by Paul Maraschiello


I drove up to Vermont for a week of spring skiing. I was there during the 2nd week of April but spring forgot to show up. It was a warm sunny day on the ride up but when I arrived winter had beaten me to Vermont.

I stayed at the Northstar Lodge, right off the access road for the first few days. The accommodations were nice and the people were friendly. They have a heated outdoor pool and a bar. Breakfast was included and the place was filled with students from Scotland enjoying a little skiing on their spring break. This is a centrally located lodge near the Grist Mill, one of my favorite bars.

The weather was VERY interesting. It had started to snow by the time I got there and there was a bus stuck on the driveway at Northstar. Luckily, there was plenty of room to get around them and get up to the lodge. The next morning, I enjoyed the breakfast provided by Northstar and headed up to the mountain.

As I had expected spring conditions, I brought all of my spring ski gear and left my winter duds back in DC. This was a mistake. Luckily, I brought a fleece pull-over and a fleece vest that I put on under my water-proof spring parka. I had a pair of unlined powder pants and a baseball cap that I wore under the hood of my parka. Thusly attired, I was able to keep warm.

It snowed on and off that entire day. I spent the morning skiing all the trails on the northern side of the mountain. I felt good pitting my skills against the winter conditions. The joke of the day on the chair lift was "Great conditions ... for JANUARY!" Considering that it was April, everyone enjoyed the little joke Mother Nature had played on us.

There were festivities at the ski area but the cold weather put a little damper on the party spirit of the mogul competition that was going on. I tramped around the revelers for a little while before lunch, looking for lady-friends that I knew would be there. Luckily one of them spotted me and I had a chance to say howdy and party with her. And party we did! One of the ski houses that had set up a tent and grill was giving away jello shots molded in the form of small male and female genitalia. I was surprised when a gal came up to me with a platter of jello shots and offered me a vagina. In the center of the platter was a HUGE jello display that had been molded from a triple D bra! I must say that I've never had such naughty fun eating jello AND the jello was spiked with booze.

The skiing that day was fine, all be it, a little chilly. I had over 40 days on the snow by that time, so I was looking good. I skied all the expert trails and was in good form.

After skiing, I headed to the Grist Mill for a little happy hour action. The band was playing some really fine blues and Carl Lorenzo kept the beer flowing at the back bar. After a couple of beers and some pleasant conversation, I hopped into my Jaguar and drove down to the Pasta Pot for a fine Italian meal.

That night it snow some more. In the morning, I was ready for some great spring skiing but Mother Nature still was thinking WINTER. It snowed and it blowed all day long. It was another great day of skiing ... for DECEMBER.

The winter weather kept up as the week went by. I experienced all the weather conditions one could expect in mid-winter, cold, snow, wind and fog.

I checked into the Sherburne Valley Inn, which is run by my friend Tom. This Vermont ski lodge boasts quiet, clean rooms and has a jacuzzi and a bar. It is run by a suave ski bum who has been in the area since the '70's. If you want to hang with the cool over 30 crowd, this is the place to stay. It is a "classic" ski lodge without a lot of frills. When people stay there Tom and his other guests make you feel so at home that you will want to come back again and again.

Finally, because it was my birthday and the sun came out. I was just delighted. It was warm, sunny and the skiing was stupendous! I spent the entire day riding up the chair lift and showing off by skiing the bumps right under the chair on one of the toughest runs in the East. I may have been a year older, but I'm skiing the bumps better than ever. I ran into Jon Lamb, a famous ski pro and old friend of mine who was teaching a class on mogul skiing. He asked me what I was up to and I said, "Showing off in the bumps." Then I skied away, looking really hot going down the headwall, taking a little air off one of the big moguls and feeling the way everyone should feel on their birthday.

After a day of skiing in the sun, I did not want to go home. They were predicting rain for the following day but for some reason, I just couldn't leave.

I stopped into the Wobbly Barn for happy hour and the place was empty, except for six women who were dancing and having a grand old time. There was live entertainment and I watched the girls dance while trying to think up an excuse to introduce myself and acquire some female companionship. While contemplating my dilemma, one of the woman came over to me and brazenly asked me to ask her girlfriend to dance. It seems that they were celebrating her birthday and knew that it would make her happy if I asked her to dance. I was very flattered until I realized that I was the only male customer in the joint. I did what was requested and made a middle-aged woman feel young and beautiful on her birthday. When I told them that it was my birthday too, they asked me to join them and I was forced to dance with SIX attractive women. Being a ski journalist is a tough job but someone has to do it!

I dallied on the access road until evening and kept getting varying reports on the weather. Everyone agreed that rain was coming. Some had heard that it would rain during the next day, other heard (or hoped) that the rain would hold off until late the next afternoon.

I decided to visit my old friend Tex and listen to the weather report. We chatted and waited but the weather refused to appear on the TV and Tex was getting tired. Finely he invited me to spend the night on his couch and I accepted. If it was raining in the morning, I was just that much closer to home. If the rain held off, I'd get in another day of skiing, a win-win situation, if you ask me.

It was overcast when I awoke. After coffee and conversation, I got dressed and ready to hit the slopes. Tex had to work and could not go skiing with me. He went down to drive to work and his car would not start. Luckily, I was there to give him a jump with my car and he was able to get to work on time. It seems that my arrival was all part of the Devine scheme, so Tex would not be late for work.

I drove up to the ski area under grey skies. I skied all my favorite trails and runs that I love. I had lunch in the base longue and assessed the likelihood of the pending storm. I made a few more runs after lunch and decided to call it a day. The light was getting really flat and after six days of skiing in a row, I was getting skied out.

I called it a day and headed to the car. As I was loading my skis into the car I felt the first few drops of rain. I had timed it perfectly. I drove off the mountain just as the rain began to fall. The further I drove the harder it rained. By the time I was in the valley, it was really coming down.

I cruised down the Adirondack Northway in the rain, musing about the six days of excellent winter conditions I had experienced this spring. I was not disappointed that I cut this ski trip short. As the weatherman was calling for rain for the entire weekend, I was able to spend a couple more days preparing my taxes.

I planned to go back up the following weekend but it rained that weekend and then rained the following weekend. Instead of getting in spring skiing this year, I've started building an Ark!