I want to get things on the table first regarding this past 2008 Stratton Vt demo. I was way more excited this year to attend than last year. I was excited to be riding with the crew at Okemo for the first time. I was excited to have a board that was not of pitiful length to ride in Vermont. (Last year I took my short board that I ride at Ski Roundtop - elev. of 640ft. not wise to do at a resort with over double the elevation of Roundtop.) I was not excited to drive my car to Vt. While it was at the dealership for routine service 2 days before leaving, it was diagnosed with failing valve cover gaskets (knew that) and failing head gaskets (been waiting for that. More on the car repair as things unfold from the repair shop.)
Joey was my co-pilot for Sunday; day one of the Vt Demo. He has been in the shop for a couple of years tuning and twin tipping. The goal was to get the Subaru to Vermont without puking all of my engine coolant onto the highway. 65mph and no faster. I grabbed a bottle of coolant at Pep-Boys to have on hand just in case things started to deteriorate while on the road.
We made it to Vermont with out a break down. Our first stop for food that evening was the Man of Kent tavern in Hoosick, NY. The Super Bowl was on, food was consumed along with a few pints.
Some of my boarders that help out during the winter months. (l-r)Chandler, Neil and Ivory. Thanks guys for all of your support this winter!
(l-r) Jason, Kandice, Neil, Ivory, Joey, Josh, Melissa and Chandler.
After a continental breakfast that the motel, we rolled out to Okemo. Most of the morning was blue bird and in the low 30s. Beautiful weather and the snow conditions were great too. This was my first time riding at Okemo. I really liked the flow of the trails; lots of rollers and winding switchbacks. I would definitely return again to shred some snow in the future.
This is the same house we stayed at last year. I can't say enough about how cool it is. The main floor has radiant heading so comfort is an understatement while visiting.
Tuesday we awoke to rain, more like annoying spray bottle mist with visibility around 10 yards at best. I didn't have a Gore-Tex jacket, only my new Salomon Jacket and a softshell with lots of baselayers and midlayers to back things up. I wore the puffy the first hour since that had the best water proof rating and the final 2 hours wore the softshell with the fleece vest as a mid layer and my baselayer to end things. I was surprisingly warm with the softshell combo. I was dry underneath which made the poor visibility tolerable until lunch. I went in to eat around 1130 and called it a day.
Blake shows me his mid layering piece. Only the best from Mr. Chilson is expected.
Volkl Skis held their annual party at the Grizzly Bar at Stratton. Free pizza, wings and a nice Volkl Pilsner glass with 2 free drink tickets. Above is Ivory getting down as the band played.
Me, Josh and Blake hanging, drinking, reflecting and planning on the bike season to come.
My M&Ms. Miriam and Melissa. Miriam is my Scott rep and Melissa is my saving grace and always has my back while at the shop. And Josh's wife too!
Jenn and Betsy, shop chicks on Volkl sticks. Well, close enough for Jen as she is on K2s. Don't even think of carding these ladies in Vermont, hell hath no fury for a woman scorn...
Wednesday, day two of the Stratton demo. More rain. It was to the point that I wasn't going to have a go at it. I planned on leaving for home by 3pm and decided to walk around the resort, inside, visiting the boot companies, saying hey to my reps and wondering if the Mid-Atlantic is ever going to have a normal winter.
I rode a few boards on Tuesday. The boards we ride are the next season's goods. I base my ordering on the test rides that are administered to the equipment. I am starting to show my age when I say this; pushing the rant button....now!...
Board reps - no matter how much your local boys rip, train them on the product. Train them on how to set up you gear. In the past 15 years attending the demo, there has been a slide downward within the last 4 years with the manu's on manning the tech tables with competent carbon lifeforms that are to mount my bindings as I request. For whatever excuse, check into it, ok?
Board manufacturers - I realize that the park craze isn't going away anytime soon but if you are big enough to advertise in the first 10 pages of any major snowboarding publication, how about making a few more boards over the length of 163cm? There are plenty of dudes like me in the USA that are at least 6'5" that don't want to be stuck riding some boring freeride deck in the Mid-Atlantic region. A freestyle board in a 168 that isn't stiffer than a high school guy on prom night would be nice for a change.
That being said, I packed up my gear and headed off to southern Pa with Jason. He and I shared some great conversations about the industry and the shop and the rally race to come in June. Jason has been going to the Susquehanna Performance Rally with me and looks forward to it every year. He is one heck of a boarder and still to this date don't know if he is goofy or regular footed. He is that good riding both directions on and over everything!
Steady as she goes. I had spent more time watching the temperature gauge on the way up and back on the trip, than the speedometer. We stopped at a rest stop halfway home to check the coolant. Lets just say that bubbles and an oil gray hue is NOT the color you want in your puke bottle. I have been waiting for the heads to fail as all Subaru 2.5l from 1996-2000 have prematurely failed out there. My motor has made it to 157k before the diagnosis came in. I hope to get it into the shop by the end of next week. The leak is external now. I just pray that the block isn't cracked. Hmm, maybe I can find a WRX lump and tranny on Ebay?
A snack for the road. I love this traction mat that I got at the 24hrs of Seven Springs last August. Subaru was a sponsor that weekend handing out some nice swag.
Jason and I thought it was funny that I carried his grill on top all the time up north. We grilled in the parking lot at Okemo. It's was covered with snow for most of the day, Tuesday.
The Subie made it home without shutting down. Another demo in the can. Thanks to all the crew that has helped out 110% through this topsy turvy winter. Snow will come some year, right?
I'll update the car's conditions as things unfold. Only because there seems to be a truck load of stories out there regarding Subaru head failure that I feel compelled to add to it all.