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Quality or quantity?

Posted by Heather Burke  March 21, 2011 01:55 PM

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I used to obsess over my number of ski days. I was in competition with myself, the calendar, and other overzealous skiers to get to 50 days (with at least 20,000 vertical each day to acquire 1 million vertical feet skied in a winter). If I didn't, the season didn't qualify as legit. When I was ski instructing, 50 days was easy to achieve. As a mom of two toddlers, coming close to the goal was a gigantic task, serious effort and cash spent. As our kids grew, and grew to love skiing, our accumulated days and vertical climbed back to respectable levels. In fact, we'd pack up the SUV and ski every weekend with dedication and determination. We would ski in the cold, clouds, crowds, sleet, fog (even rain: which never officially occurs on snow reports) - everything and anything.

So when my husband proposed this season that we go for quality over quantity, I was perplexed. Aren't those ski terms synonymous? You can't have great ski days without lots of them, right? So all winter our calendar has had openings, weekends when we did not race to ski resorts on Saturday morning. However, we picked up the slack with some stellar last minute ski trips. With an eye to the forecast, we have dialed in fresh powder days and perfect blue sky with midweek crowds (or lack thereof).

Last week we pounced on a perfectly forecasted sunny day at Sunday River. Blue sky, spectacular views of Mount Washington and miles of groomed cord were ours. We scored great turns and trails all to ourselves like Risky Business, Rogue Angel and Excalibur.

My advice to those obsessed over their ski stats: stop counting, start selecting and savoring your ski days. Some of the best spring skiing is still to come. It has been a banner snow season so far (31 ski days for me). Ok, so I still keep track, old school ski habits die hard. 

For more of Heather’s ski tips, go to

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Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.

Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at and


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