If I asked you “When are the two best times to visit Vermont?”, what would you say? I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest it is “Fall Foliage” season and “Skiing” season, am I right? If I think this through, that most likely covers all of October for foliage and then maybe the last two weeks of November through early May for skiing, correct? And you really can’t go wrong the remainder of May through September either as summer in Vermont is kind of gorgeous as well.
So only a visit during the small window of the first few weeks in November would be kind of silly, right? A dead zone if you will. If I apply some math to this we are looking at a 49/52 or 94.2% chance that your visit to Vermont is going to be all sorts of awesome.
Well not for this non-foliage enjoying and non-skiing brood. That is not how we roll. Give us a small window of nothing going on and we are so there. This past weekend we apparently arrived in Vermont during the peak “brown foliage”time or “stick season” as we came to learn from the locals.
Truth be told, our 4 day trip to Stratton, Vermont was phenomenal. Even the post-peak foliage season is stunning.
We have friends who recently purchased a townhouse in Stratton and even if they were initially all like “Seriously, you want to visit us now?” they were still gracious enough to host us non-skiers without hesitation.
Speaking of non-skiing … I had some unresolved issues with skiing that bubbled to the surface this weekend and I’m proud to say I kind of think I worked through them.
Some necessary background:
During my senior year of high school, I joined the ski club. I had yet to ski at that point in my life, but thought joining the group would:
a)look good on the high school resume (don’t ask)
b)provide an opportunity to do something I had never attempted before
c)be a fun hang/social opp.
Makes sense right? Well it turns out I never had the chance to take advantage of the experience.
Since I was on the high school varsity basketball team during the winter sport season, we were not allowed to ski, at all, for fear of sustaining an injury. Now shockingly, none of us when on to basketball stardom in the NBA, let alone the NCAA, but that was the rule and we had no choice but to abide. That included #50, power forward extraordinaire.
Still, I was not happy.
It all came to a head one Friday night in January, 1990 when we had a basketball game against our rival, Waldwick High School, which coincided with the one huge ski trip for the ski club. As an immature yet awesomely mulletted 17 year old, I was super pissed off. I was missing the social event of the year. A chance to chill with the ladies … OK, “chill” may not be the right word since I had less than zero game, more like a chance to hang in the vicinity of the ladies and hang with my boys. But no, basketball was apparently more important.
By tip-off of our game, we had like 10 fans in the crowd. Our home court was filled with the visiting team’s fans and my anger level reached an all time high. It was my senior year dammit and not only was I missing a friggin life changing event, but our last rival game was going to suck as well. The woes of a teenager.
The suckage level peaked even higher when the scoreboard clock read “0:00”. I remember it like it was yesterday. We had what was supposed to be an insurmountable lead at 51-39 with 3 minutes remaining in the game. Somehow we managed to not score again. We ended up losing 52-51 when their point guard literally fell backwards at the foul line and threw up a desperation two handed overhead shot that somehow managed to go in. The crowd went berserk, on our home court, and I was f’n crushed.
I carried that anger for a long time after the game had ended. And I took it out on all of the “skiers”. Just the sight of a ski tag on a CB jacket pissed me off.
Because truth be told, I always envied/was annoyed by those who skied. There was a coolness factor that came with skiing and since I fell towards the other end of the cool spectrum, I was easily annoyed at anything close to “cool”. Without ever giving it a whirl, I knew I would fail miserably at skiing. Leg coordination was not my thing. One attempt at surfing and I knew to stay away from the leg/feet sports. To this day, I have no ability to kick a soccer ball.
Ski trips/vacations also always held this special luster in my mind.
“We’re going to Vail this weekend. We’ll ski all day and hang in the lodge at night.”
That sounded uppity and a place where all the cool kids would hang out. Even after that was done, you could wear your ski tags all winter on your jacket and people would look at it like a badge of honor.
“Where did you go? Aspen, right on bro, we just got back from Killington.”
Even the ski locales had sick names.
So you combine my skier jealousy with the fact that skiing deeply impacted the most important basketball game of my career and I can see why I subconsciously avoided a visit to Vermont during its best time of year. Who knew there was a psychological aspect of “skiing avoidance”? I think I just invented it.
But I’m proud to say I may be over it after this weekend. Thank you J & A for the therapy session. And yes, it is OK that you are all avid skiers. And that your 6 year old son is not only more athletic than me, but can no doubt ski circles around me. I can accept that now.
Thank you for selling our family on the benefits of snowshoeing and tubing. While I may feel like the kid who can’t leave the shallow end of the pool, it is progress. Hopefully my kids will avoid the dreaded ski envy and join you all one day. Maybe I will even set foot on the slopes … and get to wear kick ass looking goggles and get a ski lift ticket of my own.
One can dream.
Some other ditties from the weekend:
- I love a saloon. I love the term and the connotation. We went to one for dinner on Saturday night and it rocked. Local, pretension free and solid food and drink. This was not a bar, it was a saloon. Very different in concept. The only things missing were a set of swinging doors upon entering.
And the patrons staring at us with that “You ain’t from these parts” look.
Also, a shot tossed down the bar from the bartender would have been a nice touch.
- Kids loving hanging in bars. At least that is what we learned as our collective four children loved playing pool and feeding quarters into the jukebox while the four adults enjoyed quiet dinners sans children. I think we could agree this wasn’t a parenting highlight, but it is amazing how much easier it is to justify a decision when you have other parents involved in the decision making process. It’s as if we each said to ourselves “Well, if ‘blank’ says it is OK and we kind of trust their judgment then it must be OK.”
- Vermont makes the greatest beer. This is now my new favorite beer in existence.
- I have crossed that threshold where any physical activity has a 90% probability rating that it will result in injury. The kids planned, practiced and obsessed over a football game against the adults. In the past, this was a fun charade where, because we are nurturing parents, we allowed the kids to win without them realizing it. However, within 2 minutes of this football game, we realized times, they are a changin’. The kids were smart enough to implement a “wear the dads out” game plan that was genius. We were quickly down 21-0 when I decided to temporarily put them in their place. I returned a kickoff for a touchdown prancing along the way like a young Deion Sanders. That is if Deion had just about ripped his groin apart and couldn’t really walk right the remainder of the weekend.
- I’d be plenty fine with hitting the “pause” button on the aging process for all of the kids right now.
Tune in next time when my family visits Washington DC right before the cherry trees are in bloom and then as we head on down to New Orleans the week after Mardi Gras.