Top 5 Past and Present Winter Sports Events to Hit the East Coast

The crowds are buzzing for a good reason. Killington Ski Resort is hosting the women’s 2016 Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom and other great slalom events this Thanksgiving weekend. Women from 27 countries will be converging in Vermont and competing to ski away with the trophy and, more importantly, with bragging rights. Plus, over 2 million people are expected to watch the broadcast!

The West Coast has a hobby of stealing the hosting spotlight, so Vermont may not seem like the most conspicuous location for such a massive competition. But, the East Coast is no stranger to the big stage and bright lights. Throughout history, a fair share of major winter sports events have put the upper-right USA on the map. Here is a list of five representing the Eastern seaboard.

Credit: Harvey Barrison
Credit: Harvey Barrison

1. The 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics

Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932 and again in 1980, the latter of which included one of the most famous victories in sports history. When the U.S. hockey team defeated the Soviet Union, then the defending champion, the “Miracle on Ice” was born. This stunning and unpredictable victory is still today arguably one of the best Olympics moments. Many facilities can still be toured, so be prepared to feel that Olympic spirit.

2. Burton US Open

Stratton Mountain, Vermont

Although the competition has since moved to Vail, Colorado, Stratton Mountain hosted the US Open Snowboarding Championships for 27 years. Prior to Stratton, the competition was held at Suicide Six and Snow Valley, meaning it lived in Vermont for a grand total of 30 seasons. These events certainly helped with snowboarding’s progression and shaped the path for future US Opens.

Credit: stillwellmike
Credit: stillwellmike

3. World Cup Skiing

Stratton, Vermont and Waterville Valley, New Hampshire

Prior to this year, the last time World Cup events were held on the East Coast was in 1991 at Waterville Valley Resort and, before that, in 1978 at Stratton Mountain. With this trend, hopefully we can look forward to seeing more slalom events close by in the future.

4. Big Air at Fenway

Boston, Massachusetts

In February 2016, Fenway Park was filled with some of the world’s best slopestyle skiers and snowboarders impressing the crowd with big air entertainment, all part of a U.S. Grand Prix and FIS World Cup touring event. Fans normally look forward to seeing the green baseball field, but for this occasion, it was all about the white snow.

5. U.S. Grand Prix

Killington Mountain, Vermont

Hosting the 2016 World Cup on November 26th and 27th, Killington Ski Resort has been the location for several famous past and present events. In more recent memory, the U.S. Grand Prix used the grounds in 2008 and again in 2009, while the Dew Tour and the Gatorade Free Flow Tour have also passed through. As Killington offers the largest ski area and a longer winter season, it’s no wonder this resort has been selected multiple times.


Six Ways to Break Even on Thanksgiving Dinner

The average American consumes somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 calories every regular day. But, on Thanksgiving Day? That’s a different story. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots, and more, all doused in a puddle of gravy, balloon the typical caloric intake to more than 4,500 on the holiday alone.

While most people doze off, dreaming of the leftovers they’ll eat, some of us might be interested in getting out to put all that food-energy to work, but breaking even might be a little harder than you think. To help, here are a few activities the average 150-pound male might have to do to burn off all that deliciousness:

Credit: Hannah Wohltmann
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann

1. Climb Mount Isolation after a snowstorm

Mount Isolation’s name speaks for itself, with 14.6 miles round-trip and no views until the summit, but a nine-hour trek in snowshoes, the day after a dumping, would just about compensate for a Thanksgiving filling, and you can cross it off your list of 48! Don’t forget your snowshoes and your cold-weather gear!

2. Bike from Boston to North Conway

A full meal calls for a full day of biking, and this 150-mile route is at least a simple, if not easy, way to burn off your dinner. Start your route at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, follow through Boston and into New Hampshire through various little towns, and finish at the base of the White Mountains in North Conway. This scenic route will leave you tired, but fully relieved of everything you ate.

Credit: Chris Bennett
Credit: Chris Bennett

3. Ski Tuckerman’s Ravine four times

All the way up, and all the way down, for 13 straight hours. Thousands travel to New Hampshire to break in ski season and head down the ravine, but you’ll have to work a little harder post-Thanksgiving. Start your hike at Pinkham Notch off of Route 16 and take the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail 3.6 miles until you reach the top of the bowl. Climb up, drop in, and then take the Sherburne Ski Trail, before you ski back down to the parking lot. For this to really burn off everything you consumed, you’ll have to repeat this path around three or four times, for a total of 13 hours of skinning and descending.

4. Run an ultra-marathon

Sure, this requires months and months of training, but for burning off all of those calories, this activity is perfect! 50 miles of straight running should about take care of it, but if you have any leftovers to snack on along the way, you might need to add a little extra distance.

