The Mountain Times

°F Sat, April 19, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Into the spirit and onto the slopes

December is a busy time of year, but the best part is that we can get into the spirit of the season at a time when the days are at their shortest and least sunny.
Twinkling lights, holiday music, and myriad festivals can light up our lives on the days of little sunlight and too many chores to accomplish.
Ditto the snowy slopes. There is nothing like getting outdoors and back on snow to make one relax, re-create and re-energize body and soul.
Here's a brief sampling to get you into the spirit and outdoors!
Into the Spirit
There are major festivities this weekend in Killington, Ludlow, Plymouth, Woodstock and Rutland that will get you into fun and the giving mode.
The two-day Vermont Holiday Festival at the Grand Hotel in Killington includes the Festival of Trees, Santa's Workshop, sleigh rides, face painting, and the Jack Frost Marketplace, which features unique Vermont Specialty products and gifts. A portion of the proceeds from the Festival will go to the Vermont Foodbank to help make the holidays more joyful for needy families. This is a great event for families and kids and anyone who wants a fully decorated tree.
The Annual Ludlow and Black River Community Christmas Celebration takes place on Friday Dec. 13 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium. This community Christmas celebration features the music and performances of local students and adults as they celebrate Christmas through plays, musical ensembles, choral pieces, skits, and a sing-a-long. This is a free event.
Plymouth joins the festivities with the Coolidge Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 15 at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site. The President Calvin Coolidge Museum and Education Center, Aldrich House (home of Calvin's stepmother and later a prosperous tearoom), Coolidge Hall (the 1924 Summer White House office), Wilder House Restaurant (serving a homemade, hearty lunch), Union Christian Church, and Florence Cilley General Store will be open free of charge, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event features special presentations and a variety of family activities. The Coolidge Birthplace will be decorated as it would have been in 1872, the year the future president was born.
In Woodstock, the Pentangle Arts Wassail Weekend features an Irish Holiday on Friday at 7:30; Holiday House Tour and a Wassail Tea on Saturday; and Annual Messiah Sing on Sunday.
Rutland also gets into the giving spirit with its annual Gift-of-Life Marathon on December 17. Last year 1,955 pints were given, just 13 pints shy of the national record. If you want to help get the region to the national record this year, make your appointment at the location most convenient for you by going to http://www.redcrossblood.org/make-donation.
Onto the slopes
There are special on-snow opportunities to bring a little ho-ho-ho to your inner spirit, too.
Pico Mountain opens on Friday Dec. 12 just for season passholders and those with Express Cards, a nice perk for 'first tracks' of the season at Pico.
The area debuts to the public on Saturday with a ticket special - donate two perishable food items and your lift ticket is just $25. This is a benefit for the BROC food bank.
Also on Saturday, Okemo features free demos for those looking to buy new equipment. Test out the latest in skis and snowboards from 8 a.m. -2 p.m. (Register at Jackson Gore courtyard.) Snowboarders are required to provide their own bindings and all must present a credit card for security purposes.
For those with energy to spare, Okemo is offering a Saturday evening snowshoe hike under a Full Moon! You'll trek up the mountain through the woods to grandmother's house. But instead of grandmother's house you'll end up at the fire pit in Jackson Gore for a marshmallow roast! The event is free if you have your own snowshoes; rentals are $10. Call 802-228-1956 to register.
Killington also has a demo opportunity to the public on December 17 and 18 with fantastic "Fest Test Demo Day during PSIA's Pro Fest. The on-snow demo event will feature premiere brands showcasing the best gear for the 2014 season. The demo area will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the base of Superstar at K-1 Lodge. The party continues with the official Killington Test Fest Party at the Wobbly Barn Live afterward. Music, drink specials, and product raffle are all on the agenda!