5 Reasons Why the Ski Community is Awesome

After finishing my first season working in the ski industry and becoming a part of a community of skiers and riders, I have been thinking a lot about what makes this group of people so special. Then during our Community Clean-Up Day and BBQ it all became very clear. Here are just some examples of why the ski community is so seriously, ridiculously, high-fives-all-around awesome!

Clean-up day brought hikers back to the slopes on June 3rd.

1. They really, really love their slopes... 

While for some people winter is long over, a skier's love for the mountains isn't limited to when there is snow on the ground. Whether loyal to the same trails they learned on or always checking out somewhere new, summertime skiers can be found hiking, camping, or biking their favorite trails, counting the days until flakes start to fall. So when given the opportunity to give back or just get out on the slopes, we knew who to count on. By popular demand we opened clean-up day to the public for the second time and I was amazed but not surprised to see the amount of enthusiasm from the community. Families excitedly claimed their favorite trails and competed to fill the most trash bags, well exceeding the one-bag requirement earning them a free lunch. While it can be discouraging to see people litter on your favorite hill, you can bet that there are many more people in the skiing community that care enough to come back after the snow melts and help keep our trails beautiful year after year. To all those people, all I can say is thank you!

Clouds at the summit didn't blanket any enthusiasm from this happy group.

2. They know how to have a good time.

The ski industry is one of the most weather-obsessed groups of people on the planet. We all dream of the perfect powder day. We've all kicked ourselves for leaving that extra layer at home. But when it comes down to having a fun day on the slopes, some things are just a bit more important. On Saturday we saw the weather change from sunshine to mist to drizzle and then back to gorgeous sun, and that was all before lunch. But these smiling faces persisted. Garbage bags were re-purposed as ponchos, sneakers were traded for boots, and the sunshine was celebrated even more when it finally appeared. It turns out that as important as the conditions or weather are, they aren't the most important factor when it comes to having a fun day with your family and friends.

Rave reviews followed this 12-hour slow roasted pulled pork served with all the fixings.

3. They take their après as seriously as their skiing.

Sometimes a little incentive goes a long way on the hill. Some days the only reason to take one more frigid ride to the summit is the steaming hot bowl of chili at the Schwendi Hutte. I know the only thing that makes me push a little harder through burning, tired legs is the thought of a gigantic burger and a cold one waiting for me at the bottom. It is no surprise then that the origins of the Clean-Up Day Pig Roast started as a simple BBQ to encourage our staff. It will also not come as a surprise that once word spread there were a lot of people willing to pitch in just to stay for the après-work food and fun. So how did a simple day of work and a free lunch turn into a 12-hour Pig Roast? Well, when you get a bunch of skiers together it turns into a party pretty quick. Upper management got together at 1:30am to start roasting a pig, the maintenance crew worked hard for weeks to get lifts running, and staff brought lawn games, music, kegs of cold beer, and tons of food. Inspired by all of the long-running summer food festivals in Town Square, this new tradition was complete with a whole pig worth of slow roasted pulled pork, burgers, sausages, beans, stuffing, homemade BBQ sauce, coleslaw, and salad, plus plenty of brews, lawn games, and music. When it comes to après festivities, you're going to want an invite from this crowd. 

Molly, one of many furry volunteers, provides moral support to hikers on the home stretch.

4. Everyone has dogs. They bring them to everything. They are all adorable.

This is Molly. She is a very good girl who kept morale high on the last stretch down with full, heavy trash bags. One of my favorite things about this community is that everyone is welcome, even our furriest family members. Especially in summertime, the slopes and Town Square are bustling every weekend with activities and events. I love that man's best friend can spend time with the family, meet new people (and dogs), and spend time outside. Whether it is hiking up Mt. Tecumseh or just strolling around Town Square, our good times can be measured in tail wags.

President and General Manager Tim Smith and his 6-year-old son pick up trash under the Northside lift.

5. They help each other out.

Whether you are the Resort's top dog or just 6 years-old, everybody is expected to lend a hand. I couldn't even get out of clean-up duty between snapping pictures, and with this crowd I wouldn't dare. Whether it is helping up a fallen stranger, lending a hand to a lift neighbor, or teaching your kids about pitching in, spending time on the slopes is a lesson in humility. Speaking as a former city-dweller, the ski community not only teaches our young people to help each other out, it encourages everyone to engage, work hard, and give back. The sheer number of kids participating in clean-up day shows how the culture of this community is able to perpetuate through generations and shared by legends and newcomers alike. 

A lost glove reappears after the snow melts

If I have learnt anything in the past few months it is that the skiing and riding community is comprised of a unique, passionate, fun, and hungry group of people. I am grateful to be getting to know more and more of you every time I hit the slopes, whether it be to ski, hike, pet your dog, or over a game of polish horseshoes or cornhole. There will be many more days like this to keep us distracted until November.

See you on the slopes!


Are You Suffering From Winter Withdrawal? [VIDEO]

Are you, or someone you love, suffering from Winter Withdrawal? Symptoms include avoiding mowing the lush, green lawn, cursing at chirping birds, and attempting to ski that last tiny patch of snow like it's a powder day.

Do you know someone who refuses to admit that it is basically summer already? Yeah... we do too.  

