Sign In December 2011

Vermont Sports Launches New Blog, Get Out!
Have you checked out our new blog, Get Out? Constantly updated with informative, inspiring, and humorous information about the outdoors, Get Out will become one of your favorite feeds.

In addition to staff contributions, we have some regular bloggers. Greg Rems is a chef who lives in Arlington, and doesn’t let one moment of his free time go to waste. In fact, he’s already made his first turns of the season. Skye Nacel is the co-owner of Mocean Mate, and an avid—and we mean avid—outdoors enthusiast. Whether he’s skiing, surfing, running, paddling, Skye is eager to share his adventures. On a side note, we’ve had a few readers who have been confused by the two Sky(e)s, so to clarify, Skye Nacel: male, blogger, and Mocean Mate, and Sky Barsch Gleiner: female, VS editor.

Andy Howard is a Northeast Kingdom native who now lives in Boston, but still loves playing in the great outdoors up north. He blogs at in addition to on Get Out.

We’re still looking for contributors, and we’d love to get some female voices on our blog, so if you love the outdoors and want to tell the world about your adventures, e-mail a few paragraphs about yourself to

And before you forget, go to, and click on “Get Out Blog” in the navigation bar.

—Vermont Sports

New Plans for Haystack
What happens when a successful waste management mogul, Jim Barnes and his company, purchases the mothballed Haystack Mountain ski area property and the nearby Hermitage Inn? Why, they relaunch the previously failed plan to sell private club ski and golf memberships, of course. And, get this: They announce a plan to erect a gondola. At press time, principals of this operation are hinting that Haystack Mountain may spin the existing Hayfever chairlift and make some snow this season, using the Hermitage Inn as a base facility. But details are, shall we say, a little tight-lipped.

We love this kind of resurrection of mothballed ski area serial sagas. First the grandiose plans are announced by the entrepreneur with a dream; then begins the selling of high-priced property and planned recreational facilities; and finally, economic, terrain, and weather factors bring everyone back to reality.

But if entrepreneurs are creative, they can be successful. Look to Jay Peak: They’ve used the EB-5 residency program to fund millions for capital improvements. Foreign investors front big money and jobs must be created (or preserved, in some cases) as a result of the investment. In turn, they and their families get Green Cards (the program has its critics; some view this as buying citizenship). Though Haystack officials haven’t discussed this option publicly, we mention it to show that ski area investment takes many forms these days.

In any event, whenever someone with passion steps up to the plate to bring back a derelict relic of a what-was-once-a-vibrant ski area, we wish them our best.

—Paul McMorris

Snowmaking at Craftsbury
Each year, it seems winter weather is more unpredictable. That’s why making snow is increasingly important for the future of skiing in our state.

On Thanksgiving, Craftsbury Outdoor Center christened its new snow-making system, one of the most extensive at a cross-country area in New England. As of press time, the center planned to open at least 1 kilometer of skiing by late November, with the more ambitious goal of a 3-kilometer loop, weather permitting, of course.

The new snow-making system, relying on a water supply from the adjacent Big Hosmer Lake, is centrally located on the upper and lower soccer fields. Three guns will blow huge piles of snow on the fields, and that will cure and be trucked and spread along selected core trails. Temperatures below 20 degrees are ideal for blowing snow, and weather records for Craftsbury indicate enough cold nights before Thanksgiving to make a volume of snow to spread into a decent amount for skiing.

Snow making may seem like a contradictory endeavor for a nonprofit whose mission includes the advocacy of sustainable systems. But snow closer to home may, in the long run, prove beneficial in more ways than just early and reliable skiing. Local collegiate and junior teams can skip long flights to the West Coast and long drives north in search of Thanksgiving snow.

As Craftsbury continues to host more elite regional and national cross-country skiing events, its snow-making capabilities will create a safety net to safeguard from winter thaws. There have been many times when a warm spell and heavy rains have turned mid-winter conditions into fast-grass skiing on the eve of a big race.

This year, Craftsbury will host both the Eastern Cup Openers on Dec. 17-18, and the SuperTour Finals and Long Distance National Championships during the last week of March. Events during the bookends of the season always are vulnerable to cancellation. The hope is that with an artificial base on the core trails, they’ll be able to weather whatever the Vermont winter chooses to rain down from Thanksgiving through April Fool’s Day.

—Tim Reynolds