Be Gentle, Grizzly | Stratton Mountain Resort’s New Mission Captures the Hearts and Hamstrings to Make Well-Rounded Athletes

photo 3Stratton Mountain Resort’s new wellness mission and training programs, dubbed “Be,” go beyond the golf-tennis-ski scene that has been the hallmark of ski resorts for years.

Perhaps inspired by the bicycle itself, Stratton has taken a hub and spoke approach to sports: the mountain and its community are at the core, and the spokes are an evolving roster of sports and wellness offerings that true to form, build momentum. With Prana-adorned yoga studios and Moroccan-inspired fare, today’s Stratton beckons the buff, the Buffy, and the bodhisattva alike.

The resort’s “Be. Present in the Mountains” programs and its well-established golf and tennis camps create a menu for movers of all mindsets. Guests are now invited to attend integrated workshops, retreats, and training for a slew of sports. In addition to a stable of veteran coaches and educators, the resort has brought in experts for several new tracks: yoga and mindfulness, mountain sports and training, outdoor adventure and learning, and health and wellness. Stratton’s new programs and approach to the mountain resort lifestyle culminate with the inaugural Stratton Mountain Grizzly Triathlon on Labor Day Weekend, Sunday, Sept. 1.

photo 1 copyThe highest peak in southern Vermont, Stratton has been a training ground for elite winter athletes for more than 50 years. With the intent of creating four-season training options for a variety of athletes, the Be programs were developed by Mountain Sports School Director Bob Speck. At its heart is the new yoga and Be program space, called The Living Room, where one can find daily yoga and fitness classes, and yoga is also incorporated into outdoor offerings throughout the seasons. Restorative yoga is part of the triathlon training workshop; there are hike and yoga classes, and for mindfulness amidst moguls, there’s even ski yoga.

“It’s very gratifying for me to see a small group of people get together, learn from each other, and do activities together that bring out the best in each other,” Speck said. “To see students make personal changes and succeed in their quests to improve … well, that’s what most of us coaches live for.”

photo 2With ease of entry in mind, Speck built the inaugural Grizzly tri course with input from champion triathletes and coaches. The course itself is almost as fun as the energy and enthusiasm that Stratton’s employees plan on bringing to the event. The tri-vibe and the new wellness curriculum have been well received by locals and visitors alike. Plus, it’s been vetted by resort management; the resort’s President and COO Sky Foulkes is a seasoned triathlete.

Recognizing that juxtaposition is actually not a bad position to be in after all, the same weekend the resort invites guests to test their physical endurance in The Grizzly Tri, it’s also host to The Full Palette Food & Wine Event, one of southern Vermont’s premiere Farm-to-Table weekends with work-shops, tastings, demos, more than a dozen chefs onsiteand an evening gala, of course. So, along with your tri suit and bike lube, don’t forget your dancing shoes.

Grizzly Training and Tips
No need to grin and ‘bear’ it; you’ve totally got this!
The Grizzly Tri is a sprint style off-road triathlon. It begins and ends in a peaceful, scenic settingthe swim is in Stratton Lake and the run and ride are along forest trails and back roads. The Grizzly welcomes all experience levels and the resort’s summer-season a la carte tri training workshops offer novices a fast-track to success.

A resident of Stratton and New York, Jennifer Leyton joined the second workshop, hopeful to rally a team of girlfriends to compete in the Grizzly, as her first triathlon. A mother of twins, Leyton is training for the New York Marathon in November, also her first. At the workshop, she and fellow participants learned the basics of attire, transitions and proper gear-shifting, to more technical information like running form, nutrition, swim stroke, and implementing brick workouts.

“Our training experience was incredible,” she said. “I learned and challenged myself in ways that I haven’t done in years.”

The transitions all take place at the beachit’s a super efficient and easy transition area that new triathletes can comfortably navigate and pros will appreciate.

600 meter swim at Stratton Lake located on the Stratton golf course. The swim is out and around a small island and the beach is level, no huffing up to your bike. Wet suits are welcome, but the water’s quite comfortable.

13 miles, mountain bike or hybrid recommended. Considering the mountain region, this course has been kindly builtno major climbs! Be mindful, the dirt road is not necessarily hard packed on some downs and the off-road trail’s topography welcome fat tires.

3.2 miles along gently rolling Nordic trails and dirt roads. Out and back: you’ll have just cycled this part, so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

As they say at Stratton: Be Fit. Be Well. Be Inspired!