[WARNING: Do not attempt to approach skiers in the wild suffering from winter withdrawal. Our videographer is a professional with years of experience tracking and safely recording the summer skier in its natural habitat. Penguin slides can be extremely dangerous and should not be attempted at home.]

We know that was hard to watch. Here are a few simple steps that might help you beat your end-of-season blues:

Step 1: Get Closure

Finding closure begins with acknowledging the absolutely rad and epic winter we just experienced. Ski Magazine's Best Resorts of 2018 poll is the perfect outlet for your rants, raves, and reflections. Or rail on Transworld's Park Poll 2018.  Either way you could win brand new skis and boards! What better way to help you transition to step 2...

Step 2: Look Ahead

Looking to the future is key but focusing on the long summer standing between you and your next powder day could send anyone into a downward spiral. Break things down into manageable goals. You'll feel like you're moving forward and it will make the time pass faster. Start by taking advantage of season pass sales now. Grab your White Mountain Superpass before May 31st to save $100 and have access to four of New Hampshire's leading resorts next season. Saving a few extra bucks and checking something off your to-do list is definitely a win, which you could probably use right about now.

Step 3: Find Distractions

Blasting the a/c, trolling ski forums, and developing a mild case of heliophobia is not a long-term solution this summer and your friends and family are getting worried. Instead, try healthier distractions. You don't have to say goodbye to your favorite mountain as soon as the snow melts. Our summer is stocked with plenty of food, brews, music, and more to ease the pain, keep you on the slopes, and stay in shape in your off season. You can even help with next season prep! Join like-minded skiers and riders for Community Clean-Up Day & Pig Roast on June 3rd. 

Step 4: Help a Friend

Know somebody that might be suffering from Winter Withdrawal? Try broaching the subject gently and from the safety of your computer or device by sharing this article.

Top 10 Photos of Winter 2016/17

Hey everyone! This is Will Zimicki, reflecting on some of my favorite photos from throughout the 2016/17 Season. This year was beautiful, and I appreciate Mother Nature for supplying some incredible conditions in which to shoot. But behind every photo, there is always a story:  

 Flying Through the Glades

Flying Through the Glades

This guy was FAST. From the five or six photos taken throughout the day, his mouth was wide open in just about all of them. Primarily, I think he kept it open to send out frequent whoops of joy; it was just easier that way. The glades were alive with the sounds of pure happiness.

 Corduroy Morning

Corduroy Morning

Here’s my one semi-pretentious artistic photo on the list. A minimalist study of diagonals, with just the hint of a lift shadow entering the photo on the right to bring the viewer back to reality. Days like this make me wonder if it’s worth it to disturb the perfection of pristine corduroy. But instinct always gets the upper hand; corduroy needs to be carved.

 Springtime Powder

Springtime Powder

Nick Benedix: the face of spring skiing. When Nick isn’t skinning up one of the White Mountains, it’s a safe bet he’s shredding Waterville on his teles. He likes to color-coordinate with the sky, which I applaud for photography purposes. 

 Buckets of Warmth

Buckets of Warmth

This is the first “really warm” day out on Bucket’s deck with some great people. The crowds came out of hibernation for this one, and the sun’s rays are almost tangible. After a few months of cold and snow, who can blame us New Englanders for pretending to be tropical on a 50° day? 

 Lyon at the REV Tour

Lyon at the REV Tour

Lyon Farrell, the 18 year old from Hawaii, feeling not so tropical on the first day of practice for the 2017 REV Tour. It was a beautiful thing, having the top freeskiers and snowboarders from around the world grace Waterville Parks. I hope the trend continues. 

 Leah in Her Element

Leah in Her Element

Not to be outdone by mountain events, nordic skiing was amazing this year. Plenty of snow, perfect grooming, and some nice sunny days. This was taken at one of my favorite spots along the trail system: where the two bridges cross Mad River and the trail makes its way up Inner Mad River. Thanks to our Adventure Center Director Leah Elliot for some excellent modeling. 

 That's Good Aprés

That's Good Aprés

Apres Ski nachos at T-Bars anyone? This is another one of those photos that bring back some good memories. Best part of taking food photos... ...someone has to eat it after.

 Waterville Seasonal Parade

Waterville Seasonal Parade

This is a line of cuteness, also known as the end of the year “Seasonal Parade.” The tradition features every member of the Waterville Seasonal Program skiing and riding in single file under White Peaks Quad, making their official pilgrimage from one year to the next. I tried to get as low as I could to capture what it was like to be a kid within the parade. With my eye looking through the view-finder, I’m just glad I made it down without running into any of the kids.

 Sun and Skiing with the Smiths

Sun and Skiing with the Smiths

My GM is cooler than your GM. No, but really, he is. This is our GM Tim Smith and his wife Katie, both fantastic skiers. They are fully immersed in the multiple facets of snow-riding (as a broad term), and it’s comforting to know the resort is being run by those who understand the joys of skiing. 

 Early Season Snow

Early Season Snow

Not the most stunning of photos, but it’s more the time and place that makes the photo special. A few days before the lifts officially opened, I hiked up during an early season flurry. Excitement was building. Trees were glazed with a fresh coating of snow. The photo captures a feeling that every skier or rider experiences but can't fully explain. I'm already excited for the 2017/18 season to come around so we can do it all over again.   

Cheers, WZ

And remember, use #wvresort to tag your favorite pictures taken at Waterville Valley Resort!