Welcome to the Glades of Glory Blog!
By: Andrew Bowden 2017
For as long as I can remember, I’ve really enjoyed traveling. There’s so much to explore and mentally capture in the world aside from where you come from. Aside from being a pastime, traveling can also be very therapeutic. Taking a vacation is therapeutic in its own, getting away from home and momentarily forgetting about real-world stress.
My first spring break in college brought me to Killington, Vermont on a ski trip with a couple of my long-time friends. One of which plays semi-pro hockey in Charlotte, North Carolina; and the other goes to Kings. For those who don’t know, the mountains of Vermont entail some of the most difficult slopes in the country. Prior to skiing this season, I had never done it before in my life. After a few runs down the bunny slope, or beginner slope, I was going down the most difficult slopes in NEPA. My friend and instructor told me that he’d never seen anyone pick it up as quickly as I did. I became an above-average skier very quickly and skiing then became one of my favorite hobbies. I appreciate an opportunity to leave the cell-phone at home and participate in a pastime that is exhilarating and incorporates the God-given playground of snow-packed slopes. It’s nice to forget about the world outside of the mountain, and merely focus on the hill that you’re sliding down full-speed on your own two feet. After a few falls into piles of snow and trips to Montage Mountain, I wanted more difficulty. I have a few friends who take yearly trips to Vermont to ski, and they always told me how thrilling and breathtaking the mountains of Vermont are. My friend Skyler’s mother has a house on Mount Okemo. After she asked Sky and I to come visit over spring break, the idea of making it a ski trip was birthed. Sky and I asked Earl if he wanted to come ski the rural slopes with us, and being that he’d been there numerous times, he jumped on the opportunity. In his words, it was something he couldn’t miss out on.
We left at zero-dark-thirty Saturday morning, around 5 am and made great timing for a full day of skiing. In Vermont, the resorts close at 4 pm because of how quickly the temperature drops. We were far too ecstatic to make the trip and not be able to ski the minute we arrived at the resort. When I laid eyes on the mountain, my jaw dropped. I had never seen anything like it. The number of slopes and how steep they were from afar was a bit overwhelming, yet welcoming. It was beautiful; the biggest mountain I had ever seen, layered in the whitest snow. Surrounded by both bigger and smaller mountains, also layered in the purest, whitest snow. Nearly atop the mountain, you could see the ski lifts, or gandalas ascend through the clouds further up the mountain. The geography was truly breathtaking, and Ludlow, Vermont instantly became one of my favorite places before I even clicked into my skis.
Our first day of skiing brought me thrills and views that I had never imagined were possible. Taking the ski lift all the way to the very top of the mountain and taking in the view from the highest point in VT was unexplainable. It cleared my mind, and focused my mindset on both the breathtaking view, and the 25 minutes of unmatchable fun I would have descending through the clouds from nearly 5,000 ft. I feel that it’s something every nature-lover and adrenaline junkie should endure. I skid down a steep slope through the clouds, down from the highest point in Vermont. Not many skiers that I know can say that. Pictures do not nearly do justice; and surely don’t deliver the feeling of accomplishment and pure adrenaline combined with emotion. I crushed almost all the slopes on the mountains that we visited, even the expert and professional terrain. Heading to Vermont, I had skid nine times. In a brief interview that I had with Earl, he explained to me that he knows people who have been skiing for years and are too frightened to push the limits and visit Mount Killington.
The abilities I’d quickly developed gave me a huge confidence boost and made me forget about all my stress. The experience cleared my mind. The trip cost an unholy amount of money, but it was worth every penny. As excited as I was for the trip, it blew out my expectations. A fellow skier friend of mine, Aaron Wrobleski, takes yearly travels to Vermont to ski with his entire family, grandfather and all. He always told me when he got back that I would love Vermont. He told me that the views and skiing opportunities given there are spectacular, and I’ll never experience something like it. After I came back from Vermont, I was still hyped up, and in the best mood I had been in since graduating high school. The trip got me addicted to skiing, and nestled Vermont a spot in my all-time favorite places just like Aaron said it would. I asked Aaron how he knew that I would fall in love with Vermont after I went up one ski lift. His answer was that he knows I enjoy thrills and adventure, and he also knows how enlightening I think nature’s aesthetics are, and that they have a big impact on me. I guess you could say he knows me well, he and I have been friends since grade school.
Needless to say, I’ll be back to Mount Killington next spring break. It’s now a “yearly thing” for my friends and I. Speaking to Skyler’s mom, I asked her if we could come back next spring break, and she insisted that we come up and stay with her whenever we want to. The trip to Vermont cleared my mind of stress and filled the void with good vibes and fascinating views. There was something very decompressing about the whole trip. Preparing me for the remainder of my first year in college, and my next bundle of stress to relieve when the semester meets its end.