Posts Tagged ‘Vermont’

Killington Ski Mountain’s Gondolas are Powered by What?

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I had been looking forward to a family ski trip over this past New Year’s for quite a while. I was ready to hit the slopes again. The last time I had skied was several years back when I made a frantic descendance down the mountain with tears streaming down, and freezing on my face. I thought I had frostbite on my hands and feet.

As it turned out, I did not have frostbite and I hadn’t gone insane. I learned I had developed a pesky condition called “Raynaud’s Phenomenon” which can make the cold very painful. For years, I’d get attacks of Raynaud’s where my fingers and toes turned white and went numb. It’s really not very attractive or comfortable, at all.

I limited my exposure to the cold during the winter, or as best as I could living in New York. Walking down the refrigerated isles in supermarkets was miserable, and skiing was most certainly off the table which really bummed me out. I grew up skiing, and with every winter that passed, I missed the thrill and the serenity of the sport more and more.

More recently my sensitivity to the cold hadn’t been bothering me as much and my Raynaud’s attacks were less frequent. So I figured ‘what the heck,’ why not give skiing one last shot.

My first day of skiing in years was this past New Year’s Eve at Killington Resort. Fittingly, I rode a gondola powered by cow manure up the mountain for my first run.

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Killington partnered with Green Mountain Power to cleverly use uses cow manure — a byproduct of dairy farming that already exists in abundance throughout the state — as an energy source.

Under GMP’s Cow Power program, manure is collected from Vermont’s dairy farms: 10,000 cows from 13 farms across the state produce roughly 300,000 gallons of manure per day. That is a lot of manure.

Under the process, farms collect cow manure throughout the day, mixing it with wash water from the milking equipment which is then pumped into an anaerobic digester. The slurry flows through a digester for about three weeks at 100 degrees Fahrenheit allowing bacteria to convert the manure into biogas, about 60% methane gas and 40% carbon dioxide. The biogas is then delivered to a modified natural gas engine, which drives an electric generator to create electricity. Finally, the energy generated is fed onto the GMP electrical system which ultimately powers the K-1 Express Gondola.

A Feast for the Palate at Farm-to-Table Stowe, VT Restaurant Michael’s on the Hill

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It was Cristi’s birthday (that’s her aglow above on the left), and a group of us were out to celebrate it in style. In Stowe, that meant Michael’s on the Hill, which is celebrity chef-owned by Swiss-born Michael Kloueti (his wife, Laura, runs the business side of things). The couple moved to Vermont and founded the restaurant when they had children, and have spent the last decade creating a local institution.

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Crispy Rhode Island Calimari with Frisee, Reggiano & Capers

Not only is Michael a world-renown chef, having worked in restaurants from Hawaii to New York City, but he and Laura recognize the importance of healthy, locally-grown food. The restaurant is a member of the Vermont Fresh Network, Local First Vermont and Slow Food, and “the usage of local, organic products is of premier importance.”

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From top right (counter-clockwise) are Starre Vartan, Healing Arts practitioner Cara Joy, Kristen Rosfeld and Kelly Cunningham.

All of that is in evidence when you sit down at your table in the circa-1820′s farmhouse with giant wrap-around porch which affords gorgeous views of the Green Mountains; everything on the menu is based on both seasonality and nearby availability, which means local meats (some in our party had the venison and local pork), seafood and fish from the nearby New England Atlantic coast, and of course, a host of harvest vegetables during the second week of October when I visited to see the last of the brilliant leaves blanket northern Vermont valleys.

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Smoked Local Trout with Heirloom Bean Salad & Horseradish Cream
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Wanderlust at Stratton, Vermont: A Yoga and Music Lover’s Getaway

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Wanderlust is a yoga-arts-music (and general awesomeness) festival that takes place in various locations around the United States and Canada every summer. I heard from a few friends about how much fun they had last year, and so I’m really looking forward to this year’s festivities. While I would like to attend them all, I’m keeping it local (and my carbon footprint lower) and will be celebrating the summer solstice by heading to Stratton, Vermont from June 20-24th But there are also Wanderlusts in Colorado, Whistler, Canada, and California.

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My Top 10 Reasons I Can’t Wait for Solstice at Stratton:

1. Being surrounded by (and inspired) by hundreds of yogis, health-food lovers, locavores, earth-lovers and spiritual folks who value what I do.

2. I consider Vermont to be one of my spiritual homes, and celebrating a solstice in the Green Mountain State with enlightened people will have to be amazing!

3. I have been to Stratton Resort in the winter to snowboard, and it is a beautiful locale and accommodations there are top-notch. It will be fun to enjoy the mountain in the summer.

3. My wonderful boyfriend, who is a yoga teacher and writer, will be accompanying me. I love sharing the things I care about with him.

4. I’m going to be staying with my good friend that I’ve known since High School, the healing arts extraordinaire, Cara Joy, who specializes in ThetaHealing, Sound Therapy, Human Design readings, and Ashiatsu massage. She’ll be working in the Healing Sanctuary tent for the duration of the festival.

5. I’m going to be reporting on all the fun to Eco Chick and Eco Chick Escapes readers (as well as our Twitter and FB friends).

6. I can take outdoor yoga classes! As you might remember, I LOVE to practice outdoors.

7. I love learning new things when I’m ‘on vacation’ – I’m not much for lying on the beach and doing nothing, and Wanderlust has a number of amazing speakers I’m looking forward to hearing from, including Tim Walsh, who is not only the husband of a former Eco Chick contributor (Kim Jordan Allen), but an amazing teacher and wilderness guide.

8. Ani DiFranco will be performing! I have loved Ani since I was 18 years old and have seen her live shows several times. She’s a powerful, soulful singer and an amazing guitarist. I will be front row center cheering and hooting when she comes on stage!
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