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A New Kind of Cold, Ski Apres, Goat, & More Adventures from Stowe (with Pictures!)

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

A New Kind of Cold, Ski Apres, Goat, & More Adventures from Stowe (with Pictures!)

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Sunday was a wickedly cold and windy day. Remember how I posted that we got in the hot tub on Saturday night, and I was all proud for walking barefoot in the snow? While Bobby and I were in the hot tub, we were talking about what we thought the temperature was and whether this was the coldest weather in which we'd ever been in a hot tub. "Oh, it's probably about 7-8F," we figured (-13 to -14C). Which would have been the coldest for me but not Bobby, who got in the hot tub in Deep Creek Lake once when it was 4F/-16C. Well, the taxi driver who took us to the train station this morning was the same who picked us up on Saturday night, and we were talking about the extremity of cold compared to home and how it was -20F/-29C in Stowe when Bobby woke up this morning, and the taxi driver was like, "Well, that's nothing considering that it was -24F/-31C when I picked you up on Saturday!" OMGWTFWHY WAS I IN A HOT TUB WHEN IT WAS -24F. It does make me feel less wimpy for my reluctance to strip down to my swimsuit once I was outside in the apparently -24 temperatures and much more badass for my barefoot dash through the snow back into the B&B clad only in a bikini. And it's an item I can check of my to-do list of stupid-things-that-done-once-one-has-no-need-to-repeat. (Actually, it really wasn't that bad!)

Randy the innkeeper at our B&B makes a pot of homemade soup every day at around 4 o'clock, when the mountain closes and all the skiers/boarders start to come back. The soup is complimentary, and pretty much everyone gathers in the common room at 4 o'clock or so to thaw out with a cup (or in my case, to just eat it because I'm hungry and love soup). Sunday, it was black bean soup. Bobby and I were eating soup and debating where we wanted to go for supper. We wanted sushi, but there was a sushi bar within walking distance of the B&B and also the Matterhorn, which is considered one of the best ski apres bars in the country. (THE WORLD!!! ... okay, I don't actually know if it is in the world; I just wanted to yell THE WORLD!!! and wave my hands about on my journal in a dramatic fashion.)

We asked Randy, and he couldn't really choose one as better than the other, so we decided on the Matterhorn, even though we'd need to take a taxi to get there. (Well, initially, we tried to stand out and wait for the free Stowe shuttle, but the wicked cold and winds was just a little too much to bear for me.) We just couldn't pass up the chance to try one of the best ski apres bars in the country. I'm glad we did; the food was incredible, and we had the best time. We ordered three sushi rolls to start, and Bobby ordered Buffalo wings for his main while I had the "Matterhorn bowl," which was pretty much a blend of different sushi chopped small over rice with "yummy sauce." I had wanted to try real sushi (not just rolls), and this was a good way to do it since the pieces were small and mixed with other things. I really liked it. We washed all of this down with several Switchback Ales, one of the local beers. We tried it, I liked it and didn't have an allergic reaction to it, so I drank it for the remainder of the trip with nary a wayward itch. (A sign that I'm potentially allergic to a beer is itching in weird spots, like behind my elbows.)

So this is the obligatory picture of Bobby at the Matterhorn.

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I showed it to him and he said, "Why did you get any of the background, I just wanted a picture of me?!" (An inside joke since, whenever my dad takes pictures, he zooms in so close on the people that you can't see where they are, which to me, is part of the point of taking pictures of oneself in cool places. If I just wanted pictures of me, I'd take them at home!) So I took what I have titled "Beard & Beer" because I got a bit carried away with Dad's whole concept.

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But I actually like it more than the first, so maybe Dad is onto something.

We both had enough beer to get a little sloshed, and Bobby attempted to purchase a T-shirt from our server that he identified as "Sponge Bob holding a snowboard," which she found rather confusing, since none of their T-shirts had Sponge Bob on them. It was a yellow, frothy mug of beer holding a snowboard; it did admittedly bear a slight resemblance to Sponge Bob, if one glanced at it quickly after three consecutive Switchbacks, anyway.

