come to 153 grams—that sounds like a lot! But consider how easy it is to get even that amount of protein from a variety of foods: a quarter pounder with cheese has 37 grams of protein, a container of Greek yogurt has 17 grams and a 3-oz. serving of tuna, 25 grams. Add in two eggs (12 grams), two tablespoons of peanut butter (8 grams) on two slices of whole wheat bread (7.2 grams), a cup of quinoa (8 grams), a cup of lentils (16 grams), 2 oz. of cheddar (13 grams) and a glass of milk (8 grams) and 2 cups of spinach (1.8 grams) and you are nearly there. Here’s how to consider proteins:
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COMPLETE PROTEINS: While it’s true that meat, fish, poultry, eggs and most dairy products pack the full stack of (all 9) proteins, so do quinoa, buckwheat and hemp as well as soy and soy products (tofu, tempeh, soy milk, etc.). INCOMPLETE PROTEINS: While they may not contain all 9 essential proteins, nuts, seeds, rice, beans and many grains provide protein. Combining them, or making them part of your daily menu, can create the complete proteins you needs. COMBO MEALS: Some classic food pairings don’t just taste good, they work together nutritionally. These foods all are incomplete proteins but combined (either together or during the day) give you the 9 proteins you need: peanut butter on a slice of whole-wheat bread, brown rice and beans, and a pita and hummus. There could be other benefits of combining foods too. A recent study of more than 2,000 elderly people in Japan (as published in Nutrition Journal, May 2017) showed that those who had diets that included both high intakes of dietary protein and high antioxidant intakes (foods high in antioxidants include dark leafy greens, berries and other vegetables) were less frail. PROTEIN POWDERS AND SUPPLEMENTS: It’s increasingly common to see whey powder, casein and other protein supplements added to shakes, smoothies, supplements and energy bars. Keep in mind that while these may help you meet your protein requirements, they should not be considered as a replacement for whole foods, which add in all the other nutrients your body needs. Jamie Sheahan, M.S., R.D. is the Director of Nutrition at The Edge in Burlington where she works closely with athletes to develop customized fueling plans to optimize their health and performance. Sheahan is also an adjunct professor of sports nutrition at the University of Vermont. An avid runner, she has completed 20 marathons.
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(TOWERS) SOME PEOPLE BAG PEAKS, OTHERS AIM EVEN HIGHER. MORE THAN 11 FIRETOWERS ARE STILL STANDING AROUND VERMONT, JUST BEGGING TO BE CLIMBED. BY KRISTEN FOUNTAIN
Belvidere Mountain's 50-foot tall tower gives views to Canada. Photo by Nathanael Asaro
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GETTING BACK TO OUR
The tower atop Glastenbury Mountain looks out across the 35-square-mile Glastenbury Wilderness.
“ In the 1930s and 1940s there were 38 fire observation towers inhabited by paid observers in every corner of the state.
After a 2.1 mile hike from the trailhead, the toughest part is ascending the rickety steps on Bald Mountain's tower. Photo by Nathanael Asaro across the landscape, these old towers were designed to have immense views in all directions. Many are a short hike or drive from a ski area and some, such as the towers at Stratton and Okemo, are just off the summit lifts. Six (Bald, Burke, Elmore,
Mt. Olga, Spruce and Stratton) are on the National Historic Lookout Register. Though no longer active, these towers once played a key role in preserving forests and farmlands. In 1910, the state legislature gave the new state forest commission
ach fall, I hike Elmore Mountain. Last October, I was five months pregnant, but still went to climb the fire tower at the summit for the sweeping multi-hued view of the Green Mountains. It was a weekday, mid-morning, crisp and sunny when I set out alone from Elmore State Park with two full water bottles. I decided I would go slowly and avoid the steep final section of the main trail to the summit by taking the slightly longer Ridge Trail for a 5.5-mile out and back. During my two-hour mosey, I was passed by two solo runners, one woman in Spandex with a waistpack full of supplies, the other, a man loping by in basketball shorts and a collared shirt. There were also several couples, one with a friendly black Lab. I was sure that all of us had the same goal: reach the 80-year-old metal tower that shoots 45 feet up above tree-line. At the peak of fall, thousands of people climb mountains like Mt. Mansfield, Lincoln Peak or Killington—and there are few better places to see Vermont’s foliage than from the summit clearings. But if you want a different and more unique view of maples in flaming shades of red and orange, gold birches and mountain ash, hike to one of Vermont’s historic fire towers. Located so as to maximize sight lines
authority to post watchmen on peaks on private land. Over the previous decade, droughts had led to record fires throughout New England’s forests. The idea was borrowed from Maine’s North Woods where the first tower system was built in 1905.
AUGUST 2017 | VTSPORTS.COM 15 OCTOBER
In Vermont, Camel’s Hump hosted the first observer, who spent the 1911 season fully exposed to the elements. His work station was a cement table with only a county map, a compass and a telephone. Over the next several years, large landowners taxed themselves to construct towers and shelters from Bromley and Stratton Mountains in the south to Mount Carmel and Pico in the west, to Burke, Gore and West Pond Mountains in the Northeast Kingdom. Dozens more followed in the decade to come. In that pre-satellite era, having two or more observation towers in close proximity was the key to triangulating a fire’s location. An observer would use an alidade, a stationary circular tool, to measure the angle between geodetic north and the fire. One tower’s measurement could identify the direction of the fire, but a second tower’s measurement is needed to determine how far the fire was from the first tower. Additional measurements from other towers would increase accuracy. Usually, a state forester would collect the reported measurements by telephone and plot the angles on a map. The fire was where all the lines intersected. Between the 1930s and the 1940s, there were 38 fire observation towers inhabited by paid observers in every corner of the state. But by the end of the 1960s, Vermont, like other states, stopped building new fire towers and began allowing their existing ones to fall into disrepair. Small airplanes had become a more effective and less expensive way to track fires. At the same time, big fires had become less common for several reasons, including changes in land use and forest management. Also, decades of successful fire suppression had changed the composition of the forest, making it less flammable. In particular, maples, birches and beeches—the trees that give Vermont is reputation for fiery foliage— had replaced red and white oaks. Oak leaves degrade slowly and provide perfect tinder. On that fall day, at the top of the Elmore tower, I tried to imagine the life of an observer from decades past. The tower was built in 1939, a year after a hurricane had downed trees around the region, increasing the risk of fire. The watchman, or sometimes watchwoman, would have lived in a small nearby cabin for weeks at a time during the summer and fall. Every morning at daybreak, he would have climbed the flights of shaky metal grate steps to the perch in the cab. As I climbed, the wind was just right, strong enough to ruffle the leaves but not so high as to make the tower rattle and sway. I thought of my daughter and how, one day, I’d bring her to the top as well, repeating the hike she made before she was ever born. Kristen Fountain is a freelance writer living in the Northeast Kingdom.
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11 FIRE TOWER HIKES 1
6 For the best foliage views in Vermont, hike to the cab of Bald Mountain's fire tower or any of the 11 still standing. Photo by Nathanael Asaro
9 10 11
Today, only 16 fire towers remain standing and at more than half, you can still climb the full five stories for spectacular views across the Green Mountains. Bald Mountain (1) Not far from Burke, Bald Mountain is the tallest peak in the Lake Willoughby area and the third tallest in the N ortheast Kingdom. A 2.1-mile (one way) hike on the Long Pond Trail will put you at the summit. From there, climb the restored fire tower for views north to Canada. Nearby, the non-profit Northwoods Center has restored one of the original lookout cabins which now serves as an overnight shelter and warming hut for visitors to Willoughby State Forest. Belvidere (2) Halfway between Stowe and Jay Peak, the Long Trail crosses Belvidere Mountain. There are several routes up but from the trailhead parking on Route 118 it’s a 5.6 mile (and 2,000 vertical feet of elevation gain) hike to the summit. Burke Mountain (3) Established in 1913, Burke Mountain is the second oldest lookout site in Vermont. The 54’ Aermotor tower with its 7’ x 7’
steel cab replaced a wooden tower that was blown down in the great hurricane of 1938. From Shelburne Lodge Road, hike the Red or the Blue Trail to the summit for views to Canada and Willoughby Gap. Elmore Mountain (4) Elmore State Park, on the shores of Lake Elmore is about 10 miles north of Stowe. From the park, it’s about a 1.7 mile hike up the Fire Tower Trail to the summit. Look north from the fire tower and you can see Jay Peak and, to the south, Stowe’s Mt. Mansfield and Smuggler’s Notch’s Madonna mountain. Spruce Mountain (5) East of the town of Barre, in Vermont’s first state forest, the L.R. Jones State Forest, there’s an easy 2.2-mile hike to a fire tower that has sat atop Spruce Mountain (3,037 feet) since it was moved here from St. Albans in 1944. Heading up, don’t miss the series of rock crevices and caves adjacent to the trail. Bear Hill (6) You can actually drive to the base of the fire tower on Bear Hill in Allis State Park in Brookfield. Look for the stone walls that mark the boundaries of Wallace Allis’s old farm. Allis donated the land to the state in 1928. Mount Ascutney (7) Though its original tower was turned into a viewing platform that stands only 24-feet high, the short hike to Ascutney’s summit from the base area is worth it. Unlike the Green Mountains, Ascutney is a monadnock, standing alone in the Connecticut River Valley with 360-degree views.
Okemo Mountain (8) In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps erected a steel tower at the 3,343foot summit of Okemo Mountain. If you take the lift up or—better yet—hike the Healdville Trail (5.8 miles, round trip), you will see why. From the top you can see all the way to the Adirondacks, White Mountains and Berkshires. Stratton Mountain (9) At Stratton you can hike to the top or take the Sunburst Six chairlift. It’s also one of the few remaining lookout cabins that is manned: former observers Hugh and Jeanne Joudry now serve as summit caretakers, working for the Green Mountain Club. The couple, well-loved fixtures on the mountain, have been living there all summer for more than 20 years. Glastenbury Mountain (10) It’s a 21-mile round trip hike along the Long Trail to the Glastenbury Mountain tower in southwestern Vermont’s vast Green Mountain National Forest. Unless you’re a marathon trail runner, that kind of distance requires a very early morning and speedy travel or a more leisurely overnight in the nearby log shelter. But the views and solitude are worth it. Mount Olga (11) Not far from Wilmington and Mount Snow, a steel tower rises from the top of Mt. Olga in Molly State Park. From the top you can see the old trails of the abandoned Hogback Mountain Ski Area and Hogback Mountain Conservation area. Hike up (it’s an easy 1.7-mile loop from the park entrance) and scout your lines, as Hogback is being developed as a backcountry ski site. —L.L.
