A Day In The Life of A Junior Patroller

By Sam Mestel

At 5:45, before the brink of dawn, I am awoken. I get my stuff on and leave the house as I head for the Otis first aid clinic at the base of the mountain, and what awaits is a long day of hard work. There I greet my friends, find out any news from the previous night and sign up for my daily morning trail-check. As I wander outside, and head for the American Express six-pack, I watch the fiery sun nestle over the dark horizon, as the gloomy morning comes alive with its first rays of light. The ride up to the summit is a cold one, riddled with wind and sometimes snow. When I reach the peak, I gather large rods of bamboo and any possible other materials that I might need to mark off any hazards that may be present on my assigned trail. The first run of the day, before any of the public has glimpsed the fresh slopes, is always the best. Although I am tempted to dig my skis into the supple ground and zoom down my trail, I ski down slowly in order to make sure that everything is in order. When I reach the end of the run and head back up to the summit, that’s when the day really begins.j-7

Last spring my mom enlightened me about the ski patrol program at Stratton. She knew someone who had been involved in the program who couldn’t say anything bad about it. I was 15 years old, the minimum age for a junior patroller, and was told to meet up with a women whose name was Nadine. After learning everything I could about ski patrol and talking to a few people that had previously participated, I was slightly reluctant to doing it. That being said, I told myself I would at least try it and see how it went. During the refresher in November, I learned a lot of medical information as well as became certified for CPR. At that point, there was no turning back. When I awoke my first morning to go to ski patrol and actually experience the thrill of working at the mountain, I realized that it had been one of the greatest decisions of my life.

Working at ski patrol is something that I covet every weekend in the winter. Despite it being hard work, it’s extremely rewarding. My advice to people pondering joining both junior ski patrol and ski patrol is to have an open mind and try it. You may or may not like it, but it is a job for those who are both mentally tough and have passion for what they do. Whether it is backing a wreck or roping off one of the most important access trails on the mountain due to a burst pipe, I love what I do on the mountain and I strongly recommend it to anyone who is willing to exert him or herself.

Representing in Sochi Olympics

By Myra Foster and Meredith Morin

We watch with the world as 14 athletes from Stratton and Stratton Mountain School get ready to  compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

SMS athletes take center stage in alpine, snowboarding and Nordic events, and we’ll also be cheering on Sarah Hendrickson,  granddaughter of retired Stratton ski patroller Scott Hendrickson, as she competes on the first ever women’s ski  jumping team,  and Mac Bohonnon,  son of Stratton safety patroller Dave Bohonnon, in aerials.

Over the course of  Stratton Mountain School’s 42-year history, 42 student athletes have gone on to become Olympians, and with this year’s 12 alumni, it is the largest number of SMS athletes to compete in a single Olympics ever.  Twelve SMS alumni are two-time Olympians, five are three-time Olympians and one is a four-time Olympian.

Here’s a rundown on the SMS roster in Sochi:

Emily Bamford ’10, Alpine, is a member of the Australian Ski Team, and Sochi will be her first Olympic competition. Recently, Emily scored a 13th-place Slalom (SL) finish in Turnau, Austria on Jan. 18, 2014. During the most recent Southern Hemisphere winter, Emily was second in Slalom (SL) at the National Junior Championships in Australia and has scored several SL top-5 results in the Australia New Zealand Cup this season. She is a three-time winner of the Australian New Zealand Cup overall SL title and has been a member of the Australian National Team since she was 16. She entered into the Northern Hemisphere competition season with her eye on Sochi and a bid for the Australian Olympic Team.

“I’m looking forward to representing my country at the most prestigious sporting event in the world,” Emily said. “That is something that will be a part of me forever. Growing up, the Olympics were always my main goal. And now that I know I have reached it, it is just so rewarding. I’m excited to take in every minute of it!”

