Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Notching It Up

It seems the classic winter-in-Vermont outing for us is the trip to Stowe to head up into the Notch for some touring and some turning. (For those not in-the-know, this is Vermont Route 108 which is closed between Stowe and Cambridge/Jeffersonville in the winter.) We made a wonderful afternoon out of a quick trip to the top of the Notch, and  then we made our first turns of the season on the way back down. I love making trips to the Stowe area for skiing. The Notch is a classic favorite, as are the sections of the Catamount Trail through Nebraska Notch and the Sterling Valley, and Trapp's keeps up a wonderful set of trails that I hope to explore more. This is truly a special place for us here in Vermont.

As the Notch is probably the only location where you can really tour in Vermont right now (please snow more!!), we are heading out there again today. This time, we'll go up and over the Notch to the Jeffersonville side and come back, and we'll make more of a day of it with snacks and a thermos of something warm to drink. And, while I don't think we'll do this today, the ultimate Notch trip would be to head up the Long Trail and descend Smugg's, then skin back up and over to Spruce, and finish a long day by gliding back down that side of the mountain. We've been dreaming of this one - maybe this is the year!

Anyways, for those looking for some snow to glide on - and a chance to use those touring muscles again - the Notch is pretty good right now considering our winter here in VT. There's the typical uneven surfaces from the walkers and snowshoers, the snow is soft enough to carve through the choppiness. And there is always some powder to be had along the edges of the road - just don't mis-calculate and end up in the stream! Just watch out for thin cover in spots - I actually carved right down to pavement, shooting sparks everywhere! Actually, it was kind of cool...but not good for the ski, I'm sure. And what gives?! Why don't we have more snow yet?? Well, regardless, we're headed back out there shortly - we hope to see out there! Happy trails!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Tristan and I got out for the first time this season on skis today, keeping up a multi-year tradition of skiing on Christmas Day (thanks to our new snow today!). On this most wonderful day, I am so grateful for family, loved ones, our warm home, a table full of wholesome food, our health, open space to recreate in and enjoy, and the feeling of gliding through fresh snow. Merry Christmas! Now get outside, and happy trails.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Feliz Navidad / Merry Chistmas / Happy Solstace / Happy ChristmaChanaKwanzukah!

It's looking good out there! May have to ski over to the farm store for our Christmas dinner....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Night shadows in the Stranahan.

 As some of you know Sarah and I enjoy being outside, with good folks, dogs,  and food and beer afterwards.  So as the Solstice approaches and the temps cool and the night feels longer we surround ourselves with all of these good things.
       About a year ago we transplanted ourselves yet again , this time on the Marshfield/Plainfield town lines.  Our new home outside the city of Montpelier has changed things a bit and we find ourselves spending more time out our new backyard, sometimes missing our good friends who were always not too far away to meet for a late night ski or ride.  So every Sunday we invite anyone and everyone who cares to join us on a night run with headlamps.  We venture through our backyard and then enjoy good food, beer and cheer afterwards!  The last two runs have taken us up Hollister Hill Rd. past Bob and Lee Light's B&B and farm ( yes this is where the Beefalo reside) into the Stranahan town forest.   We usually run about 4-5 miles through old sugar bushes, foundations, orchards, deer stands and logging roads up and over the Moon Field and back where everyone warms their bones by the fire and enjoys hot soup and cold beer.  Might I add our runs are never in a rush as we stop and enjoy the forest and people as we run along through the night. The Moon Field is a must run as everyone in the group enjoys conversation and the stars before making our way home. Having moved from our wonderful neighborhood in Montpelier I think we succeeded in finding another wonderful place to sink our feet, tires and skis into.  So if anyone cares to join us this winter before the snow flies and we start skiing, you can find our dancing headlamps somewhere in the vicinity of our new home in between the Marshfield and Plainfield town lines, chasing the night away.

Now think snow!

and get out there anyway!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Running to a Bonfire! Wait...What?

That's right! We ran to a bonfire. Nothing too ground-breaking to report here, just that our wonderful neighbors called just as we walked through the door after work and invited us up. Since we had planned on doing an after-work run anyways (since we can't ski...ahem!), we thought, let's run to the bonfire! They were just a few miles away and they promised beers on our arrival. So we put on our shoes and headed out the door with our dog. It was an awesome run overall, but the coolest part of the adventure was running down the old road past the abandoned house and ancient trees out to an old orchard where two fires loomed bright in the distance. We enjoyed an evening of great people, lively stories and laughs, a cold beer, and a warm fire. Oh, and a dog with a good chewing stick.

Camels Hump Challenge! February 5th, 2011

Tristan and I are both skiing the Camel's Hump Challenge this February! It is a 13-mile ski tour around the summit of Camel's Hump and the day is filled with good people, camaraderie, hot chocolate, and warm food. This will be Tristan's second time skiing the Challenge (third if you count breaking trail the day before last year) and it will be my first time! Though I have volunteered there in the past, making soup.  We're both very excited.