HIKING THE BENNINGTON TRIANGLE
IF YOU IGNORE THE SERIES OF EERIE DISAPPEARANCES, GLASTENBURY WILDERNESS HAS SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND REMOTE HIKING IN THE STATE. BY RYAN WILCHENS
he section of Vermont's Long Trail from Route 9 over Glastenbury Mountain toward Stratton is New England hiking at its finest. Here, the Long Trail covers a series of gentle climbs over small summits in the 35-square-mile Glastenbury Wilderness. It’s one of the more remote areas in the state, criss-crossed mainly by deer trails and forgotten logging roads. For the hardy, you can hike to the Glastenbury fire tower [see "Playing With Fire (Towers)"]. There are also winding trails through rock-strewn hillsides, and comfortable wooden shelters to be shared in the company of ragged thru-hikers. In short, it's a fantastic backcountry experience. Which is why I was glad I didn’t hear about the disappearances until I got home.
Hikers on their way up Glastenbury Mountain in 1917 (top). The town of Glastenbury, shown here in 1933, was once a booming lumber town. By 2000, it only had 16 residents. Photos courtest Vermont Landsape Project/Green Mountain Club.
THE DISAPPEARANCES The Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail share this section of well-worn dirt as it climbs over 3,747-foot Glastenbury Mountain. It’s a trail popular with weekenders as well as through-hikers. And so it was back in 1946 when a Bennington College sophomore, 18-yearold Paula Welden, left campus to hike a section of the Long Trail, heading north from Route 9 toward Glastenbury. Leaving school the afternoon of December 1, Welden was prepared for no more than a few hours' hike—a leisurely solo walk after a day of working in the campus dining hall, on a trail she had yet to explore. After hitchhiking to the trailhead between Bennington and Woodford Hollow, she passed a group finishing their hike, asked them a few questions, and continued on her way north. But when Welden didn’t return to campus the following day, a week-long search was launched that would close the college for several days, involve hundreds of family members, students, police, and even the National Guard.
After nearly a month of searching the Long Trail all the way to Glastenbury Mountain, no trace of Welden’s body, her bright red coat, or any other evidence was ever found, and the search was called off. To this day, no evidence of her whereabouts is known, making some locals wary of even wearing red on that section of the trail.
A GHOST TOWN Paula Welden’s disappearance wasn’t the local community’s—nor the trail’s—first taste of mystery. During the 1800's, the Town of Glastenbury, which encompasses the mountain and wilderness region, was a secluded, but booming, lumber and mining town. However, by the late 1880's, the mountainsides had been largely stripped of trees, and the industry began to fail. Railroads that were built in a last-ditch effort to turn the town into a tourist hotspot were washed away by flooding, and the population of the town dwindled. In 1937, the State Legislature unincorporated the town and as of 2000, it
only had 16 residents, in four families. Local legend says even the local Native Americans regarded Glastenbury Mountain as cursed. Throughout its history, “wild man” sightings, mysterious murders, and an eight-foot hairy monster all made appearances in local folklore. By the time Paula Welden went missing, the abandoned town and rumors of 8-foot hairy men were nearly forgotten, only to be replaced by a more ominous pattern: Between 1945 and 1950, no fewer than five people went missing in the area. In 1945, a mountain guide named Middie Rivers took a group of four hunters up the Long Trail. Familiar with the area, Rivers pushed ahead of his group as they returned to their camp. But when the hunters returned to camp, Rivers, 74, was not to be found. Confident in Rivers’ abilities, officials worried little about the guide, convinced that he would return on his own before long. But after nearly a month of searching, there was still no trace of the guide. The only sign of him they found
was a single unspent rifle cartridge in a stream. A year later, Paula Welden's case became the most famous of the five. Following that, exactly three years to the day after Welden's disappearance, a military veteran by the name of James Tedford vanished—seemingly from thin air—while taking a bus back to Bennington after a trip to see relatives in St. Albans. Eyewitnesses at the time said that they never saw him get off at a stop and all of his belongings were still on the luggage racks by the time the bus reached its final terminus in Bennington. Tedford himself was nowhere to be found. A year later, in 1950, 8-year-old Paul Jephsen disappeared from his family’s pickup truck in the area, while his mother left him alone for an hour to feed some pigs. He was wearing a red coat like Welden. No sign of Jephsen was ever found. Finally, just 16 days after Jephsen’s disappearance, 53-year-old Frieda Langer went missing while hiking near the Long Trail. Experienced and familiar with the area, Langer slipped and fell into a stream on October 28, 1950. She told her cousin she was going to head a half-mile back to her campsite on Somerset Reservoir to change into dry clothes and then catch up with her trailmates. When she never made it back to camp, a search party was quickly launched. By this time, authorities were becoming unnerved by yet another disappearance. Even with planes, helicopters and more 300 searchers, they were unable to locate her until more than six months later when her body was found in an area that was determined to have been searched extensively. After such a long time in the woods, no cause of death could be determined. Langer’s was the final unresolved disappearance to happen in the woods surrounding Glastenbury Mountain. And luckily for me, I didn’t know about any of them when I first hiked to the summit. In 1992, Vermont author Joseph Citro coined the term “Bennington Triangle” to capture the eerie pattern of mysteries that occurred in the area. Had I known about such a pattern as I sat in the cab of the abandoned Glastenbury fire tower, overlooking darkening, unbroken evergreens, the thought of this may have been difficult to suppress. Say what you will about strange happenings, the paranormal, and the like, but one thing's for sure: when you're alone in the woods, especially in the deep, dark woods of Vermont, with only your thoughts, and then those thoughts suddenly shift to eerie tales of disappearances, it's difficult to adopt a more rational outlook. Even so, this is a backcountry that's worth the risk. Just don't wear red. Ryan Wilchens is an avid climber and freelance writer from Saratoga, New York.
OCTOBER 2017 | VTSPORTS.COM 17
Curran Caples, a two-time X-Games gold medalist puts on a show on A-Dog Day. Photo courtesy of Mountain Dew®
VERMONT RAMPS IT UP
EVEN BEFORE THE A-DOG SKATEPARK WAS BUILT, VERMONT WAS TURNING OUT SOME OF THE
n August 26, Sean Malto, Curran Caples, Chris Colbourn, Jordan Maxham, and ex-pro brothers Marc and Andre Razo bombed down Burlington’s Battery Street, hugged the corner onto College Street and ripped right past the Skinny Pancake. Hanging a right, they rolled through the waterfront park until they reached Burlington’s year-and-ahalf-old A-Dog Williams Skatepark, which sits overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. For four of the world-class skaters, the day marked a homecoming. Colbourn originally hails from Williston; Maxham is from Barre. The Razo brothers, now legends in skate culture, grew up in Bennington and went to University of Vermont. The occasion? Burlington’s fourth annual A-Dog Day. DJ and artist, Andy “A-Dog” Williams was a core member of the Burlington skate scene up until December 26, 2013, when he died after a long battle with acute myeloid leukemia. The skatepark, which opened in November 2015, was named after A-Dog. August 26 now marks A-Dog day in Burlington—a day of skating, music and art is held in his honor.
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Age: 26 Hometown: Williston, Vt. Lives In: Los Angeles, Calif. Sponsored By: New Balance Numeric, Element, Might Healthy, Brooklyn Projects, Talent Skatepark, Satori Wheels, Bones Swiss, Mountain Dew. Favorite Skate Spots: Talent Skatepark, UVM, Champlain College, Battery and College Streets, A-Dog Williams Memorial Skatepark
Element Teams. Colbourn’s skating earned a spotlight in 2014 when he was invited to China with cinematographer and director Ty Evans to skate in We Are Blood. In 2016, he won the hearts of skaters (and sponsors) when he appeared in Mountain Dew’s 22-minute edit, SuperSnake. There, along with Jordan Maxham and other pros, he skated an elevated downhill setup complete with rails, jumps and gaps while pro snowboarders dodged and jumped a snowy course that intercepted the skaters’ path.
As a kid, Chris “Cookie” Colbourn earned his nickname at South Burlington’s Talent Skatepark because he always ate cookies at the snack counter. Though he’s still considered an amateur skater, Colbourn skates for both the Mountain Dew and
Where are some of the places you’ve visited to skate for films? I’m going back to Barcelona to keep filming for Element, so I’m really excited about that. For this project, I’ve been to Barcelona
one feature to the next until they either hopped neatly back onto the bowl’s lip or lost control of the board. The latter resulted in a less-than-graceful scurry up the giant drop, at which point the next skater would dip in to take their turn. Curran Caples, son of pro surfer Evan Caples and hailed as one of the country’s
best bowl skaters, garnered “ooh’s and ah’s” as he fluidly transitioned from wall to wall. “He’s gotta be pro,” one cyclist said as Caples flew by. “You can really tell the difference.” The Mountain Dew team, hailing almost entirely from California, had come to see Burlington’s new park for themselves. “This skate park has gotten really widely
CHRIS “COOKIE” COLBOURN
Williston's Chris Colbourn now skates the world. Photo courtesy of Mountain Dew®
Soon enough, the park was packed. A swarm of skaters, locals, curious tourists, runners and cyclists surrounded the park’s centerpiece: a 150-square-foot, 10-footdeep bowl. Bass beats pounded from a nearby DJ as, one by one, skater after skater dropped into the bowl, flying up its walls and ollieing (skater word for "jump") from
Sean Malto, the Mountain Dew team frontrunner, came to Vermont to check out Burlington's year-and-a-half-old skate park. Photo courtesy of Mountain Dew®
twice, I’ve been to Japan, Cuba, and just around the U.S. a lot. Do you consider skating to be a ‘sport’? It’s definitely an athletic activity. From picking yourself up when you’re falling, putting your hands down a lot, and there’s even a variety of tricks that involve your hands as well. I’ve been working on more grab tricks like that, just to spread out the strength of my body. It’s a very core-driven activity, which is great. Skating just teaches you balance, discipline, friendship, patience—there are so many life lessons I’ve learned from skating. Patience is a huge one, and confidence. If you believe you can do anything, it’s just a matter of time before you learn it.
