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Falling in Love with Skiing in Europe

Ski Italy, Ski Europe, Skiing, Skiing the Alps, Ski Dolomites, DolomitesAs a professional ski racer, the question often comes up, “How long have you been skiing?” They inevitable answer always seems to be “since I was a kid.”

A better question would be “when did you first fall in love with skiing?” For me, it was on my first trip to Europe in high school to compete in the Italian Marcialonga Ski Marathon. I had experienced the Birkie in Hayward, but had no idea what to expect from my first trip to Europe—let alone my first international ski race.

Lining up at the start line in the tiny mountain village of Moena in Italy’s famed Val di Fassa, I was surrounded by hundreds of skiers and could not understand a word they were saying. When the gun went off, the massive pack of skiers took off down the trail, which turned out to be groomed streets through the village of Moena. It was a “choose-your-own-adventure” of ski trails, past 13th-century buildings and down narrow, cobble streets covered by groomed ski tracks.

Considering we were racing in the Dolomites, I was surprised that the course was relatively flat, but I found smooth, level skiing along the brook created by the lake, Lago di Soraga. As we followed the trail, we kept skiing through little towns – Pozza, Canazei, Predazzo – each town had scores of locals lining the route cheering. Each town would try to out-do the last. Local elementary school students would cheer “die! die! die!” Italian for “go! go! go!” and brass bands would trumpet polka tunes – this region, after all, was part of Austria before World War I.

Everything about the race was exciting. Everything at a Worldloppet event is exciting and the Italians know better than anyone how to have a good time!

Ski Italy, Ski Europe, Skiing, Skiing the Alps, Ski Dolomites, Dolomites

It was this experience racing in Europe that helped me fall in love with skiing and inspired another 12 years of international competition—not to mention a few more in the years to come!

Of course, when deciding the places to bring guests for VBT’s first Nordic Ski Tours and Worldloppet events, the Marcialonga in Italy was the first place that came to mind. You can join me this winter for 12 days in Europe and compete in both the Marcialonga and Austrian Dolomitenlauf. Read more about the departure on our website.

The Marcialonga trip and race registration are filling fast! Contact our sales team by Tuesday, October 9, to get more information and reserve your place on the tour. I can’t wait to ski with you in Italy this winter!

For more great ski news check out our friends at

Fall Foliage and Harvest Season

The onset of fall means many things, but if you’re anything like us, the cooler temperatures and shorter days really get you excited for brilliant foliage and a new harvest season!

Our home in Northern Vermont is undoubtedly one of the best spots to enjoy fall foliage, and it’s a privilege we don’t take for granted. In fact, fall can be one of the most pleasant times to grab your bike and go for a nice long spin, enjoying the best Fall in Vermont.

Fall in Vermont, Vermont Foliage, Fall Tours

The refreshingly low temperatures will keep you comfortable and the promise of more and more orange speckled landscapes can keep you riding for hours. But don’t wander off too far. Fall also means that once the sun dips below the horizon, it’s lights out. We recommend riding with a light or two, especially for those rides that just don’t want to end.

For us it’s a perk, for vintners it’s work. Autumn means that grapes are ripening and new wines are on the verge of maturing. To keep up with nature, winemakers are working around the clock to pick their grapes at just the right time, ensuring a smooth and delicious fermentation process.

In California the busy harvest season is known as “The Crush.” We’re just about half-way through the California Crush, with Pinots and Chardonnays having already been picked and pruned. If you’re more of a Cabernets or Syrah drinker, you’ve still got a couple weeks to wait until your grapes are plucked from their vines.

Moving across the country, and then traversing the Atlantic, our friends in France are just gearing up for their busy wine season. And they’ve got, perhaps, even more of a frenzy on their hands as the newest wine of the year, le vin d’annee, will be bottled in just about eight weeks.

Beaujolais Nouveau, Burgundy Wine

The historic race to distribute Beaujolais Nouveau is a lot fun for most wine drinkers, but the tradition can be a controversial one – while those with a lively palate enjoy the myriad flavors of a very young wine, other purists feel that an eight-week old wine is simply too immature to be enjoyed. Regardless of where you stand on the great wine debate, it’s difficult to resist the draw of the year’s very first wine.

What’s your favorite part of fall?