Monday, February 25, 2013

The O’Donnell’s spent the Presidents Holiday break skiing in Utah. We picked the kids up after school on Tuesday the 12th and caught the 5:30pm Delta non-stop flight from Newark to Salt Lake City.  Spent the night at the airport Spring Hills Suites.  On Wednesday Linda and I spent the day cruising the main trails at Solitude while the kids explored the two side canyons.  The infrastructure, layout, and snow were good but the mountain had no pizzazz.  Not worth a repeat visit. 

At the end of the day we drove to Ogden Valley and checked into our Moose Hollow condo in the Wolf Creek Resort. Powder Mountain is at one end of the valley and Snowbasin at the other end. Unfortunately neither has any real onslope accommodations. Powder Mountain has a couple of overpriced condos and a time share resort which are in need of major upgrades. The Wolf Creek Resort is really the only option. The resort has older economy priced condos to luxury homes with private hot tubs, game rooms and multimedia rooms. We stayed in a mid-priced 3 bedroom, 3 & ½ bath condo with flat screen TVs, washer/dryer, fully equipped kitchen and gas fireplace for $250 a night. Snowbasin is a ½ hour drive from the resort on ‘all weather’ roads. Powder Mountain is a 15 minute drive up a steep canyon road similar to RT 17 over the gap. There is shuttle service to both ski resorts but I found renting an AWD car worth the money. Rented a Chevy Suburban from Enterprise for $465 a week.

This was our fifth trip to the Ogden Valley and in the past we always spent the last day skiing Snowbasin. It is closer to the airport, has impressive day lodges, great food, high tech lifts, & good snow. It is a large mountain with a variety of terrain and worth a visit or two but this year we skied all five days at Powder Mountain. 

Powder Mountain is the Mad River Glen of the west. It a rustic layback place and it is huge, 4,700 inbound acres. I paid $55 for adult lift tickets using readily available discounts and $35 for Kat’s Jr. (12 & under) ticket. Lunch consisted of over cooked and overpriced cheese burgers or pizza eaten at communal tables. The pizza was freshly made in a real pizza oven and very good. A huge piece of thin crust pizza (almost a quarter of a pie) cost $4. Best deal on the mountain.

 Powder Mountain is a top down resort where you ski down from the lodge/parking lot to the main lifts. The Timberline triple serves a bowl with a variety of terrain including cruisers, steep chutes, low end expert tree shots and some wide open nicely pitched bump runs. I spent several afternoons exploring and enjoying this area. The Paradise fixed quad provides access to truly expert terrain down all four sides of a ridge. I’m talking cliffs, rocks, tight trees, hold on for dear life steep terrain. The Hidden Lake detachable quad serves a huge area which has terrain for all levels of skiers and tastes. At the top of Hidden Lake the Sunrise surface lift provides access to Cobabe Canyon. This is the place to go if you like to explore. It has terrain for everybody and powder can be found long after the rest of the mountain is skied off. The area sees little use because of its limited lift capacity and remoteness. The Sundown double serves a satellite area that is primarily used for night skiing and as a beginners area. But it is worth exploring because of several fun intermediate/low end expert runs.

Now it’s time to talk about the non-lift served areas. ‘Powder Country’ is basically the back side of the resort and can be enter through avalanche gates from the top of the Hidden Lake or Sundown lifts. The terrain from the Hidden Lake lift is mostly steep tree skiing. The Sundown lift provides access to open bowls, snow fields, ridges and gullies. From either you end up on the access road where a shuttle bus takes you back to the base lodge. At the top of the Sundown lift a snow cat takes you up Lighting Ridge for $18 per ride. From the top of Lighting Ridge the options are limited only by how far you are willing to hike or traverse. Powder Country and Lighting Ridge are wonderful but they are for top skiers or those who are very adventuresome.

Utah has snow but it is not an epic year. All the terrain at Power Mountain was open but it was showing wear & it did not snow while we were there. I got beat up in Powder County trying to plow though the mounds of heavy snow & I did not attempt Lighting Ridge this year. But the kids had no trouble with the snow and skied all over the mountain. In fact I hired them a guide for two days so they could explore the more remote peaks. The snow in the trees was great and the popular lines down the open bowels skied well. The cruisers were groomed to perfection and were a delight to ski. 

Lift lines were nonexistence. There were always empty chairs on the Paridise & Timberline lifts. By the afternoon there was a short delay at the Hidden Lake quad while people got organized into groups of four. The longest we waited was five minutes at the Cobabe Canyon surface lift.

Late in the week we meet a family from Maine & enjoyed skiing with them. The kids went off to explore the expert stuff while the men skied the more difficult lines just off the cruisers meeting up with the ladies who were enjoy the cruisers.

We drove into Salt Lake City one evening for dinner and to watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearse. I highly recommend visiting the city one evening. The choir is great and the city is fun to explore. Everyone recommended Carlos and Harley’s Fresh Mex Cantina in the valley but the night we went for dinner there was an hour plus wait so we ate at Harley & Buck’s. It was a bit expensive but I enjoyed my prime rib, Kat likedDo her salmon and Linda said her sea bass was good. Kevin fell asleep eating his burger.