known throughout the skate community,” said Sean Malto, who has medaled in the X-Games. “I just wanted to check it out.” And they aren’t the first pros to make an appearance in Burlington. Though it officially opened to the public almost two years ago, the park celebrated its grand opening in June of 2016. The Tony Hawk
What was the skate scene like, growing up in Vermont? I skated curbs with friends around my middle school, Williston Central. Then, when I was like 10 years old, Talent Skatepark opened. I was hooked immediately. It made Burlington more of a Mecca of skateboarding, because people had a place to go in the middle of winter. Who were your role models? Seeing older generations coming in to Talent, groups of guys who were passionate and already filming videos—that was great to see. My friend Travis Card filmed a lot of videos around Burlington that I was inspired by as a kid. Peace of Time was one of them. Foundation put $10,000 towards the $1.4 million park, and the skating legend himself made an appearance, christening the bowl with his signature “McTwists.” The skatepark is, in part, the brainchild of Brendan Foster, who co-owns Maven Skate Shop on Church Street; he helped lead the 8-year-long effort to build a park
that would last. “It’s not just Burlington,” he said. “This park means a lot for New England.” Now, a year and a half later, the park is responsible for big changes in Burlington’s skate scene.
THE DEMAND Burlington has always had a skate scene. Before the A-Dog Skatepark was created, skaters grinded stair rails at UVM and bombed down the hilly streets. Some skaters used the city’s old wooden skate park, located near the waterfront, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. “The big issue with wooden parks is that they don’t last long,” Foster said. “We have severe weather up here; we have long winters. We were huge advocates for building a concrete skate park that could last a long time and be here for 30 to 40 years. With wooden parks, you’re really getting a shelf life of like 5 years out of them.” That park, with its gates and fences, was hidden from the public eye, and produced some angst from locals who were wary of the skate culture. So when Maven Skate Shop opened
in 2008 and immediately pulled for a permanent, state-of-the-art park, some locals were worried. Kirsten MerrimanShapiro, with Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office, was the project manager for the park, and encouraged the community to push forward. “Some of the neighbors didn’t want a bigger, better skate park,” she said. “And that’s where the community came together. People who skated at the park when they were 15-years-old were like, ‘I’m 25, I have a good job, I still like to skate—I’m a valid, valuable member of the community.’ And I think that really changed the perception. Some of the counselors began to realize that this is a larger segment of the population than they thought. It’s multi-generational, because skateboarding’s been around for a while, and people wanted to have a place where they could skate with their kids.”
THE OUTCOME After eight years of fundraising, deliberation and pushing forward, the waterfront park was completed. Designed by Seattle-based
OCTOBER 2017 | VTSPORTS.COM 19
rockets over fences, off rails and roofs, down stairs, across hospital signs, guard rails and stair railings—all with flip kicks and stomping the landings. His part in Mountain Dew’s SuperSnake video only made his name bigger. Watching, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that Maxham didn’t come out of the womb with a board attached to his feet.
Jordan Maxham, a Barre boy gone pro. Photo courtesy of Mountain Dew®
JORDAN MAXHAM Age: 27 Hometown: Barre Lives In: Los Angeles Sponsored By: Mystery Skateboards, Mountain Dew, Talent Skatepark, Fourstar, Royal, Nixon, Lakai, Raw Rolling Papers, Quintin, Active, Skate Sauce Favorite Skate Spots: Travis Mercy Memorial Skatepark (Barre), Talent Skatepark, Burlington hills, Andy A-Dog Williams Memorial Skate Park Jordan Maxham might be one of the few skaters to come from Barre, but he’s made it bigtime. He turned pro after landing a six-minute part in Warco Skateboard’s 2016 Sun Machine video, where he
Grindline, its 21,250 square feet look out on the waterfront and sit directly next to the brand-new, $6 million Community Sailing Center and the Moran Plant. Park features include large and miniature bowls, three rails, several sets of stairs, mani pads (including one in the shape of Vermont), and perhaps its signature feature: a steep triangular quarter-pipe called the “sail.” Chris “Cookie” Colbourn, on Mountain Dew’s team, grew up skating at Talent Skatepark in South Burlington. He paid for the $500 yearly membership by teaching skating lessons, working the snack counter and picking up recycled bottles from the park’s indoor arena. The 26-year-old says the waterfront park has changed the city’s skating game. “I was one of maybe 10 skateboarders at my high school, and from what I can see from this waterfront park, its bringing more people out than ever,” Colbourn said. “I have a lot of friends from high school who tell me they haven’t stepped on a board in years, but they decided to come down since this is here. This park is doing a great job by bringing out people who may not go pay for a session indoors.” And Foster thinks the new park,
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What was it like growing up in Barre as a skater? The skate scene was pretty much nonexistent. I had like four or five kids that I grew up skating with all the time, and that was pretty much it. When I was 10, they built a skate park behind my school, the Travis Mercy Memorial Skate Park, and that was where I skated. So then how did you get to be so good? Where did you go? In the winter, there’s only one skate park, and that’s Talent. I would just beg my mom to drive the 45 minutes every day. Hannah Deene and Dave Woods are like my second parents. What was your best moment in skating? To be a professional skateboarder, that’s the biggest accomplishment. That was the dream, ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be pro. So to see my name on the bottom of the skateboard —once you’ve accomplished that, you’ve made your dream come true. No one can take that away from you.
now recognized as one of the best in the Northeast, has put Burlington on the map. "People credit Burlington with being on the forefront of this," he said. "Maybe the new park in Nashua wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t do it first. I'm hearing it from a lot of skaters that we’re making an impact." Though the park is smaller physically and budget-wise than other skate Meccas around the country, he considers it one of
Cookie shows what a home boy can do during the Dew team tour of Vermont's skate scene. Photo courtesy of Mountain Dew®
the nation’s best parks with regard to quality and terrain. “It’s big enough for someone like Tony Hawk to come here and have fun skating it, but it has a large enough variety where young kids can skate it, little kids can skate it,” he said, adding that it’s attracted skaters from around the Northeast. “We’ve had a lot more traffic in the shop. We have a lot of people coming down from Canada, from Montreal, and we have people from all over New England. They put it on their skate trip road map—they’ll hit the Boston park, and then they’ll come here. That’s just part of the culture, that’s what skaters do.” Flanked by the waterfront park and Burlington Bike Path, the park is directly in the public eye, which adds a safety component and allows skaters to mingle with non-skaters. It also puts the idea of skating into the minds of those who may not have given the sport much thought. “I look at the community that comes down for A-Dog Day," Merriman-Shapiro
said, "It’s diverse socioeconomically, racially it’s more diverse than some activities that I see, and gender diverse—I see more and more girls and women using the facilities. Skating’s so fun to watch. Maybe you’re not a skateboarder, but you’re on the amazing rec path that goes right by the park. You can stop and watch people do tricks, and you’re like, ‘that was awesome,’ and then you begin these conversations with other people who are watching, so it’s that kind of community, too—on the fly, in that moment. Just making those humanto-human connections is fantastic.”
THE TRIBUTE Talk to any member of Burlington’s skating community, and you won’t get far into the conversation before they bring up the park’s namesake. From the park’s dedicated name to the A-Dog-inspired mural, painted by his longtime girlfriend, Jozie Furchgott Sourdiffe, that decorates a park wall, Andy Williams’ presence is very much alive
THE RAZO BROTHERS Names: Tino, Marc and Andre Ages: 40s Hometown: Bennington Lives In: Los Angeles, CA (Tino), Williamsburg, NY (Andre) and The East Village, NY (Marc) Works as: Marc: Coowner of Max Fish; Andre: Artist; Tino: Photographer The Razo brothers are no longer pro, but have each rightfully earned a throne in the skating culture. Marc Razo owns one of the world’s best-known skating bars, Max Fish, on the New York’s Lower East Side. From Bennington to the big city: Marc, Andre and Tino Razo have become legends in skate culture. Photo by Jay Massey
The Mountain Dew team rocks the waterfront. Photo courtesy of Mountain Dew®
among those who knew him well, and those who never knew him at all. “He had this aura around him,” says Hannah Deene, owner of Talent Skatepark. Deene worked with Andy for years at Talent, and before that at the B-Side, another shop in town. “You just wanted to be with him. He was like this Burlington drug that everybody craved more of, and when he passed, you could see it. The streets were filled. Everyone was crying. No one
knew what to do with themselves, because whether you were into music, whether you were into skateboarding, whether you called Church Street your hangout spot, whatever nightclub you went to, everyone knew Andy. So it was completely devastating, and everyone thought that he was their best friend, because that’s what he wanted. That was real. You have never met a more real person.” For Sean Malto and Curran Caples,
Andre Razo’s graphic design prints have been shown at galleries throughout New York City, including Chelsea’s Marlborough Gallery. And Tino Razo, an LA transplant, has successfully captured the nostalgia of Los Angeles’s backyard pool skating scene with a book of photographs of some of skateboarding’s legends. The book, Party in the Back, was published in February 2017. The Razo brothers' roots are in rural Vermont. In an LA Weekly feature article about Party in the Back, Tino describes learning to skate in Bennington. “You start to stand up, and then you go further down the hill however many times. And then
you move into town stuff, and then you find out that there’s skateable stuff in industrial parks, and get into industrial parks,” he said. From there, brothers Marc and Andre skated Burlington, where they attended undergrad at University of Vermont. By the time Tino was 23, all three brothers had moved to New York City to skate the giant metropolis. What first got you into skating? Andre: We started in the early '80s. We actually started skating in Maryland, where our grandparents are from. That’s the first time we bought a skateboard.
