Blog :: 2019

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Below you will find information on real estate, our local area, and the community. Please feel free to comment on any posts, we would love to hear what you think! 

Generational Family Fun with Joe Karl

by Abby Stone, Administration, Marketing and Designer


Our team at Vermont Properties is all about passing down family traditions to the younger generations. Each member of our team has managed to get their children and spouses involved in some sort of family tradition or experience from skiing and snowboarding to fundraising and giving back to the community. In particular, Joe Karl, one of our agents, has begun passing down his love for snowshoeing to his daughters. Joe has been performing guided snowshoe tours at Okemo for 18 years for all types of events like the torchlight parades and fireworks displays. During the holiday vacation week, Joe had the pleasure of having his daughter, Brigid, join him on one of his famous snowshoe tours at Okemo. I felt that it was the perfect time to write about both his relationship with snowshoeing and his daughter during this holiday season, as I know it will warm your heart, so I decided to sit down with Joe and do a quick interview. Enjoy!



Abby: What do you like most about snowshoeing? 

Joe: "It's simple! Once you invest in a good pair of snowshoes, they last forever, and then you can go wherever you want, whenever you want. Plus, it is great for all levels and abilities. It's always fun to go out with folks that have never snowshoed before.”


Abby: What else do you do on the snowshoe tours?

Joe: “I enjoy giving tips on the mechanics of snowshoeing and educating the group on Vermont's beauty. I like to be a fun-fact filled machine whether it be about history or nature."


Abby: When are you doing another snowshoe tour so that our readers can mark their calendars?

Joe: “January - stay tuned for the final date! I look forward to having another tour that is hopefully filled with more snow!"


Abby: How did Brigid get into snowshoeing with you?

Joe: “Vail Resorts has asked their employees at Okemo to help with events. Brigid's supervisor, Chris Saylor, asked her if she would be interested in helping to guide the tour and she said yes. Lucky me!” #FatherDaughterDuo


Abby: How did Brigid feel about the tour?

Joe: “She had fun. She is really great with kids and I was very proud of her as I watched her interact with the guests. I look forward to having her help me out in the future and to hopefully pass the torch to her."


Abby: What was a highlight of the tour?

Joe: “The torchlight parade was one of the best I've seen in years. The skiers were traversing in a tight-knit formation and skied in a smooth line. It looked flawless in my humble opinion."


Abby: Where do you like to snowshoe other than Okemo?

Joe: “My backyard! Even on a cold winter day, it is very sunny up on the ridge in Chester. I get some cool views on the Chester Stone Village along with the sight of some animal tracks."


Abby: Where does your family like to snowshoe together?

Joe: “Mainly our backyard but we will go to Lost Mine in Chester once in a while."


If you are reading this and thinking, “I should start a new tradition with my family!”, then take Joe’s advice and bring snowshoeing to your family. Joe gives snowshoeing the stamp of approval of being “a fun family sport that everyone can do and simply enjoy the outdoors together”. It also wouldn’t hurt to end this blog post with a note that if asked to, Joe would probably most-definitely say yes to guiding your family on a snowshoe tour, day or night! 

December Events in Ludlow, Vermont!


December is a great time to visit the Okemo Valley! There are so many events happening this month, and we want to make sure you have your calendars marked for these must-attend events. Luckily, most of these events are happening when the ski day is over, so you won’t lose any precious moments on the slopes.  


Demo Day at Winterplace: Saturday, December 21st | 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Winterplace at Okemo is hosting their annual Demo Day and teaming up with our team at Vermont Properties and The Boot Pro Ski Shop to offer you ski brands to test out. Located at the top of the A&B Quads on Okemo, Winterplace is the perfect location for a demo, allowing you to strap on those demo skis and ski directly to the slopes.



OMS Warren Miller Showing: Saturday, December 21st | 7 to 9 p.m.

The Okemo Mountain School in Ludlow, Vermont is hosting the premier showing of Warren Miller’s newest film, “Timeless”. Bring the whole family to watch this epic ski movie with refreshments and door prizes. Tickets are $20/adult and $15/child (16 & under) or donate a toy and the cost is only $10/person!



Visit with Santa: Monday, December 23rd | 4 to 7 p.m.

