Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Olympic Dreams in Stowe, Vermont

        Olympic moments; they’re timeless.   So today, while you’re enjoying the games from Sochi, Russia let us journey back exactly 20 years ago, to February 18, 1994 and the Lillehammer, Norway games—inspiration for a women’s cross-country ski trip to Stowe, Vermont.  
        Weary after the 10 hour drive from Pennsylvania, our adventurous group arrives at Ten Acres Lodge ready to lounge by the television and watch the XVII Winter Olympic games. 

Posing in front of Ten Acres Lodge, a classic Vermont country inn.

          American speed skater Bonnie Blair races across the ice as if jet-propelled.  Should we rent skates and give it a try?  Nah, we tried that last winter and our ankles held up for only a couple loops around the pond.  Cross-country skiing is what we came for, and watching the performance of Italian skier Manuela Di Centa— who medaled in all five nordic events—motivates the seven of us to tackle the ski trails at Trapp Family Lodge.  

Skiing part of the 100 kilometer trail network at The Trapp Family Lodge.

          The following morning we’re ready for the 2.8 mile trail to “The Cabin” at an elevation of 2100 feet.  It’s a long climb to the top, but when you arrive at The Cabin you’re rewarded with a crackling fire, homemade soup and hot chocolate—a most welcome place to take a break.
          Seasoned mountaineers are often quoted as saying that getting up the mountain is the easy part, the hard part is getting down.  Keeping that aphorism in mind we leave The Cabin to face a series of steep and winding hills.  It’s a thrilling ride down the mountain, maybe too thrilling as evidenced by my one, spectacular, cartwheeling fall.  I’m still in one piece though, and ready for another evening of relaxation in our rental cottage.

The Cabin is a popular place to chill during a day of strenuous skiing.

          For dinner we feast on homemade lasagna, then it’s time to start a blazing fire and tune in to the Olympics once again.  As we watch the skiers kick-gliding across the snow and racing effortlessly down the hills, we realize our performances today were poor imitations of these highly trained athletes.  But we’re happy with our efforts.  After all, every aspiring Olympian knows the effort is its own reward.  We turn in with dreams of, if not Olympic glory, then another memorable day on the ski trails tomorrow. 


         This weekend, after having watched the XXII Winter Olympics, dust off those skis, sharpen those blades, get out there and play on the snow and the ice.  The Winter Olympics: what better opportunity to rekindle an old passion—or to ignite a new one—for winter sports? 

         I’m happy to report that both the Ten Acres Lodge and the Trapp Family Lodge are still providing vacationers with unforgettable winter experiences.  Visit their websites for more information:  http://www.tenacreslodge.com

Sometimes it's nice to not have to traverse the snow
under your own power.  We're enjoying a horse-powered afternoon
of fun during a sleigh ride at The Trapp Family Lodge.

          Readers, do you have any Olympic moments—winter or summer—which inspired you to try a new sport?


  1. Hi Rita. Love your posting. It's relevant to the season of the year overall, and specifically to the current Winter Olympics. It was very enjoyable to read about the fun times you experienced in Stowe, VT during the timeframe of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. Hard to believe that 20 years have passed since then!

    Over the years I've thoroughly enjoyed many cross-country skiing adventures, but have never really become skilled to the point where I can effortlessly glide downhill. Regardless, I'm happy with my efforts, and derive great pleasure from this winter sport.

    Your commentary about being rewarded with "a crackling fire, homemade soup and hot chocolate" called to mind a somewhat amusing incident that happened a few weeks ago during the course of a cross-country ski adventure at a local facility. At the warming cabin, hot soup was one of the items that was offered. When asked if it was homemade, the reply was "Oh no! It's something we buy frozen in a bag and then just heat it up." He then went on to say, "It's not actually soup. It's sold as filling for chicken pot pies, but people seem to love it!"


  2. Hi John,

    Your anecdote in the last paragraph reminded me of a similar experience I had a number of years ago. I ordered fish in a restaurant in southern Utah and asked the server if it was fresh. "Oh yes", she said, "It's fresh out of the freezer. We put it in the freezer to keep it fresh!" And I wouldn't be surprised if the "homemade soup" at The Cabin isn't also some variation of a pre-packaged frozen meal delivered by a ""Big Ag" national food supply company!

    As always thanks for reading, and for your kind comments!

  3. Dear Rita,

    Thanks for this beautiful post which brings back so many wonderful memories of this trip. Very hard to believe it was 20 years ago! I think that our many great cross-country-ski trips, and the memories from at least two of them taken during the winter Olympics, have contributed to my enduring enjoyment of settling in during winter evenings to watch the Olympics every four years.
    Love, sister Diane

  4. Dear Diane,

    You're right—all of our seven annual cross-county ski trips bring back wonderful memories. Hmm, maybe I should write blog posts about each of those trips!
    I remember that in 1992 we watched the Olympics from Albertville, France while on a ski trip to Eagles Mere, PA. Just like you, I look forward to watching the Winter Olympics every four years and, I have fond memories of all the Olympics we watched together.
    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. Loved this post. I took up cross country skiing at 68. Having never had any type of ski or skate attached to my feet, it was a giant leap for me. Fortunately, a dear friend and experienced skier stuck with me and now there is nothing I like better than a crisp morning by the Yampa River on cross country skis. Also, I think a sentence you wrote about Olympians knowing that the effort is its own reward is also true of writers.

  6. Taking up a new winter sport at 68? I'm impressed, Janet.
    Skiing along by the Yampa River sounds wonderful too.
    Thanks for the reminder about a writer's effort being its own reward—something we should all keep in mind!
    Thanks so much for following and commenting.

    1. I loved reading about our ski trip to Stowe during the Olympics. You should blog about all of our trips including the one to Eagles Mere also during the Olympics. You have a gift for writing.
      Cousin Steph

  7. Hi Steph!

    You're right that I should consider blogging about each of our winter ski-trips. Of course, we had a few years of not skiing at all due to lack of snow—but they were still fun winter adventures!
    I'm glad this post brought back happy memories for you.
    Thanks so much for reading and commenting!