Sophie Caldwell ’08, SMS T2, Nordic, of Peru VT is a new U.S. Team addition this year. On Dec. 31, 2013, Sophie skied to a career-best sixth place in the World Cup Sprint final in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. On Jan. 18, 2014, Sophie finished seventh place in the World Cup Sprint final in Szklarska Poreba, Poland and is now currently ranked 10th in the world for Sprint World Cup points, and 25th overall. On Jan. 12, Sophie finished the Team Sprint in 6th in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. After graduating from SMS, Sophie went on to ski for the Dartmouth Ski Team, became a five-time All-American and graduated in 2012. Sophie went on to ski at the highest international levels in the 2012-13 season, and proved that she was up for the challenge, earning 14th in her two, first World Cups in Canada (individual Sprint and Team Sprint). At World Championships last season, Sophie earned a phenomenal 20th in the Sprint. At U.S. Championships, she finished second in the Sprint, and at U23 World Championships, she finished 9th in the Sprint.

This is not only Sophie’s first year on the U.S. Ski Team, but also her first Olympics. She is looking to soak in everything the Olympic experience has to offer, “I’m mostly just really excited for Sochi,” she said. “I’m trying not to set many outcome goals and really focus on enjoying the experience while setting process goals that will prepare me as best as possible. That way, when I get there, I will know I’ve done everything I can to prepare myself and from then on, it’s just a matter of having fun with it and doing another ski race, which I know how to do! As far as the Olympic experience goes, I’m probably the most excited for the opening ceremonies, and as far as the races go, I’m probably the most excited for the skate sprint.”

Danny Davis ’06, Snowboarding Halfpipe competes in his first Olympics. He was a member of the US Snowboarding Team from 2005-2009. On Jan. 26, Danny Davis took X Games halfpipe gold in his first finals appearance, sealing the deal on his epic comeback season. On Jan. 17, 2014 in the final Olympic qualifiers in Mammoth, Calif., Danny clinched his Olympic Team status with a first-place finish, and finished second at the Mammoth HP Grand Prix on Jan. 19.

Danny returned from a two-year hiatus, recovering from injury to compete in the December 2013 Dew Tour superpipe in Breckenridge. He finished seventh in the final, and fourth in the qualifier. On Dec. 21, 2013, Danny was 14th at the Copper World Cup halfpipe (HP) competition and was 15th at the Cardrona, New Zealand World Cup HP on Aug. 24, 2013. Danny was voted 2006 Rookie of the Year in the Transworld Snowboarding Riders Poll Awards, 2006 Rookie of the Year for Snowboarder Magazine and 2008 Snowboarder Magazine Top-10 Riders of the Year. In January 2010, Davis won a snowboard Grand Prix event but suffered a back injury in an ATV accident, ending his 2010 season and Olympic bid.

Alex Deibold ’04, Snowboarding Snowboardcross is from Manchester, Vt.  On Dec. 21, 2013, Alex finished on the podium in third at the Lake Louise World Cup snowboardcross event. On Jan. 11, he finished 10th at the Vallnord Arcalis, Andorra World Cup. In 2013, Deibold placed second at the Sochi World Cup and made finals at four out of five World Cup starts in 2013. In 2011, he took seventh and fifth at World Cup races and earned a spot on the World Championship Team.

Although this is the first time Alex will attend the Olympics as a competitor, it’s not his first trip to the Olympics “I went to the last Olympics as a wax tech for the US Snowboard Team, which was really hard work, but I was grateful for the experience of getting to go and help,” Alex said. “But now, making the team as an athlete is a dream-come-true. I’m so excited to experience all the things I got to watch my teammates get to do last time that I had to miss out on. I think the thing I’m most looking forward to is walking in opening ceremonies and getting to be part of that amazing moment.”

Jessie Diggins SMST2, Nordic competes in her first Olympics. Jessie is ranked 16th overall in World Cup points, and 17th in Sprint. On Jan. 18, 2014, Jessie finished the World Cup Sprint final in Szlarska Poreba, Poland in fifth place. Five-time U.S. Champion Jessie Diggins teamed with Kikkan Randall to with the USAs first-ever World Championship gold medal in the team sprint in 2013. She finished eighth in the skate prologue of the World Cup finals and 21st in her first Tour-de-Ski. This winter on Jan. 5, she was ranked 13th in the Tour de Ski overall standings. As a founding member of the SMS T2 team, Jessie spends much of her off-season training time working out alongside current SMS student athletes. She has her game face on and is ready to take on Sochi, saying “I’m looking forward to the relay the most!”