If you are visiting town with the kids, you’ll definitely want to bring the family to Jackson Gore at Okemo for Santa Claus’ grand entrance on his sleigh! Santa and Mrs. Claus are making a pit stop on their way to the North Pole and look forward to getting a few more holiday gift ideas for the children…and parents too!



Torchlight Parade and Fireworks: Friday, December 27th | 6:30 p.m.

Don’t miss this amazing torchlight parade of skiers and riders traversing down Okemo’s trails and a spectacular fireworks show after at Okemo’s Main Base Area. Change it up by taking a snowshoe tour up the mountain to watch the light shows starting at 4:30 p.m. Head to for more details. 



Shake N’ Skate: Saturday, December 28th | 6 to 9 p.m.

Head to Okemo’s Ice House for a night of ice skating - but not just regular ice skating! The live DJ and lights turn the Ice House into a dance party for the whole family. Rentals are available with hot chocolate and coffee to keep you warm all night long.



Family Terrain Park Series: Sunday, December 29th | 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

New to Okemo this year, the Family Terrain Park Series is the perfect opportunity to bring your little shredders to explore their adventurous side. Meet the Okemo Parks Crew on Hot Dog Hill for guidance and tips on their skills in the park. 



Okemo’s Family New Year's Eve Party: Tuesday, December 31st | 5 to 9 p.m.

This Okemo family tradition continues as midnight arrives early with tons of activities from a magic show to a DJ dance party. Purchase your tickets for this fun-filled event at



Miracle Bar at Main + Mountain: Now to January 1st

This extreme Christmas pop-up bar at Main + Mountain on Main Street in Ludlow will make you feel like you’ve been sent straight to the North Pole! Enjoy the holiday inspired cocktails, mocktails and snacks. Pro tip: Bring your camera and take a selfie with the life-sized dancing Santa. 

Opening Day at Okemo | The Start of the 2019-2020 Season

It’s the moment you have all been waiting for… Okemo Mountain Resort will open on Friday, November 22nd for the 2019-2020 ski season! Winter is officially here as the Okemo Valley begins to experience lower temperatures in the 20 to 30 degree range, a few snow showers and the sound of snow guns blasting through the night on the mountain. This blog will cover all of the information you need to know about snowmaking, the new changes happening at Okemo and what to expect this season on the slopes. 

We all know that Okemo has always been well-known for their snowmaking capabilities, but did you know that Okemo has 98% snowmaking coverage across its terrain? Rightfully so, Okemo has the highest snowmaking efficiency amongst all ski resorts in Vermont! To top it off, the resort completed its five-year project in replacing over 5,000 feet of main snowmaking pipes during the off-season. Snowmaking kicked off for the season on Halloween night and has continued through the month of November thanks to favorable temperatures. We’ve seen snowmaking clouds on Nor’Easter, Mueller’s Run, World Cup, Lower Mountain Road and the main base area, which makes us think we should expect top-to-bottom skiing on opening day! Okemo also recently announced that they expect to open 25 trails on opening day!


As many of you know, Okemo is now under the new ownership of Vail Resorts, which has allowed the resort to undergo lots of exciting changes during the off-season. The Summit Lodge, Sugar House Lodge and Epic Restaurant all got a facelift this summer and will be offering new dining options with updated menus, new names (Epic is now 43° North) and overall upgraded guest experience. The Ski & Snowboard School will now offer more options this season as well like the full-day family lesson! Last but not least, EpicMix is now fully functioning at the resort! Download the app for snow conditions, webcams, vert tracking, lift-line wait times and more - check it out here. For more details, check out Okemo’s Vice President and General Manager, Bruce Schmidt’s Blog here! Oh and by the way, welcome back, Bruce!


Our team hopes to see you out on the slopes on Opening Day and throughout the season at Okemo. We expect another great winter with lots of snow days, family time and making memories on the slopes. See you on the slopes! 


P.S. If you haven't purchased your Epic Pass yet, click here for details on pass options so that you can ski endlessly at Okemo and other Vermont mountains like Mount Snow and Stowe this winter! The last day to grab your pass is November 24th. 


