Free Winter advice: when a friend offers to teach you how to ski or snowboard, politely refuse (and go with a Pro).

ski2Winter at the October Country Inn is an opportunity for us to relax a little.  Because we’re close to several popular winter activity destinations; the town of Woodstock, Killington, and Okemo ski resorts, we’re often busy during the Winter holiday periods.  However, besides innkeeping duties, it’s slow enough so that I can get away with teaching snowboarding at Killington.  Consequently, I’ve spent a lot of time on the bunny hill observing as friends try to teach friends how to ski or snowboard.  It usually isn’t pretty.

It’s understandable that someone who can ski or snowboard would want to pass this fun and exciting activity on to their friends.  However, good intentions alone are insufficient.  Just because someone can get down a black diamond trail with a reasonable degree of dignity, does not mean that they have a clear understanding on exactly how they were able to accomplish this.  In fact, most don’t know.  More than being an accomplished snow slider, being able to teach skiing or snowboarding requires an understanding of the physics of sliding on snow, and being able to relate the cause and effect of anatomical posture and movements as they pertain to the control of direction and speed.  Shouting: “turn,” “turn,” “turn,” at the top of your lungs as your friend whizzes straight down the hill screaming is not usually effective coaching.  In such a situation, your friend would love to turn.  If only they knew how.

ski1If you can dance even a little bit, you can learn to ski or snowboard.  The Professional Ski Instructor’s Association, American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI), is a national association that provides education and certification for professional ski and snowboard instructors.  The professional instructional programs developed and implemented by PSIA/ASSI is a step-by-step approach to take you from your first awkward day to ripping black diamonds, or shredding the park.  So, when your friend offers to teach you how to ski or snowboard, thank them for their generosity, and then go with a Pro.  You’ll be glad you did, especially if a spouse or significant other is involved.


Covered bridges near Woodstock, Vermont–one in a series.

The Lincoln covered bridge near Woodstock, Vermont.

The Lincoln covered bridge near Woodstock, Vermont.

Covered bridges are remnants of the 19th Century, like pets, all have names because most are unique.  These bridges were covered to protect the bridge itself from the elements, namely, Vermont winters.  The cover part was an easily replaced enclosure providing protection for the much more difficult to replace structural members and roadbed.

Vermont has the greatest concentration of covered bridges in the U.S.–a total of 114.  Most are still in use.  One hundred years ago, there were over 600 covered bridges in the state.  After the flood of 1927, only 200 were left standing.  Nearly half of these 200 have since been lost to fire, development, or floods.

Pratt arch truss structure visible inside the bridge.

Pratt arch truss structure visible inside the bridge.

The Lincoln covered bridge, located in Woodstock, just off Route 4, is only about 3 miles from the October Country Inn.  Many more covered bridges can be found within an hour’s drive of Inn.

The Lincoln covered bridge is 136 feet long and spans a section of the Ottauquechee River.  It was built-in 1865 by R.W and B.H. Pinney.  This is the only bridge in the U.S. where the builders used the complex wood and metal arch patented by T. Willis Pratt 33 years earlier.  A Pratt arch truss includes vertical members and diagonals that slope down toward the center.  The interior metal diagonals are under tension under balanced loading and vertical elements under compression.

Baked fresh Sockeye Salmon from Alaska’s Copper River Delta with a honey-ginger glaze.

salmon1Fresh wild-caught salmon is a supremely delicious choice for an easy to prepare yet elegant dining experience.  It is not always easy to get wild-caught salmon.  Unlike farm raised salmon, fresh wild-caught salmon is only available in the mid to late Summer months.  Of course, one could substitute farm raised salmon for wild-caught, and it would still make a nice meal. However, we highly recommend wild-caught if it’s available.  For richness, and depth of taste, there just isn’t any comparison between farm raised and wild-caught fish.  The
wild-caught variety is far superior.

For enough to serve about 4, collect the following ingredients:


Salmon fillets ready for first application of honey-ginger glaze.

  • 3 pounds of salmon fillets
  • 6 tablespoons of honey
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh minced ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped chilpolte chili
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

Preheat a 450 degree oven.  Mix all the ingredients except the salmon together to prepare the glaze.  Place

Salmon fillets with glaze applied and ready for the oven.

Salmon fillets with glaze applied and ready for the oven.

the salmon filets on a foil lined baking sheet, bush with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Brush on a liberal coating of the glaze.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and reapply the glaze.  When almost done, move to the broiler to finish it off.  When we serve this dish for our Asia dinner at the October Country Inn, we always serve it with Jasmine rice.