Posts in Featured Outdoors
Raising a Ripper

"Raising a Ripper"
4241' | 2017/2018

When I was in high school, my English teacher asked our class to write our own shorter ver- sion of Walden, Henry David Thoreau’s ac- count of decamping to a rustic cabin on Mas-
sachusetts’s Walden Pond. My essay was called “Rutland,” and I lled it with overly serious ruminations on living in the shadow of Killington Peak. That mountain, a four-hour drive from my home in New Jersey, meant a lot to me. My parents started taking me skiing there when I was seven or eight, and it’s where the act of sliding on snow grafted itself into my very own DNA. I was a skier, and Killington was my mountain.
FAST-FORWARD about 25 years. I now live in Woodstock, Vt. with my wife and three kids. Killington, for me, is still that magical place it was when I was a teenager. So, in the fall of
2016, when my six-year-old son, Brian, said he wanted to learn how to ski, I could think of no better place to introduce him to the sport. The terrain feels limitless—especially to a kid—and the snowmaking and grooming guarantee good conditions in virtually any weather. Plus, children under seven years old ski for free at Killington and Pico, making it affordable to get lots of time on the snow and make consistent progress.
THE WINTER OF 2016-17 threw every kind of weather at the mountain, and we skied through it all. We logged 17 days to- gether, and Brian is now completely infatuated with skiing. I kept a journal of our adventures. Here are the highlights from a season well spent.
raising a ripper
"Backcountry Powder Touring and Skinny Ski Lung Busting in the Green Mountain State"

"Backcountry Powder Touring and Skinny Ski Lung Busting in the Green Mountain State"
Mountain Magazine | Deep Winter 2018

When the snow is piling up, I head for the backcountry skiing zones in Brandon and Braintree created and managed by RASTA, the Rochester/Randolph Area Sports Trails Alliance. For a few years now, RASTA and its many volunteers have worked with the Green Mountain National Forest (in Brandon) and private landowners (in Braintree) to carve fall-line runs out of the woods on high-elevation, north-facing mountains. Each RASTA zone has ample public parking, a kiosk with a map, and clearly marked skin tracks and runs—a notable departure from Vermont’s secret glades and bushwhacking epics.
"Build Your Own Skis with Lars Whitman"

"Build Your Own Skis with Lars Whitman"
Seven Days | November 15, 2017

On day two, we layed up the skis with epoxy and fiberglass and set them in a jig that creates the camber, or spring. In the afternoon, we put the skis in vacuum-sealed plastic bags and placed them in the oven — a long, insulated compartment equipped with a space heater on a timer.

By noon on the third day, we had trimmed the excess material from the sides, filed the edges so they lay flat against the bases, and belt-sanded the tips and tails so they were smooth and symmetrical. I headed home around 12:30 p.m. with new skis in my car. They have a lustrous eucalyptus topsheet etched with my initials. I don’t know how all skis are made, but I know how these were.
"Heating Up"

"Heating Up"
Vermont Life | Autumn 2017

For foresters and the working landscape, wood pellets offer an opportunity to recover lost ground. Over the past 20 years, numerous paper mills in New York and New England have closed due to reduced paper use, recycling and the globalization of paper production. The trend eliminated most of the market for pulp wood. When a pulp mill in Berlin, New Hampshire, closed in 2006, it stopped processing more than 1 million tons of wood per year.
"Rasputitsa Season in the Northeast Kingdom"

"Rasputitsa Season in the Northeast Kingdom"
Mountain Magazine
April 25, 2016

After about 40 minutes, the climb pushed me back in the pack and I found myself in a group of six riders 30 seconds behind the lead group of four. We climbed through a notch on the northern shoulder of Burke Mountain, and descended into the remote town of Gallup Mills. Out there, the terrain changed from wooded hills and farms to a lone dirt road through a massive bog. My group traded pulls in a quick pace line and nearly caught the leaders at Victory Road, but then the road tilted up again and it was every man for himself. Soon after, I hit the most famous section of the course, Cyberia, a two-mile Jeep road that’s usually impassable during mud season. This time it was rideable all the way through, albeit with menacing, partially frozen 12-inch-deep ruts on the descent.