It's hard to believe, but it's been 25 years since the very first Tours de Sport ski trip. What started out in 1982 as "Sunflake Tours" with a handful of group trips that winter, has evolved into the largest provider of ski travel to a myriad of East Coast resorts. How we got from then to now is a very interesting story, but more on that in a later post.
What I would like to do in this space, is present the first in a series of "Top 25 's". Since we are celebrating our 25th year, it seems appropriate to come up with a series of skiing related lists. Some will be fun, some serious, but hopefully all will be thought provoking.
I want to start things off with my own personal list of 25 top ski trails in the Northeast. No particular order, just 25 trails I think are terrific, with one or two reasons why. I encourage everyone to compile their own list. Maybe 5, or 15, or even 25. What's important isn't the raw number, but the process itself. It makes you examine the reasons you love this sport of ours. Why you fell in love with it, why you fight the traffic on I-87 or I-91 every weekend, and why you have no sick days left come April. So with apologies to David Letterman, here's my stab at listmaking.
1) Great Eastern - Killington - 5 miles, lots of S-turns, and racing for the last gondola at 2:45 PM.
2) Rumble - Sugarbush - Like skiing your living room wall, with bumps.
3) Uncles - Mount Snow - classic New England. Sunlight? Who needs it?
4) Potato Patch - Wintergreen - where I learned to ski. Seemed steeper then.
5) Susquehanna - Ski Roundtop - where I learned to go fast, also to fall down gracefully.
6) Solar Coaster - Okemo - called something else now. Up and down, up and down like, well, a roller coaster.
7) The Snowfields - Sugarloaf - where else you gonna' ski above the tree line in the East.
8) Wagner Slope - Seven Springs - personal record for most times up and down the same trail in a day.
9) Flying Mile - Mont Tremblant - feels like you're flying, seems longer than a mile.
10) Lord - Stowe - or Standard or Gulch. You could spend all day on these 3 and have a blast.
11) Tote Road - Sugarloaf - like paradise on a powder day. Feels like you're out West.
12) Roundabout - Killington - hardly ever open, but it's bobsledding on skis when it is. Right, Bill and Gary?
13) Claire's Way - Hunter - where I learned the fine art of the self-arrest.
14) Cupp Run - Snowshoe - if it's good enough for Killy, it's good enough for me.
15) Upper/Lower Oh No! - Haystack - never crowded. perfect combo of cruising & jumping. Open again in '07?
16) Doc Dempsey's Glades - Smuggler's Notch - If you want to chew bark, this is one good place.
17) Le Gros Vallon - Mont Sainte Anne - so what if the signs are all in French? It's a straight shot to the bottom.
18) Upper Cloudspin - Whiteface - Hard not to feel like an Olympian , even though your form may belie that.
19) Emerald City - Sunday River - or any trail in "Oz". On a weekday, its like you own the place.
20) The Face - Wisp - When you're a Maryland boy, you have to represent . As vertical as the Old Line State gets. Go Ravens!
21) Blue Ox - Loon - the New Hampshire version of Uncles. Red Sox hats here, not Yankees. Good safety tip!
22) Wissahickon - Elk Mountain - flying down the mountain with TDS weekend getaway crew. Great name!
23) Boomer - Montage - my first futile attempts at black diamonds.
24) Spring Fling - Sugarbush - where I graduated to long boards. Long turns and carving are good!
25) Juggernaut - Killington - 10 miles. Yes, there is poling, but everyone needs to do it once. Cut the corners!