Spent the last night at the airport Spring Hills Suites and caught an 8:30am flight back to Newark on the 19th. Had to change planes in Detroit and were delayed an hour and half because of delays in Newark. Finally arrived back at the house safe and sound at 9pm.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Magical VT Holiday Experience - by Noam Shoshan

T’was the night before Christmas and me, my wife Karen, and three children, Evan 12, Hannah 10 and Olivia 9, were glory bound to meet our friends at the White Plains Ski Club located at the base of Mad River Glen (our favorite ski destination), in Waitsfield for a Christmas ski week. Our family rig, an older Suburban, was packed to the gills with groceries, ski gear, and we were excited for a long-awaited escape from fast paced suburban NJ living to breathe fresh VT mountain air.

The drive up was uneventful. It being Christmas Eve, not many cars were on the road and we were making great time to meet our friends at the Club house for a late dinner. Until….I see my headlights dim for a quick second. I think to myself, “that’s strange, I just put in a new battery” and keep driving thinking it was probably my eyes being road weary from driving for 4 hours. After another forty minutes heading north, my battery indicator light illuminates. Now, my concern set in big time. We were on 22A and I saw the sign that we were in Orwell, VT, where it was very dark, the outside temp was in the mid-teens, there were no signs of any gas stations or places to stop for assistance. As we drove into Orwell, I saw the Gas N’ Go and pulled over to try making a call and of course, there was no signal on my cell phone. I knew we were in a tough spot because Waitsfield was over an hour north and Middlebury was thirty minutes east. As I pulled over and came to a stop, the lights completely dimmed for 3 lonnnng seconds. I whispered a big explicative to myself followed by an “OMG this isn’t good.” I knew that I had to keep driving with hope that the battery wouldn’t completely go on us, so I headed east towards Middlebury thinking there’s at least a hotel or somewhere we can get help and make a call. About one mile after making this decision, I got excited to see a house up ahead with someone on the front porch and a few cars parked in front. Unbelievably, as I started to slow down to approach the house my headlights go completely dark about 300 feet in before I reach the house. We were all aghast and as I came to a stop in front of the person on the porch….the engine dies and all inside electrical is off….FREAKY!

I tell the guy on porch my predicament and he invites me in to the house. Low and behold, several family members, friends and young kids seem to just be finishing their Christmas Eve dinner celebration. I apologized for interrupting, explained my situation that we were on way to Mad River Glen to meet our friends for a ski week, and asked if they knew of any motels that may be open in the area to spend the night, with hope that I can find someone to fix our vehicle within the next couple of days. The way everyone looked at each other, I knew the answer was “no”.

To my astonishment, the patriarch in the room Mike Moore, stepped forward and said “I think I have a solution for you. My wife and I aren’t going anywhere this weekend and we have an extra mini-van in our garage down the road a bit. Come with me to pick it up, load up all of your gear, and drive up to Waitsfield to meet your friends. Tomorrow morning, (Christmas nonetheless) I’ll come back with my portable battery charger to give it enough juice and hopefully get it back to my house. Leave Waitsfield early Sunday morning, meet me at my house and my friend in town will probably have a Chevy Suburban alternator in stock. We’ll put in your new alternator and you’ll be good to enjoy the rest of your vacation”. I couldn’t believe my ears! Was this nice stranger St. Nick himself, or what?

The kindness didn’t stop there! After picking up the mini-van, I came up back to the house to find that my kids were offered homemade Christmas cookies by a very nice woman named Kelly and her daughter. This gesture put my wife and kids at ease and it was nice to see them smiling! We were able to fit everything into the van and drove up in with the kids surrounded by bags of groceries, bags of ski clothes and we made it up to MRG for a nice Christmas after all!

Sunday morning I arrived at Mike’s house and he explained that he had put a plan “B” into play. His local buddy with the parts store was unfortunately closed because he was out of town for the weekend, so Mike called his friend at the auto parts store in Middlebury. Luckily, he had the appropriate alternator in stock for me - at Mike’s discounted commercial rate, nonetheless! Mike offered that I take his van to Middlebury to pick up the part, and he would ask another local friend Mike Dundan who owns the Gas n’ Go where I first stopped, to see if he could put in the new alternator for me. Within an hour of great conversation with Mike and his lovely wife Kathy, Mike Dundan came through for us and for a very fair price installed the new alternator in his heated garage where he expertly restores classic cars (I never knew a Studebaker could be so beautiful!). Amazingly, I managed to meet my family by noon for a great day of skiing! Orwell, VT certainly is home to the Christmas Spirit!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Comments from Sue Lazarus

January 9-10, 2010 weekend - skiing was great - a bit windy on Saturday but about 4 inches of new snow, then calm on Sunday with wind-blown slopes. A bit hard, had to search for the fluff . . . it was fun!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's been a long time between blogs!

