OKEMO, THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN THAT GREW AND GREW
by Paul Maraschiello

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When I first started skiing at Okemo over 35 years ago, they only had a half dozen lifts and skiing on a 15 trails. Boy, how things have changed. Okemo has grown and expanded over the years to become one of Vermont's premier ski resorts with 120 trails, four terrain parks and over 650 acres of skiable trails spread over five mountains. The ski area boasts a vertical drop of 2,200 feet and offers 32% novice terrain, 37% intermediate terrain, 31% advanced and expert trails, with 10 terrain park and feature areas. Okemo is so big that a skier or snowboarder would have a tough time skiing all the trails in one weekend. There are 19 lifts, including a new 6-person high-speed bubble chairlift (with heated seats), 8 quad chairs (4 high speed detachable quads), 3 triple chairs and 7 surface lifts.



ACCOMMODATIONS
Okemo provides a variety on lodging options on the mountain. I was staying in a ski-in / ski-out one bedroom condominium at the Jackson-Gore complex. My condo was fully equipped with two big-screen TVs, high-speed Wi-Fi, full kitchen, washer/dryer, 2 baths and a comfortable livingroom with fireplace.

The complex provides: indoor and outdoor heated pools, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, sauna , 24 hour front desk valet and concierge services with elevator access and in-door parking. They have complimentary ski check, shuttle service, exercise room, spa services, racquet ball court, game room, ice rink, and snow tubing.

Guests have access to the Adventure Zone, indoor/outdoor pools, firepit child care, retail, and near the Spring House pool and fitness center, The Ice House tennis and basketball courts, and on-site dining options at the Coleman Brook Tavern.



SKIING
When I awoke, it was foggy but the fog lifted a little, so there was good visibility and except for the need to wipe my goggles periodically, the fog was no bother. In fact, it softened up the snow and made the skiing easier. I decided to spend the morning exploring the trails that were serviced by the Jackson Gore lift and Exhibition under the Solitude chair. The snow surface was in good shape and the trails were well groomed. I began to explore all the open trails on this part of the ski resort. I checked out Vortex to Eclipse and then rode up the chair again and skied Upper and Lower Limelight for a few runs.



I decided to have lunch at Sitting Bull bar. Afterwards, I rode the new 6-person "Flying Couch" and was zipped up the mountain at 1,000 ft. per minute in comfort with a warm derriere. I took a quick run down Jolly Green Giant and then headed back to the trails closer to my accommodations. This involved skiing a lot more terrain and riding more chairlifts than I anticipated. It was at that point that I realized how big Okemo had grown.



I went back to my room and soaked in the Jacuzzi (one of the nicest features) and a short rest before dinner. I decided to dine at the Coleman Brook Tavern. I enjoyed the short ribs and finished things off with a slice of apple tie ala mode. This was an excellent dining experience within walking distance from my condo. Then it was back to my room for a little sleep in preparation for another fine day of skiing.

I spent the next morning skiing many of the trails I had skied the day before and then headed to my car for the drive back home. Okemo knows that many people need to spend most of Sunday driving home, so they has a half day lift ticket on Sunday where guests can ski or ride from 8am - 1:30pm at a reduced price. Lift tickets at Okemo are affordable (Adult - $92) and they even offer Adult tickets that begin at 2pm for $41.

If you are planning a New England ski vacation for you and your family, put Okemo on your short list. They provide some of the best groomed trails in Vermont and a variety of activities for the skier, snowboarder and those that do not do ether. This is a great place to bring the kids. To book reservations call (866) 706-5366 and when you book your ski vacation at Okemo, tell them you read about them in the Ski Bum News.

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