Alexandra Duckworth ’05, Snowboarding Halfpipe,  joins the Canadian team in his firstOlympics. On Jan. 18, Alex finished ninth in the Stoneham, Canada World Cup HP, following up her sixth-place finish in the Ruka, Finland HP World Cup on Dec. 13, 2013. She has been consistently making top-10 World Cup results this past year, as well as podium finishes in FIS competitions (3rd on March 16, 2013 in HP at Canada Olympic Park FIS). She was third in HP at Snow Crown – Canadian Snowboard Championships, COP, AB, CAN on March 11, 2013 and was 10th at the FIS World Snowboard Championships in Stoneham on Jan. 28, 2013.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the rest of the Stratton Mountain School alumni, watching as many other sports as I can, and putting down a good run for Canada,” Alex said.

Kris Freeman ’99, Nordic,   represents the United States in Olympic competition  for the fourth time (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014). His incredible consistency and staying power have made him a fixture on the US Cross Country Team for more than a decade. On Jan. 18, 2014, Kris won the 15km FIS race at Black Mountain, Maine, coming off of his fourth-place Sprint finish at National Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah on Jan. 10 and his 30km third-place on Jan. 8. Kris was a winter-term student at SMS, and over the course of his career, he has earned top-10s in more than a dozen World Cup finishes.

Simi Hamilton SMS T2, Nordic,  is a new member of the SMS T2 family in 2013, and this will be his second Olympic competition. On Dec. 31, 2013, Simi had his career best finish with a World Cup gold in the men’s Sprint in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

“The best memory I have of the season so far is winning the Skate Sprint World Cup in Lenzerheide during the Tour de Ski,” Simi said. “There’s a Skate Sprint at the Games this year, so I’m really, really looking forward to that race as well as the Classic Team Sprint (in which I’ll race with teammate Andy Newell).”

On Jan. 12, 2014, Simi was fifth in the Team Sprint  and 20th in the individual Sprint on Jan. 11 in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. He is ranked 20th in World Cup points in Sprint, and 56th overall. Throughout his time on the World Cup, he has made several top-15 Team Sprint finishes, and consistently finishes in the top-20 individually. In 2013, he scored five times on the World Cup circuit, and his best finish was seventh. This is his second Olympics, and he finished 13th in the 4X10 relay and 29th in the men’s Sprint in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

“I’m really looking forward to the type of excitement that is exhibited by all of the other competitors there (at the Olympics),” Simi said. “When I went to the Games in Vancouver, I remember being awe-struck by how psyched everyone was. It’s just such a unique atmosphere in the athletes’ village and at the venue. And even though you get some of the same energy on the World Cup circuit, the amount and intensity of it at the Olympics is absolutely amazing.”

Jackie Hernandez ’10, Snowboarding Snowboardcross is from Londonderry, Vt., and daughter of long-time Stratton Manager Patricia Hernandez.  She won the SBX World Cup in Valmalenco, Italy in March 2012, and took eighth in the Blue Mountain, Canada World Cup last February. This is her first Olympic competition.

Jackie came back from injury that sidelined her at the U.S. Grand Prix at The Canyons in Utah last February, but she’s been working hard this season. She finished ninth in the Vallnord Arcalis World Cup in January, and she was sixth at the Montafon, Austria World Cup in December. She clinched her Olympic Team spot for Sochi on Jan. 25, her first Olympic appearance. She has been a member of the US Snowboarding Team since 2011.

“It has been a crazy ride, but I’m so happy,” Jackie said. “I can’t wait to walk into opening ceremonies with Team USA, so proud to represent our country, then get on course and do what I love. I want to bring home a medal, preferably gold. I’m also so stoked on all the support I’m getting. It really means a lot to me.”