A-Dog is a force to be honored, and an inspiration to the skate scene. “I know his story, and my friends here have been telling me how special he was,” Malto said. “It’s easy to tell. The guy has a skatepark named after him, and the whole community comes together. I’m bummed I didn’t get to meet him, but I’m psyched to be able to support the cause.” For Deene and others who were close to Williams, A-Dog Day, and the park as a
whole, is a tribute. “This A-Dog reunion is when the skaters come back,” Deene said. “You’ll see them bomb the hill right down to the skate park in a posse that makes my eyes ‘wow,’ because it’s the full crew. They all come back to town, all in the name of Andy, and it’s just this massive, incredible, magical, fierce reunion with so much love. So much love. I know he’s here for that. And I know he would be beside himself with joy.”
Where did you skate, growing up in Bennington? Andre: There were all these little DIY parks, like someone would have a little mini ramp somewhere, and you’d drive like 20 miles to get there. Once we were at UVM, we’d just bomb the hills on Church Street and College Street. There was a parking lot at the dentist’s office, and all the parking garages.
at the time. It was like Seth Neary, Jay Rabine, A-Dog, you could list them all.
How have you seen the Vermont scene grow? Andre: There’s so many more people doing it now. There were probably 20 of us
What’s different about skating in Vermont today? Marc: It’s cool, there are so many girls skating now. A lot of the people who we started skating with were crossovers between skateboarding and snowboarding, but you kind of got made fun of for that. The attitude is so much more open now. And the park: Growing up around here, you just don’t think that anything like this would exist. You grow up wishing for something like this.
OCTOBER 2017 | VTSPORTS.COM 21
MEET THE WINNERS OF OUR 2017 ADVENTURE DOG CONTEST
ach year, we ask you about your best friends. No, not your significant other, but your best friend—yeah, that furry one. More than 66 percent of Vermont Sports readers own dogs and judging from the overwhelming number of photos and stories we received this year, you take them everywhere with you, on any adventure. After culling the entries to the top 10 in each category, we asked our Facebook fans to help us select a Readers' Choice winner by popular vote. Then we also selected winners based on the quality of photo and stories in four categories: Adventure, Face Shots, Action and Best Stories and three Runners Up. We did not receive enough quality videos to hand out a video category this year—but start shooting now for next year’s contest. Winner will receive prizes from Ruffwear Performance Dog Gear and Burlington’s Pet Food Warehouse. To see more of the finalists and learn how to enter next year, visit vtsports.com/adventuredogs2017/
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What does it mean to be an “adventure dog?” In our book, it starts by having an owner who takes you on pretty much any adventure he or she goes on. That was the case in spades this year as we heard from people who hiked, paddled, biked, skied and ran with their dogs.
(1) WINNER: BEAR Nicole Handel’s German Shepherd, Bear, is already semi-famous. And he's only four. Handel, who takes Bear on hikes, camping trips and pretty much everywhere she goes, celebrates each summit with a “Bear hug,” as she has Bear, no small dog, leap into her arms. In our cover shot, Bear and Handel had trekked up to Butler Lodge on the western flank of Mt. Mansfield and then finished climbing the mountain. Handel, 24, has three jobs – teaching indoor cycling ,bartending at RiRas in Burlington and her main job as a community outreach manager but ,as she says in our longer story on her in "The Story of Bear,” p. 34, “I don’t have time, I make time. Often, this means that Bear, my boyfriend Adam and I wake up before sunrise to hike, camp through the night, and get back home the next day in time for work.”
(2) RUNNER UP: MIKE AND SNICKERS
In this railroad tracks shot by Sarah Stanton (at left), you almost expect to see her two pups dressed as train-riding hoboes carrying poles with kerchiefs with all their belongings: It just says “adventure.” Stanton lives in Bolton, but when she travels, her pups go with her. This shot was taken on the tracks in East Dorset, Vt., where she was visiting, after a hike. Mike is a 7-year-old Bassett Hound and Snickers is an 11-yearold Jack Russell terrier.
(3) RUNNER UP: BANDIT Michael Bell is the president of Sports Trails of the Ascutney Basin (STAB) and helps run the non-profit that supports trail building and recreation expansion. His Husky, Bandit is a regular fixture on the Mount Ascutney trails, where this photo was taken. Bell writes: “Bandit is a regular at trail building days. Don't worry about the red stains on his face—it's just food coloring that he got into while "helping" to make sugar cookie frosting.”
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4 (4) RUNNER UP: FLEX Middlebury’s Kristin Fisher Meyer is brutally honest about her “Bull-Oxer” (part Boxer, part Bulldog), Flex. As she puts it: “In his three years, Flex hasn't proved to be the most obedient, well-mannered dog. He's been known to be kicked out of puppy school, has run off a time or two, and managed to get sprayed by a skunk three times in one year. He has endless energy and if you're planning on going on a walk, you better be ready to sprint! I first took Flex hiking this summer when I planned to
5 hike Mount Washington, but didn't want to go alone. So, I took my chances and set out with leash in hand. He did amazing! The strenuous climb was enough of a challenge to keep him focused, by my side, and still smiling. He greeted everyone on the trail politely and found my side when called. It was great. I felt like I finally had one of those "good dogs" that I see so many Vermonters with, and I think it's because he was truly enjoying himself! A foreigner to New England, I find it very motivating to be able to summit a peak within a couple hours,
take in the beautiful scenery, and still make it down in time to take a dip in a swimming hole, all while spending time with my best friend. Flex is a great companion to explore the state with!”
(5) READERS' CHOICE: BODE Dorset’s Shawn Gilfedder is Bode’s owner but he isn’t Bode’s only fan. When we asked people to vote for their Readers' Choice on Facebook, Bode, a 3-year-old Golden Retriever got nearly a hundred “likes” and comments such as “Bode rocks!” and
“Bode is so friendly and he loves everyone he meets.” As Gilfedder says, “Bode is a regular on group mountain bike rides. He is a pack leader and will frequently give barks of encouragement on long steep climbs. Running is his passion and there is no other place for him to be other than sharing the trails with his friends. Bode is a flatlander who has found a home in East Dorset, Vermont. He will go anywhere and has given me the courage to go anywhere ... with him by my side. He is the very best dog, friend, and companion.”
There are times when a dog looks you in the eyes and you pretty much know what he or she is thinking. In the case of all these dogs, the look says: “Hey, get off your duff and let’s go play.
(1) WINNER: AKLARK Courtney Findeisen and her husband Nate spend a lot of time with their pups Stella, a cattle dog mutt (and the 2015 Green Mountain Iron Dog champ) and Aklark in Wallingford. Stella might be a champ, but it was this shot of their Husky mix, Aklark, raring to ski, that won the Face Shots category. Says Courtney: “Aklark was a sled dog for the first three years of her life before her mom took her in and taught her how to be a house dog. It's taken years for her to adjust, but she is a fun dog to have around! We love skijoring and skinning in the winter, and running and hiking on cool summer days. She is a total goofball: she howls while she hides her favorite toy, Rocky the Raccoon, every morning after breakfast, gives double high fives for her lunch treats, and loves chasing butterflies. Aklark means 'brown bear' in Inuit, her dad was 'Kodiak' so she is named after him.”
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(2) RUNNER UP: PIKE Milton's Kelsey Fields named her Australian Shepherd Pike, after the fish, since she and
4 her boyfriend love fishing and anything outdoors. This was Pike’s first foray into water. As Fields says, “My four-month-old puppy just learned he enjoys swimming. He loves hiking, tracking, and doing anything outdoors.”
(3) RUNNER UP: ROSCO As John Grassi writes, “This little man goes by Rosco. He is a Catahoula Leopard
Dog and we live in Ludlow. Sometimes I'll get up early to cross country ski and Rosco is always ready. He loves to help carry supplies in his saddle bags. I rescued him about seven years ago and my life has been better ever since. He loves kids, any other animal and the outdoors. I'm truly blessed to have found him and can't wait to grow old with him.” With a dog like Rosco, who wouldn't?
(4) RUNNER UP: TEDDY Jessica Blouin’s toy poodle Teddy, age 7, is far more than a toy. “Teddy is the best kayaking buddy” says Blouin, who hails from Monkton. “When he sees me getting my gear out, he gets really excited and runs to the door!” She also wisely keeps him well equipped, too, with lifejacket and shades to protect his eyes from the glare off the water.
(5) READERS’ CHOICE: JAXSON “Faster than Michael Phelps, Jax loves the water and being a champ,” says his owner, Michelina Covey of Ferrisburgh. She adds that the Labrador Retriever, age 3, also “loves just kicking back but he's always full of love and cuddles!” Jaxson won over our Facebook fans, too, to earn the Readers' Choice vote.
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Sometimes we tire our dogs out but more often, it’s they who wear us down. The winners in this category all fit in the latter category. Swimmers, runners, and cycling companions, they not only keep up, they usually lead the way.
(1) WINNER: CARMELO It’s no accident that Jason Chung’s partner captured this mid-action shot of Carmelo, an English Chocolate Lab, leaping off a slide near Carmelo’s home in South Burlington. Chung says, “Carmelo has loved going down slides since he was a puppy. I wanted to make sure he wasn't scared of heights so we could backcountry ski together. We started an agility class and now he loves jumping over things too. He likes to pretend that he's Super Dog.” He’s convinced us.
(2) RUNNER UP: IVY When Tim Gompf heads out on mountain bike rides near his home in Duxbury, there’s always someone on his tail. As he says “Her name is Ivy, she’s about a year and a half and a Red Heeler Shiba Inu mix.”
(3) RUNNER UP: LEAPIN' LUCY Anne Brigham’s “Leapin’ Lucy” may be a 6-year-old Labrador but when it comes to jumping into ponds near her home in East Montpelier, she has no trouble catching up with her cousin, Cedar, a 1-year-old Lab from Greensboro.
(4) RUNNER UP: ATLAS Bennington’s Silvia Cassano spends a lot of time outdoors and, as much as possible, with four-legged friends such as Atlas, a German Shepard from Weston, VT. Cassano writes: “Atlas loves swimming holes, running in the snow while you cross-country ski, and anything involving fetch.” But, she adds, “He is definitely not a hound dog. I once dropped my cell phone while cross-country skiing and he didn't find it even though I skied back slowly to look for it.” The good news? “He was happy to go back the next day and ran right over to where I dropped it, uncovering the snow so I could see it (my cell phone case was bright pink).”
