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Hi folks,

For reasons that remain a mystery to me, the Mid-Vermont Council of VARA
traditionally schedules races at Killington for the busiest weekends of
the year. MLK weekend was J4/5's. Today for President's Day weekend we
had J3's running slalom on Highline. Daughter Gillian got to see what
Vermont's most crowded ski area (I'm guessing) looks like on one of the
busiest days of the year. We got to take in the full urban skiing
experience, from the base lodge to the lift lines to the trails.

Ironically, the race trail itself offered a welcome respite from the
crowds. It was full of racers, coaches, and course workers, but at least
the activity was predictable. It was my first time at a race on
Highline, and I must say I thought it was a really fun trail for a
slalom. There's a long sustained steep pitch for most of the upper half
of the course, and it put a high premium on good technique. This was
especially true for the second run, where gate no. 5 was right on the
lip of the rollover to the steep pitch, followed by gate no. 6 over the
lip, and then a hairpin. Those of us standing on the lip got to see
racer after racer after racer get a little late on gate 5, super late on
gate 6, and either miss or crawl through the hairpin. Gillian walked
down before her run to watch the early racers struggle, and then
proceeded to nail one of the best lines of the day through that section.
Unfortunately, after that section the rest of the course did her in, and
she finished near the bottom. She was still smiling, though, and was
pretty happy that she at least skied well through the crux of the
course. Considering that before the race she was repeating her
pessimist's mantra "I hate slalom," I was happy to see her post-race smiles.

We spent the afternoon after the race trying to seek out the
less-trammeled terrain at the big K, and we more-or-less succeeded over
by the South Ridge chair. Jug and Jug Handle were pretty nice, even if
some of the troughs were a little scoured. The same was true of Escapade
on our way back to the lodge, but not of Flume, which was a disaster in
dire need of more snow.

It was a great father-daughter day in the sunshine, and all things
considered, it was about the most fun I could expect to have at a
mountain which on this day hosted what was probably the highest skier
density on the planet.

Dave G.

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