5. Ice skate for 9.5 hours

If you live in an area with a lake frozen over by Thanksgiving, 9.5 hours of skating is always another option! This frozen fun can involve the whole family, as long as the ice is thick enough! If it turns into a hockey game, you’ll be able to drop an hour and a half of ice time.

6. Play 17 hours of table tennis

With the family home for the holidays, it can be a great time for game nights! If you’re looking for some friendly competition indoors or out, table tennis for 17 hours straight will burn those calories away! If you’re skilled enough to rally the ball the entire time, you could even set a world record!

 

Although some of these activities are out of reach for the average person, it’s always important to be aware of what goes into your body, and how you can stay healthy. Have a safe and happy holiday, and if you’re out exploring, don’t forget to tag your photos with #goEast for a chance to be featured!

How will you be burning off those 4,500 calories?


Getting Tuned Up for Ski Season

Ski conditions tend to appear overnight, so when the time comes to hit the slopes each winter, even the people who are the most devoted to sliding on snow find themselves woefully underprepared. To make sure everyone is good to go from the start, I spent an afternoon in Peterborough, New Hampshire, with EMS ski guru James McDonough. For nearly a decade, James has been behind the Peterborough shop’s ski bench, and he’s the company’s go-to guy for everything from the skinniest cross-country skis to today’s widest powder planks. In fact, he’s even got snowboards dialed in.

You did a summer tune, right?

In the Northeast, it feels like the ski season ends almost as quickly as it begins, and with the arrival of good weather, guys like James are psyched to get on their bikes and into their kayaks. But, savvy skiers know that, before retiring your sticks for the season, you should give them a good cleaning and a thick coat of wax to keep the bases from drying out over the summer.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

Ehhhh…The day the snow melted, my skis got buried behind my mountain bike

If you’re one of the few ski bums who did a summer tune, congratulations! All you need to do now is scrape the wax from your skis, buff, and polish them, and you’re good to go! If you didn’t, no worries—James has a five-step plan:

  1. Clean the bases: Think of this as a doctor washing his or her hands before surgery. Everything you do from here on happens on a clean slate.
  2. Base Repair: Did you hit a rock in the spring? Get a little too aggressive on a day that wasn’t quite deep enough? Now is the time to patch those holes!
  3. Sharpen your edges: James suggests buying a sharpener with angles for simple home tunes.
  4. Clean the bases again: As you sharpened your edges, you left tiny metal shavings on each base. Cleaning the base again removes those sinister shavings before the next step.
  5. Wax on, wax off: Iron a coat of wax onto your skis, wait for them to cool to room temperature, scrape the wax off, brush the base from tip to tail, and, finally, polish it off with a fiber pad.

Behind James’s ski bench, you’ll find a full set of SWIX ski tuning supplies—and, luckily for the home tuners out there, EMS.com and our ski stores carry a full assortment. Of course, if this sounds like a fair amount of work, you can always drop your skis off to James or any of our other great ski techs.

Now that your skis are all set, it’s time to check your boots and bindings

Since you have your skis out, it’s a good idea to give your bindings a once-over before you head to the mountains. Check them to make sure the mounting screws are tight, and click your boots into them to see that everything fits and is aligned correctly. As James pointed out to me, there is nothing worse than showing up for your first day, only to discover that something simple is wrong.

While your boots are out, put them on your feet, and see how they feel. If they’re not just right, it might be time to remold them. Over the years, James has breathed new life into old boots by simply “cooking” them more times than he can remember. If you’re doing this at home, don’t just toss your liners into the oven—make sure you follow the directions that come with your boots.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

Now for everything else?

According to James, going through all of your ski stuff is an easy way to ensure the best opening day possible. Dig out your helmet and goggles to give them an inspection. Does your helmet look worse for wear? Are your goggles scratched? It might be worth replacing them now. Also, do you know where your balaclava and gloves are? Do you have a supply of hand warmers? If you use adjustable poles, are they bent, or do they still adjust?

James is an old-school telemark skier and is the type of guy who brown-bags it to the mountain. He warns, “Don’t get stuck paying extra cash on the mountain for stuff you can buy beforehand. Go through everything you used last season, make sure it’s functional, and take care of any problems you find at home, where it’s easy and cheap.”

James reminds us that, “Although the temptation is to just dump all ski stuff into the back of the Subie and head for the mountains, spending a little time getting yourself ready can save you big dollars, lots of aggravation, and ensure your first day is a good day.” Because even though James has never had a bad day skiing, he’s pretty sure he has seen a few people who have.

Do you have any other tips to get ready for the season?


Guide's Picks: Choosing the Right Base Layers

For success in the outdoors, having a good base is one of the most important qualities to possess. Whether your focus is fitness, knowledge, or experience, you can’t expect to advance in your discipline or achieve big goals without having a solid foundation to build upon. Like everything else in the mountains, having the right base layer when it comes to dressing for the outdoors is also extremely important. Wearing the correct garments can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of your excursion and can influence the enjoyability of your day.