Lindsey Jacobellis ’03, Snowboarding Snowboardcross learned to ride at Stratton, the mountain she calls home.  On Jan. 24, Lindsey took X Games gold, her eighth, in Aspen. With that win, she became the most decorated female snowboardcross athlete in X Games history. In an interview with ESPN after her win, she said, “The last two years what I’ve been through, this is like the icing on the cake. This is the best confidence I could get going into Sochi.”

With Lindsey’s 2014 Olympic Team nomination, she joins the short list of five SMS alumni who have gone on to represent their country with three Olympic Team placements. Lindsey has dominated the snowboardcross circuit for nearly a decade, wining a silver at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, winning 27 World Cups, ten X Games medals, eight of which are gold.

In December 2013, Lindsey won the Lake Louise, Canada World Cup, and took third in January at the Vallnord Arcalis World Cup. In January 2012, Lindsey won the World Cup in Veysonnaz, Switzerland (her 24th World Cup win), then tore her ACL in a training run at the X Games a week later. When she got on snow last year, she learned that the surgery didn’t take and needed to go back under the knife. Despite this, she is gunning for gold in 2014.

Klara Krizova ’07, Alpine,  is a member of the Czech Republic Alpine Ski Team. She is a speed specialist, currently ranked 46th in the world for Downhill. Klara has proven that she has the talent, bagging podiums at the Europa Cup and FIS levels, and consistently finishing in the top-30 at World Cup races. She most recently finished 26th and 30th in the Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy World Cup Downhill (DH) and Super-G (SG) races in January. So far this season, she’s finished 10th in SG in Innerkrems, Austria (Europa Cup) and finished fifth in SG in the St. Moritz Europa Cup. This is Klara’s second trip to the Olympics, where she finished 29th in SG at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Andy Newell ’02, Nordic hails from  Shaftsbury, Vt.  With his Sochi Olympic Team nomination, Andy is one of the five SMS graduates who have gone on to earn three Olympic Team nominations. Called “one of the best sprinters in the business” by the US Ski Team, Andy is currently ranked 10th in World Cup Sprint points and 33rd overall. On Jan. 18, Andy finished sixth in the Szklarska Poreba, Poland World Cup Sprint, and fifth in the Team Sprint in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic on Jan. 12. His consistency keeps him on top, winning the US Super Tour Sprint last spring, and the Australia New Zealand Cup this past summer.

Andy finished the 2013 season ranked fifth in the world for Sprint distance including six, top-10 World Cup finishes and a 10th-place at World Championships in the 4X5K relay.

“It’s going to be amazing to head to Sochi for my third Olympics,” Andy said. “This time around feels different because we have a cross country team that’s more competitive than ever before, and we have strong medal potential on both the men’s and women’s sides. I’m personally looking to really redeem myself after crashing out of the Vancouver sprint. That was a really frustrating day for me, but I know it can only get better from there. This time around, I’m confident that I can be as fast as anyone else in the Sprint, and I’m going to make sure I have a lot of fun out there.”

First Chair, Last Call

By Jeff Cavagnino

Riding a chair lift is one of the safest forms of transportation available.  VT Tramway regulations strictly govern our lift system here at the mountain.  They are routinely inspected and monitored by our Lift Inspector.  Stratton’s lift mechanics have close to 150 years of combined experience and each has developed a special bond with their assigned lift.  They are one of the best mechanic teams in VT and strive to provide a safe experience for all.

In order to ensure a safe chairlift ride you should always follow the direction given by signage and the lift operators.  As stated in the NSAA code of conduct it is your responsibility to understand and know how to ride a chairlift safely and to do so.

For beginners, it may be a good idea to stand outside the lift line and watch other skiers and boarders line up and load the chairlift. Once in line, follow those ahead of you and stop at the “Wait Here” marker. Stop until it is your turn to move into the loading area. Once the people ahead of you have moved forward onto the loading area and their chair has passed in front of you, you should quickly follow behind the previous chair and move to the “Load Here” marker. Wait and watch as the approaching chair circles toward you for loading.

