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9 Mar 2007
Vermont Ski Furniture

Most likely you have seen those chairs or tables made out of old skis but did you know that there is a company in Vermont that makes those products?

Vermont Ski Recyclers is a 12 year old, Morrisville Vermont company making furniture from outdated ski equipment that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill.

The furntiture is often used indoors but naturally the skis can hold up to many many years of outdoor use.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
Unusual , VT Products
posted by  grunhaus at  20:44 | permalink

5 Mar 2007
Mad River Rocket Sled: Well Named

I ran into a friend and fellow innkeeper yesterday who very enthusiastically told me he had just purchased a Mad River Rocket sled. As he said, the product is well named and the emphasis should be on the word "Rocket."

I should explain that this guy is over 50 years old and not what anyone would call a wild man! But he had attended a demo put on by Waitsfield VT outfitter Clearwater Sports and had such a great time, he bought one of the sleds. I've heard of other people doing the same thing. The sled may look like a young person's toy but its appeal is much broader. Its reputation is growing too. I think the product is only a few years old but its popularity in this part of Vermont is strong. Everyone I know who has tried it has had a great time. They are fun to ride and easy to control.

Mad River Rockets sleds come in five models, range in price from $50 to $275, and are made in the USA just down the road a few minutes from me in Warren VT. You can buy on the web site or click a link to one of the retailers listed there.

When you are at the web site, be sure to see The Stash photo gallery for great photos of the sleds at Ranier, Utah, Italy, Germany.

Here is the best way to give this a try. Rent a Mad River Rocket sled at Clearwater Sports in Waitsfield VT for just $12 and have them give you directions to Lincoln Gap Road about 15 minutes drive from the store. This road is closed to car traffic in winter and provides a long, thrilling ride. Take a look at some YouTube video here and here to see how the sleds operate and how much fun they are.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
Unusual , VT Products
posted by  grunhaus at  22:16 | permalink

3 Mar 2007
Hammerhead: the Vermont-made High Tech Extreme Sled

It is interesting to see how geography and weather affects life. In a place where there is much snow and many hills, even leisure activities like sledding can get serious after a while.

Evidence of this is the Hammerhead, a full-out sled for those who want to see how far sledding can go. The company is located in the central Vermont town of Ferrisburgh, south of Burlington about midway to Middlebury. The sled is recommended for people at least ten years of age and is really designged with adult size sled drivers in mind. It measures 51" long x 9" tall x 23" wide.

The company has an outstanding quality website loaded with information right down to a link to the website of an industrial design consulting firm that helped develop the Hammerhead.

There is a very good review of the sled by Ken Picard on the Seven Days newspaper. The opening paragraph of that review actually summarizes the sled well: "Combine the operational simplicity of a downhill sled with the 21st-century engineering of a snowboard and the lightweight durability of a modern snowshoe, and what do you get? A sled that handles like a Ferrari and moves with nearly as much speed."

Also see the Find A Hill database submitted by the public at large in different states describing their favorite sledding hills.

The retail price is around $300. Yes, it's a lot for a sled but considering you will be going as fast as a rocket, it's a ton cheaper than rocket fuel. You should also budget a helmet and some protective gear in case your sledding hill has trees.

When you are in Vermont, check some of the local outdoor outfitters to see if you can rent one. I know Umiak Outfitters in Stowe rents them and they can also direct you to some local sledding hills (I like the one behind the Stowe elementary school).

There is another great sled made in Vermont called the Mad River Rocketsled and I'll post an entry about them soon too.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
Unusual , VT Products
posted by  grunhaus at  15:16 | permalink

28 Feb 2007
Tree House Building Class
Here is something unusual to do this coming Sunday, March 4 at 11:00 am. It is a tree house building class at the ECHO Aquarium on the lakefront in Burlington. Bill Allen of Forever Young Treehouses will demonstrate the proper construction of a treehouse - good information to have for a spring/summer project.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
Events , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  22:00 | permalink

19 Jan 2007
Dog Sled Rides

Here's something your friends, neighbors, and co-workers probaly haven't done: take a dog sled ride! There are several in our north central Vermont area and no doubt there are others throughout VT. I have not compiled a list of these yet but you can ask the lodging extablishment where you plan to stay.

By way of example, I got an email today from Rob Farley at October Siberians who was excited about the fact that we now have enough snow for him to start up his dog sled rides. He has rides in some great areas including Little River State Park in Waterbury, Mount Mansfield State Forest in Stowe, as well as South Lincoln and Ripton Vermont. Rob has links to detailed trip descriptions on his web site. He's flexible with his trips and is happy to work with you on creating a special trip plan if you wish.

The base rate is $250 for two people on a six to seven mile trip.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
Advice , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  21:04 | permalink

15 Jan 2007
Ice Bar at the Stowe Winter Carnival
The Stowe Winter Carnival is this coming weekend, Jan 19 - 21. One of the things you should make a note to see there is the ice bar being built next to Stowe's best known bar/nightclub, The Rusty Nail. It is located on Route 108, also called Mountain Road, the main road from the village out to the ski area.

About 20 tons of ice blocks are being used to build the 25 foot bar plus ice tables and chairs, two person ice throne, and a liquor luge (whatever that is) all inside eight foot tall ice walls. This bar was inspired by the winter carnival ice bars of Quebec, the Canadian province that shares a border with Vermont.

Here is a link to the Stowe Reporter newspaper which last week featured a front page photograph of the ice bar under construction. This link will be outdated in a few days when the next issue of the newspaper comes out. If you would like to see how the Quebecois do it, go to this link about the amazing Ice Hotel in Quebec City.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
Events , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  21:06 | permalink

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