(5) READER’S CHOICE: OAKLEY Julie Charnock’s Oakley captured the Reader's Choice award easily. As Charnock puts it, “Oakley is a 6-year-old Golden Retriever who LOVES all action sports. He loves to hike, bike and run with my husband and me and was the only dog who jumped off
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4 a diving board at Rutland Town’s “last day of summer” pool closing fundraiser for the Humane Society." Though Oakley is from
Rutland, he had a chance to visit the ocean this past year. “We took Oakley on a sunset walk to this beach near Kennebunk, ME.
He loves the water, but has never been in an ocean. It was like Christmas day for him! He was chasing the waves for over an hour.”
This year, as a new part of the contest, we asked you to tell us great stories about your pups. While we got lots of great ones, these three really stood out and help summarize why we love dogs.
(1) WINNER: LOLA Ellie Stone writes: “Last September I left Vermont to drive across the country and live in California for a year. I had been aching to get a dog since I graduated from college, but knew it would be a big responsibility to take on. So, I supplemented having my own dog with dog sitting and walking, but that didn't fill my ache. Finally, it was time to return back to Vermont and I had a huge road trip planned for the month of August. The first big stop was in Bend, Ore., for camping, hiking and mountain biking. The first night there a little dog ran through the bushes from the campsite next to mine. She was honestly the cutest puppy I'd ever seen and proceeded to climb up through the arm of my camping chair and jump all over me licking my face. Soon her owners returned her to their campsite, but I kept wishing she would run back over. The next day she did the same thing but this time I talked to her owners for a while. They mentioned they might have to find her a new home because she was so energetic and they had a baby on the way. The next
day I woke up thinking about her and knew that she was my dog. Someone once told me "you don't pick your dog, they find you." I was pretty sure I'd been picked. After that everything fell into place, except that I still had to drive across the country back to Vermont. The road trip got shortened and Lola became a travel dog. She spent more than one 12-hour day in the car, mostly sleeping in the foot well. Luckily, she had lived at campsites her whole life and was used to being outside. I took her on short hikes all across the country, made her camp with me in the middle of nowhere, and introduced her to my friends. At three months, she has already adventured through more of the U.S. than most people do in their lives. A Lab/terrier/ Pit Bull mix, she is my adventure dog.”
(2) RUNNER UP: JACKSON Aaron Laurich shares this story about a dog he and his wife Shelley adopted: “Jackson, a Jack Russell mix, was heart worm positive when my wife picked him up from a shelter. She fell in love with him and adopted him to live with us in West Lebanon, N.H. Not long after, my wife had a nearfatal aneurysm rupture and subsequently experienced seizures. Jackson has been great for her and is in tune with her and can alert us to her seizures. He was saved for a purpose and is happy to spend his second life paddling and hiking with us. He really helps us see and enjoy the little things. Ohand Jackson is now heartworm negative. It's just another battle we beat together.”
(3) RUNNER UP: STRIDER Alexandra Bliss told us this about Strider: “My mother had just rescued Sophie, Strider's mum, and had no idea she was pregnant because she was so skinny. When Sophie went into labor my mother thought her new dog was dying and started to rush her to the vet. She didn't catch on until there was a litter of brand new puppies in the back seat of her car. Strider, was the oldest of the litter of 8, all born in the back of a Subaru near her home in Pennsylvania. My mother claims she nearly went off the road from shock! My mother found homes for all the
other puppies and my sister has Strider's brother, Fezzick. She insisted I take Strider, because where else did a Husky mutt born in the back of a Subaru Outback belong, except Vermont? Four years later, Strider lives with me in Winooski. He is my constant companion and adventure mutt. We've climbed and camped on East Coast and West Coast mountains, swam in glacier-fed lakes, skied in Vermont woods, explored canyons in the Utah desert and paddleboarded around Lake Champlain together. He's amazing!”
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CYCLOCROSS'S NEXT CHAMP Name: Liza Bell Age: 13 Lives in: Putney Occupation: Eighth grade student at Putney Central School Family: Father, Jack; Mother, Kristin; Sister, Sadie Primary sports: Cross-country mountain biking, cyclocross and Nordic skiing She’s only 13, but Liza Bell already has made a name in bike racing circles. In 2016, she won the women's Category 2, ages 12 to 18 division in the Kenda Cup East Mountain Bike Series and this year she was one of 30 cyclists from around New England to receive a Jam Fund Cycling Grant. She’s been to rock climbing camp, has hiked the length of the Long Trail with her mother, is coached in cross-country skiing by a Caldwell, plays concert violin and thinks her younger sister Sadie might end up being an even better athlete than she is. VS: When did you start riding? LB: There was a program at my school for those in second grade and up, and I started in third grade. We rode mountain bikes on Wednesdays. Then my dad started riding with me, and then I started riding with my friends and it grew from there. VS: What do you like best about cycling? LB: What I really like is trail riding and navigating through roots and rocks. Each trail is different. It takes a lot of skill and endurance. You can follow someone and try to keep up, and you feel really great at the finish. Cyclocross is fun because it’s a spectator sport, with people cheering. I like having to get off the bike and carry it, and I like that you’re with people. It’s more of a social sport. I don’t think I could choose which one I like more. VS: When did you start competing? LB: When I was in fourth grade we started a team called the Thunderbolts. We were on road and mountain bikes in the spring and summer, and cyclocross in the fall. Kate and Chris Northcott [local cyclocross racers] sometimes helped us out, and we got jerseys from the West Hill Shop. Then I started going to local races, and that got me into the Root 66 and Kenda Cup mountain bike races. The Root 66 Series takes place almost every weekend during the summer across New England in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. I started out in the first-timer category but I’ve been racing in the 12-18 group since I was eight years old, and I’m considered a Category 2 racer for mountain biking and Category 3 for cyclocross. VS: Are there many kids in your category? At first, there weren’t enough girls, so I raced with the boys, but now that I’m older there are more girls to compete against and there are more and more young
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Liza Bell racing cyclocross under the lights last year. At 13, the Putney eight grader is already racing Cat 2. Photo courtesy Jack Bell
kids taking part in cyclocross, particularly at bigger races. There’s a big race this fall in Gloucester, Mass. that I’m going to for the first time this year. I’m hoping to be in the top ten. VS: At the Kenda Cup most of your competition was at least two years older than you, right? LB: The Kenda Cup is made up of six mountain bike races in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont and you get points for each one. Last year I won my age category which was pretty cool. I like racing girls my own age because it feels like they’re my friends. The girls who are a little older are also really nice to me. I also like racing with grown-ups because it's a big challenge, and I feel motivated to try to catch them. I’m really excited when sometimes I do. VS: Tell us about Jam Fund Grant? LB: I’m so excited and honored to have received the grant this year. The organization is based in Massachusetts and provides money for young cyclocross racers. I got a grant for $300 which I’ll probably use to buy a new helmet and pay race fees. VS: What has been your best race so far? LB: Last year I did something called the Night Weasels cyclocross race in Massachusetts under the lights. It was really fun and it was one of my best races. [Liza finished second out of 23 racers, less than a minute behind the first-place winner out of 27 women in Categories 1, 2 and 3]. It’s harder to pick a favorite mountain bike race because I’ve done so many, but I really like the Stonewall Farm course in Keene, New Hampshire. VS: Do you ever road bike? LB: I do. I became friends with Kurt Hackler who used to be a pro racer. He gave me one of his caps and started a team for me and some friends. We did a three-day trip to Manchester, Vt. and back. It was a lot of fun.
VS: How was hiking The Long Trail? LB: I think I had a 25-pound pack and I’m about 110 pounds. I hiked the whole thing with my mother except for the section up Camel’s Hump, because it was raining hard and there was thunder and lightning and there were signs warning people not to hike in those conditions. The whole trip took 20 days but we’re going to go back to do the one piece we missed. VS: And then there’s rock climbing…. LB: I haven’t done a lot of that, but I did go to Kroka Expeditions rock climbing camp—they took us to the Adirondacks—and I really liked it. I want to do more of that. I’d rather climb outside than on a climbing wall. VS: How do you juggle all your sports? LB: I skip soccer practice on Wednesdays to do cyclocross, and the soccer season ends before crosscountry skiing, so I have time for all of that. I’ve been doing the Bill Koch League since first grade. I’m lucky to live in Putney because Amy and Zach Caldwell, the owners of Caldwell Sport ski shop, live at the bottom of the hill next to my school and they coach us. We train four days a week through late fall into the winter. VS: And what else do you like to do? LB: I play the violin and last year I played with the Putney Community Orchestra. VS: Is your family as athletic as you? LB: My dad does a lot of mountain biking with me and my mom helps out on ski team and is a big rower. She does a lot of running, too. My sister Sadie does everything with me and I think she’s going to be at least as good as me at sports. VS: Any advice for other girls? LB: Competition is a good thing. If you don’t have it you won’t get faster. My family and friends are really supportive and I’m really lucky that my community has a lot of support for girls and for kids, in general. —Phyl Newbeck
RACE & EVENT GUIDE
LISTING YOUR EVENT IN THIS CALENDAR IS FREE AND EASY. VISIT VTSPORTS.COM/ SUBMIT-AN-EVENT OR E-MAIL EDITOR@ VTSPORTS.COM. ALL AREA CODES ARE 802. ALL LOCATIONS ARE IN VERMONT, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. FEATURED
EVENTS, IN YELLOW, PAY A NOMINAL FEE.
