The Run Down On A Quick Spring Ski Weekend @ Sugarbush!

How about planning your next Easter weekend skiing in Vermont at Sugarbush?   In fact just go now and embrace spring’s slow awakening.  Sugarbush is a fun low key mountain for the whole family.  At the moment it’s offering great spring conditions.   Think lighter gear and sunglasses for your picnic table lunch.  March historically delivers the New England mountains with fresh powder and this year it absolutely stands true.  Mother Nature extended the spring skiing for all to enjoy.  The days are longer, weather is warmer, the snow is spring corn, crowds are light, and restaurant reservations are easy to score.  Perfect!  Squeezing in one more weekend on the mountain must be done.  The weekend couldn’t be easier to plan!

We kicked off the weekend at Tracks.  A pre planned reward after a three-hour mini road trip from Boston.  Tracks offers casual dining with top-notch food made from locally sourced ingredients.  The cocktails are delicious and the food strikes a fine balance between fine dining and pub favorites.  You can enjoy a game of pool, play shuffle board, or pick a family board game while you wait for your meal.  Tracks is located in The Pitcher Inn.  The Pitcher Inn is a beautiful and quentessional New England Inn located in the center of Warren.

Spring skiing at Sugarbush on a holiday weekend is all about the fun!  The vibe is soaking up a bluebird day (fingers crossed this is a constant) and deciding when you should take some turns.  Start your morning off at the base with with a fresh creamy pour of coffee from Nomad’s.  When you are ready for breakfast then stroll over to Skinny Pancake for a sweet or savory crepe.  For lunch take your pick from Rumbles Kitchen, Castlerock Pub or the Wunder Bar.  End the day with your friends sipping apre drinks and listening to live music on the outdoor terrace at Rumble’s Kitchen with a panoramic view of the moutains.

A weekend would not be complete without dining at Flatbread Pizza.  They only take reservations in person on that day starting at 4:00 with no exception.  Head to the restaurant around 3:30 to line up with other Flatbread lovers to secure yourselves a table for the evening.  Enjoy a glass of wine or a local brew to help pass the time.  It is worth it!  The flatbread pizza is one of best that you will experience.  They have perfected a simple salad that you will crave for days.  The flatbread pizzas are baked in a wood fired, stone hearth oven and will win over your taste buds.  If you have any room left for the tempting desserts like Grandma’s chocolate chip brownie sundae or the homemade warm apple pie are worth exploring.   You should arrive a bit early before your seating so you can enjoy the outdoor fire and take in the beauty of the valley!  The atmosphere is part of the charm.

Sugarbush on Easter is one of our favorite places to spend the holiday.  There is a lovely Easter morning service on the mountain.  All are welcome including tired children with bead head and dressed in ski gear ready for the Easter egg hunt that follows the service.  You can enjoy a brunch at Rumble’s Kitchen or swing by the Warren Store for breakfast sandwiches and tasty bake goods.  The rest of the afternoon is skiing with a half time waffle break.  Wrap up the day at Castlerock Pub for some nachos.

The Warren Store is a country store offering something for everyone.  It is one stop shopping in the picturesque village of Warren.  You can load up on all your apre provisions and souvenirs at the same time.  The deli offers tasty breakfast items, yummy sandwiches, and healthy side salads.  No need to cook if you visit the Warren Store.  Grab your newspaper, coffee, croissant, and sit outside to listen to the brook that runs below the store.  A great place on a Sunday morning to hang with the locals.  A must visit on your way out-of-town!

Put This On Your Bucket List, Montana

A week in Montana just makes you desire more time and more exploring. Winter time is the only time that I have experienced this beautiful state but summer is now on my bucket list while driving an airstream.  Big Sky has a blue sky that is indescribable.  It has an ever-changing light that draws your attention back to the natural landscape that is truly majestic.  Mother Nature has been very kind to Montana.  Experiencing the magic from an elevation of 7,500 feet at the base to over 11,000 feet at the top of the mountain you are quickly made aware that one can not tackle this mountain at Big Sky in one week.  You feel small in comparison to the grandeur of the mountains and the wildlife that make it their home.  We did are best with the spring like temperatures and fresh pow pow that delivered.  Here are some highlights from a week of skiing in Big Sky!

We rented a home for the week through Big Sky Vacation Rentals.  A perfect solution for two families.  The house was fully equipped with all the amenities including an outdoor fireplace for s’mores, hot tub, and a foosball table for some tournaments.  Every morning started with a fresh coffee sipped over the first rays of sunlight awakening Lone Peak.

Skiing was the goal! 6 days straight of rising and taking hold of the day was achieved.  Bluebird days and some fresh powder to keep it fresh.  A week filled with fresh air, beautiful landscape, and family fun.

Big Sky has a fun and growing downtown center.  Everything one needs is a short drive from the ski area.  One can grocery shop at Hungry Moose, sip a coffee at Compass Cafe or Caliber Coffee, pizza at Ousel & Spur Pizza Co. or take in a movie at Lone Peak Cinema.  All your skiing requirements including rentals and gear can be taken care of at Grizzly Outfitters.  My favorite shop to buy souvenirs and other Montana inspired merchandise can be found at Montana Supply.  They have expanded into a new larger space shared with Compass Cafe.  What a nice concept (shopping and sipping coffee, perfect!).  Montana Supply is offering even more crafted accessories and clothing from local artists.  The space is industrial and rugged.  It complements the outdoor nature of the store.  It is one stop shopping offering stylish garments and accessories for men and woman.  The shop is so well curated that you want to make a lifestyle change and move to Montana!

