by Paul Maraschiello
When I found out that there was going to be a big demo at Okemo, I decided to fly up to Manchester, New Hampshire for the weekend amd drive to Vermont. Southwest Airlines has a great deal where you can fly round trip for under $150.00 from Washington/Baltimore Airport. I grabbed my skis and packed a bag and headed to the airport. As I had a little time to kill, I dropped by one of my favorite bars, the Canun Canteena and had a few libations to pass the time away. They have a free buffet for happy hour, so I scarfed a free meal and ogled the pretty women who frequent this great country & western bar. We had an uneventful flight (just the way I like it) and I picked up a rental car and was on the road.
The next morning I arrived at Okemo ready to test skis, boots, helmets, and anything else. The Navedo Demo Team was there and they were working hard and had a lot of stuff. They were waxing boards and helping people with the equipment. The guys from Volant that I had met Christmas week at Sugarbush were there, so there were a few choices in skis. As I had already demoed the Volants, so I opted for a pair of Rossi Bandits and took them for a ride. The Bandits are a mid-fat ski that makes nice turns and are very stable. I had a good time riding them and they held very well on the hard-pack. I spent the day cruising the well groomed trails of Okemo. I swear I hit all the trails at Okemo that day. I rode on the big banked turns at the Alpine Park, flew down the manicured slopes you find everywhere at Okemo from the Solitude chair all the way to the South Face Express. I was really disappointed to find a lift line at the Fall Line Quad. This was the first time there was any wait at that chair all year. Usually there is just a lone lift attendant. Luckily, it was a very short lift line and I was on the chair in a couple of minutes. I would up riding up with a couple of the guys from the Navedo Demo Team and they told me that next year, they would be representing a hot tub company. I can't wait to demo a hot tub! I just have to find a couple of cute chicks to demo it with me.
I made it over to the Loose Spruce glades and had a blast skiing the newly formed bumps. I hit the double black diamonds at Outrace and Double Diamond and took a run on Fall Line. I had worked up a appetite, so I headed in for a little lunch.
I opted to eat in the bar and sate next to a nice older fellow who told me that he skis every day (hate him!). He was a retired NYC refugee, who now lived in Plymouth and worked as a lift attendant. We had a pleasant chat, as I ate my turkey wrap and sipped my hot chocolate. After lunch, I headed over to the demo tent to try a pair of Big Feet or snow skates or what ever those little skis were but they were closing shop for the day.
I was back on the slope testing the corduroy on all the runs. Okemo had done a great job (as usual) and I cruised down trail after trail. It was starting to get a little skied off, so I bagged it around 3:00 PM and called it a day. I caught the shuttle bus back to my car and headed to 'happy hour".