14 | Trapp Family Lodge Mountain Marathon, Stowe A challenging half and full marathon distance trail run in the heart of the Green Mountains during peak foliage season. trappmountainmarathon.com 14 | Shelburne Farms 5K, Shelburne Begins and ends at the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn. Run past Lake Champlain, through the farm trails and fields before making your way past the Inn at Shelburne Farms to the finish line. racevermont.com
1 | Leaf Peepers Half Marathon, Waterbury CVR’s fundraiser for the Harwood Union Boosters Club is an out-and-back on paved and dirt roads. Part of the CVR ORS Race Series. leafpeepershalfmarathon.org
15 | 2nd Annual Kenya Run, Rutland This 5K run/walk begins and ends at the Grace Congregational Church. Runners who raise $50 or more will have their $20 entry fee waived. All proceeds fund a children’s home and secondary school in Kenya. kenyarun. eventbrite.com
7 | Art Tudhope 10K, Charlotte Run a fast out-and-back course with a mix of dirt and paved roads and pleasant scenery – apple orchards, views along Lake Champlain and a covered bridge. Finishes at Shelburne Beach. gmaa.net
15 | Run With The Heroes 5K, Williston Support Special Olympics Vermont in this 5K, sponsored by the Williston Police and Fire Departments. The race is open to the public and will begin and end at the Williston Community Park in Williston. specialolympicsvermont.org
8 | Harpoon Oktoberfest Race, Windsor The Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, Vt. holds its annual 3.6mile road race, followed by an Oktoberfest on the brewery grounds. Proceeds benefit the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center. harpoonoctoberfestrace.com
15 | 47th Annual Green Mountain Marathon, South Hero Run out and back on the west shores of South Hero and Grand Isle, on rolling terrain that passes farms, apple orchards and summer cottages, in this certified marathon and half-marathon. gmaa.net
8 | Fly to Pie Kingdom Marathon, West Glover Kingdom Games’ 26.2-mile running (and bike) pointto-point race follows dirt roads through “the gut” of the Northeast Kingdom. 17-, 13.5-, and 6-mile, run, bike or hike options. kingdomgames.co 8 | Mad Dash, Waitsfield Runners support the Mad River Path with a 10K and 5K race. Community lunch follows. madriverpath.com
21 | Muddy’s Buddies 5K Walk/Run, Shelburne A yearly tribute to Muddy, a sweet and gentle chocolate lab who never missed a race or a chance to make someone’s day. A portion of the net proceeds from this run/walk will go to local dog charities. Choose to run/walk with or without a furry friend. Muddy wouldn’t want it any other way. The course is a four loops around the grounds of Vermont Teddy Bear. racevermont.com
8 | North Face Race to the Summit, Stratton Stratton Mountain Resort hosts a race to the summit of the tallest mountain in southern Vermont, a distance of 2.18 miles with an elevation gain of 2,003 feet. stratton.com
28 | The Kingdom Challenge, Lyndonville A challenging point-to-point half marathon between Lyndonville and St. Johnsbury. Course runs through four covered bridges. thekingdomchallenge.com
8 | Ripton Ridge Run, Ripton The Ripton Elementary School hosts its annual fundraiser with a 5K run, 10.4K run and a noncompetitive 5K fun walk. All courses start and finish at the Ripton Elementary School. riptonridgerun.addisoncentralsu.org
29 | Randolph Ramble Trail Race, Randolph, N.H. The 10,000-acre Randolph Community Forest hosts a 10K trail race in the White Mountains, climbing Mount Randolph and Mount Crescent in a loop course. randolphramble.com
14 | Westmore Mountain Challenge, Charleston One day, five mountains, 26 miles. Hike the beautiful mountain trails of the Northeast Kingdom in full autumn color. Full and half marathon routes available. Finishes at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center lodge with dinner and prizes. northwoodscenter.org
14 | CircumBurke MTB Challenge and Trail Run, East Burke This annual mountain bike and trail running ritual follows an epic and brutal 26-plus miles around Burke and Umpire mountains on Kingdom Trails singletrack. circumburke.org
5 | Inaugural Vermont 10 Miler, Stowe Enjoy a scenic 10-mile race course, then celebrate at Sushi Yoshi. Your $20 ticket includes a private party serving Vermont’s finest craft beers, sushi appetizers and a hot buffet. vermont10miler.com
4 | Fallen Leaves 5K, Montpelier Part of a low-key, 3-race series. The flat and fast 5K course begins and ends on the Montpelier High School track and incorporates the Montpelier bike path. cvrunners.org
5 | Fall 5K/10K & Half Marathon, Shelburne The Half Marathon is a loop course that begins at Shelburne Field House, where you’ll run into the countryside, past Shelburne Farms and to the Shelburne Shipyard where you’ll turn around and head back home. active.com 5 | Field House Half Marathon, Shelburne, Vt. RaceVermont hosts a half marathon, 10K and 5K races with a superhero theme. Donations from entrance fees will benefit the LeRoyer Employee Emergency Assistance Program at the University of Vermont Medical Center. racevermont.com 11 | Fallen Leaves 5K Series, Montpelier, Vt. Low-key, three-race series on a flat and fast 5K race course that begins and finishes on the Montpelier High School track, and incorporates the Montpelier bike path. Contact: Tim Noonan, 802-223-6216. 23 | GMAA Turkey Trot, Burlington A certified 5K on the University of Vermont women’s cross country course. Walkers are welcome in this race benefiting the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. Race starts at 11 a.m. at the Gutterson Field House. gmaa.net
BIKING OCTOBER 1 | Allen Clark Memorial Hill Climb Bike Race, Waitsfield Riders start at the intersection of Vermont Routes 17 and 100 in Waitsfield and finish at the summit of the Appalachian Gap—a distance of 6.2 miles with a vertical gain of 1,600 feet. madriverglen.com 2 | Triple Crown Enduro, Burke Burke Mountain Bike Park hosts the second of a three-stop series, with riders competing on Burke’s downhill trails for more than $30,000 in cash. skiburke.com 7 | Braintree 5 Gravel Grinder, Braintree The dirt roads around Braintree and Randolph host a 35mile dirt road ride with 5,000 feet of climbing (with Strava KOM race segments) and a sag station at the historic Braintree Meeting House. After the ride, stick around for burgers, dogs, fruit and two free beers served at the Central Vermont Brew Fest, right next door to the finish line. braintree5.com 8 | Apple Grinder, Montpelier Kick off fall with this 35-mile unsupported, unsanctioned, group ride, hosted by Onion River Sports. Refuel stops include Maple Corners, Adamant General store, and Peck Farm. onionriver.com 8 | Singletrack Shootout, Craftsbury The Craftsbury Outdoor Center hosts a mountain biking/ running biathlon race on the Center’s singletrack trails. Competitors will race 3 times around a loop with two shooting stages. Novices and experts alike are welcome; novices will have ammo and rifles provided and a shooting clinic will precede the novice race. craftsbury.com
OCTOBER 2017 | VTSPORTS.COM 29
14 | Circ umBurke MTB Challenge and Trail Run, East Burke On the last weekend in October, Kingdom Trails, Conservation Collaborative and the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce present a mountain bike and cross-country running race on a 25-mile loop. circumburke.org
21 | Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum Hall of Fame Dinner, Stowe Join the party as the Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum honors six Vermont skiers and riders who have made history. Dinner, silent auction and more at the Stoweflake in Stowe. For tickets: vtssm.com
22 | Vermont Forest Fondo, Lincoln This inaugural race is open to the first 50 riders. The course consists of 40+ miles of gravel roads, 10-percent of which are class IV, and nearly 6,000 feet of climbing. There is one rest stop and a barbeque afterward. bikereg.com
21 | 7th Annual Fall Disc Golf Tournament, Pittsford The Pittsford Recreation Area Public Disc Golf Course holds a tournament with bragging rights at stake. The round includes 18 holes of disc golf, hot chocolate and donuts for a fee of $10 per person. To register, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
29 | Wicked Creepy Cyclocross Race, Bennington The Vermont stop in the 2016 NYCROSS.com Cyclocross Series is hosted by the Bennington Area Trail System and Peak Racing Gear Works Cyclery. The course features plenty of grass and natural obstacles (including a vast sand pit) all set in a classic New England surrounding. Divisions range from ten minutes to 60 minutes. nycross.com
NOVEMBER 5 | 26th Annual West Hill Shop Cyclocross Race/2017 Vermont State Championships, Putney Cyclocross racers tackle a challenging course over dirt tracks and through cornfields with one spirit-crushing hill for the title of Vermont Cyclocross Champion. Time divisions range from 30 to 45 minutes. westhillshop.com
SNOWSPORTS & OTHER OCTOBER 7 | VT SKI + RIDE EXPO, Burlington The biggest ski show to hit Vermont comes to the waterfront Hilton in Burlington on Oct. 7 and 8, from 10 am to 7 pm on Saturday and 9 am to 1 pm on Sunday. See the latest gear, find out about resort deals, watch new ski movie releases, enjoy live music from bands and kick back with a Long Trail brew or other local craft favorites. Details and tickets at vtskiandride.com/expo2017/
NOVEMBER 4 | 40th Annual New England Ski Museum’s Annual Meeting and Dinner, Lyme, NH. The New England Ski Museum honors the Caldwell family with a Spirit of Skiing Award. newenglandskimuseum.org 4 | Vermont Backcountry Forum, Rochester The Vermont Backcountry Alliance, the Catamount Trail Association and the Rochester Area Sport Trails Alliance gather for a full-day, bigger-than-ever meeting focused on developing Vermont’s backcountry and cross country skiing. Complete with a ski swap, a bonfire, vendors, a potluck, a raffle and a cash bar. rastavt.org
24-26 | Audi FIS World Cup, Killington Skiing greats from around the world (including Mikaela Shiffrin) take to the Superstar trail in this FIS slalom and giant slalom event. The weekend also features free movie premieres, concerts by well-known bands and lots more. killington.com
FESTIVALS OCTOBER 6-15 | Witchcraft, Killington A spooky week-long celebration with a haunted house, haunted hikes, hayrides, pumpkin painting, beer garden, and haunted maze. Also, ride the chairlift or try the alpine coaster, zip line, sky ropes course, and more. killington.com 7 | Fall Into Winter, Okemo Okemo hosts a family friendly foliage festival with live music, hayrides, pumpkin painting, a pie-eating contest and lots of apple cider. okemo.com 7 | Lunafest Women’s Film Festival, Burlington Lunafest is a national film festival that features short films by, for, and about women, hosted this year by Girls on the Run Vermont, with special speaker Karen Newman, worldclass triathlete, cancer and eating disorder survivor, author and dietitian. lunafest.org
17 | Projected Opening Day at Craftsbury The northern Vermont ski area welcomes cross-country skiers back with a week of snowmaking and training for clubs and teams. craftsbury.com
7 | Community Day, Sugarbush Sugarbush hosts a fall festival with pumpkin carving, lift rides, hikes, fall-inspired dining and live music. sugarbush. com
18 | The Big Kicker, American Flatbread, Waitsfield Mad River Valley’s two ski areas start the winter season with a rail jam at American Flatbread along with food, drinks and giveaways. sugarbush.com
7-8 | 20th Annual Oktoberfest, Mount Snow Mount Snow’s 18th annual Oktoberfest has oom-pah music, 25 German and domestic breweries, schnitzel, games and activities for the kids. mountsnow.com 7-9 | Columbus Weekend Celebration, Stratton The weekend packs in Stratton’s Annual Craft Brew Festival, Chili Festival and the North Face Race to the Summit. stratton.com
Marathon Trail Run & MTB Challenge • Oct. 14, 2017 East Burke –Victory, Vermont
Winner of Vermont Sports Black Diamond Award for 3 years Run it: 26 mile trail circuit running, the challenging 26.2 mile CircumBurke course circles Burke and Umpire mountains on the famed Kingdom Trails network Runners register at https://www.runreg.com/6841 and the remote singletrack of the Victory Hill Sector. With over 3,000 feet of climbing and descending each lap, CircumBurke challenges Ride it: 26 or 52-mile trail circuit runners and mountain bikers to push their limits, while enjoying the sweet Vermont singletrack in a fun, laid back atmosphere. For more information go to www.circumburke.org. 30 VTSPORTS.COM | OCTOBER 2017
Bikers register at https://www.bikereg.com/33111
8 | Sugarbush Oktoberfest, Warren Head to Sugarbush for Bavarian inspired food, drink, live music, stein hoisting, keg tossing and corn hole. Prizes include lift tickets. sugarbush.com
18-19 OCT. | Cambridge Rotary Club Ski Swap Drop-off: Nov. 17 at the Cambridge Elementary School, 6-8 p.m. Sale hours: Nov. 18 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Nov. 19, 8-noon.