  • It’s okay to take your time. You should load onto a chair seat when you are ready.
  • It is okay to ask the lift attendant to slow the speed of the lift before loading or for help. Plan ahead as chairlifts do not automatically stop on a dime.

Once on the lift, you should sit back as far as possible and never lean forward toward the edge of the seat.  A helpful reminder for children is “back to back” – sit all the way to the back of the chair with your back to the back of the seat. Once everyone’s sitting correctly the restraining bar should be lowered. Make sure everyone riding is aware that the bar is coming down as to keep from hitting someones helmet or arms.

Skiers- remove your wrist straps and hold your ski poles in one had. Parents, it may be helpful to hold your child’s ski poles, as well as your own, while loading the chairlift.  It is not recommended putting them under your legs.

We know that some people like to carry backpacks, fanny packs, or Camelback-style hydration devices. Before loading, remove and hold packs as straps may become entangled with the chair. Holding packs will reduce the likelihood of this happening.

If you drop something while loading or riding a lift ask ski patrol or the attendant for help once you have unloaded.

Sit back, hold on, and sit still and NO horseplay!  Horseplay can take may forms – turning around in the chair, throwing snowballs or other items from the lift, trying to touch the lift tower, trying to swing or rock the chair, trying to knock a friends ski or snowboard off, the list is endless. It is imperative that you sit still, sit back, and in general, have respect and courtesy for others and for the overall process of loading, riding and unloading from the lift.

How do I prepare to unload from the chairlift?

•Prepare to unload as the chair approaches the unloading stations.

•Gently raise the restraining bar as you near the top terminal.

•Be prepared:  Check for loose clothing, put away phones and music devices and keep tips up.

•At the UNLOAD HERE marker, stand up as the flat unloading platform begins to ramp downward.

•Quickly go ahead down the ramp and away from the chair.

•Keep going to keep the unloading ramp clear for others behind you.

What should you do when the chairlift pauses or stops for an extended period of time?  Simply put: be patient, sit back, and hang on. It is not unusual for a chairlift to momentarily slow, pause, or even stop. Often, another person loading or unloading the lift may need assistance. If the lift stops for an extended period, resort staff will be in communication with you.

Nordic or Alpine?

By Courtney DiFiore

Are you a Nordic (classic – cross country) or Alpine (downhill) skier? Do you know the difference? Growing up around both sports (from the Lake Placid, NY area), I’m familiar with the two. Below, I’ve categorized some areas in which the two sports differ. Note that when I refer to Nordic (cross country) skiing, I’m talking about the classic Nordic skiing not skate skiing. Stratton does offer equipment for both but I prefer Nordic.

Technical Workings: Those that downhill ski know that the hard boot they wear is attached from toe to heel to the ski via bindings. Cross country (Nordic) skiers only have the toe of their boot attached to the ski. The cross country boots are soft as well. Almost like hard core hiking boots if I had to compare them to something.

Cross country skiers terrain varies. As a Nordic skier, you will find yourself going up and down whereas downhill skiers just go down and also at a faster speed.

Equipment and $$$: If you’re looking for a sport that won’t break the bank, cross country skiing should be higher on the list than downhill skiing. Trail passes cost less than lift tickets, the equipment for cross country skiing costs less and you don’t need as much of it. Downhill skiing requires high-end ski jackets and other attire for the windy, cold days spent on chair lifts. When you Nordic ski, you’re typically shielded from the elements by forest and it’s such a great aerobic work out that you’ll probably find yourself getting warmer the longer you ski. You’ll want to dress in layers. Cross country boots and skis are also less expensive than downhill hard ski boots and skis. The Nordic skis are also often narrower and longer and have no metal edges unlike Alpine skis. The Nordic poles are also usually longer.