We headed next to the Rusty Nail, which our taxi driver had identified as "Stowe's nightclub" while bringing us from the train station on Saturday. The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, founded by the lead singer of the Black Crowes (remember them, fellow children of the '90s?), was playing there Sunday night. The Rusty Nail was like a Vermont version of the 9:30 Club in DC, with the balcony and the bar off to the side.

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We took up residence on the balcony (where we go at the 9:30 Club too!) since someone--I'm not mentioning any names, but this person might be a blondish misanthrope who calls herself after an Elf--gets pissy in crowds because people touch and step on her, and she doesn't like that. *ahem* We got another Switchback and took up a place at the bar by the rail, where we could see the stage and enjoy the music without being pushed and trod upon by a hundred different people. The music was great, and I had a really good time, right up till the end when some ... I almost said a five-letter word that starts with a B ... woman came to stand behind and then beside me and kept fucking touching me. I mean like straight up leaning on me at points. And it wasn't crowded. She had a good three feet of space on the other side of her but chose to bunch up on me and touch me repeatedly. Please, oh, please, people, understand that not everyone likes being touched by strangers! And her boyfriend/husband/whatever kept reaching over her to get his beer off the bar, and whenever he did, he'd fucking touch me. So I got rather murderous toward the end and didn't even really hear the music at that point.

I sometimes wonder if I'm invisible or even real at all when stuff like that happens.

The Rusty Nail was about a ten-minute walk from the B&B, so we just walked home. Well, I jogged lightly because Bobby was walking fast and it's the only way I can keep up with his much longer legs. But it kept me warm, at least.

Next day, Monday: more thesis work in the room, fandom stuff, treated myself to a few pages here and there of In Cold Blood, cheddar ale soup at 4, which is one of my favorites, as it is an unholy alchemy of two of the best foods in the world--beer and cheese--blended in a majestic synergy to the third-best food in the world: soup.

Bobby was over the moon because he rode Goat, the most technical trail on the East Coast. I'll just quote his Facespace post, since I wasn't there and he's the authority:

Ladies and gentlemen meet Goat, considered to be the most technical run on the East Coast due to its double fall line, cliff edges, exposed rock, and narrowness. Hardest line of my life but I just nailed it. Mad respect to Mt. Mansfield.


Here is the trail head:

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So you apparently go down that steep hill and aim for that little hole in the trees, which is where the "double fall line[s]" and stuff are. Bobby and I have an agreement that, when he does crazy stuff on his snowboard for the first time, he will only tell me about it after he does it so that I don't spend the day worrying about him. I knew he was doing Goat and that it was the "most technical run on the East Coast," but he managed to avoid terminology involving words like "fall" and "cliff" when telling me about it before he did it. Good man.

He ran it twice.

We went to supper that night at Pie-casso, which was within walking distance of the B&B, so we walked. First, we had to stomp down a small hill in knee-deep snow to get to the walking trail, but then it was all good.

Looking over the footbridge on the walking trail toward Mt. Mansfield (Vermont's highest peak):

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The wait was 45 minutes, so we got seats at the bar. And when I first sat down, the woman next to me was standing about halfway in front of my seat! For a good two minutes!! Okay, am I 1) invisible or 2) not really real? You can be honest. If I'm one of those two things, please let me know, because I don't otherwise know how to account for being constantly stepped on, stood over, and fucking touched by all these strangers.

Thankfully, she buzzed off pretty quickly, and the rest of the evening was great.

Since Pie-casso sources from local farms, that meant that I could eat things I never get to eat at restaurants otherwise. Like Buffalo wings. And pepperoni pizza. I haven't had a pepperoni pizza since before I became a vegetarian, so more than 20 years ago, since we haven't found a source of local pepperoni at home. OMG it was so good. We had several more Switchbacks and shared the homemade tiramisu for dessert. There were no redeeming qualities to that meal except that it was epically delicious. Then we made the fifteen-minute trek back to the B&B in the subzero cold, schlepped back up the hill in the knee-deep snow, and returned to our B&B, where we made noises about getting in the hot tub one last time but made the mistake of laying on the bed first and then ... didn't. We were asleep before 11. I did, however, get beads of ice on my eyelashes, which was a new experience and interesting.

