A Local’s Perspective On The Annual Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge
As many ski resorts get ready to close for the season, here at Killington it feels like the party is just getting started as diehards and amateurs alike prepare for the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge. In the days prior, some are seeking bumps to practice on, others are ironing out their tailgating plans, but whether planning to take part or spectate, anticipation for the weekend is high.
The moguls are on the iconic Outer Limits, that get deeper as the days 150 competitors ski them, nestled between two large jumps and surrounded by the many who come in costume, ready to cheer and tailgate. Competitors ski a qualifying run where the top 16 women and 32 men progress to finals, a sudden-death dual format with the first person through the finish line progressing into the next round, all with big airs and underdog upsets. Killington is still a bastion of mogul skiing, a community who loves to celebrate a competition where anything can happen. To such an extent that when the mountain decided they wouldn’t host the rowdy event anymore in 2012, bumpers hosted it anyway and titled it the “Denial Cup.” The next year the event returned, and recently the mountain acknowledged those winners by engraving their names onto the trophy that sits in Bear Mountain’s base lodge.
Even as skis have grown fatter, there are still quite a few skiers here who haven’t lost their skinny skis and look forward to the event all year long. I am one of them, and can already feel the competition day nerves, the nervousness of practicing mogul jumps that send you straight up into the air, the excitement at the starting gate, the rainbow colored crowd in vintage one pieces, all of it. A friend recently told me that I just needed to “pretend that no one was there” when competing this weekend (I agree!), but it’s an admittedly hard task to practice when the crowd is audacious, and the skiers around you are some of the best mogul skiers anywhere. Anyone can compete though, and competitors uphold that good sportsmanship, helping to support and cheer on others while waiting for their turn in the starting gate.
It’s hard to think of another event that is more of Killington and espouses just how much we love skiing here. Whether you are tuning your skis, seeking out the seeded bumps on Wildfire, or picking out your best eye-turning outerwear, prep work for Saturday continues for many. If you are considering attending your first Bear Mountain Challenge, whether to ski it or to see it, you won’t be disappointed and you will really know that you arrived at the Big K, where mogul skiing is still very much alive, well, and celebrated.
— Tricia Tirella, Basin Sports ambassador, Killington local and bump enthusiast
Updates From Basin Sports, Maybe you’ve been in the store and have noticed the absence of one familiar smiling face. Our president, Christine Torrey has taken a much-wanted Sabbatical and will be missing the majority of our winter season (though she’ll be stopping by here and there). Where is she you ask?
Santa Cruz, California
Just imagine, waking up every day to endless sunshine, surfing, and cycling within an arms reach. Plus with Tahoe not too far away, well that’s not a horrible place to go for a change of scenary. She’s been out there for most of the summer already too. Chief Financial Officer, Owner , and Mom, Lorraine Torrey is out visiting Christine and went Mountain Biking with her the other day. I mean, doesn’t everyone want to take an extra long California vacation sometimes?
Of course we have been sending photos of this year’s tremendous snowfall to Christine, making sure she is missing all of us and Killington as much as we are missing her!
Will Killington make their World Cup Deadline? This is the State of Skiing in Killington, November Report
Winter started off with a bang this season with an opening day of October 19th. Since then The State Of Skiing In Killington has well really just gotten sweeter. We started as usual on the North Ridge and walked the catwalk both ways to access skiable terrain. Soon after we were skiing down and only walking back up. Confirmed for Wednesday too we’ll be skiing top to bottom as well. Which is great for me who’s been hesitant to get out there and get those turns. Maybe I’m spoiled, maybe I’m still daydreaming about summer. Either way skiable terrain is expanding rapidly with no real end to this momentum in site.
Turning over to the south side of the mountain, World Cup preparations have been moving along swimmingly. We were worried for a second there when it poured rain for two days. But that worry was quickly put to bed by 6-8″ inches of snow. Definitely 6 inches by the steps of Basin Sports, 8″ most likely up on the mountain. Since then temps have stayed cold and below freezing. I was going to say bitterly cold but if you were around this last December when it was -20 for two weeks its well hard to call anything bitterly cold anymore- we’re seasoned Vermonters after all. But I’m getting of subject here. On Superstar yesterday they began crushing snow. This is part of two reason- one, there’s a lot of snow already made on Superstar and it’s time to push it down and measure snow depths. Number two is more important in that today (Monday, November 12, 2018) marked inspection day by the FIS. Slopes had to be looking good to get the green light to host the Women’s World Cup this Thanksgiving.