Location: Downhill skiing takes place on a ski resort. Depending on where you live, that may be farther from your home than cross country ski areas. Nordic trails are often available in many parks. In my experience, if you have the equipment, you can pretty much go anywhere. I use to go in my backyard when I lived in NY. I have a large field behind my house and trails in the woods that led to a local Golf Course. I’d ski my way through my back yard and over to the course every weekend. I like the Nordic trails at Stratton because the terrain isn’t as flat as most. I can enjoy some rolling hills that make it more interesting. I also love them for their serenity and how peaceful it is as I glide among the trees, by streams and up and down rolling hills.

Safety Issues: No helmet is required for Nordic skiing but it doesn’t hurt to wear one. Serious injury is more often related to downhill skiing rather than cross country skiing. However, like any sport, if you take the proper precautions you can ski safely all season long.

Overall, I enjoy both sports but it really depends on my mood when I choose what to participate in on any given day. Nordic skiing is more leisurely. Alpine skiing is more of a thrill. If I’m in the mood to be alone with my thoughts or have a more relaxing day, I cross country ski. When I’m ready for some fast-paced action, I choose to Alpine. If you’ve never tried one or both of these sports, I’d suggest looking into it. Now that we’re all up-to-date of the difference between Nordic and Alpine skiing, we can impress our friends with our new knowledge during the Winter Olympics in Sochi!

You’re Never Too Old To Learn

By Liz Millikin

Having skied my entire life, I sort of assumed I was done learning. Certainly, I have a bad habit or two that need working on, but surely I’m done with the actual process of learning. Boy, I was I wrong.

Last week, I hit the slopes with the amazing ladies of the Women On SnoW camp. My official job was to film, capturing footage for a promotional video that will come out later this season. Luckily, my group’s instructor, Lucia, wasn’t about to let me off the hook when it came to perfecting my turns.

As Lucia moved through the process of addressing each one of our particular strengths and weaknesses, it turns out that I have more than a few bad habits. The big one is, of course, my tendency to ride too far back on my skis. While it sometimes feels easier to just let my skis go, it definitely makes controlling my speed much more difficult. My instinct to straight line particularly technical pitches? Also not good on-slope behavior.

Even with six women in the group, Lucia was careful to spend time with each of us. She took the time to put each of us in a strong, stable position that was balanced over our skis with our knees, hips, and spine in proper alignment. She addressed each one of our turns – no small feat considering she had six incredibly different skiing styles to work with. From the aggressive to the careful, long turns to tight slalom turns.

It was incredible. Within just a few runs, each woman was riding a little more smoothly and much more comfortably. By the end of the camp, it was obvious that each woman was skiing more confidently and stronger than they had just two days prior.

For myself, I learned a bit of control. Lucia helped me find balance over my skis, and by forcing me to slow down and pay attention to my turns, I definitely felt the difference a little stability makes.

Even after almost 25 years on skis, I still have a lot to learn. Thankfully, there are still two more WoW camps this winter. The next session runs from February 11 through the 14. Hope to see you there!

Score Major Points With Your Valentine This Winter

By Courtney DiFiore

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. I hope everyone’s started thinking about their plans. If not, let me help you out. Lucky for those at Stratton, there’s not much prep work.  Our surroundings are already beautiful and there are so many activities to do, the hardest part will be deciding what to pick.

First things first, you have to secure a date. Even if you have a significant other, you can’t just assume your each other’s Valentine. Someone in the couple must ask the other to be their Valentine. And when I say must, I mean if you want your girlfriend to brag about you to all her friends and you want to guarantee a happy ending to the night, you should probably ask her officially…in a really cute way of course. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of 5 super cute, really easy and romantic ways to ask your special someone to be your Valentine.

  1. Use lit candles to spell out “Be Mine?”
  2. Sharpie the following on a plain white t-shirt “Be my Valentine? Check Yes [draw box] or No [draw box]”
  3. Create a treasure hunt with the last clue asking “Will you be my Valentine?”
  4. Buy a puzzle, write “Be my Valentine?” before taking it apart and packaging it festively.
  5. Send her flowers at work with a card that asks “Will you be my Valentine?”

