Barbara Cochran is a member of the famous Skiing Cochrans family. Cochran's Ski Area was established in 1961 when Mickey and Ginny Cochran purchased an old hillside farm along the Winooski River in Richmond, Vermont. Transforming the land with the family's hard work and Mickey's gifts as a mechanical engineer, the ski area consisted of a couple of backyard trails and a short rope tow so their children and neighbors could enjoy skiing and race training.
In the next decade, the ski area helped put all four of the Skiing Cochrans on the road to Olympic and World Cup success as members of the United States Ski Team, which Mickey coached during the 1973/74 ski season. Barbara Ann captured the Olympic gold medal in slalom in 1972 and the facility grew to four lifts and eight slopes attracting a loyal contingent of children and families from around Vermont.
Cochran also has her own business, Golden Opportunities in Sports, Business, and Life, which teaches people how to handle the pressures of competition, work, academics, and any other obstacles that life throws at you.
Set amid 6,000 private wooded acres, with a base elevation of 2,100 feet, Bolton Valley provides 165 acres of ski-able terrain with 6 lifts and 61 trails. It’s summit is at 3,150 feet with a vertical drop of 1,704 feet. Open since 1966, Bolton welcome downhill and cross country skiers as well as boarders. Riders of varying skill levels can try out 3 different, onsite terrain parks.
The Catamount Trail winds for 300 miles through Vermont up to the Canadian border and does for those on cross-country skis and snowshoes what the Long Trail does for hikers. It provides a winter trail through Vermont's Green Mountains for all to enjoy. The longest cross-country ski trail in North America, the Catamount Trail traverses woodlands, meadows and logging roads, and connects up with cross-country ski centers to provide a huge winter highway. One of the features of the trail is the ability to plan overnight trips, traveling from inn to inn on cross-country skis. We spent some time recently on the trail with snowshoers and cross-country skiers and got a little taste of inn-to-inn skiing.
Skijoring is the sport of cross-country skiing while being pulled by a dog or dogs. It's an offshoot of sled dog racing and has been popular in Scandinavia and Alaska for many years. If you have a dog that's over 35 pounds and is trainable, you both may be candidates for skijoring. It's a terrific way for dogs and their owners to get out and exercise during the long winter months. Other than the cross-country skis, there is not a tremendous amount of equipment needed. Host Marianne Eaton takes a skijoring lesson at the Eden Mountain Lodge and enters a race sponsored by the New England Sled Dog Club.
Besides skiers and riders, Vermont's hills, valleys and woods are also home to lots of wildlife ... even in Chittenden County. There is a growing interest in protecting wildlife habitat in areas that are heavily trafficked by people. This involves such things as taking into consideration wildlife corridors when constructing a road. For example, what may be the shortest line between two points for people may also intersect with a moose, deer or bobcat corridor, creating a perilous journey for both the human and the animal. Working to create safe passage for wildlife is an effort that involves private citizens, planning commissions, conservation groups, land trusts and even the Agency of Transportation. Vermont's Agency of Transportation and the Department of Fish & Wildlife are working together to learn how to conserve critical habitat. Members of both organizations join Sue Morse of Keeping Track for a day in the wild tracking animals and learning the way they travel.
Combining the sports of cross-country skiing with precision target shooting, the biathlon has evolved from an ancient hunting method to military ski patrols, to an Olympic and World Cup sport. It requires strength, endurance, solid skating skills and a high degree of shooting accuracy. Add cold and changing snow conditions to the mix and you have one of the toughest physical and mental challenges a competitor can face. The Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho is home to one of the premiere biathlon training facilities in North America and is managed by the National Guard. The Guard has produced a number of world-class biathletes. The Ethan Allen facility attracts competitors from all over the world. Host Marianne Eaton joins Guard member and Olympic biathlon racer Dan Westover on the range in Jericho for an introductory lesson to the sport of biathlon.
Telemarking is a graceful sport. It's not as rigid as regular alpine skiing; there's a freedom in Telemarking that you don't find with hard boots and stiff bindings. It's not about speed, though you can go fast if you want to. And you can do it anywhere. It doesn't require a groomed mountain or a lift — you can hike up into the backcountry, strap on your skis and go. Because Telemarking incorporates different types of turns, it allows you to tackle a variety of diverse terrain. It's easier in the bumps. It's easier in the trees to turn. And there's no right or wrong. There are a variety of techniques you can adapt to fit your style. The first thing you notice about a Telemark skier is that they appear to kneel as they ski. This is due to the fact that the heel is free and not locked into the boot, much like it is in cross-country skiing. This kneeling position gives the skier more stability and contributes to the turns. If you look at ski jumpers in the Olympics, you'll notice that they finish in the Telemark drop. That's because it's so stable. With a more flexible boot, the turn actually strengthens and there is less pressure on the knee. Also, because the shins aren't straining against a boot, there is more comfort. Telemark skis are side cut, which helps to increase their turning ability. This allows the skier to bend more, move more and participate in the run, interact more with the terrain. Telemarking becomes a personal expression of how you move. And it's addictive. Dick Hall is the founder of the North American Telemark Organization (NATO). He calls Telemark skiing "pure physical pleasure." Dick says, "I've met thousands who used to alpine, but never one who used to Telemark." In this segment, host Marianne Eaton joins Dick Hall for a Telemark lesson. Then we visit the 30th Annual NATO Telemark Festival in Mad River Glen.
Discover the sport of snowkiting! Skiers and snowboarders no longer need to wait in lift lines. With a little wind to fill their kites, they can cruise a frozen lake or field. Snowkiters can reach speeds of 60 mph, jump and land gently back on the ground. Host Marianne Eaton takes a lesson from Rachael Miller, a certified instructor from Stormboarding, a Vermont business that specializes in wind sports. Then we visit Sand Bar State Park, and the frozen surface of Lake Champlain for the 3rd Annual Stormboarding Kitestorm.
Imagine the freedom to ski “off-piste” in the wild snows of Vermont. Skiers are lured to the back country to escape the crowds and in search of that deep powder. Alpine Touring skis with releasable heel binding equip these skiers to tackle that steep, rougher terrain. But knowledge of inherent risks and survival skills becomes paramount as one ventures into remote areas. Well. We’re going to tell you about those survival techniques as we venture into the backcountry on AT gear.