Monday, January 17, 2011

Nashoba Valley Ski Area Visit - Slopes, Lunch, Rail Jam, Tubing

By Lauren Traub Teton
January 17, 2011

Our day at Nashoba Valley with Pam Fletcher was the kind of post-snowstorm bluebird day that skiers and photographers fantasize about. And Pam was one of the most charming, enthusiastic and welcoming mountain ambassadors and tour guide/teachers I have encountered. I had spent some time learning to ride at Nashoba ten years ago. The big surprises to me this time were the amped-up terrain park and the fantastic restaurant, The Outlook. Our group swooned at the surprise and variety of appealing choices on the menu! This is no fancified cafeteria. It is a destination restaurant and we enjoyed items like Wedge Salad with Gorgonzola, bacon bits and sirloin tips, fried calamari with hot cherry peppers, sushi grade tuna, and Signature Salad with roasted pairs and goat cheese. The vegan in our group was easily accommodated with a customized lunch. Picture windows overlook the slopes and happily there is a roaring wood fireplace. Nashoba Valley patriarch Alan Fletcher regaled us with stories of early days with no electricity, then tow ropes, and rocky hills to clear. It was hard to imagine while looking out at the smooth snowy hills populated by hundreds of grade school kids eagerly learning.

We had a thorough beginner's tour of the terrain parks, mini called Playground and full-sized called Sundance and were encouraged by Pam to slide the box on skis or board. The professionalism and resources of Park Manager Keith Kreischer and his crew were an amazing contrast to the days ten years ago when my friends who worked in the ski shop were the ones out digging the jumps in their spare time and begging for more features and support.

Keith explained that he has been to Cutter's Camp which takes place at Mount Snow and Mount Hood each year and that every change in terrain park features has to be documented. His crew spends a lot of time "keeping it fresh" by changing up the features of the park each week to please the local repeat clientele. They encourage the learning curve by offering a group called "The Gathering" where kids aged 12 and under ride with the park crew and learn tricks with coaching and supervision.

The park crew fabricates the rails and boxes and had a one-of-a kind "U-Box" reminiscent of a skate ramp covered with P-Tex. Park Ranger Bill insisted it was easy, but none of us tried it. After the park tour we warmed up at The Outlook over their signature apple crisp. I went back to Nashoba Sunday for the Freeride Series Rail Jam, and to take a look at the largest tubing park in New England. And I rode “Nashoba Trail,” a winding gem of a trail as exciting as a boardercross run. Last summer the new lakeside Tiki Bar at Nashoba was a huge hit, with some people driving 50 miles on opening day to check it out. Nashoba Valley hopes to welcome back ESWA next year.
See this article come to life in the accompanying Nashoba video here