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    Congratulations Kathy Burns! CPBR Good Neighbor Award

    Author: Ashley Billings of Okemo Mountain School in Ludlow, Vermont

    Many of you may know Kathy Burns as a broker for and owner of William Raveis Vermont Properties. However, we know her as an Okemo Mountain School alumni parent, as well as one of our biggest supporters. This year, Kathy is receiving the Crown Point Board of Realtors Good Neighbor award, which proves her dedication not only to OMS, but to many others within our community. 


    This award complements the NAR and VAR Good Neighbor Award programs and highlights REALTORS® whose extraordinary commitment to volunteer work has helped make their community a better place to live. The winner of this award is submitted to NAR and VAR for consideration on the state and national levels. The award shines a spotlight on the important work that REALTORS® all over the country do to help others.

    Kathy has been a part of our OMS family for over 15 years now and before that, a parent within the Okemo Competition Center. Kathy supported her two daughters in their dreams of ski racing while they attended OMS. However, even after they had completed their time at OMS. Kathy continued to show her support. Not only does she attend, volunteer or donate at every OMS event, but she also frequently spearheads many of our fundraising efforts. When we endeavored to build our Fitness Facility, Kathy worked to help us achieve our goals with a primary focus on raising the funds necessary to build the trampoline silo. Needless to say, she succeeded and now our student-athletes have a state of the art facility to utilize.

    More recently, Kathy has taken on the role of Co-Chair for our annual appeal, Campaign for our Community. Last year was our first year running the campaign and Kathy helped to raise over $100,000 for OMS. Without her ambition and belief in raising the highest fundraising goal possible, we would not be nearly as successful. We are now in our second year of the Campaign and once again, Kathy has pushed us to dream big and is with us every step of the way.

    Okemo Mountain School, along with the rest of the rest of the Ludlow snow sports community, would like to congratulate Kathy on achieving the Good Neighbor award. We appreciate all you do and continue to do to help make so many dreams come true.

    Halloween Events in the Okemo Valley!

    The countdown to Halloween is on! There are several events happening around the Okemo Valley to celebrate Halloween. Whether you are a trick-or-treating ghoul or a spooky night owl, these events will definitely get you in the Halloween spirit! 



    Fletcher Memorial Library Halloween Party | Friday, October 25th

    Kick off Halloween at the 6th Annual Fletcher Memorial Library Halloween Party! Dress up in your favorite costume and enjoy creepy snacks, spooky games and more! This family-friendly event is from 3 to 4:30 p.m. making it a perfect party for the younger crowd. 


    Mount Holly PTSA Trick or Treat | Friday, October 25th

    Don’t miss this family fun event at the Mount Holly School! The night starts at 5 p.m. with trick or treating around the village, followed by hayrides by Plew Farm from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wrap up the night with a costume contest starting at 6:30 p.m. Need some costume ideas? We’ve put together a list of Okemo Valley inspired costumes below!


    Main + Mountain Halloween Party | Saturday, October 26th

    Adults love Halloween too! Stop by the Main + Mountain bar between 9 and 12 p.m. for an epic Halloween Party featuring drink specials, music and a costume contest. Dress to impress!


    Trunk or Treat | Thursday, October 31st

    If you are looking for a family-friendly Halloween event, be sure to head to Benson’s Chevrolet for the first annual Trunk or Treat from 4 to 7 p.m. Local businesses sponsor this event and fill up their trunks with candy for the trick-or-treaters. Vermont Properties will be there with our own trunk set-up so be sure to stop by! Bonus: Bring a carved pumpkin for a chance to win a prize and some serious bragging rights. 


    Ludlow Recreation Department’s Halloween Party | Thursday, October 31st

    This is another great family-friendly event right in the heart of Ludlow. Kick off the night at 6:30 p.m. with a Halloween Parade starting at the Black River Academy Museum. After, head to the Community Center for candy, games, music, pizza and a haunted house! 


    Cavendish Trunk or Treat | Thursday, October 31st

    Join the Cavendish community to celebrate Halloween with another Trunk or Treat at the Cavendish Elementary School. Trick-or-treating starts at 5 p.m. and be sure to come in your best costume to collect your candy! Hey adults, do you want to participate? Bring your car, decorate your trunk and hand out treats!


