The 2014 Black Diamond Winners

HERE THEY ARE … the winners of this year’s Black Diamond of Excellence Awards. Thank you to the hundreds of Vermont Sports readers from seven states who cast ballots and shared their opinions on the people and places that make Vermont’s outdoor scene so remarkable. Notable this year was an influx of votes from the Northeast Kingdom. You’ll see the impact on the results as some new names beat out some old favorites from larger population areas like Burlington. The outdoor community in the Kingdom is growing and knows how to rally its troops!

Without further ado, the winners are …




Best Overall gear shop

Village Sports Shop, Lyndonville

Best Bike Fitter

Village Sports Shop

Best Bike repair

Village Sports Shop

Best Road Bike Retailer

Onion River Sports, Montpelier

Best Mountain Bike Retailer

Village Sports Shop

Best Kids’ Bike Retailer

Onion River Sports

Best Ski Tune Up

Village Sports Shop

Best Alpine Ski Retailer

Village Sports Shop

Best Nordic/Backcountry Ski Retailer

Onion River Sports

Best Ski/Snowboard Repair

Village Sports Shop

Best Boot Fitter

Village Sports Shop

Best Climbing Shop

Outdoor Gear Exchange, Burlington

Best Hiking/Backpacking/Camping Shop

Outdoor Gear Exchange

Best Running Gear Shop

Onion River Sports

Best Triathlon Gear Shop

Fit Werx, Waitsfield

Best Fishing Shop

Village Sports Shop

Best Paddling Shop

Village Sports Shop

Best Place to Buy a Car Rack

Onion River Sports

Best Brand of Car for Getting To and From Adventures


Best Customer Service at a Gear Shop

Onion River Sports

 Best Merino Wool Products Manufacturer

Tie: Ibex, Darn Tough

Best Vermont Ski/Ride Area

Burke Mountain

Best Terrain Park

Jay Peak

Best Snowmaking

Burke Mountain

Best Powder

Jay Peak

Best Bumps

Burke Mountain

Best Tree Skiing

Jay Peak

Best Grooming

Jay Peak

Best Mountain for Kids

Burke Mountain

Mountain with the Sickest Parties


Best Ski/Ride Deals

Burke Mountain

Best Lift (name lift and resort)

The Single Chair, Mad River Glen

Best Trail

Dipper Doodle, Burke

Best Lift Attendant

Bogo, Sugarbush

Best Ski Instructor

Tyler Williams, Bromley Mountain

Best Snowboarding Instructor

Dean Zorn, Jay Peak

Best Groomer

Rory Burke, Stowe

Best Rental Facilities

Burke Mountain

Best Northern Vermont Nordic Area

Craftsbury Outdoor Center

Best Central Vermont Nordic Ski Trails

Morse Farm

Best Southern Vermont Nordic Ski Trails

Stratton Mountain

Fastest to Groom After a Snowstorm

Burke Mountain

Best Nordic Instructor

Larry Damon, Trapp Family Lodge

Best Biathlon Course

Craftsbury Outdoor Center

Best Nordic Clinic

Onion River Nordic

Best Apres-Ski Hangout

Tamarack Grill, Burke

Best Vermont Brewery

Trout River, Lyndonville

Best Vermont Spirit

Bar Hill

Best Burger (meat)

Three Penny Taproom, Montpelier

Best Veggie Burger

Bees Knees, Morrisville

Best Apres-Ski Waitstaff

Rachel at Bear’s Den, Burke

Best Apres-Ski Bartender

Roger at Tamarack Grill, Burke

Best Apres-Ski Live Music Venue

Pickle Barrel, Killington

Best Locals’ Apres-Ski Venue

Hyde Away Inn, Restaurant, Tavern

Best Ski-Centered Inn/Hotel

Hotel Jay, Jay Peak

Best Apres-Ski Band

Dave Keller Band

Best Vermont Rock Climbing Route (Outdoor)


Best Climbing Gym

Petra Cliffs, Burlington

Best Mountain Biking Trail Network

Kingdom Trails, East Burke

Best Stretch of Road for Road Riding

VT Route 100

Best White Water

Battenkill River

Best Hiking Trail Network

The Long Trail

Best Bike Path

Stowe bike path

Best Fishing Hole

None of your business!

Best gym

Fortitude Fitness Systems

Outdoors Nonprofit With the Most Public Benefit

Green Mountain Club

Best Race Organizer

Gary Kessler, Green Mt Stage Race

Best Timing Company

802 Timing

Best Relay Running Race

Vermont City Marathon, Burlington

Best Ultra Running Race (>26.2 miles)

Vermont 50

Best Running Race — Marathon or Half-Marathon

Tie: Vermont City Marathon and Covered Bridges 1/2 marathon

Best Running Race — 5 or 10K

Leaf Peepers 5k, Waterbury

Best Triathlon/Duathlon

Vermont Sun Triathlons

Best Swimming Race

Kingdom Swim

Best Nordic Race or Tour

Craftsbury Ski marathon

Best Road Biking Race or Tour

Green Mountain Stage Race

Best Mountain Biking Race or Tour


Best Century Ride

Onion River Century Ride

Best Multi-Sport Race

Son of Inferno Pentathlon

Best Obstacle Course Event

Triple Bypass, XIP at Burke

Best Backcountry/Tele/AT Ski Event

Tele Fest at Mad River Glen

Best White-Water Event

no answers

Best Snowshoe Event

Snowshoe Romp, Onion River Sports

Race With the Best Prizes

Bypass series, XIP

Race With the Best Crowd

Vermont City Marathon

Most Inspiring VT Athlete (Female)

Susan Dunklee, Biathlete

Most Inspiring VT Athlete (Male)

Ben Warsler, Bootcamp trainer

Best Personal Trainer

Ben Warsler, Fortitude Fitness Systems

Best Physical Therapist (Or Group)

Ben McCormack, Northern Physical Therapy

Best Orthopedist (Or Group)

Mansfield Orthopedics

Best Outdoor Writer

Sarah Galbraith

Best Outdoor Photographer

Robert Jenks

Your Pick For Vermont Outdoors Person of the Year

Tristan Von Duntz