This blogger needs some comments from WPSC skiers! Hi, I know that you are out there . . . Please post your blog so that we know how the season is going at MRG. If you are afraid to try blogging yourself, email your comments to and I will post them for you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Alex Litzky's hike to save the Armory

Dave Litzky's son Alex is hiking a 500-mile portion of the Appalachain Trail, from New York to Maine, in an effort to raise awareness and funds to help save the Armory in New Rochelle, which is slated for demolition.

Alex is part of the organization which is battling City Hall in New Rochelle to preserve the Armory from demolition. This water front building built in 1942 is an historic building which trained sailors and soldiers during many wars. 300 plus service men who made the ultimate sacrifice have connections to this Armory. IT WAS BUILT IN 1942 OR SO AND REPRESENTS FOR US OUR COUNTRY AND THE YOUNG AND OLD WHO HELPED KEEP US FREE. THE PERSON WHO DESIGNED AND HELP BUILD THE ARMORY WAS FROM PELHAM AND LOST HIS OWN SON DURING WWII.

Thousands of people over the years have benefited from programs given there in the past such as scouting, sea scouts, junior marines, sport programs, basketball, track . . .
The organization wants to rebuild the Armory and open it to the public again. Part of the plan will be space to honor those fallen in the line of duty. We will then slowly offer programs to the public again. This Armory could and will continue to be a living reminder of our heritage. The rich history of this grand building will foster learning and respect, honor . . .
This Armory is a living reminder of our past and will become a teacher for the future. click on the article in the Journal News for exciting information.

Please help support our effort by writing letters, making phone calls . . .  Please call me with any questions and if you are able to help get the message across.  You can start by telling one person at a time to write call . . .  You can have an Armory party and send some donation to the effort.  Thanks, David Litzky, Alex Litzky, and the entire SAVE THE ARMORY COMMITTEE.

If you would like to support Alex and help save the Armory,

Friday, March 28, 2008

Chet's Blog

The March 21-22, 2008 weekend was a pleasant mix of members, guests and provisionals. Friday night Dave Litsky and his guests, Paul and Barbara Schwendener, cooked up a large meal including a cake. Noam Shoshan played Simon and Garfunkel on his 5 string back packer guitar both nights.

Saturday was sunny, about 18 degrees at the bottom and 10 at the top, but quite windy. I was happy to ski for the first time in two years because of lower back problems. Afterwards Ginny and I snowshoed and then sat on the benches at the base lodge and soaked up the sun. Three generations of the Duffy clan skied together and Mark Duffy ended the day coming down the back door trail.

MRG must be doing well because both lifts were crowded and, in the afternoon, General Starks Pub was crowded and deafening with a rock group. The double chair had a problem so most skiers went to the single or opted for a beer instead.

Easter Sunday services were held at the top of the single but the Easter Parade at the base was diappointing. No girls in bikinis like previous years. They just don't make 'em like the used to. Tex's barbecued chicken was a hit. The line was back to the door. One man swigged a beer while waiting in line and I think he finished it by the time he got his chicken.

Jim cooked a couple of turkeys for Saturday dinner along with an excellent pasta soup plus two pies, chocolate and key lime. There were 16 adults, 2 teenagers and 11 children at the lodge. Linda and Dave Park joined us for dinner which made for a total of 31 people. Unfortunately the last people in line had no chairs to sit on. So Bob Kehr, the trip leader, and a few others had to sit on the couch to have dinner. We later found that the extra chairs that are normally stacked over the trap door were stowed in the attic.

Saturday and Sunday night Paul Schwendener and his brother, Ben, made crackling fires in our underutilized fireplace. Nothing like a good fire to draw people to that area. Monday morning Paul, up early, quietly cleaned out the ashes. He, his wife Barbara, and their two children, Lily and Leon, fit in so well that it seemed like they had been long time members.

The 11 children, depending on your level of tolerance, could be noisy at times despite the efforts of their parents. But this is a family club and it is one of our strengths.

Chet Risio

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Marge's Bottom Bunker Week

Bottom Bunkers

You all missed good skiing, 3/3-6, this week. Mad River got 4" of snow overnight for Tues skiing in the mid-30's. And there was noone on the mountain, did 8 runs. Wed was windy so the double chair wasn't running, but getting off at the mid-station on the single worked out fine. It was another warm day in the mid-30's with freezing rain in the a.m, and snow at the top of the mountain in the afternoon (but rain at the base). But skiing was good even though you got a little wet when you got to the bottom of the mountain. (7 runs)

Thursday was a sunny day in the 20's. The snow was crusty so we skied in the sunny areas and on runs that had been groomed, like the upper was very enjoyable. Then in the afternoon the snow got heavier and was a bit of a workout, so I figured I'd had 3 days of good skiing and quit while I was ahead. Left the mountain at 1pm...5 runs...and really tuckered out.

Maybe next time you'll think twice, take a chance and come up...the skiing was really good.

Marge Stramowski