Beast-ly Boys

Or, Why I love New England, Edition #419

Missy’s out of town for the weekend (Houston Marathon tomorrow morning, bib #3291), so the boys and I are trying our best not to burn down the house.

Figuring out that it’s probably easiest NOT to burn down the house if we’re not in it, we headed up IH-91 to Berkshire East for a little bit of sliding downhill. Y’know, the “Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn” type. And to FINALLY get the boys into ski school so I can stop feeling guilty about their not skiing as small kids.

When we got up to the hill, I told the boys that they may never have a nicer day on which to learn. Temps were in the mid-30’s, sunny, no wind, absolutely great packed powder, without the solid ice base that New England packed powder usually entails. Man, it was nice.

I dropped them off for an AM class, and jumped on the lift. Hadn’t skied in about 10 years (Don’t think I went the year Jake was born, and haven’t been downhill since), and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the muscle memory came back. I did a couple of runs on the big, wide green slope, and then a couple of runs down some intermediate blues.

Berkshire East really strikes me as a skier’s mountain. The last time I was up there, probably 11 years ago, there wasn’t a green trail from the top of the chair lift all the way to the bottom of the mountain. At some point, you ended up on a trail that was rated blue. It was a mild blue, but a blue nontheless. This time, without removing or taming any of the existing blues, they’d added a great winding trail along the back side of the mountain.

They’d also added a double chair on the bunny slope, doing away with the rope tow, an even easier bunny hill with a moving carpet lift, and a whole new side of the mountain with a quad lift. The added area was great – the only lift we really had to wait for on the Saturday of a holiday weekend was the bunny lift.

After the kids’ lesson was over, we grabbed lunch, and I got to ski with them the rest of the day. What a treat to watch them learning. The instruction must have been pretty good – after the lesson they could both pretty reliably snowplow and get on and off the lift. Nate (age 5) had a tough time getting on the lift, mostly because it was hitting him in the middle of the back. But he could get off like a champ.

And the boys really surprised me. Jake’s usually a little wilder and rambunctious, and Nate’s usually thoughtful and reserved, so I figured those personalities would come out on the slopes. Turns out my expectations were inverted. Nate turns out to have my addiction to speed – all he wanted to do was point his skis downhill and let ‘er rip. Jake, on the other hand, was initially paralyzed the first time he was faced with a lip off of a jeep trail onto a slope. After a little pep talk and a couple of falls, though, he made up his mind that he was going to be in control, and started being very deliberate, and ended up figuring the control bit out really well by the end of the day.

I cannot wait to head back up, probably in February if I either a) Get the taxes done, or b) get much better about taking my lunch to work, saving $6/day on food. I’m pretty confident that the boys will be decent skiers, and they’re both pretty eager to get back. And, man, was it fun.

One thought on “Beast-ly Boys”

  1. Nice! The Beast is a great little mountain – I think your calling it a “skier’s mountain” is spot-on, as they really focus on the quality of skiing. It’s a fave of mine, and holds up well against the bigger resorts in VT, NH and ME.

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