Once you get the “YES,” you must plan the most fantastic date. Again, I’ve helped you out by listing a few cute, fun ways to spend your Valentine’s Day at Stratton.

  1. Hit the slopes. If you both enjoy skiing or riding, spend the day cuddling up on the chair lift in between turns. You can even make a game out of it. Every time you hear the words love, Valentine, snow in the course of the day, you must kiss. How sweet right?!HSP2013_4808-2250px
  2. Snowshoe or cross country ski together on our Nordic Trails. It’s a great way to get some privacy while still being active. If you’re an overachiever, head out on the trails ahead of time and leave a treat for your special Valentine to find on your way, like flowers or a love letter on the side of the trail.HSP2013_8713-2250px
  3. Ice skate in the commons. It may seem a little cliché, but seriously, what’s cuter than a couple holding hands as they skate around while snowflakes are slowly falling all around? Let me answer that for you, not much. The best part, if you get cold, there’s a fire pit right on the edge of the pond and if you go during daylight hours, the Mill House is a great place to warm up on the couch with the best hot chocolate around.HSP2013_1953-2250px
  4. Special dinner. Taking a more traditional route, you can choose from one of the many village restaurants and have a fancy night out. Girls love getting all dolled up so take her to her favorite place on the mountain and wine and dine her.HSP2013_6059-2250px
  5. Do something that’s a first for both of you. Sometimes what makes a date so special is the sharing of a new experience together so try something fun and new. Go dogsledding, snowmobiling, tubing, take a romantic sleigh ride or learn a new sport together. If you both ski, take snowboarding lessons. The benefit of that one is the afterwards. If you’re sore, it’s the perfect excuse to jump in the hot tub later.

I hope this helps all you love birds out there. Enjoy your day of canoodling and don’t forget to share your adventures with us on social if you spend this February 14th with us.

Time To Rethink Your Saturday Night Plans

By: Maureen Cronin

A cold clear night – a full moon – and a group of 20-25 men, women and children, wanting to experience winter in Vermont.HSP2012_1182

I started leading snowshoe tours with a group of instructors from the sports center some 10-12 years ago. Back then we hiked the Stratton Golf Course on our way to Pearl Buck’s house where we enjoyed hot chocolate, cookies and some stories about Pearl Buck (the writer of the Good Earth, amongst many others) and the Nearings who started a back-to-earth movement on Stratton Mountain.HSP2012_1213

Because the golf course could have difficult conditions at times we moved to the Sun Bowl’s cross country trails about 5-6 years ago. Building on our successful format of hike-break-chat-hike, we looked to continue our history conversations in some way in our new location. What we discovered was that history was all around us in the Sun Bowl: old cemeteries, cellar holes, stone boundary walls, original 18th century roads and the history of the people that first settled the town of Stratton.

Most of our snowshoe tour participants are not skiers or boarders nor have they snowshoed before so the chance to experience Vermont, get outside and try a winter sport and have the breaks necessary for everyone to catch their breath opened up the opportunity to share this history with our Stratton guests.  It’s been a wonderful way of engaging these new friends and having conversations that go beyond the weather and “where are you from” and leaving these folks with a memorable Stratton experience.HSP2012_1229

Hope all of you will think about joining us on one of these hikes.  It’s great to meet fellow employees as well as guests.

Let’s Get Spinning This Month

It’s Spin Month at Stratton Resort meaning there’s points up for grabs in our Be. Event Series. Check out the details HERE!

Next month is Reflection Month. It’s your chance to practice yoga and find your happy (Plus you earn BONUS Be. points). You can see all Stratton has to offer when it comes to yoga HERE.

Below is the full list of Stratton’s remaining Be. Bonus Events and all the points that go along with them:
January: Spin month, one class during the month earns you 10 points. (one time deal)
February:  Yoga month. One class during the month earns you 10 points. (one time deal)
March: Cross Fit month, one class during the month earns you 8 points (one time deal)
April: Tin Man worth 50 points (complete within the Sports Center over the month)

  • Swim (2112.00 yards)
  • Bike (56.00 miles)
  • Run (13.10 miles)

May: Shires Marathon worth 50 points.
June: Tennis month, one class during the month earns you 5 points. (one time deal)
July: TBD
Hiking month. Compete in the 7 Summits Challenge to earn 15 points.
October: Heels to Paws worth 15 points.