14 | 7th Annual Bean and Brew Festival, Jay Peak Taste locally-roasted coffees coupled with New Englandbrewed beers while listening to live music and playing lawn games. jaypeakresort.com
22-OCT. | Montpelier Rec. Department Ski And Skate Sale Drop-off: No straight skis or clothing of any kind accepted. Oct. 21 from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Montpelier High School Gymnasium. Sale hours: Oct. 22 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Montpelier High School Gymnasium.
SKI SWAPS 29 Sept–1 Oct. | Pico Ski Club Annual Ski & Snowboard Swap Drop-off: At the Pico Retail Shop on Sept. 23 from 3-5 p.m.; Sept. 24 from 10- noon; and Sept. 27 from 4-6 p.m. At the Pico Base Lodge on Sept. 28 from 4-6 p.m. and Sept. 29 from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sale hours: Sept. 29 from 5-9 p.m.; Sept. 30 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Oct. 1 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. SEPT 30–OCT 1. | Colchester Ski, Board And Skate Sale Drop-off: Sept. 29 from 12–4 p.m. for businesses, 5–7 p.m. for the public at Colchester High School . Sale hours: Sept. 30 from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. and Oct. 1 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
11-NOV. | Waitsfield Pta Ski & Skate Sale Drop-off: Nov. 10 from 4-7 p.m. at the Waitsfield Elementary School. Sale hours: Nov. 11 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Waitsfield Elementary School. 17-19 NOV. | Okemo Mountain School Ski & Snowboard Swap Drop-off: Nov. 11, 12 and 15 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Sitting Bull bar. Sale hours: In the Clock Tower Base Lodge Nov. 17 from 4-7 p.m.; Nov. 18 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Nov. 19 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
SKI MOVIE RELEASES
6-8 OCT. | Killington Ski Club Monster Ski And Bike Sale Drop-off: Sept. 30–Oct. 6 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Ramshead Base Lodge/ Sale hours: Oct. 6 from 5-9 p.m.; Oct. 7 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Oct. 8 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Ramshead Base Lodge. 7-8 OCT. | Smugglers’ Notch Ski & Snowboard Sale Drop-off: Friday, Oct. 6, 6-8 p.m. at the Tarrant Recreation Center at St. Michael’s College. Sale hours: Saturday, Oct. 7 from 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Rogue Elements Teton Gravity’s latest drop explores the innate characteristics of an adventurer. “We are unequivocally drawn to nature’s rawest fury and deepest mysteries,” the synopsis reads. “These are the irreverent souls who pursue the edge.” The film takes viewers to the hotspots from last winter, including western British Colombia, France, Wyoming and Bolivia. Starring Angel Collinson, Sammy Carlson, Griffin Post, Hadley Hammer and others. Higher Ground, South Burlington: Nov. 4; Killington, Nov. 25
27th Annual West Hill Shop
Drop Everything Following last year’s artful, narrative-driven film, Matchstick Productions lightens it up with this actioncomedy featuring Mark Abma, Markus Eder, Eric Hjorleifson, Michelle Parker, Sammy Carlson, Cody Townsend and more. The trailer promises a film with “120-percent more impressive, 60-percent more gripping, 80-percent louder sound effects, 100-percent more ripping women (equalling two in total) and 10-percent more soul. Check vtsports.com for updates on dates and locations. Line of Descent Vermont gets a taste of the legendary ski movie party scene with Warren Miller’s 68th ski and snowboard film. Line of Descent celebrates the lineage of legendary athletes through a multi-generational cast including Tommy Moe, Jonny Moseley, JT Holmes, Lexi duPont, Seth Wescott and more. The crew visits the Beartooth Pass, the French Alps, New Zealand, British Colombia and Norway. Tickets go on sale Sept. 12. Flynn Center, Burlington: Dec. 2, Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, Stowe: Dec. 27, Dec. 29, Jan. 5, Jan. 6, Jan. 7, Jan. 14, Feb. 19, Town Hall Theater, Middlebury: Nov. 29, Nov. 30 Habit Level 1’s 18th film focuses on humans as creatures of habit. The synoposis reads: “Some choose to be carpet salesman, others choose to be skiers. These behaviors are part of life's routine, and consciously or not, we're all slaves to it somehow.” Get swept away in the habits of Keegan Kilbride, Tatum Monod, Laurent De Martin and more as this film takes viewers to both the urban playgrounds and wildernesses Iceland, Russia, Finland, New York and Utah. 10/4: Olive Ridley’s Restaurant, Plattsburgh, NY; 10/27: Hangar 16, Montreal. Check vtsports.com for updates on dates and locations.
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OCTOBER 2017 | VTSPORTS.COM 31
6 Burlington 1
1184 Williston Rd. South Burlington, VT 802-862-2714
ALPINE SHOP V
www.AlpineShopVT.com Hours: Mon.–Sat. 10am–6pm; Sun. 10am–5pm (Hours change seasonally) Specializing in mountain, hybrid and commuter bikes from Norco and Felt, Alpine Shop is a full service Bike Shop conveniently located off Exit 14E with ample parking & riding space. Plus 15,000 square feet of stylish clothing for men and women with a full inventory of gear, shoes and apparel for tennis. Vermont’s favorite outdoor gear and apparel store since 1963.
99 Bonnet St. Manchester, VT 802-362-2734 www.battenkillbicycles.com Hours: 9:30am–5:30pm every day Full selection of men and women’s clothing. Rentals available. Great back roads. Road rides Thursdays at 6 pm, Beginner Rides Fridays at 6 pm.
24 Bridge St, Richmond VT 802-434-4876 www.belgencycles.com Hours: Mon.–Sat. 10:30am–6:30pm Closed Sundays Belgen Cycles offers custom and stock bicycles supported by 39 years of hands on experience. Focused on the right bike for you covering the spectrum from road to ‘cross and mountain to fat with selections from Salsa, Xprezo, Moots, Parlee, Litespeed, Lynskey and Soma. Full service maintenance and repair as well as fitting solutions. In business as Village Bicycle in Richmond for 19 years.
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We are a full service bike shop at the base of the Mt. Greylock State reservation. We also border a beautiful 12 mile, paved rail trail. We carry Jamis, Rocky Mtn. and GT. We offer sales, repairs, and hybrid bike rentals for the rail trail.
Manchester Center 2
45 Bridge St. Morrisville, VT 802-888-7642
EAST BURKE SPORTS
439 Route 114 East Burke VT 802-626-3215 www.eastburkesports.com Hours: 9am-6pm every day
www.chucksbikes802.com Hours: Mon.–Fri. 9am–5:30pm Sat. 9am–3pm, closed Sundays Putting smiles on people’s faces for 35ish years. Bikes by Transition, Norco, KHS, Surly, Raleigh, Marin and Diamondback.
RR 8, 169 Grove St. Adams , MA 413-743- 5900
2500 Williston Road, South Burlington, VT 802-864-9197 www.earlsbikes.com Hours: Mon.–Fri. 10am–7pm Sat. 10am–6pm, Sun. 11am–5pm Earl’s has Vermont’s largest selection of mountain, road, hybrid, and kids’ bikes, clothing and accessories, helmets, shoes, and car racks. Plus an extensive women’s department, a full service department with a wide assortment of parts and tools on hand, ample parking, and a test ride trail!
We are the original home to Kingdom Trails. Located in the heart of town, we pride ourselves in expert knowledge while providing friendly customer service. A full service shop awaits you and your repair needs. We have 100 rental bikes with an enormous selection of clothing, parts, and accessories.
FROG HOLLOW BIKES
74 Main Street Middlebury VT 802-388-6666 www.froghollowbikes.com Hours: Fri. 9:30am–6:30pm, Sun. 11am–4pm Take advantage of the most advanced and courteous service in our region, including a quick turn-around in our service shop downstairs. Upstairs in the sales room, we offer the best in new and used road, mountain, lifestyle, and children’s bikes and new gear. We carry brands that offer superior products that balance innovation and performance with reliability and value.