One of the most surprising events that was happening in Big Sky’s town center on way out-of-town was the National Skijoring Event.  Skijoring is a winter sport that combines skiing and horseback riding.  A horse and rider pair up to pull a skier or snowboarder at a fast speed around a track with obstacles and jumps along their path.  A team can take home a purse of up to $2,000 and the champion takes home a belt buckle as a trophy.  This is a highly respected sport and professional athletes come from all over the country.   It is a spectacular event that draws crowds from all over Montana.  There was a special guest supporting the event, Miss Kayla Seaman, Northwest Montana Miss Rodeo Queen.  While I was snapping pictures of the event, my isostilo partner met Kayla.  Kayla is your all American sweetheart with a big smile and proudly wearing her NWMT Miss Rodeo hat.  She is equally sweet, smart, engaging and in a brief interaction a young woman who is a role model.  You can find Kayla on instagram or Facebook.  This event was the icing on the cake.

I can’t end the post without mentioning two other eating establishments to check out. The Horn & Cantle delivers an authentic inspired Montana menu in a beautiful ranch setting.  They also offer a saloon with live music and an outdoor wood burning fireplace for the full ranch effect. The other restaurant is the Gallatin River House Grill.  It is your down and dirty barbecue filled with large tables, a bar, arcade games, a stage for live music, and incredible view of the mountains.  The best in Montana!

Mountain Weekends

It can be such a mixed bag of winter weather when one heads to New England’s ski mountains.  The range of weather is unpredictable.  We travel to Vermont pretty much every weekend in the winter.  The boys are skiers.  I am at best a fair weather skier.  I do love the idea of skiing but the cold scares me as well as tumbling down the trail with my butt and skis in the air.  It is also important to mention that I am painfully slow!  So I try to spare my family’s embarrassment and opt for snowshoeing or a trail hike.  But when I do surprise my family when I put on the skis, it is always so nice to take a few runs with my boys!  Later this week we head to Montana so I have put together a winter post as I pack just the essentials.

I require warm gear to embrace the elements.  I love warm layers.  I have great luck with both Nike (PRO HYPERWARM line) and Under Armour (Cold Gear Armour line) for base layers.  My KJUS jacket is one of my best investment pieces.  It is from their Freelite collection.  It is knitted, warm, and super comfortable to wear.  This Swiss company simply makes great products that are designed for function.  Mittens, I love my tried and true Hestra and beloved by many outdoor enthusiasts but my Astis are a nice alternative.  A new find that I am enjoying are some playful bandanas that are double lined.  I also find them handy for the post hat head.  I found them in Big Sky and unfortunately they have no label so I can’t share the source.  The idea is planted so you could make them yourselves if you are crafty!  Perhaps isostilo may surprise you down the road.  I have included some snow/hiking boots.  La Sportiva boots are the best that I have found.  I wear them snowshoeing and they keep my feet dry, warm, and have molded perfectly to my feet.  I pair them with some Smartwool socks and off I go!

I am always happily hunting for warm pieces.  Here are a few pieces that are similar to what I own and a few extra pieces that I wouldn’t mind adding to my winter wardrobe. It’s all about getting out to play with just the right pieces.

Links:

KJUS jacket, The North Face purist ski pant, Sweaty Betty base layers, Back Country for Smartwool & Hestra gloves, Patagonia neck gaiter, La Sportiva boots from REI.

Pop of color:  If you want some fun retro bottoms then check out these little fancy bottoms from Shinesty. Only to be worn in warmer temps.  I whipped them out recently when the temps were in the 30’s.  They have a similar feel to yoga pants.  Hello!

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Pop of fun from Shinesty

Goal: More skiing! Fingers crossed that there are plenty of sunny days, no ice, no wind, low crowds and plenty of fresh powder that drops each night (my skiing requirements, not much to ask for:)

Astis!

Meet Astis, the ultimate outdoor mittens!  I was introduced to these stunning handcrafted mittens from a sweet, stylish friend of mine who loves to ski.  She rocks these mittens like no other.  She puts them to the test in the elements for which they are designed, the freezing temperatures of Vermont.  Beautifully crafted suede mittens with a forearm that can be decorated with beadwork, cowhide pattern and fur trim.  All the mittens and gloves are lined with Polartec Thermal Pro High loft material that is dry wicking which in return will keep your hands warm and dry.  Don’t let the highly stylized mitten fool you.  They are durable and are meant to be worn not just for apre!  Astis combines modern technology and the time-honored tradition of handcrafted artistry.  Each piece is unique and a work of art.  I own a pair and my hands couldn’t be happier or warmer!  Oh Yeah! I love a stylish and functional find!  xo

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Crean Long Cuff Mitten
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Bering Long Cuff Mitten
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Fitz Roy Mid Cuff Mitten
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Freuchen Long Cuff Mitten
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Herzog Glove
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Liechhardt Glove
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Nanga Parbat
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Pocahontas Long Cuff Mitten
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Face/Neck Warmer

All images from Astis

Awesome Fact:  Astis was founded out of necessity by Brad and Charlie, two friends with the love of outdoors.  Brad was gifted a pair of beloved Cree mittens that unfortunately were also loved by his dog.  Those furry friends of ours are always up to mischief!  After much research,  prototypes,and determination along came Astis.  All mittens and gloves are hand stitched in the U.S.A!