So far so good and everything looks in tip-top shape. If you were planning on skiing this upcoming weekend be worry free about walking because we won’t have to do that anymore. Keep in mind that pretty much until Christmas that we’re still in early-season conditions and generally blue to black terrain. Remember the season gets better and better from here and that there’s a lot of early season hype so far. Now get off your phone or computer and go shred!
Photos and Words by Basin Ambassador and Killington Local Tricia Noelle
No lack of ski season stoke as lift spins~ The beginning of the ski season is always a time of excitement. Some wait before the sun rises for the gondola to turn on opening day, others may opt to a midweek start, and others might not have gotten to make turns on snow yet; but all share one thing in common, and that is stoke for the return of the winter.
The conditions for early season have been a little bit of everything so far; from passing clouds, moments of sun, soft spring conditions, the magical manmade snow our snowmakers make, and even flurries that fell in clumps yesterday. The coverage and conditions have been stellar in North Ridge, and while a short run in comparison to what we will have in a few months, laps on Rime, Reason and Upper East Fall are plenty to reawaken muscles that have been dormant since Spring.
From locals to season regulars, we all get to holler from the lift as our friends make their first turns of the season. North Ridge is small enough that we can see everyone we missed all summer long, and give hugs and greetings to people we will make turns with for months to come. We all may be returning from different challenges in life, and in different abilities to hike those stairs, but for all of us sliding on snow helps bring us together at least for a few runs, and makes the stairs undeniably worth it.
It is about way more than just returning to the movement we love, we get to share something larger as a community that brings us together. We get to tune out of the stressors of life and tune into the frozen covered trees and snow around us. We share conversation on the lift over the roar of snow guns. We see our friends carve their first turns of the season, smile ear to ear. Killington has a stoke for the ski season like no other place I have been to yet, and we keep it going all the way until June. I don’t know about you, but I am stoked to be celebrating another season back.
Basin sports is the premiere mountain sports retailer in Vermont, specializing in skiing, snowboarding and biking. Basin Sports has received the Ski Magazine Gold Medal nine years in a row and twice naming Basin Sports the best ski shop in New England. Basin Sports has some of the best technical boot fitting service in the country, with certified Pedorthists on staff. As much as we love getting Basin Sports customers into the perfect gear for them, there is one thing we love just as much, if not more. You guessed it, skiing, riding, and just plain enjoying the mountains. You can rest assured that all of us at Basin Sports are taking every opportunity to get out and enjoy all that Killington has to offer. In the winter we ski daily and we are constantly testing new gear, sampling the conditions, and sniffing out powder stashes. Feel free to ask us any questions that you may have, we love to talk about skiing, snowboarding, cycling, hiking and even snowshoeing. In fact, in the winter, we update our website, basinski.com, every day with conditions reports, photos, and videos. Check us out for the most up-to-date and honest info around.
Killington, the mountain we love, the friends we keep, especially on powder days, mean so much to many of us.
Few things bring that more home than having to watch on from the sidelines, but times like those bring the value of being out there, a life outside fully lived, that much more apparent. We are so fortunate to have all of the many opportunities the Green Mountains have to offer, whether here for the day, weekender or local; from downhill skiing to biking, and beyond.
I have been lucky enough to call Killington Mountain home since 2013 and was 44 days into my fifth year as a season pass holder when a freak accident on New Year’s Eve tore my ACL and Meniscus. My ski got stuck in a notch of ice and my leg went in the wrong direction, and I knew immediately my knee and season were done.
I also was reminded quickly that being hurt in this town is something to be immensely grateful for. Offerings of help are plentiful as are reminders from so many friends that they too also wore the ACL badge, and that while a long recovery, I will be coming back stronger than before.
