Two Endless Winters

When two arborists from Woodstock set out to get their first turns of the season in October, 2018, they had no idea that it would be a “season” that’s still going strong,  24 months later

On September 19, as record cold set the mercury plunging down into the 20s in parts of Vermont, Per DeVore and his friend Justin Quinn hiked up Killington early in the morning. There, they found enough frost-covered “fast grass”  on Rime, to make some turns.  “It was all I needed to keep my streak going,” says DeVore. A trained arborist, DeVore is the grounds manager at the Woodstock Inn & Resort (owner of Suicide Six). He has snowboarded every month in the Northeast for the past 24 and Quinn (an arborist at Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Park) has skied those same months. This October, they plan to continue their streak into the 2021 season.

How did this streak of riding every month in Northeast start?

I’m a super nerd and I write down all my ski days—always have. I have books and books of notes. I dug those up recently. On October 13, 2018 we had a dusting of snow and Justin and I headed up to Killington.  There was plenty of snow to get some turns in.

How many days did you put in that season?

I typically get in over 100 human-powered days skinning on my Weston splitboard—but I also ride lifts. I live just two  miles from Suicide Six and have a pass there. I go there after work or over to Pico. These days, I almost prefer skinning  to taking a lift and it’s great that there are so many cool places I can do it within a short drive of my house here. I love the quiet, the fact that you are getting exercise and that there’s usually no one else there. Plus, you see some incredible things when you are on your own.

How did you keep your streak going that first summer?

We had a 10-inch dump in Killington in May so that was easy and the lifts there stayed open through June 1. Then I headed to Tuckerman Ravine (photo below) and found some deep pockets of snow all way into August.  Then, in September 2019, I drove 12 hours to the Chic Chocs in Quebec just to make a few turns, then came back the next day.

And this past year, what did you do when Covid-19 hit?

The Governor’s order was not to venture 10 miles from your house. I’m lucky that I have Suicide Six just two miles away and it’s a great mountain. I rode there in May and June, skinning up since the lifts were closed, and then went to Tuckerman Ravine in July and August. I love seeing the high alpine  terrain there and looking at the cool mosses and vegetation. I  also got some turns in at Killington in July. I couldn’t believe how much snow was still there.

Why just ski the Northeast?

I’m from he East Coast and I just love Vermont. I’ve been here nearly 5 years now and actually have never ridden out West. I thought about going down to Big Snow in New Jersey to do my September turns but that sort of defeats the idea of what I do. I like the exploring and finding the little pockets of snow  that are tucked into the mountains. I’ll put it this way: we ski all the snoow that nature provides. 

What counts as a “ski day”?

I used to say three runs off a lift was a ski day. Now I say three turns  on any type of natural, frozen surface counts. It’s really just about getting out there. n

Lisa Lynn

Editor of VT SKI + RIDE and Vermont Sports.