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Meet the Guide: Keith Moon! Originally from Minnesota, Keith relocated to New Hampshire in 2007 to work for the EMS Climbing School and has been there ever since. He’s an AMGA Certified Alpine Guide (one of only 170 in the US), AMGA Certified Rock Instructor, AIARE 3 Avalanche Certified, an AIARE 1 Avalanche Course Instructor, and Wilderness First Responder. Advice he has for those interested in giving climbing a try: “Give it a shot in a low risk setting. Like an indoor day or an outdoor intro type day. Most folks know right away if it is for them or not.” Three favorite pieces of gear that he can’t live without? “My first aid kit, some sort of shell jacket, and sunscreen/sunglasses. Oh, and my espresso machine, can’t live without that….” For more suggestions, visit his Guide’s Pick article on goEast where he talks base layers– Link in Story. Check back for more @emsguides features! | #goEast

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Guide: KEITH MOON

School: NORTH CONWAY

Specialty: ROCK CLIMBING, ICE CLIMBING, AND SKIING

To make sure everyone heading north to climb, ski, and hike with the EMS Climbing School in North Conway is layered appropriately, I spoke with EMS Climbing School manager Keith Moon to get his professional opinion on what he looks for, and how to match the right base layers with their most popular winter trips and classes.

Credit: Chris Bennett
Credit: Chris Bennett

Climbing Mount Washington?

One of the most popular trips the EMS Climbing School offers during the winter is a guided ascent of Mount Washington. While Mount Washington is famously known for having the world’s worst weather, many clients are surprised when Keith advises them to choose EMS’s lightweight base layer. Keith believes a good rule of thumb when picking out garments is, “The more you’re moving, the lighter the base layer,” and remarked that clients are often surprised how warm they can get on an ascent of Mount Washington, even on some of the coldest days of the year.

Whether taking the classic day trip up the Lion Head, climbing a gully in Huntington Ravine, or going on EMS’s popular overnight trip to the Mount Washington Observatory, clients can expect to move while carrying a pack, and that effort can generate a large amount of heat. In these situations, EMS lightweight base layers are perfect for providing just enough insulation while wicking moisture away to keep you cool, dry, and warm.

Credit: Chris Bennett
Credit: Chris Bennett

Dropping a backcountry line?

With backcountry skiing continuing to become more accessible and growing in popularity, American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) classes are filling faster than ever. Advanced and novice backcountry skiers alike enroll to learn more about snow, snow conditions, and traveling safely in ungroomed terrain. As the largest AIARE provider on the East Coast, the EMS Climbing School is very familiar with the conditions you’ll face during your course.

According to Keith, the sport’s stop-and-go nature and EMS’s AIARE classes are perfect for EMS’s do-everything mid-weight layer. During an AIARE class, you’ll find yourself working hard skinning and hiking up to ski-able terrain before stopping to assess snow conditions and waiting for your turn to ski a line. Shortly thereafter, you’ll be working hard again as you nab a classic backcountry descent. EMS mid-weight layers offer an excellent compromise of wicking and breathability with insulation, allowing you to remain warm without overheating.

Credit: Mark Meinrenken
Credit: Mark Meinrenken

Climbing a frozen waterfall?

While winter of ascents of Mount Washington and backcountry skiing are certainly fun, this is the EMS Climbing School, and in North Conway, they don’t let a little thing like winter put a damper on the fun. In fact, many of the EMS guides would argue this is the best time of year to climb! Whether it’s at Cathedral’s North End or on the iconic Frankenstein Cliff, the guides of the EMS Climbing School spend a good chunk of their winter guiding people up everything from the White Mountain’s largest ice falls to its smallest smears. Whether you’re tackling the moderate Trestle Slabs or the classic hard route Dracula, Keith says the EMS heavyweight base layer should be your garment of choice.

One of the main challenges of ice climbing is staying warm. Even though you will spend a fair amount of energy on the initial hike and the climbing itself can be physically demanding, a large portion of single-pitch ice climbing is spent waiting for others and belaying them while standing in what amounts to a freezer. According to Keith, the EMS heavyweight base layers provide just the right amount of warmth to keep you comfortable in this scenario, without overheating you on the approach—helping you stay warm, psyched, and sending!

The big takeaway from talking to Keith is that there is no one layer that does it all. Well-prepared outdoor people have several to choose from, allowing them to tailor their layering systems to both the conditions of the day and their activity of choice.

The other takeaway is that these are only suggestions and not rules. Finding the perfect combination is a constant quest that takes into consideration the garment’s breathability, wicking, dryness, and insulation while figuring in the sport, exertion level, weather, and conditions you can expect to face in the outdoors. What you can be sure of is that EMS base layers have got you covered, whether you’re climbing Mount Washington, skiing Tuckerman Ravine, or ice climbing at Frankenstein Cliff with the EMS Climbing School this winter.