One of the great things about living in Vermont is its small size. Nothing is very far from anything else. There’s a long list of ski resorts within two hours of my house: Sugarbush, Stowe, Mad River Glen, Stratton, Mount Snow, Suicide Six, Magic, Bromley, Killington, Pico, and Smuggler’s Notch, among others. Drive a little farther, and there’s Jay Peak or Whiteface, or the resorts in New Hampshire and Maine.
With so much to choose from, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Each one has something that makes it special. And to be honest, I can be happy anywhere as long as I have good conditions.
But the area I ski most is Okemo. I have a midweek season pass, so I ski there most weekdays. This is perfect for me since I don’t want to ski weekends or holidays. I really don’t enjoy skiing in crowds.
Primarily, it’s geography. Okemo is less than 10 minutes from my house. So instead of spending time driving, I can be on the mountain having a good time in minutes. You can’t beat that.
Another reason is conditions. Okemo is famous for its snow making and grooming. Each year SKI Magazine gives it top marks in both these areas, and believe me, they’re well deserved. The mountain blows snow like there’s no tomorrow, so coverage is great even early in the season, well before most resorts have even thought about opening.
I also like that it’s so familiar. I know Okemo like the back of my hand, so it’s really easy to get around. If conditions aren’t great in one area, I can head somewhere else without skipping a beat. Plus since I’m there so often, I know a lot of people So even if I go skiing alone, I can always hook up with someone, if I want.
My daughter doesn’t ski (horrors, I know!) and besides, she’s grown, so I can’t say much about the kid’s program, though I do hear it’s quite good. I’ve also heard wonderful things about Okemo’s women’s clinic, Women’s Alpine Adventures. This is a multi-day clinic run several times throughout the season, either for three or five days. It’s a great way for women to learn in a fun, low pressure environment. There are dinners, fashion shows, presentations on equipment, plus, of course, first-rate instruction. I know people who come back for it year after year, so that says a lot.
Does Okemo have any other activities?
Okemo has a tremendous reputation as a family resort. Weekends and holidays the mountain hosts a wide range of family oriented activities like movies, fireworks, nature presentations, and parties. It also has a skating rink, so that can be a lot of fun, too.
Is there anything about Okemo you don’t like?
To be honest, I wish it was a bit more challenging. Okemo isn’t a particularly demanding mountain. It’s known primarily for its cruisers, which are actually a lot of fun. But for tougher skiing, hey, this is Vermont. I can always head to Killington, Stowe, or Mad River Glen. As I said before, there are a lot of ski areas around here, so there’s something for everyone.
Are there any secrets you’re willing to share about Okemo?
Yes. If you want a quick bite right on the mountain, head to the Waffle House, where you can get waffles and hot chocolate without even removing your skis!
The Brave Ski Mom Adds…
Wendy Clinch is the founder and administrator of TheSkiDiva.com, the leading online community for women who love to ski. She’s also the author of two Ski Diva mysteries: DOUBLE BLACK (Minotaur, 2010) and FADE TO WHITE (Minotaur, 2011). She lives in Vermont with her husband, author Jon Clinch.
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