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Ski notebook

Throughout ski season, she never misses a day

By Marty Basch and T.D. Thornton
Globe Correspondents / February 11, 2010

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They say that if you want to ski, don’t work in the ski industry. But that doesn’t apply to Denise Perkins at Jackson Ski Touring Foundation in Jackson, N.H.

Since 2000, the 61-year-old office manager has managed to ski every day the Mount Washington Valley cross-country ski network has been open.

And then some.

One season she counted 126 consecutive days. She thought that was good until a customer told her he once skied 135 days in a season. He was feeling good until he met a guy skiing in May who had 140 days.

“I just look at it as my morning routine, like a morning run,’’ Perkins said on Day 61 of the current season. She started Dec. 9, 2009, the day before the network opened, and usually continues to ski after the network closes. Her husband, Thom, Jackson’s executive director, waxes his wife’s skis every morning so she can have more glide during a typical hour-long ski.

Perkins skis in snow, rain, wind, and hail. She has skied in at least two torrential downpours since Christmas. She prefers the classical method to skate skiing and, despite her efforts, has yet to ski all the trails at the 156-kilometer system.

She even does the backcountry Wildcat Valley Trail from the summit of Wildcat back down to Jackson Village.

“I usually do that in March when there is lots of snow,’’ she said. “We’re lucky to live here and get to pick the days.’’

She’s seen wildlife and plenty of animal tracks, too.

“The moose can wreck the trails,’’ she said. “I’ve seen their tracks this season but I haven’t seen them.’’

Perkins said she doesn’t care about the weather and has a better outlook on the day after a morning in the woods.

“This is the no excuses ski season,’’ she said with a laugh.

Red, white, & true
It’s not slopeside in Vancouver, but fans can cheer on many New England-based athletes at viewing parties at ski areas during the Olympics.

Stratton Mountain plans a tape-delayed telecast at Grizzly’s Tuesday at 8 p.m. during women’s snowboardcross featuring Stratton Mountain School grad and ’06 silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis. Sugarloaf is holding a Seth Wescott viewing party Monday in the Widowmaker Lounge, where plans call for a live broadcast between 2-4 p.m. for the snowboardcross finals.

Sweetheart deals
Meet the ski bum of your dreams when Black Mountain hosts Chairlift Speed Dating on Saturday. Ladies participating in the event ski free after 12:30 p.m., and the speed dating is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. . . . Shawnee Peak will have horse-drawn sleigh rides ($20 per couple) on Valentine’s Day this Sunday . . . Nashoba Valley hosts the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge Valentine’s Day while the Pine Hill XC Ski Club in New London, N.H., has a “Bring your honey and one skis free’’ special . . . Jiminy Peak has $15 tickets for skiing tonight from 3-10 p.m. available only through jiminypeak.com.

Pump it up
Snowkiting, an adrenaline-fueled winter mash-up of windsurfing, skiing, and sailing, will be showcased at Lake Champlain at the seventh annual Kitestorm Feb. 20 and 21 in Milton, Vt. The event, which has drawn 500 participants and an equal amount of spectators in previous years, offers free clinics, demonstrations, races, and prize drawings for both experienced kiters and newcomers who want to learn about the sport. The Kitestorm website (www.stormboarding.com) has the full schedule of events, and although many of the clinics have already drawn overflow waiting lists, spectators are free to enjoy the event without registering . . . Harris Hill in Brattleboro, Vt., hosts the 86th annual Fred Harris Ski Jumping Competition Saturday and Sunday. One of only six Olympic-size ski jumps in the country, Harris Hill closed in 2005 for safety reasons but reopened last year after community fund-raising garnered $300,000 to restore the 90-meter jump. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children, and jumpers launch at 11 a.m. each day. Details at harrishillskijump.org. “We have jumpers coming from all over the country to compete this year,’’ chief of competition Rex Bell wrote in a release. “This is a great opportunity to see Olympic-size ski jumping so close to home.’’

Lavallee motoring in
Seven-time Winter X Games medalist Levi Lavallee headlines the Championship Snocross Series at Rockingham Park tomorrow through Sunday. New England’s lone stop on the national snowmobile racing tour will feature action during the day and under the lights. Tickets are available at isocracing.com . . . Ski Market, the 39-year-old outdoor sporting goods retailer, launched its going-out-of-business sale at its seven New England locations last weekend after filing for bankruptcy protection in December. Stores in Boston, Wellesley, Woburn, Framingham, Pembroke, Avon, Conn., and Warwick, R.I., will feature deeply discounted skis, winter sports equipment, bicycles, and car racks until the merchandise sells out . . . It’s a bit out of the way for New Englanders, but for sheer novelty, history buffs will appreciate the offbeat presidential promotion they came up with at Mountain Creek ski area in eastern New Jersey: Anyone who can recite the Gettysburg Address from memory and in its entirety gets a free lift ticket on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday . . . Wachusett is incorporating Olympic-themed events during the Games, which happen to coincide with February school vacation week. The schedule includes a torchlight parade tomorrow on Indian Summer at 6:30 p.m., a mini-luge run Saturday, a ski/board/cross-country race Monday, and broom hockey shootout Feb. 19.