Hello Hello Hello I know you have stored your gear away for the summer and have taken your bike and tennis racquet to front and center. BUT if you are mass pass folks please check out the G+ community Max Pass Partners --itsa networking group to share info on the 44, travel, airfare and lodging Thanks, Greg

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“Bubble Up at Okemo”



When you “Bubble Up” at Vermont’s Okemo Mountain resort, your butt rejoices. This marvel of a chairlift is a heated and padded transport for six that scoots you up the mountain in a chair that is more comfortable than your living room settee. Thankfully, the Orange Bubble that gracefully descends from above, encapsulating you and your friends, is a protective tinted window providing respite from the winter winds and frigid temps. This is a blessing when the mercury drops and the North wind rattles the rafters.



Okemo Mountain has always been a very desirable family resort that takes great pride in its snowmaking and diligent grooming. Grooming is an art form at Okemo and even when Mother Nature has decided to take a vacation in Florida, the snow guns take over and the groomers comb the trails from dusk to dawn in an effort to provide the most skiable surface possible. It is no small feet, as Okemo is 657 acres of prime Vermont terrain with 121 trails and glades.



The Mountain climbs into the clouds and peaks at 3,344 feet. From the Base Lodge to the summit it is 2,200 feet of vertical drop negotiated by a graceful network of trails. For the most part, those trails are wide cruisers equally divided at all three levels of ski expertise, Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. If a trail is open, it is well maintained and well cared for. The motto of the snowmakers is: “Attention to detail on every trail”.





The Mountain is serviced by 20 lifts when Okemo is running at full tilt. Two of those lifts are Bubbles. There is a six person Bubble on the Main Mountain and a four person Bubble at Okemo’s second peak, Jackson Gore.



Unlike some of my friends, I am sensitive to the cold. Despite my thick swollen socks and my expensive gloves, my hands and feet chill when the temperature dips and the wind is fierce. So I love the Bubbles. When you sit in an enclosed gondola, the seating is purely functional. You have to remove your skis and snowboards to enter, park them on the outside racks and bring your poles in. With the Bubble, you just ski in and sit down in that welcomed cushioned comfort.



If the weather is nice, the bubble stays up and you get to enjoy the sun and the fresh mountain air. But when the wind is howling and your goggles are frosting, that Orange Bubble is your cozy friend. How many times have you sat in a chair lift covered with ice and snow and departed with a wet butt? That convenient bubble keeps your seat warm, dry and comfy.





My favorite section of the Main Mountain is a small network of six trails on the upper corner of the mountain on skier’s right. Here you will find Dream Weaver, Punch Line, Wild Thing, and a pleasant and easily negotiable set of glades aptly called Loose Spruce, as the spaces between the trees are generous for the most part.





If you are into the more luxurious facets of winter vacation, Okemo’s mountain enclave of Jackson Gore has its own hotel complex. It comes complete with a health center annex, the Spring House, featuring saunas, hot tubs, a yoga sanctuary, and a gym. Here your kids can splash in the water while you enjoy the creature comforts of apres cocktails, a glass or two of wine and an elegant sup at one of the hotel’s two upscale yet relaxed bistros.



For those of us on a more modest budget, the funky Vermont village of Ludlow sits right at the base of the entrance to the mountain. What was once a small mill town now hosts quite an assortment of shops and eateries that complement the skier. A lively Irish pub, the Killarney, is just steps away from the access road serving up traditional pub fare, beer and sports. A big favorite of the locals as well as the skiers, the place is friendly, robust and pleasantly rowdy.



If you are skiing solo or are a college student cutting classes, you can rent a bunk at the unique Homestyle Hostel for $45 or a modest private room. Inspired by their South American travels, the young innkeepers have put together a very relaxed and affordable accommodation house. However, the dinners served Thursday through Sunday are tendered by a very creative chef. She puts together nightly specials like a Brisket Linguini for Two served with rosemary cream, parmesan cheese, shiitake mushrooms, kale and English peas. The regular menu includes Polenta Cake, Squid Ink Spaghettiini and Drunken Mussels. It’s a nightly culinary escapade.





If your feeling like a little Tex-Mex, The Mojo Cafe serves up a mix of Mexican, Cajun, and Southern cooking. Their Swamp Dragon Po Boy features real Louisiana fried Alligator spiced up with smoked andouille and hot peppers. For the less adventurous they also feature Tacos, Burritos and and Enchilladas ranging from $4 to $11.



From the Maine coast this part of Vermont is not a straight shot by car. There are four ways to get there and they all involve a circuitous mix of highways and Vermont country roads. Killington Mountain is just 20 miles north of Okemo so you can spend a long weekend or a vacation week exploring these two expansive Vermont winter playgrounds.



By the time Santa arrives these two big Green Mountain playgrounds should have 75% of their trails ready for action. For more details or reservations at Okemo call 802-228-4041 or visit the web at Okemo.com







Greg Morell is an avid skier, snowboarder and cross country enthusiast. He can be reached at Morell.Gregory@gmail.com. The Snow Business Column seeks to encourage outdoor winter recreation.

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Ski Disney
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Today in Zermatt, no doubt - winter is on its way. Great :-) Come and visit us. There is no better skiing than in Zermatt, Switzerland.
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Hi everybody - so fantastic winter is around the corner. With penty of snow and great slopes , blue - red - black ones. We love to ski. How about skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland, this winter :-) We have a beautiful Chalet to rent. Just get in touch with us :-) You will love it :-)
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We've just done a write up on Skiing in the Southern Hemisphere ahead of the start of the season if anyone would care to take a look.
http://www.ski-trek.co.uk/blog/southernhemski/
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