Ever have one of those days when you’re not quite sure what you want to do?
January 2, bloated from all of the holiday excesses, we knew we needed to get out and do something, but we weren’t quite sure what. Holiday traffic and bad roads made it even more difficult to decide; we didn’t want to get too far away and not be able to get back!
Memory kicked in…King Pine has an unusual ticket. As part of the Purity Spring Resort, there’s a lot more to do there than at most New England resorts (and that’s just in winter…summer is really Purity’s forte). For the price of your lift ticket (a whole $44/adult any day of the week), you also get access to their cross country trail system, their snowshoe trails, and their ice skating rink. No, it’s not the biggest mountain out there, with 350 vertical feet…but I’d been told they still had some steep, fun trails, so it was definitely worth a trip. And, for a few dollars more, they’ve got lift-serviced snowtubing! That appealed strongly to the kid in me…so, off we went, on snowy, nearly empty roads. Great…there probably wouldn’t be many people there, so we’d have plenty of time to try out everything!
Of course, when you don’t have any plans, your plans can change. In this case, we got out of the car and noticed a tent going up at the base of the slopes. Hmmm. Curiosity and all that…good thing I’ve got more lives than a cat. Turns out that New England Telemark, which is a non-profit dedicated to getting more people involved in the sport, was doing their “Tele Daze”! Translation…free loaner equipment AND free lessons with some of the top telemark instructors in New England (and possibly the country)! BTW, on their site you can find more dates and locations for what they offer. Back into the car went the downhill skis and poles and boots.
Now, I’ve tried tele once before, and wasn’t any good at it. But, I still want to get better…what a chance! Better still, Susan had NEVER tried it, so she hasn’t had an opportunity for me to screw up her technique with bad advice. Off we went to get changed…and just happened to be organizing next to Robin Roaf, a tele instructor with a 20 year pin. She graciously agreed to show us how it’s done, and promised not to laugh. For the record, she lied…but then, there’s something about watching me sliding backwards with a panic-stricken look on my face that would make ANYONE laugh. Of course, she managed to fall down later while standing still (sorry, Robin, but you knew that was going to come up!), so I had my revenge.
In fact, she was not only a good sport, but a great instructor. With only a few runs, she had both of us, and Joe, a King Pine ski instructor, making turns with, if not elegance, at least moderate control. And FUN…oh, wow! It’s such a free technique…you flow with the mountain. Flat greens suddenly feel like steep blacks, particularly for beginners. Remember those steep, fun trails I mentioned before? Yeah, we didn’t get near them; saving those for when we’re a LOT better.
One thing that Robin did that was probably more valuable than anything else was to point out the effects of tele on newbies’ legs. As in, prepare to be very sore very quickly…you’re using your quads and butt a LOT. So, come 1:00, we got smart and quit. Hmmm…what to do now? Well, XC seemed to be a different motion, so that got the vote. Plus, the trail system looked pretty nice…and there was lovely snow coming down. Perfect for a romantic ski, since Susan was still talking to me (I hadn’t been giving her advice, remember?). On went the skis, and off we went. And their trails ARE lovely. You ski across their private lake (this is a VERY comprehensive resort…think Catskills, “Dirty Dancing”, that kind of thing), then off into lovely trails through hard and softwoods. The tracks had been nicely groomed a few inches of snow before, so we had a combination of easy track skiing with the feeling that we were breaking trail. Through the woods we could see King Pine and the various Purity buildings.
As we cruised back by the skating rink with its outdoor fireplace, we realized that the day was pretty much gone…and we hadn’t had a chance to even try downhill, snowshoeing, skating…or my beloved snowtubing. I was crushed…until I realized that gave us an excuse to come back! Maybe even bring the kids…there are TONS of things for kids to do at the resort. On the other hand, maybe we just want to have fun playing ourselves…just act like kids, without having to act like parents. Decisions, decisions. More to come…we’ll definitely be trying out more of what King Pine/Purity have to offer!