Injuries are accidents, but what we do with them as a result never is. After I accepted that there would be no fifth 100 day season in a row for me this year, I counted all the good that would be happening as a result. Becoming a better trained, balanced athlete, having the time to re-learn guitar, reading more, the list goes on. I am also extremely lucky to have something go wrong that can be fixed. And as a friend said, “if you are an athlete at all, it happens, now you are a part of the club.”
As I heel from ACL reconstruction I have been living vicariously through the many deep powder pictures posted of last week. I look forward to seeing everyone in the parking lot when tailgating season begins. If you see me taking gondi laps, or once ready, hiking to the top of Superstar to great my bump enthusiast friends in the spring, say hello! And please make an extra turn or two!
Basin sports is the premier mountain sports retailer in Vermont, specializing in skiing, snowboarding, and biking. Basin Sports has received the Ski Magazine Gold Medal nine years in a row and twice naming Basin Sports the best ski shop in New England. Basin Sports has some of the best technical boot fitting service in the country, with certified Pedorthists on staff. As much as we love getting Basin Sports customers into the perfect gear for them, there is one thing we love just as much, if not more. You guessed it, skiing, riding, and just plain enjoying the mountains. You can rest assured that all of us at Basin Sports is taking every opportunity to get out and enjoy all that Killington has to offer. In the winter we ski daily and we are constantly testing new gear, sampling the conditions, and sniffing out powder stashes. Feel free to ask us any questions that you may have, we love to talk about skiing, snowboarding, cycling, hiking and even snowshoeing. In fact, in the winter, we update our website, basinski.com, every day with conditions reports, photos, and videos. Check us out for the most up-to-date and honest info around.
Yesterday morning (October 26th) was horrible. I woke up to rain, drove to work in the rain and worked all day in the rain. It was cold, damp and not fun. With an unseasonably warm fall my mind had been focused on biking still and hadn’t really switched to winter. The rain sucked. I couldn’t ride my bike or ski- I was stuck. So here I am working, feeling down because of the rain and thought (for a laugh) to pull up the mountain webcam and see if I could get a look at what was happening at the peak. So I pull up the webcam, the 360 cam first and lo and behold, there’s some white stuff up there. Before I can think the marketer in me get’s thrown into overdrive. If I can beat the mountain to posting about the first snow at their resort then I’m doing okay. (I did not beat them this time). Next, I click over to the North Ridge webcam, which provides much better live coverage and snag a screenshot and proceed to post it on all of our Social Media channels. Keep in mind the peak is still covered with clouds so very few in town know that there’s snow on the peak. I‘ve now uploaded the webcam image and can now take a breather.
Fifteen minutes after this one of the managers comes darting into the office shouting, “There’s snow on the peak!” to which I reply, “I’m one step ahead of you.” You’ve got to understand this is a pretty big deal- first snow that is. Even if it doesn’t amount to much, and even if it melts the next day it symbolizes the start of winter and even more so symbolizes the start of ski season which we rely on to make a living. I posted this content sometime around 5PM and was already out the door in a way so I didn’t have too much time to try and snag photos of the peak exposed, plus it was getting dark by then.
This morning was different and this morning was brilliant. We all know that turn, that turn by the foundry where you get your first glimpse of the mountain in all its glory- this time dusted in snow. I drive to the Basin, walk in the door and the first thing I go for is the DSLR camera, a long lens and a UV filter. I then proceed to head to the roof, this is where the majority of photos taken of the mountain is captured. I start snapping photos and since I’ve taken enough photos of this mountain, I have a general idea of how to make her look her best and what angle to get. I walk downstairs, pop the SD card in my computer and start editing the photos. I wish I could say the photos have #nofilter, but any credible photographer will admit to some post-production to just make the images pop a bit.
It wasn’t until this photo, the one above that I thought to myself, “I wouldn’t mind going skiing right now.” I don’t find it too far fetched to think that someone is up there skiing that fast grass too. This is nothing substantial snowfall wise, but it signifies A change in seasons. We predict skiing by the end of next week. The beast often doesn’t disappoint and with 365 being their big push that would mean the resort has to either open again for Mountain Biking the weekend of the 4th and 5th or have the North Ridge up and operating by then.The winter itch is real and it needs scratching, who’s with us?