So now we're back on the train, heading south, currently in northern Massachusetts. We came up during a snowstorm and will return during a snowstorm that hit Maryland last night and this morning with about 7 inches/18 cm of snow, enough to close schools and negate one of the days of leave that we'd taken.

I will leave off with more pictures, from varying points in the journey.

Heading out, still in Carroll County, on our way to Bobby's parents' house to spend the night so that they could take us to Penn Station early the next morning. They were babysitting the Goldens for us this weekend. The gentlemen had to share the backseat with Bobby's snowboard, which they weren't all that keen about. Because two moderately sized dogs manage to need the space required for three large people.

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My soft shark, raring to go, as we drive through Hampstead (the next town south of us).

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Various pictures Bobby took on the mountain.

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His first time in a gondola lift.

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The view from the top of Mt. Mansfield. Incredible.

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Looking across the street from the B&B this morning, toward Mt. Mansfield with its scribble of trails.

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And a little Vermont town, taken through the window of the train as we return home.

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We have about eight hours left, I'm psyching myself off to endure some microwaved cafe-car food (though I still have some of the chocolate chip cookies that Dad baked for our trip, and our taxi driver's wife sent us some cookies as well), and the train is going pretty fast, which means it is rocking like a stagecoach. It would be awesome if schools were closed again tomorrow.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/357964.html
  • I love moutains in the snow.

    (Anonymous)
    I love train rides also.

    The soup is complimentary, and pretty much everyone gathers in the common room at 4 o'clock or so to thaw out with a cup (or in my case, to just eat it because I'm hungry and love soup). Sunday, it was black bean soup. Bobby and I were eating soup and debating where we wanted to go for supper.

    I love hotels with random free food. It's not necessarily that it's a bargain, but that the decision-making is removed. Soup in the winter in the mountains sounds amazing to me also.

    I think I might make black bean soup inspired by your account.
    • Re: I love moutains in the snow.

      According to my husband, who Knows Such Things, it is traditional in ski towns for lodgings to provide something hot for "ski apres" so that those returning from the slopes can warm up. I neither ski nor ride, but I very much enjoyed this tradition! :)

      Not having to pay for breakfast or lunch--and the B&B was a really good deal--just meant that we spent all the more on dinner and drinks later! :D
  • What a wonderful trip. I've heard of the skiing at Stowe, but being a Colorado gal, never went East. What kind of vertical drop does it have? Some of the runs looked rather gnarly - fun!

    I'm too old to ski now, I suspect I'd break into 1000's of pieces with a minor wipe-out, so I'll just enjoy vicariously.

    The goldens with the board is a great pic! Love your soft land shark too.

    Sounds like it was a terrific time for both of you with plenty of time to relax on your end and lots of exercise in the cold for Bobby. Along with great food and ale. What more could you want? Welcome back home and thanks for sharing!

    - Erulisse (one L)
    • I think I recall Bobby saying that Stowe's vertical drop is 3,412 feet, but I'm going from memory and could be wrong. It should be readily findable on the resort website, in any case.

      It is apparently considered the East Coast's most technical mountain. We're at Liberty now (Bobby took leave today; my school was closed due to a burst water pipe), and I hope its mere thousandish-foot drop is not too anticlimactic for him!
      • Oh, that was a good idea, and I found this lovely website http://verticalfeet.com/ that had Stowe at #60 with 2341 ft. I learned to ski in Snowmass, CO, which is #7 on their list at 4030 ft. I can guarantee that I was never that good nor got that high up on the mountain. I suspect I would have done much better on a snowboard because I loved skateboarding. But those 6 ft + feet that skis gave me were too unwieldy. "Short skis" didn't come into use until a few years after I had given up on skiing. But while I struggled my way down mountains of amazing beauty, I always wished I was on skis as short as the ice skates I wore more frequently. I could have handled myself on the snow with much greater ease with shorter skis.

