ENDING THE YEAR AT OKEMO
by Paul Maraschiello

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Okemo Mountain Resort was offering skiers and riders a way to end the year with style and win some great prizes at the same time, so I decided to pay them a visit and check out the SoBe Superpipe Competition and get in some skiing at this great Vermont ski area.



When I checked out the weather report, it looked bad. The weatherman was calling for freezing rain that evening and rain all the next day. I was really bummed, so I decided to say a prayer to Thor, the Norse god of weather and ask him to hold off the rain until 3 PM. As there aren't too many people praying to Thor these days, I figured I'd get right through. The next morning, it seems that Thor had heard my prayers. It hadn't rained and although it looked a little overcast, I figured the skiing should be pretty good, so headed to Okemo.



It was cloudy when I got there. I picked up my tickets and headed toward the chairlift. There was a really fine mist falling but as we headed toward the top of the mountain,. When we broke through the clouds, there was actually sunshine on the top of the mountain. I knew that there were chairlifts that just serviced the top of the mountain and I could ski above the clouds in the sunshine and I could avoid the mist. I headed over to the Timberline chair and skied Golly Green Giant, Timberline, and Sapphire. There was a nicely groomed surface and I made some really nice turns. Then, I went over to the Solitude chair and skied the trails serviced by that chair. Exhibition, Heaven's Gate and Screamin' Demon were in great shape.



I skied these trails all morning and then headed to the Sugar House Lodge for lunch. They have a great BBQ on the porch and I can recommend the ribeye stake sandwich. It's a little pricy but it's REALLY good. By the time I finished lunch, my ski jacket was totally dry. I didn't even need to go to the john and use the wall-mounted hand dryer to dry off my jacket. The moisture I picked up skiing was all gone.



I headed back up the mountain to do a little more skiing. Unfortunately, when I got off the lift, the clouds were still there and it was drizzling all over the mountain. As the day went on, the rain continued. Evidently, Okemo forgot to sacrifice the required number of virgins to Thor, so I only skied for a couple more hours until I was really wet and then called it a day.





That night, the temperature dropped below freezing and everything set up and even the excellent grooming and snow-making crew at Okemo could do nothing about the conditions. The wind was blowing so hard that they could not open the North Star Express Quad. I skied over to the Sachem chair and skied that chair for the first time in my life. I took a few runs down Lower World Cup and when I rode up the chair, I kept looking at the slope under the chair, trying to decide if I wanted to ski the Ledges. Finally, I decided to give it a try and I was able to ski it without falling but it wasn't really any fun. I decided to call it a day and give the grooming staff a chance to blow some snow and work on the surface.



The next day, the conditions were MUCH better. They had covered all the ice with man-made snow and there was plenty of the great corduroy that Okemo is famous for. I had a wonderful time cruising down the trails serviced by the North Star Express Quad. This is some of my favorite terrain at Okemo and I had a blast!



After lunch, I decided to check out the SoBe Superpipe Competition. According to Okemo Parks and Pipes Director, Dennis Brady the pipe was in mid-winter condition, with 18-foot walls and it was in great shape and ready for the competition. I had fun watching the kids compete in the pipe on skis and snowboards. The series was sponsored by SoBe, ScottUSA, Dakine, Obermeyer, Salomon, Atomic Snowboards, Level Gloves and Mountain Dew. I was amazed at how many really young competitors there were.

Okemo's SoBe Superpipe is the longest Superpipe in the East, measuring 500-feet long. The pipe is maintained regularly with a Zaugg Pipe Monster and the pipe is serviced by its own lift - The Pull surface lift.



RESULTS:
Sean Ryan (15), of Newtown, Conn., took top honors in the Snowboard Men I division for ages 15 and older. Erich Parent (17), of Danby, Vt., and Carter Myers (16), of Wesport, Conn., tied for second place. In the Men II, ages 11-14, Alex Von Braun (11), of Greenwich, Conn., placed first. Benjamin Farrow (13), of Mt. Holly, Vt., placed second, and Luke Sundean (12), of Glastonbury, Conn., and Ryan Heitsmith (14), of Ludlow, Vt., tied for third place. Three 10-year olds took top honors in the Men III division for ages 10 and under. First place went to Daniel Landy, of Monroe, N.J., second place went to Ditto Fitzpatrick (a.k.a. Camoboy), of Claremont, N.H., and third went to Kai Lichtensteiger, an Okemo local from Ludlow, Vt.

Women snowboarders taking top honors in the Women I division for ages 15 and older were Jocelyn Fram (16), of West Hartford, Conn., in first place, and Allison Deutsch (16), of Paris, France (or Paris, Texas), in second. First place in the Women II division for ages 11-14 was awarded to Jennifer Cohen (13), of Wayne, N.J., second place went to younger Deutsch sister Katie (14), also of Paris, France (or Texas), and Caroline Price (12), of Darien, Conn., took third.

Top skiers in the Men I division for ages 15 and older included Chris Monson (20), of Castleton, Vt., who, although he crashed on the third maneuver in his second run, scored so strongly in his first run, he was awarded first place. Marshall Lacroix (14), of Bondville, Vt., placed second, and third went to Tim Maney (18), of Hartland, Vt. Skiers in the Men II division for ages 11-14 were led by Dale Talkington (13), of Weston, Vt. in first place, Parker Clarkson (12), of Weston, Vt., in second, and Taylor Doxsee (13), of Bedford, N.H., in third. Seven-year old Ian Schraun, of Ludlow, Vt., took first place in the Men III division for ages 10 and under. Austin Drimal (7), of Weston, Conn., took second place, and Nicholas Chan (10), rounded out the division in third.

In the women skier divisions, just two competitors registered and tied for first place in the Women I, 15 and older category. Casey Craig (14), of Conn., and Beth Maney (16) of Hartland, Vt. tied for top honors.

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