P.S: If you’d like to use these photos please tag @BasinSports so we get some credit. Or just ask- we’ll probably say yes.
Fall into Fall with local tips from Basin Sports Locals who have seen a thing or two.
Ahh the cool feeling of fall. Though as I write this, It’s 80+ degrees and I’m in a t-shirt and flip flops- a bit untypical of Fall. We’ve hit the peak of transition season in ski shops. Where summer apparel and bikes are deeply on sale and new winter product is arriving daily. We’ve got some awesome ski swaps coming up too. Get all the details from the locals.
Pico Ski Swap: September 29- Oct 1st
Killington Ski Swap: October 6-8th
Ski club swaps are great because they often welcome local shops to sell off their overstock. We take full advantage of this by selling off the majority of our season old rental fleet. If you have a growing youngster and don’t want to spend more than $200 on them, these swaps are the place to go. Get outfitted with Skis, Boots and poles as well as helmets and overstock clothing. In more recent years we’ve started bringing our rental fleet of bikes to the swaps and always have good deals on rental bikes for sale.
Beyond swaps the resorts in mountain towns will often put on fall themed events that coincide with the swaps. This year the Killington Brewfest will be happening September 29th and 30th.
Wet your whistle with a backdrop of 4,241′ of Vermont’s finest autumn foliage and enjoy live music, a plethora of fabulous food offerings and over 125 of the finest craft beers in the region.
If we look even further into the future the Killington Ski Swap coincides with Columbus Day and the Killington Witchcraft Festival. Find fall themed activities and enjoy some of the best blowout pricing at all the local shops.
There’s more to do in the fall in Killington. Fall into Fall with Basin Sports.
Rooted in the heart of the Green Mountains The Enduro East Enduro World Qualifiers at Killington Resort and Green Mountain Trails
When I first started riding at Green Mountain Trails I hated it. I’d heard whispers within the bike community of a place unlike any other. A place that was something out of a fairy tale. Something too good to be true. Green Mountain Trails is the best kept secret in Vermont (for now) and yeah, at first I hated it.
I hated it because when I first started riding there I wasn’t mentally (or physically) prepared for the 1K ascent that I’d have to endure. My friends and I came up with a saying regarding the more well know Kingdom Trails to the north. “At the Kingdom what goes down must come up.” Green Mountain Trails is like the Kingdom in regards to its vertical but it offers a different experience than any other network I’ve visited.
Set against the side of a mountain Green Mountain Trails History dates back much further than the 10 years it’s had established bike trails on it. Before that, there was a man named Joe DeSena who created one of the most challenging Obstacle Race Courses on the planet. Maybe you’ve heard of it, it’s called the Spartan Races. At its core, Joe had created the Death Races. Grueling endurance challenges that dragged you up and down alone mountain peak in the middle of nowhere Vermont. Though the Death Races no longer take place at GMT you can still see remnants of the Spartan Race Obstacles on the trail.
But in regards to biking, I found GMT to be an escape. It offered such a diverse amount of terrain. From fast flowing single track to some seriously technical old school New England tech. The best part is that in my two seasons of riding there the most people I’ve encountered on the trail is about 3.3 total interactions. Green Mountain Trails offer an escape. You can get lost out there and most do, but it’s a good kind of lost.
So when I heard the Eastern States Cup mention that an Enduro World Qualifier would be coming to Vermont, I said to myself, “Green Mountain Trails would make for a great Enduro Race.” Sure as heck they did just that and now a two day World Series Qualifying Enduro Race will be held one day at Green Mountain Trails and one day at Killington Resort.
You don’t need to be a cyclist to enjoy GMT either. Though I find it more enjoyable on two wheels, the infamous stone steps offer a hiking trail to the top of the peak with a rich history to their namesake.
Now when I think of Green Mountain Trails I get excited not an upset stomach. When I hear someone mention that an Enduro East race is going to be there I feel a sense of pride. That’s where I ride and that’s where I reconnect with myself and with nature.