by Paul Maraschiello


The Bear Mt. Mogul Challenge is always the best party at Killington. This weekend was blessed by sunshine and great conditions. I was up and on the mountain early. I headed directly over to Bear Mountain because I figured that the snow would be softer there than on the trails on the Killington side of the resort. I enjoyed Escapade on the way over to Bear, even though it's a novice trail. Good snow is good snow and I needed a warm-up run. I took a couple of runs down Wildfire where the bumps were very manageable and really enjoyed the great conditions and sunshine. With the snow being so good, there were a lot of people out skiing. I met one group who were all dressed up and really in the party spirit.

I looked at the bumps on Outer Limits and they didn't look too intimidating, so I decided to give them a try. When I started down the slope, I realized that these bumps were really a LOT bigger than they looked. As they were just about to start the preliminaries, I made it down to the mogul venue and got a few good shots of these bumpers. As usual, there was a great crowd at the bottom of the mountain and quite a few fans watching the contestants from vantage points on the hill and on the porch of the Bear Mt. Base Lodge where they were grilling burgers, selling beer and basking in the sunshine.

I decided that the snow had softened up a lot on the Bear side of the mountain and felt that it would be in really great shape on the Killington Peak side, so I headed over there to sample the snow.

I found that the conditions were still a little firm. I rode up the Gondola and took a run on Cascade and then I took a run down the Double Dipper in the Canyons. I took a few more runs and began looking for the best snow. It did not take me too long to decide that the best skiing of the day was on Superstar.

The Blue Oyster Cult
The Blue Oyster Cult was scheduled to play that afternoon at Bear Mountain, so I decided to drive over to Bear so I would have my car there at the end of the day. When I got there, I found that the parking lot was full but I found a parking place on the access road. I stuck out my thumb and the first car that came by gave me a lift. It would up that she was not only pretty but a subscriber to the Ski Bum News. Who would have thunk!

I dined on a grilled Italian sausage for lunch and washed it down with a draft beer as I watched the contestants from a bench on the porch. There was a real festive mood on the porch, the sun was shining and everyone was having a good time.

I was anxious to hear the Blue Oyster Cult play. Years ago, I had a roommate named George, who was a good friend of their lead singer Eric Bloom and we all partied together with him in the "old days". We would drive down to the Finger Lakes to hear Eric's band play and he would come up to Buffalo to hang out with us but that's another story.

A little after 3 PM, the band started to play and everyone enjoyed the music. The Blue Oyster Cult band members may be old but they can still really rock. The crowd really enjoyed the music that day and I was glad to see such a famous band playing at Killington.

After listening to the band, I headed back to the Mendon Mountainview Lodge where I was staying. I have driven by this lodge a thousand times but this was the first time I was ever inside. My room was very large and comfortable. The lodge had a European-style restaurant that served a fine breakfast buffet. For reservations call: (800) 368-4311 and tell them you read about them in the Ski Bum News.

Bump Contest
When I arrived on Sunday at Bear, the sun was shining and it was a really great day. The snow had set up over night and the conditions were firm. I took a run down Wildfire to warm up and then I was ready to ski Outer Limits. The bumps were big and the snow was in nice shape. I skied down to the venue on Outer Limits, making a few turns and then stopping, making a few more turns and stopping, etc. I stopped at the side of the bump run at the first jump and took a few shots and then skied to the next jump and photographed the competitors. I got some great shots of the preliminary rounds. There were a lot of really great bump skiers on the hill.

Most of them were really good at turning in the bumps but blew it in the air. Many contestants would ether fall in the landing of the first jump or land so far back on their skis that they were in trouble. As I have often discovered, Outer Limits is the LAST place you want to find yourself in the back seat. I have to hand it to them, may of the bumpers were able to recover and put on a great demonstration of mogul skiing.

At the conclusion of the contest, it was Michael Beauregard 1st, Kirk Session 2nd, DJ Montigny 3rd, Ilya Roytburd 4th for the men.

For the women, Nicole Levesque took 1st place, Rachel Karkowski came in 2nd, Catherine Toupence placed 3rd, and Cheryl Rosenberg was 4th.

The Bear Mt. Mogul Challenge was a great excuse to visit Killington and also get in some really great skiing on some of my favorite trails: Double Dipper, Bear Claw, Cascade, Downdraft, Wildfire, East Fall, Superstar, Skylark, and others were is great shape. Superstar was groomed flat and I never looked better coming down that double black diamond trail.

Killington still has plenty of snow, so grab your skis and head up north to enjoy the really great spring skiing.