It’s The People That Make Stratton So Special

By Courtney DiFiore (with some help from Craig Panarisi, Shannon Greene and Tom Kajah)

It truly is the people of Stratton that make our resort so special. Our employees embrace the Be. culture and all that it entails. Everyone has this need for adventure, to be outdoors and active and they share it with our guests. It’s pretty contagious (in a good way!). I love being a part of the Stratton Family. Below are a few employees that help raise the bar at Stratton daily with all the hard work they do.

Jodi Burton:
If you’ve ever been in The North Face Shop here in the village then you have had the pleasure of meeting one of the nicest, most helpful sales ladies here at Stratton. For those of you that have not made it by the shop then maybe you’ve seen her out on the hill. I have never met a more passionate skier than Jodi; as soon as the season ends she is already counting down the days to the next season’s opening day. When she’s on snow you better look out because Jodi likes to ski hard and fast. Trying to keep up with her is a challenge. Don’t believe me, stop by the shop next time you’re in the village and ask her out on a ski date and see for yourself. Jodi’s just one of the many friendly faces you meet throughout the Village. Stop by and meet them all when you have the change. You won’t be disappointed.

Carolyn Braunius:
Carolyn is a new face to Stratton this season but fits in like she’s been here for years. The way she interacts with the guests is truly remarkable with greetings that are always accompanied with a smile and good conversation. Carolyn comes to work with a great attitude and picks up on new tasks quickly. She loves interacting with our gusts and is quick to provide suggestions to make their visit more enjoyable. You can find Carolyn inside First Run Ski Shop; however, you could find her off the mountain too as she’s a very busy bee! She works at a nonprofit newspaper in Brattleboro and in the Adirondacks at a whitewater outfitter. Like I said in the beginning, Stratton employees love to be active.

Andie Fusco:
You can find Andie within our reservations department. She’s a hybrid that likes to both ski and snowboard but she’s also big into snowshoeing in the winter with her family. Because Andie likes to get involved and do so many things around the resort she’s able to speak to the large number of activities Stratton offers throughout the year. In the summer Andie likes to practice yoga, go fishing, and spend quality time walking her dog at the snowmaking pond. Andie grew up in Stratton’s race program for 10 years. She then coached for 3 seasons and held various other positions around the resort. Andie loves the area so much and all it has to offer that she just keeps coming back. She loves sharing her passion for the outdoors with anyone who will listen. She’s an avid member of the Ski Club which allows her to help with volunteering and she’s also captain of team “I Want Candy” in the Southern CT Arthritis Walk and has been for the past 3 years. We love sharing the stories of our employees because they have so much to offer. You can always expect a friendly smile and good conversation with Andie.

Paul Maitland:
Paul is a Stratton veteran for sure. His 18 year career is a classic Stratton story. Paul started at Stratton as a gondola attendant for 4 seasons, then became a Lift Lead and later, Lift Supervisor. Paul continued up the latter and now finds himself in the position of Mountain Manager. Growing up, Paul was taught hard work and dedication from his father Bill, a Nassau County, NY police officer. Forty years later, Paul still resides in Shaftsbury with his wife Kelly of 25 years (side note: Kelly also works at Stratton as our Childcare Manager).  Together, they both embrace the sense of community we are proud of at Stratton. Paul is also a thirty year member of the Shaftsbury Fire Department, enjoys fishing, spending time with friends and sitting on the beach with something cold in his hand (and I’m not talking about a snowball).

Next time you see Paul around the resort, or any of our wonderful employees, be sure to stop them and say a quick “thanks” for their dedication and hard work.

Thank you Stratton employees. We hope to keep growing this tight-knit family of ours! And a special welcome to those new hires. Don’t miss out on all the fun activities we have planned this week– check the intranet!