“Wax on or wax off?”
It’s what my patient ski instructor Jack keeps asking as I hiccup down the bunny slope the first two times, starting and stalling like the car I had in high school.
Jack’s wondering if the snow conditions, equipment prep and nip in the air are affecting my glide down, but, of course, any millennial first-time skier will think about the line from Karate Kid instead. Add in the concept of a “T-Bar” and you’re asking yourself if there’s a hot toddy in it for you at the end as a reward. After all, it’s not too often someone takes to the slopes for the first time in their 30s.
But. at Suicide Six in Woodstock, Vermont (a lot less threatening than it sounds), no one’s staring and everyone’s having a good time as toddlers in bright-pink pants zip behind and all around me.
And that T-Bar? Yeah, it’s got a different stuffed animal on it for the kids to focus on on the way up. As for Jack, his weekday job as an architect has him more likely to talk about linear angles and “wedges” for my coast down versus the “pizza” (wedge) and “French fries” (parallel) angles the kids are instructed to use.
After an hour and a half, I’ve boned up on my skills without stress and with just one tumble. I’ve also worked up an appetite, but, luckily, the Green Mountain State has plenty of green options. Vermont’s farm-to-table goodness enchants even in wintertime, and I meet my husband back at the Woodstock Inn & Resort to plan an afternoon of activities, including lunch. We have plans to dine there in the evening with some cuisine straight from the property’s own garden, so we take a quick walk to “downtown” — really a Norman Rockwell painting more so than a bustling center of commerce. There’s just one restaurant we happened upon a few years back (Bentley’s) so we opt for something new down a small alleyway called Sweet and Salty. We’re not disappointed when, besides maple creemees (a regional soft serve ice cream with syrup), there’s steaming tomato soup and grilled cheese made with local dairy from Billings Farm.
Like the ski mountain, Billings is also part of the Woodstock Inn complex and there’s a free shuttle to each. We saved the free tour of the farm and its associated museum — with animals like cows and goats to pet — for Sunday afternoon and opted for more complimentary physical activity in the afternoon. There’s also a beautiful athletic complex that’s free for guests with a large pool and floor-to-ceiling windows, and it’s somewhat surreal yet serene to have the white snow piled high against them, relaxing in a bathing suit. The friendly front desk staff lets us know about a free morning yoga class, so we make plans to return before heading back to start a fire in our room.
The Fireplace King — part of a recent multimillion-dollar room and common-area renovation — carries through the hearth theme of the lobby, where people in other accommodation categories without this crackling centerpiece often mix and mingle.
You can also meet and greet with a locally brewed pint inside Richardson’s Tavern down the hall (there’s no need to even leave and expose yourself to the bluster of winter!); or families can opt for one of several common areas, including the game room, with puzzles, Connect Four and chess. One of the most delightful parts of the inn is its spacious common area, with leather couches, armchairs with colorful, fun textures, and an air of refinement and relaxation hard to achieve at most properties.
It makes it all hard to check out on Sunday morning, but parting is sweet sorrow — literally — with a stop on the way home just 10 minutes away at King Arthur Flour. In addition to baking classes and a cookware shop, there’s a café with fresh-made pastries, sandwiches and steaming coffee for a little kick before hitting the road.