Solo Trips: Snowboarding in October
It’s been a long summer here in the Ontario snowboard scene and the recent Toronto Snow Show rekindled that old flame inside me for yet another winter on-hill. The sights and sounds of the Snow Shows rail jam were all too familiar and as the ice blocks were ground down in to make-shift snow I knew I would need a fix of the real thing sooner than later.
Low and behold the Beast of The East, Killington Vermont has been awoken from summers slumber and with a blessing to the east coast opened for the snowboarding and skiing public on Oct 25 2013. Pre-Halloween openings aren’t unheard of in these parts as the earliest opening on record was Oct 1st! However if your ride in Ontario you know at least another month stands between you and a local chairlift ride. After connecting the dots between my 20th year riding a snowboard and the fact I have never done it in the month of October I knew that something had to be done.
Last minute plans tend to work out as I found a place to stay in nearby Rutland, Vermont (a Fiancé with a generous amount of Holiday Inn points doesn’t hurt either) and made the decision Sunday night to head for the border and get a taste of winter. At 4,235 feet in elevation, Vermont’s second highest peak lays approximately 7hrs from my home base, well within striking distance of a solo mission and Monday morning strike is what I did.
What the f*@k am I doing?! Has rolled through my mind a few times since crossing the border, the obvious realization that winter hasn’t arrived to New York or Vermont and that 100% of what was to come came out of a hose sets in. The sun is high in a clear blue sky and the temperature hovers in the high teens…and I’m on route to get some snowboarding under my belt. That fact in itself is enough to keep me going towards the cooler Green Mountains of Vermont.
Home of the Norman Rockwell Museum, Killington and the Rutland area are the definition of classic east coast America and my arrival to the early season opening of a historic resort was an experience in itself but what I was really here for was only a gondola ride away. As I stood in the steadily filling parking lot the usual tribes were present. The sense of community was obvious, and as I sat lacing my boots a local offered me something better than Vermont’s decriminalized weed…a chance to join in on his 2 for 1 coupon and save some $$$. As any winter sports addict knows….shits expensive! and savings now means beers later.
Killington’s snowmaking crews have been busy for the last week pulling together 8 trails worth of snow and a few take offs so the park crew could sink 3 features in for the ever present park fiends to session. As I stepped off the K1 gondola and started walking through the dry snowmaking snow and seeing the heavily coated trees I knew that I made the right decision to hit the road. For October riding the conditions were great! 0 degrees and sunny with a cool breeze, fleets of snowmaking guns hum as the resort scrambles to open more terrain and establish a base for the many months to come.
The snow rushing under my board, the sound of the trees whistling past me, the warmth of the sun mixed with the cool air…my first turns in October ever and I couldn’t be happier. 20 years on a board and it still makes me smile like the child I am. Time flies and before I could blink and 2 days of riding were over. Next thing I knew, I was back on the 1 90 driving under grey skies across New York state heading for the final stretch before winter blesses Ontario with an appearance. This small taste of winter may have to hold me over till then.
If you can’t wait hit up www.Killington.com for info and hit the road…I mean they are OPEN after all.