Friday, December 14, 2012

Kmart Special: Ski the Skiddies for Free

A rare shot of Killington without hundreds of
human cannonballs overhead

Two days ago the New York Times reported that the ski industry was dead. And the Times is almost never wrong. Everyone but me remembers what they did to disco. And maybe Donna Summers too. But skiing? Not on my watch you leftist tree-humping pessimists. Not when mankind can harness the power of dead dinosaurs to pump millions of gallons of reclaimed sewage water into sub 32 degree air, to freeze before it falls like concrete onto the logging and fire road wastelands of America's ski areas.

And this magical phenomenon is even more appropriate when you consider how much manmade snow in a bad snow year makes a mountain look like a pile of s#it with streaks of white skiddies all over it. A white ribbon of death from your a@%.

Luckily I'm within driving distance of the cradle of s#itty man-made skiing, and this morning I rose extra early to find out for myself if the rumors were true. It's been years since I've violated that sacred oath that every Vermont grade schooler takes daily before the pledge of allegiance. To never, ever, not even for a million dollars ski at Killington. Would the ski gods ever forgive me?

Now that I'm fully grown I've come to realize that this once sacred oath was, at the time, governed by better snow years and my ridiculously cheap parents, who were just too thrifty-yankee to pony up the $90 Canadian dollars for admission. Now that I'm comfortably dependent on my much harder working wife I can damn well ski anywhere I please. This fact doesn't make a day wrestling New Yorkers for a spot in the Kmart lift lines any more appealing though.

But that's why the Great One in the Sky created tele bindings and climbing skins for us, now isn't it?

I've heard that there's been some talk this winter about the wide variety of "Winter Uphill Travel Policies" at Vermont ski areas. Unfortunately I am illiterate and can't follow any other blog but my own. But, if this is a survey that has yet to be taken, I'll take it for you. Expect something soon on this.

As far as I can say for the skinning policy at Killington... there was this one ancient ski ambassador lady (might have been Maria Von Trapp but I couldn't be sure) who looked me in the eyes as I was plodding along up some crap-ass hayfield and shouted "Happy Day!" And if Maria Von Trapp can't speak for the Vermont ski industry on inbounds skinning, I dont know who can. So, case closed. Skin away my friends.

Best coverage of the day
And, if you can't find any snow in your neck of the woods, Killington is a great place for it. So long as you don't look anywhere than on the trail under your feet, because there isn't a flake to be found anywhere else. Heroic job by the Kmart snowmaking team though. Really impressive coverage given the season so far.

Man made snow might not ski as well, but it does make for an exciting ascent. I headed out this morning with some locals who showed me the most appropriate way to the top. We left from the K1 lodge parking lot and mainly followed the Snowdon triple to the top. When cheating on the Killington lift ticket office, I'd recommend you take whatever route up offers the least amount of resistance from uncontrolled snowboarders and Dick Cheney in blue jeans. Today, that was Snowdon. Tomorrow, make sure it is whatever trail is closed. The good news, any closed trail at Kmart right now is absolutely snowless, and hay chaff and alfalfa make for an amazingly easy skin. Lots and lots of traction. This kind of approach will help you live long enough to actually tackle the trails at New England's largest out-of-state leper colony... I mean ski area.

Note the crater from my huge penis
I guess if I could do it all again, I would wake up earlier and get my jollies before all the weekly rental condo riffraff could sleep off their Bud Light Clamatto hangovers and endanger my life with their overuse of the words 'straightline!' and 'bro!'

But, schuss is schuss. And, when we did get to the top, there was even enough hope for the future lying around for me to bang out a damned decent snow angel. The spirit of ski Christmas works in mysterious ways.

For those of you who love non sequiturs, here's  the quote of the tour. When discussing New Zealand: "I guess men have been f@cking sheep for so long it's hard not to believe there's a goat boy out there... somewhere."

[Editor's Note:  If you're not going to buy a lift ticket here , we at least recommend that you get yourself a hot chocolate or a cold barley tea from the lodge to thank the locals for mowing the grundle-floss. ]

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