        I really envy Bobby in many ways. It would be marvelous to be young once more and tackle some of the fantastic slopes I had been on with a snowboard. I hope that someday you and he will have the chance to experience the Colorado Rockies and maybe into Snowbird or Alta in Utah. Some really beautiful mountains. Go Bobby, Go!

        - Erulisse (one L)
        • He is definitely planning to venture out west. He wanted to try a more challenging East Coast mountain first before tackling some of the more intense mountains out west. We've talked about heading out to Jackson Hole next year.

          It's supposed to be relatively hard to learn snowboarding compared to skiing, but if you were good at skateboarding, you probably would have been good at snowboarding too. Bobby only tried skiing once but was good at that too: lots of years of playing hockey! Whereas my freestyle rollerskating translated far less easily.
    • I really wish I had been better at skiing. I was around some of the best mountains in the world and never was able to truly appreciate them. I had really crappy hand-me-down gear (my folks didn't have a lot of extra money for things like that) and "shudder" cable bindings. I wonder if Bobby has even SEEN a set of cable bindings. I had no faith in my equipment, and that led to no faith in my skills. Things might be different today, but now I have osteoporosis and can't take the chance of a serious fracture if I do something bad like zig instead of zag. I'll have to stick with the gym for my exercise, which I'm enjoying more and more each day as my stamina improves.

      I really envy you and Bobby. You're young enough to try all sorts of activities, discover which ones you enjoy and are good at, and indulge in them while you're physically able to do so.

      I suppose I shouldn't complain, though. I had my times of ice skating, ice dancing and modern/jazz dance before I allowed myself to become a 'schlump' and a bump on a log. I have a lot of bump to make up for now - LOL.

      - Erulisse (one L)
    • Oh, and there's excellent train rides to Jackson Hole ... LOL.

      - Erulisse (one L)
  • Looks like y'all had a blast!
    • We did! We brought home a bunch of brochures and are already trying to sell our families on a trip back over the summer.
  • Good Heavens, you must be tough!
    • I am but also one of those people who does stupid oh-why-not kinds of things. :D And then afterwards thinks, "That really wasn't that smart ..." In this case, I think ignorance was bliss. Kind of like the time Bobby and I walked half the length of Manhattan and back and only once we were done checked a map and discovered that we'd walked about 22 miles. Saturday night, we had no idea how cold it was. We'd just come from Maryland, where the 20s F is cold and we only drop lower than that a few times per year. And we were used to Deep Creek and getting into the hot tub there, where it drops into the single digits F but generally not much lower!
      • We've only once as I can recall had it so cold here.I admit I found it hard to cope,
        • It is really hard if you're not used to it. I'm not a naturally cold-hardy person. I often tease Bobby that I was meant to be born in the tropics, but he screwed that up by being born first and in Maryland. :) Since we've moved out to Carroll County, I've gotten more used to it. It's about 8F colder where we live now than in Baltimore, and it's so expensive to heat our house that we try to use the heat as little as possible and wear extra layers. It was really rough at first--my first winter here, I was miserable!--but I've adapted.

          Today, it is just a little below freezing. It feels positively balmy! :)
          • I can't stand heat either!I wilt at anything over 70.I hope it continues to warm up for you. You are having a savage winter.
            • It's been very cold here again this year, but most of the snow has missed us. We've gotten ice! Which is much worse, imo. But we're supposed to hit record lows at the end of this week. I lost a number of outdoor plants last year--which was colder than this year--and suspect I will again this year.

              You'd hate the heat here! :) We're a southern state with summers to prove it. (One of the advantages to the 8F difference between Baltimore: when it is unbearable there, it is merely hot where we live!) A couple summers ago, Baltimore had two straight weeks of 100F+ temperatures! Gross.
              • I don't think I'd survive 100 degrees!I have a small A/C unit that I have to use in the summer in order to function at all!
  • I haven't managed reading all your trip posts yet, but it sounds really awesome. Thank you also for the gorgeous pics to go with them!
    I'm also most impressed with your barefoot-snow-walking! :o)
    • It was definitely barefoot-snow running! :D

      Thank you! Most of the pretty pictures are Bobby's fault; the places he goes tend to have really good views. :)
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