BEAR MT. MOGUL CHALLENGE - A SHADOW OF ITS FORMER SELF
by Paul Maraschiello

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I've attended the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge almost every year since its inception but this was the smallest turn-out for the event that I've ever seen. In past years the parking lot and all the spaces along the access road were filled and people had to be bussed in from the gondola parking lot on Rt. 4. This year the parking lot was almost half empty. Gone are the crowds lining the venue cheering on their favorite mogul masher. The live band did bring in some drinkers and the porch was filled with people drinking beer supplied by a cute barmaid but this was a really small crowd compared to past years.



I decided the ski down Outer Limits and check out the venue. The slope was partially groomed and a little icy. The top of Outer Limits is usually the most difficult part. As I proceeded to ski down the mountain, it got tougher to ski because the groomed section got narrower and narrower. By the time I got to where the mogul venue was, a choice of lines was almost non-existent. Luckily, with almost no one watching the competition from the sidelines, navigating the crowd wasn't an issue.



There were a lot of very young bumpers competing in the morning, so I spent most of the morning cruising down Wildfire, Bear Claw, Skyeburst and other trails. I watched the competition sporadically.



The slopes were icy, luckily I remembered an old Killington adage, "tune 'em to turn 'em", so I touched up my edges when I went in for lunch.



MOGUL RESULTS

Women Overall
1st place went to Kristen Moone, 2nd place was Sammi Stolar, and 3rd place was Amanda Blanchard.

Men Overall
Justin Filskov won the event with Josh Gessler coming in 2nd and Eric Titus placing 3rd.



I spent the entire 2 days skiing Bear Mt. and actually had a good time. It was cold (the 40 degree weather predicted by the weatherman never materialized) but the sun was out so I was very comfortable. After a hard day of skiing, I headed back to my lodgings to relax.

Accommodations
I was staying at the Snowed Inn Lodge, just a hop, skip and a jump from the Killington access road, around the corner from Casey's Caboose, one of my favorite watering holes. This is a charming B&B that is operated by Manfred Karlhuber and his staff. It has a cozy ambiance with plenty of country charm and friendly informality. My room was tastefully decorated with a comfortable blend of modern inn amenities, including wireless Internet access and a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom that I was grateful for after a hard day on the slopes. All the people I met there were very friendly including some European families I met at breakfast which featured home-baked breads, coffee cakes and muffins, a "make your own" waffle station, fresh yoghurt with fruit and granola toppings, hard-boiled eggs, hot and cold cereal, fresh fruit, juice, coffee and tea. Rates at this pleasant B7B are very reasonable and range from $70 for a standard room up to $440 for a family suite during the Holiday season. For reservations call: (800) 311-5406 or email: snowedinn@vermontel.net and tell them that the Ski Bum News recommended them. I guarantee you will like this classic ski lodge. Note: remember to bring your swimsuit, the outdoor hot tub is a lot of fun.



For dinner, I headed to the Pasta Pot, the best Italian restaurant in this quadrant of Vermont. My cousin Tony and his wife joined me for dinner and they had to admit that the food there was excellent. After an excellent meal and plenty of wine, I headed back to the Snowed Inn to watch a little TV and caught up on some much-needed sleep. I was up early and had another day carving and skidding my turns on the fast, icy surface.

DUAL MOGULS
They had a dual mogul event on Sunday where the skiers went mano-a-mano.

Results
For the Men, Michael Beauregard came in 1st by beating David Avolio who was 2nd and Josh Gessler aced out Bobby Zeolla to nail down 3rd place.

For the ladies, Sammi Stolar took 1st place by beating Andrea Labarbara who placed 2nd and Kristen Moone was 3rd beating Amanda Blanchard who was 4th.



All in all, I had a good weekend at Killington. They had a lot of snow cover and I expect that they will stay open well into April.

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