• Live for today, prepare for tomorrow
    By Linda Freeman
    CORRESPONDENT | March 23,2014
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    Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo

    Skiers and snowboarders enjoy fresh snow recently at Sugarbush’s Mount Ellen in Fayston.
    Do NOT put them away yet. Don’t pack up your boots and shovels, skis and boards, sleds and snowshoes. You might be able to leave your parkas and balaclavas at home, (there’s nothing like a shell and a wool buff), but check the weather forecast first. The best is yet to come. The play days when the sun shines and you gradually strip off layers are some of the sweetest.

    The first day of spring was a bring-it-on kind of snow day. Interestingly the huge snowfall was not the usual spring, wet, messy and dangerously heavy type. Cold enough to keep it a bit drier, the snow was a bit easier to move, (mind you, not easy) and certainly blew into unwanted drifts. The good news for snow sports enthusiasts is that the mix of warm and very cold temperatures almost guarantees an extended season.

    One rider last weekend noted that the VAST trails were softer and a bit slower but the riding was great, promising more rides before it will be time to put up the sleds.

    If you go to VAST’s website (www.VTVAST.org), this is what you will see: “At this time it is likely that the trails will be open late into the season. Thanks to 2 feet of new snow that covered the majority of the state there will be a great base that will carry us into April.”

    Favorable riding conditions, pleasant daytime temperatures bring Vermont welcomed tourist dollars while, at the same time, reinforce snow habits and investments of those who live and work here.

    Last week’s ski area reports were stellar. Consider this news from a variety of Alpine resorts: Killington: 155 of 155 trails open; Mad River Glen: 45 of 45; Okemo Mountain: 120 of 120; Suicide Six: 24 of24. Snow making is, for the most part, done for the season; grooming, skiing and riding are not.

    If you like to buy new gear at the end of the season, go for it. Looks like you will have plenty of opportunity to try it out and be good to go next winter.

    Even Nordic ski areas are thriving. Some cross-country ski areas provide limited man-made snow and normally enjoy an abbreviated season. Right now, however, trails from modest to grand, from homey to slick, are well-covered and inviting. Craftsbury, Mountain Top, Ole’s, Blueberry Lake, Trapps and many more proclaim packed powder, not bare spots. Not yet.

    According to the Farmer’s Almanac, April and May will be cooler than usual in Central Vermont. Weather Underground predicts bits and pieces of snow and clouds over the coming days.

    March and April in Vermont comprise a tricky season. On one hand, the weather is fickle. On the other hand, so are humans. As the days lengthen and temperatures warm, it is tempting to look ahead. Even the most avid winter sports enthusiasts are drawn by the magnetic field of summer sports.

    Perhaps the challenge of the season is to stop, consider what is here and now, and use it. Alluring as it may be to fast-forward to sandals and shorts, to bicycles and baseball bats, to picnics and campfires, it is good to remember that not too long ago you may have been longing for miles of snow and milder temperatures in which to experience them.

    Is this just another case of “live in the moment?” I won’t go there, but it’s worth a quick thought.

    There is, however, one element of looking ahead that is a must if you plan to enjoy the upcoming late spring and summer seasons. Equipment must be maintained and to have it tuned and ready when you want to use it is a significant element of anticipation.

    Beginning with the most elemental piece of equipment in your recreational backpack, your body needs to be conditioned to accommodate the demands of exercise different from that which you are currently doing. (I assume that you are “doing.”) Of course, activities such as walking, hiking, running, swimming, paddling, cycling and team sports all benefit from simply playing them. In other words, performing your sport of choice is arguably the best training for that sport when it comes to skills and conditioning.

    However, you have homework to do if you wish to enjoy your summer activities with comfort and confidence, improved performance and reduced danger of injury. Begin today to develop the cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, balance and flexibility that will sustain your activity(ies). Focus on core stabilization and functional well-being. Learn more about the skills that will enhance your enjoyment and practice incorporating recovery in your training program.

    Strategize your coming weeks and months. Organize them around key activities, events, competitions or vacations. Think ahead. Don’t be caught looking.

    I can’t think of a sport that does not benefit from well-maintained tools. From running shoes to hiking boots, kayaks to bicycles, goggles to walking sticks to golf clubs. Now is the time to have your bike tuned, to buy new footwear and break it in, to reorganize your tackle box or order that new swimsuit.

    Just as you plan a garden or write a grocery list (ok, not all of us do that), so, too, prioritize your needs and fulfill them before you find yourself in trouble.

    Perhaps this reminder (just read it on a journal cover) might be apropos: “Learn from yesterday, Live for today, Hope for tomorrow.” Or, remember those mistakes? Yes, well, value what’s here right now but be astute enough to underpin hope for tomorrow with solid preparedness.
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