Stowe Earns My Respect

It was Martin Luther King Day, 2006, when I skied down an icy patch at Stowe, only to turn awkwardly and hear my ACL snap. The conditions had been horrible, raining all morning but I wanted to ski Upper Lord, one of the oldest runs on the mountain that swoops down along the ridgeline from the top of Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield. Since that time, I have been back to Stowe on several occasions with the kids but always stuck to the fairly easy trails on neighboring Spruce Peak. This past weekend, blessed with an excellent instructor, Mike Beagan, and a dusting of six inches of snow, I conquered my fears. Beagan started off on a couple easy blues like Ridge View and Sunrise, going off trail to ski through the trees. Feeling comfortable, we then did a couple jumps on the terrain park at Tyro. Then we hit Upper Lord. It was icy up top and I was feeling nervous, but I think the joy of skiing with my son, Jake, an excellent skier, and under the steady guidance of Beagan, who’s been teaching at Stowe for 15 years, I carved those turns and felt comfortable. Comfortable enough to take the gondola up to the top and ski Perry Merrill, one of my all time favorite New England trails, twice. That afternoon, I earned my apres-ski pint of Switchback ale at the Stowe Mountain Lodge. I had finally overcome my anxiety and relished the fact that I could ski this classic mountain once again.