MOUNTAIN 9 GREEN BIKES 105 N. Main St. Rochester, VT 800-767-7882 www.greenmountainbikes.com Hours: 7 days a week 10am–6pm Located in the center of Vermont, the heart of the Green Mountains, we are surrounded by terrain that calls to mountain and road bikers alike. Whether you ride twisting trails or back to back gaps, we service, sell, and rent all styles of bicycles, featuring Kona, Jamis, Juliana, Raleigh, Santa Cruz, Transition, and Hinderyckx bikes - hand crafted by our own Rochester boy Zak Hinderyckx. So STOP READING and RIDE YOUR BIKE!
10 HIGH PEAKS CYCLERY 2733 Main St. Lake Placid, NY 518-523-3764
www.highpeakscyclery.com Hours: Mon.–Fri. 9am–6pm, Sun. 9am–5pm Lake Placid’s source for bicycling and outdoor gear since 1983! Sales, Service, Rentals and Tours. Bikes by Yeti, Foundry, Salsa, Surly, Giant and Scott. Your information headquarters for Lake Placid and the Adirondacks for gravel road, mountain biking and road riding adventures. Free maps. ADK80 and Ironman race info and course conditions.
11OMER & BOB’S
GEAR 13 OUTDOOR EXCHANGE 37 Church St. Burlington, VT 802-860-0190 www.gearx.com Hours: Mon.–Thurs. 10am–8pm Fri.–Sat. 10am–9pm, Sun. 10am–6pm OGE offers Burlington riders a premier bike shop with a knowledgeable, friendly, and honest staff. We have commuters and gravel grinders from Marin and KHS, mountain bikes from Pivot, Transition, Rocky Mountain, and Yeti, and a wide consignment selection as well as demo fleet so you can try it before you buy it. Our service department is capable of everything from tuning your vintage road bike to servicing your new mountain bike and offers full Fox shock service. Come on down and see us on Church St!
14 POWER PLAY SPORTS 35 Portland St. Morrisville, VT 802-888-6557 www.powerplaysports.com Hours: Mon.–Fri. 9am–6pm, Sat. 8:30am–5pm Sun. 10am–4pm North Central Vermont’s Trek and Giant Dealer. With over 200 new and used bikes PPS has a bike for everyone. Service and rentals too!
20 Hanover St. Lebanon, NH 603-448-3522
85 Main St. Burlington, VT 802-658-3313
www.omerandbobs.com Hours: Mon.–Fri. 9am–6pm, Sat. 9am–5pm Closed Sundays
www.skirack.com Hours: Mon.–Sat. 10am–7pm, Sun. 11am–5pm
The Upper Valley’s bike shop since 1964. We carry road bikes, mountain bikes and kids bikes from specialty brands including Trek, Specialized and Colnago. Featuring a full service department offering bike fitting, bike rentals and a kids’ tradein, trade-up program.
12 ONION RIVER SPORTS
20 Langdon St. Montpelier, VT 802-229-9409
www.onionriver.com Hours: Mon.–Thurs. 9am–6pm, Fri. 9am–8pm, Sat. 9am–5pm, Sun. 11am–4pm
Locally owned since 1969, Skirack provides gear, clothing, expert fitting and accessories for all cyclists, with full service tuning and repairs...plus complete bike suspension service on most forks and rear shocks. Designated one of America’s Best Bike Shops, Skirack is blocks from Lake Champlain. Open 8am Mon-Sat for bike service, car racks and rentals. Road and mountain bike rentals at rentals. www.skirack.com.
MOUNTAIN 16 STARK BIKE WORKS 9 RTE 17 Waitsfield VT 05673 802-496-4800
Find us on Facebook Hours: Tues.-Fri. 9am-6pm * Close at 5pm on Thursdays for Shop ride. Sat. 9am-4pm, Sun. 9am-1pm, closed on Mon. Located at the lowest spot in the Mad River Valley so you can coast in when you break your bike on a ride! 20 years of advise, directions and fixing anything that pedals. You know you want a Yeti. Come try one of ours!
17 WATERBURY SPORTS 46 South Main St. Waterbury, VT 802-882-8595 www.waterburysportsvt.com Hours: Mon.–Thurs. 10am–6pm, Fri.–Sat. 9am– 7pm, Sun. 10am–4pm
WBS sells Trek and Giant bikes of every flavor from high end mountain bikes to kids, hybrids and cross bikes. Our service techs are among the best in northern VT. We also rent and Demo from our downtown location right near the Perry Hill Trails.
18 WEST HILL BIKE SHOP 49 Brickyard Ln. Putney, VT 802-387-5718 www.westhillshop.com Hours: Mon.–Sat. 10am–6pm
Since 1971, the West Hill Shop has been a low-key, friendly source for bikes ‘n gear, service and rare wisdoms. We are known regionally as the go-to place for problem-solving technicians. Our bike fitters specialize in comfort without sacrificing efficiency. Recently, we’ve focused on stocking gravel road bikes, with awesome dirt road riding right out our door. Join us for our Annual West Hill Grinder Sept. 24. It’s truly a rural adventure with loops on scenic gravel roads or wily trails.
MOBILE 19 COWBELL BIKE SHOP 25-mile radius around Burlington, VT 802-373-3411
The friendly, expert staff at Onion River Sports will help you find the perfect bike for every adventure, whether it’s a mountain, gravel, hybrid, road, kids, or fat bike — plus cycling accessories, apparel, car racks, and more outdoor gear. We also offer professional, comprehensive bike services, rentals, and bike shipping.
There’s a new bike shop in town and it’s in your driveway. Call, text or book your appointment online with Cowbell and a fully stocked van will arrive at your convenience. With over 22 years of bike shop experience Cowbell can fix your whole fleet of bikes. Corporate visits, ride support and maintenance classes also available.
OCTOBER 2017 | VTSPORTS.COM 33
f you spot Nicole Handel on the top of Mt. Mansfield or Camel’s Hump with her German Shepherd, Bear, in her arms, don’t be surprised. “It’s become our tradition to ‘give hugs’ at the summit of every mountain we climb,” says the 24-yearold community outreach manager who also teaches indoor cycling in Burlington and bartends at RiRas. “That’s how the classic ‘Bear & Nicole’ picture began, we’d get to the top, and I’d kneel over to pet Bear, and then ask him for “hugs,” at which time he’d put his paws around my shoulders and I’d pick him up. A hundred hikes or so later, and here we are.” It’s a ritual that has made Bear somewhat of an Instagram sensation. Handel, who takes him camping and hiking and wherever else she goes, has posted photos of Bear from Mt. Manfsield to Moab. She now has more than 15,000 followers on Instagram. Her hikes with Bear are also immortalized in the some of the tattoos that cover her arm and shoulder, and have been written up in media ranging from Lonely Planet to British websites. “I never really wanted a dog, but the moment I got Bear, my entire life began to revolve around him,” says Handel, who got Bear when he was 8 weeks old from an ex-boyfriend. “From the time he was a puppy, I took him on hikes throughout the Northeast. It seemed to be his favorite activity.” Handel, who grew up in upstate New York, went to Champlain College. “After a few big life changes, and a permanent move to Vermont, I made a promise to Bear—now that it was just him and I—that I was going to give him the best life possible. With that came the promise of getting outside every day,” she says. “Some days it's a short trail walk a few minutes from our apartment, and other days it's a West Coast camping trip. The point has remained the same, though: to get outside and be together there.” Bear has a host of fairly stereotypical German Shepherd "flaws." “I like to think of them as training challenges,” says Handel. “He's anxious, leash-reactive, highenergy, and often insecure—these are all qualities that have been softened or aided by the outdoors, and by our daily, dedicated training (on trails, in the driveway, wherever). I like to think that being outside has positively influenced Bear and me in more ways than one.” Although Bear and Handel have been to California, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, New York, and Canada together, their favorite hike is still Mt. Mansfield. “We usually do this hike more than once a month, and it's become our tradition to hug at the summit each time.”
34 VTSPORTS.COM | OCTOBER 2017
THE STORY OF BEAR
OWNING A DOG MEANS A LOT MORE THAN TAKING HIM ON HIKES AND GIVING HUGS. Handel gets a Bear hug at the top of Mt.Mansfield, the duo's favorite hike. Photo courtesy Nicole Handel
Everybody loves dogs but not everyone knows how to advocate for their dog, help their dog to trust them and convey that they can understand what their dog needs.
While travel can be stressful for many dogs, Bear is used to it as he’s been doing it. “I can imagine that long car rides feel pretty standard,” she said. “I’ve always been amazed by friends who say that their dogs hate being in cars—Bear curls up and sleeps, or watches scenery out the back window.”
She does admit that’s it’s not always such an easy-going life for Bear. “He is an incredibly territorial and anxious dog, and barks at other dogs when he is stressed. The solution to that, though, is not to avoid those situations but to teach Bear that he can navigate them with confidence if he trusts me and stays calm. Traveling with him has been really helpful in his training.” As Handel says, “Bear is truly himself when he is in the outdoors, in the open. I think that’s pretty clear when you look at his huge smile in all of my photos.” Handel hopes her pictures and adventures with Bear can show others you don’t need to be a superhuman to be a good dog owner. “I have a full-time, 40-hour-a-week job plus two part-time jobs, totaling over 50 hours a week of work– most people assume, when they see how often we hike, that I must be entitled or “lucky,” or must not work to fit in all of our travels,” she said. “That isn’t the
case, though. I don’t have time, I make time. Often, this means that Bear, my boyfriend Adam and I wake up before sunrise to hike, camp through the night, and get back home the next day in time for work. “Every morning, before anything else, I spend 20 minutes to several hours training with Bear doing leash work, socialization, confidence-building tricks, you name it. Not because I’m naturally inclined to dogs, not because I know everything there is to know about training, not because I have endless time, but because I have a dog, so now I owe it to him to be what he needs me to be. I want to see more dog advocates, not just dog “lovers”. “Everybody loves dogs, but not everyone knows how to advocate for their dog, help their dog trust them and convey that they can understand what their dog needs.” As told to Mark McConville and Lisa Lynn
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