11/23/16 – Okemo – opening day

It was between Killington, Mt Snow and Okemo but looked like Okemo had the most sustained top to bottom runs that weren't super flat. So I headed up to ski World Cup and Nor'easter.

Got there early and one of the first in line for tickets. Website mentioned free shirts for the first 100 guests. People in line were expecting shirts. Come to find out the shirts were for first in line at the Bubble 6-pack. Well, I was not one of the first 100 to ride that lift.

Paid $65 walk up rate. Did not want to burn one of my VT passes on 2 trails out of principle.

So thought since Okemo is first day open maybe the snow will be well manicured, compared to Killington which I thought might be getting skied off. False. Conditions were as follows:

Primary surface- Hard pack
Secondary surface- death cookies
Tertiary surfaces- some loose snow, windswept packed powder

And very very windy up top. Was wondering if there might even be wind hold on the lift. But the bubble chair was really a good thing today.

But I had a secret weapon today... new skis. Totally transformed my hard pack and death cookie game. So this is where this turns into a ski review...

Atomic Vantage 90 CTi 185cm are my new toys for this season. I'm a 1 ski at a time guy, bought these without trying them based on positive reviews, Youtube, and forum chatter. Jack of many trades, playful and yet powerful was the bill.

Now I was mostly not edging this concrete snow except on the flatter sections of the trail, where I was able to make some longer arcs. I was also watching my speed because my legs were burning badly after a summer light on exercise plus the additional body weight. That said I was still skiing faster than most people on the hill. A lot of the trail was death cookies, especially in the morning before they got busted up. I was not even trying to avoid the death cookie patches, these Atomics were really great at making short radius turns, I'd go so far as to say the death cookies even helped with the turn initiation -- maybe because the shovel on these new skis is bigger and more rockered / gradual than I'm used to.

The additional stability of the 90mm waist was also a bonus. I did not wish for narrower skis at all. I would probably say on my old skis were are in dire need of a tune I would have still skied but maybe less runs and probably would have skied much more poorly overall in these conditions. Did not slip or skid once today when I didn't want to. Finally hard pack snow is not my mortal enemy. Nice.

Most people were off the hill by 11:30am. Conditions slightly improved after lunch, becoming mostly consistent cement snow as the death cookies got busted up or pushed to the edge. I made it to about 1:30 at which point I noticed that the burn in my legs was turning into actual weakness so I called it quits before my skiing started getting sloppy as a result.

Think I got about 14 runs in top to bottom. Reasonably priced, quality lunch and a beer break in between there.

Note in the picture below those are NOT scratches on my brand new skis.. hehe ... it's the bubble!

Attached Images

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