FOG & ICE NIX MOGUL CHALLENGE FINALS

The finals of the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge were canceled Sunday due to dense fog and ice on the mogul course. Authorities waited until 11 A.M. before officially canceling the competition ans awarding the prizes to the top finishers in the preliminaries which were held the day before on Saturday. Jonathan Ruffis took first place, Ryan Adami came in second, Chris Grace was third and Kirk Sisson placed fourth for the men.

For the women, Jennifer Held nailed first place, Sharon Maloney was second, Nicole Levesque came in third and Alisa Carey placed fourth.

It was a strange day for conditions at Killington. Usually this time of year there are good spring conditions on Bear Mountain and often winter conditions on the Killington Peak side of the ski area. This time things were reversed and although there was some fog on Killington Peak, there was enough visibility to ski and the trails that were open were well groomed. The large crowd that had partied on the slope Saturday disappeared and those few skiers who ventured onto the slopes on Sunday had a good day on the snow in spite of a very limited number of open trails, fog and lift breakdowns.

SATURDAY

Saturday was a beautiful day which brought revelers out in droves to watch the mogul mashers and PARTY. There were cook-outs by many of the ski houses at the bottom of the mountain, plenty to eat and drink and a few folks sported interesting costumes, even the Easter Bunny was there. I saw a beautiful pair of Australian Shepards, a lot of pretty women and it was a great day for skiing.

Outer Limits was covered with “ego” snow and relatively small moguls which tamed the mountain and allowed many of us to ski it well. Wherever you skied on Saturday, the skiing was excellent

As usual, they had set up a Bar-B-Q on the porch, that included seafood, ribs, roast pork and other stands, including a bar. Hundreds of spectators sat on the porch and watched the competition from the foot of the mountain.

There was an unending string of bump skiers descending the course all after noon. Local fans cheered on their favorite men and women and a couple of little kids skied the bumps so well, it made you want to burn your skis. (There is nothing I hate more that some little kid who look hot going down the mogul course on Outer Limits)

As usual, there were plenty of good bump skiers but the jumps on the course separated the sheep from goats. Those skiers who could boggie in the bumps and LAND big jumps were the ones that racked up the big points.

DOUBLE DIPPER

I ended the day over on Double Dipper. It was groomed and ideal for high-speed cruising. While riding up the Canyon chair for my second run, I spotted an old friend of mine, Pepe Guggenburger on the snow. Actually, the guy riding next to me on the chair commented on how well this man with powder-blue racing pants was skiing. As soon as my attention was drawn to him, I recognized him as an old friend.

Pepe had been one of the first Austrian ski instructors imported to teach skiing at Killington in the ’60’s. He is one of the finest skiers at Killington, by any standards. I lost track of him after he sold Chalet Saltzberg a couple of years ago and it was a real pleasure to bump into him on the slope. He was giving a couple of skiers a few pointers. (I learned latter that they were both former ski instructors). I stood there all ears, making mental notes of the tips Pepe was passing out. This man had been the mentor of many ski instructors and ski coaches I know at Killington.

Listening to Pepe talk was like sitting at the knee of a ski guru. Not only did I pick up a few tips that would aid me in the quest for the perfect turn, but I found out that Pepe is still living at Killington, doing a little private ski coaching in the winter and running a wind-surfing school on Lake Champlain in the summer.

After taking a few runs and committing Pepe’s ski tips to memory, I packed it in for the day. I finished off Saturday afternoon by visiting Casey’s Caboose and eating a bowl of the best free chicken wings on the mountain. I stopped at a couple of ski shops on my way down the mountain, just to check out what was on sale and headed back to the place where I was staying for the weekend.

SUNDAY

Although they had canceled the mogul competition, the skiing was pretty good on Sunday. Everyone I talked to complained about the ice and fog at Bear Mountain, so I stayed over on the Killington Peak side of the ski area and had a pretty good time, despite the fact that the K1 Gondola was not running when I first arrived. I took a ride up the Superstar chair and made a run down Superstar to warm up and as soon as I got back down, the lift attendant announced that they were closing the Superstar chair for repairs. So I hiked back over to the gondola (which was now running) and road up to the peak.

The snow was great. I took Goat over to the Glades and enjoyed myself on East Fall. Then I rode up the gondola again and took a couple of runs down Cascade. Next I hit Down Draft. I went back over to the Superstar chair and took another run down Superstar and then Skylark. Although it was foggy, there was enough visibility to see the terrain. The only thing that you couldn’t see was the view and I had seen the view a thousand times, so I wasn’t missing anything. Those of us that skied on the Killington Peak side on Sunday, had a great day. The crowd from the day before had disappeared and we had the mountain to ourselves. The snow was very forgiving and there wasn’t any ice that I could find. With all I had heard from the people that had ventured over to Bear, I was very happy that I didn’t even bother to go to that part of the resort that day.

I noted that there was over three feet of snow on the ground in front of the Killington base lodge and even more on the mountain. With all that snow, Killington will be skiing into June.