As for gear, Tristan will be skiing on his Rossignol BC 125's (mounted with 3-pin hardwire bindings and with a Garmont Excursion boot) and I will be skiing either on the same ski or on my Karhu 10th mountains (same binding and boot for me, too). Also note, the 10th is the same thing as the current Madshus Epoch. (For a full run-down of backcountry, or cross-country-downhill / xc-d skis, click here. Better yet, for a sweet deal on a ski package, visit ORS Cross-Country Skis Direct!) Please consider joining us or, if you would prefer not to, you can donate to sponsor one of us (Click here for Sarah or here for Tristan). The money goes to support the VT Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. Many thanks for your support and we hope to see you out there!

Happy trails, and get outside.

Sarah & Tristan

Again, to donate, click here (Sarah) or here (Tristan).

Monday, December 12, 2011

December 11 = A Perfect Day for the Beach!

Tristan and I have a knack for adventuring together. We are known among some circles as the ones who head out into a winter storm at night to frolic and see the sights. And we have a rhythm that we sink in to easily, or it seems to find us. But with schedules and jobs and demands and housework (this is new for us!), we have been finding little time to let go and truly have an adventure. Recently, though, Tristan and our friend Mike discovered a wonderful section of the Cross Vermont Trail and they spent an afternoon exploring - following trails and roads without knowing where they went, and Tristan was able to get a taste of that adventure we love so dearly. He wanted to show me what they had found, so yesterday we drove out to Marshfield and Cabot for our "Lazy Sunday" version of adventure. We drove along old dirt roads past Marshfield Falls, through the woods, and around the lakes of Groton State Forest. We found ourselves eventually on the shores of Boulder Beach, and what a treat! I was able to truly let go of worldly stresses and watch our dog sprint along the beach and discover barely-there ice of a lake just starting to freeze. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful time. It was a wonderful afternoon!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

No Snow? No Problem. The Cross Vermont Trail is Awesome!

It seems fairly often we get customers in Onion River Sports asking about this "Cross VT Trail" they've heard about. It sounds great and they want to know where it is, how to get to it. Is there a guidebook? Unfortunately it can be a little tricky for those not in the know to find it and follow it. There is a website, though, and excellent signage once you find the trail. And once you discover it, it is truly worth the effort. The riding is excellent and the views are even better- how lucky we are to have such a gem in Vermont.

Mike and I rode from Plainfield out to Groton State Forest, where we discovered some beautiful spots along the Cross Vermont Trail. This is great terrain for the 'cross bikes, too! We put together a short experimental video - look for more of these in the future to highlight different sections of the trail.

Here are some pictures from the adventure, too. You can see the roads are excellent for riding! And the views are incredible.

Back in the summer, Mike and I explored a different section of the trail closer to Plainfield. This section was equally great - here are some pictures from that ride, too.
Here you can see a repaired section that was washed out in the May flooding.

A pretty cool old hippy bus!

The Cross Vermont Trail is a wonderful gem that we all have access to. Like I said, once you find it, it's well worth the effort!

How to Select & Buy Telemark Skis & Backcountry Skis - by ORS CrossCoun...

This is a wonderful run down of this year's backcountry skis, including those new fat skis everyone seems to be coming out with this year:

- Alpina Light Terrain and Alpine Cross Terrain (best for doodling around in the woods);
- Madshus (used to be Karhu) Eon (narrowist, best for light touring and zipping along a woods trail) and the Eon Waxable (a waxable backcountry ski); the Annum, a wide ski best for looking for downhill turns with a lot of sidecut and flex, it's not the best for touring straight; the Epoch (in between the two in width) does both well. Please note, the Epoch used to be the Karhu 10th Mountains and the Annum used to be the Karhu Guide. All of these skis are classics with strong reputations.
- Rossignol BC 125 (think powder and downhill) and BC 110 (an all-around ski like the Epic).
- Fischer S-Bounds: 88, 98, 112 (referring to the width of the widest part of the ski, or the shovel).
- Voile Vector BC, a rockered ski that climbs really well, and then charges back down hill even better. A seriously fun ski, that we will both be adding to our quiver!

Personally, I love the old Karhu 10th Mountains, which is now the exact same ski (with a different look) as the Madshus Epoch. This is truly a do-it-all ski, whether you're seeking turns or just doodling around in the woods. I am doing the Camel's Hump Challenge this year on these skis.

I also have and love the BC125. Together, my Karhu's and this ski make a nice little quiver. I take the BC125 out when the objective is finding hills and making turns, and the touring is really just to get you to those hills. Still, I was pleasantly surprised at how well these fat skis do track. I would tour in them for sure, and actually, Tristan will be doing the Camel's Hump Challenge in this ski. (Maybe I will, too, depending on the snow conditions.)

If you have more questions than Ryan has answered on this great video, please come in to Onion River Sports or visit ORS Cross Country Skis Direct!

See also:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Acouple things I am truly thankful for.

As of late I have found myself way busier than I think I have ever found myself.  It's in theses moments that we can often forget what really is important in our lives.  Certain things come to mind; family, good friends, good health, enjoying ourselves in the moment, letting go, the outdoors.  As I let go and returned home I was once again reminded that it is the people close to us and that we chose to surround ourselves that make us come home to where we started.  Hopefully theses people rub off on us and leave a mark; so this is what I find myself truly thankful for.  Thank you everyone for constantly reminding me how lucky I am.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now get outside.