The Craftsbury Outdoor Center has changed skiing in New England. This year instead of going to West Yellowstone, I skied at Craftsbury on their 1.3K loop of manmade snow. I know that sounds short, but with a rolling loop through the woods with a couple of good hills it was fast, fun, and challenging. How does that compare to a trip to West Yellowstone? It's hard to beat the scenic beauty of the west. When the snow is good the skiing is wonderful, and the crowds of elite skiers are inspiring. On the other hand, there is the long and expensive flight to get there, the lung-burning thin air, some years with bad snow and trips to the plateau, and being away from family for the holiday.
In years past I have taken the trip out west, and enjoyed myself. The highlight of trips there came in 2003 when I skied for 90 minutes with Thomas Alsgaard. But in terms of improving fitness and getting ready for ski racing I've always felt that the trip was a wash at best. Sure I'd get some great time on snow, but the stress of the travel and time-change left me more tired than fit at the end of my trips. This year's experience at Craftsbury was so easy and so satisfying. I could drive there, stay on my normal schedule, and ski as many kilometers as I could handle.
Next year CSU will be skiing at Craftsbury for Thanksgiving weekend!
Banging out a few K's at Craftsbury. (Fabio Schiantarelli Photo)