Fresh Powder and New Friends in Okemo Valley

It was a few weeks ago when I drove four hours north to Burlington, Vermont. I decided to take the weekend and explore the state a little further. As I made my way south, I opted to stop in Ludlow. My destination: Okemo Mountain. Now keep in mind that I have not stepped foot on my snowboard in three years. This plan was completely unnecessary, but ever since the trail I’ve understood how important it is to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Not only would I need to hone in on my coordination and balance once again, but I was about to venture on that road alone.

By the time I arrived to the mountain, it was noon. I sat in my car as I thought of a million excuses as to why I should just go grab lunch instead of following through on my ridiculous plan. I forced myself through the motions of dressing myself in my cold weather gear. As I slid my board out of its bag, I noticed one of my bindings was cracked. There it was, the final excuse I needed to bail. After talking to myself for a good five minutes, I picked up my board and wobbled in my seventh grade snowboard boots over to the repair shop. Ten minutes and ten dollars later, my binding was fixed. I was out of excuses.

I felt like such a coward. I rode the chairlift and imagined falling on my face at the top of the mountain, one foot attached to the snowboard, the other flailing as I toppled. But that only occurred in my imagination. It was like they say with riding a bicycle. I was ecstatic to learn that I didn’t lose my skill. A few runs down the easy trails and my confidence skyrocketed. Granted, I wasn’t flying down the black diamonds, but this felt like a sufficient step for me. I finally took the lift up to the top of the mountain and took my time winding down one of the longer runs. I enjoyed the view and silence I was granted every so often. The day picked up though and before I  knew it, there were hundreds of visitors on the slopes. It was at this point that I realized how comfortable I felt on the board once again, but only when I wasn’t in a crowd of people zooming down the mountain.

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I was proud of myself, but also exhausted. I checked in to Homestyle Hostel in downtown Ludlow and quickly befriended a brother and sister in town from Long Island. They were kind enough to invite me to join them for a drink and dinner later that evening. I drifted off to sleep on my assigned top bunk and it reminded me of the post-sunshine nap I would often take on all of those cruises years ago with my family. The restaurant at the hostel had a lengthy wait time, so we decided to check out Goodman’s American Pie down the road for a drink. I had the chance of trying another local IPA, so I was in my happy place.

Dinner proved well worth the wait. The three of us chose our favorites and shared dinner family style. I indulged in a mixed drink made with carrot juice and I wasn’t disappointed. After dinner, we called it an early night. I slept wonderfully, then helped myself to the yogurt and homemade granola left out in the kitchen in the morning. My ride home was longer than expected due to the storm system traveling through New England that Sunday, but regardless of the perilous conditions I sang to three hours worth of music with a big smile on my face.

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