    Killarney Halloween Party | Thursday, October 31st

    Looking for an event that is kid-free? Its parents night out at the Killarney Irish Pub in Ludlow starting at 9 p.m. Enjoy the live DJ, drink specials and a costume contest with prizes. 


    Fall Weekend in the Okemo Valley: October 11th - 14th

    Fall is in full swing here in the Okemo Valley! The trees are changing, the weather is perfect and there are so many upcoming events for locals and visitors alike. We know that mid-October is the ideal time to visit, so we put together a schedule of events and things to do this weekend, just for you! 


    Big Buzz Chainsaw Festival: Friday, October 11th to Monday, October 14th

    The Big Buzz Chainsaw Festival is in its 10th year of production, bringing over 25 carvers from across the country and around the world the Okemo Mountain Resort. Watch the carvers create their masterpieces or create sculptures of your own! Located at the Jackson Gore Ice Arena from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all weekend long. For details, click here! 


    Ludlow Farmers Market: Friday, October 11th | 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

    Visit the Ludlow Farmers Market for the final market of the season at 53 Main Street. Shop the local vendors to stock up on seasonal veggies, fresh baked bread, Vermont coffee and wine, pottery, crafts and more. Support your local farmer! 


    Fall Into Winter: Saturday, October 12th | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Celebrate the transition of the seasons at Okemo Mountain Resort! This event is filled with hayrides, games, pumpkin painting, craft vendors and food. There will be a seasonal and regional beer tasting tent, too! Okemo's Adventure Zone will be open all weekend long for zip lining, mini golfing and rides on the mountain coaster. Bring the family for a fun fall day in the mountains. Visit for details.


    29th Annual Chili Cook-Off: Saturday, October 12th | 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Don't miss out on this annual tradition!  and Enter your favorite chili or come as a participant and enjoy a selection of chili, bread, cider and ice cream for only $10/person. Located at the traffic light on Depot Street, the Ludlow Rotary Club hosts this event as a fundraiser to benefit community projects.  Visit for details. 


    Light Up the Night: Saturday, October 12th | 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    Join the Okemo Valley community for a night of pumpkin carving and illumination in the heart of downtown Ludlow at the Gazebo at Veterans Memorial Park. This event is a fundraiser for two notable non-profit organizations: Tedy's Team Foundation and the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. Make a donation, pick your perfect pumpkin, carve your design and light it up the night with locals! 100% of the proceeds will benefit both charities. There will also be a pizza food truck, fresh lemonade and more! Click here for more details. 


    Happy Fall! Have a safe and happy weekend here in the Okemo Valley! - The Vermont Properties Team




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      The Local Scoop for Viewing Foliage! Part 2

      Foliage season is here! If you haven’t already, head over to Part 1 of this foliage blog for a little background on the season here in Vermont and the start of our top favorite foliage viewing spots.

      Don’t forget to take a picture and tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #vtpropfoliage and we will happily share your leaf-peeping memory on our page.


      4. Lake Rescue via Boat Launch

      Viewing foliage doesn’t always have to be via car or foot. Head over to the Lake Rescue Boat Launch and bring your kayak, canoe, paddle boards or your boat out onto this gorgeous lake. Enjoy over a mile of water surrounded by mountain views and of course, foliage. You will experience 360-degree views of the bright trees and fiery mountains, plus, it’s a great place to enjoy a quiet moment in nature. Lake Rescue offers better views of all the surrounding lakes due to its size, but you could also find foliage on Lake Amherst, Echo Lake or Lake Pauline!



      5. Ludlow Cemetery Trail

      Don’t let the name of this one scare you away! This trail offers one of the best views of Okemo Mountain in the Ludlow downtown area. You can either drive up the cemetery road or walk this one. As you head up the road to the upper level of the cemetery, the views of Okemo are already incredible. Continue up and head towards the gate on the backside of the cemetery, now you are on a cross-country ski trail that leads you to the Okemo Valley Golf Course. But before you get there, you’ll pass an open view of Okemo and the surrounding foliage. The green ski trails pop against the brightly-colored leaves and the mountain feels like it is towering over you.



      6. Lake Ninevah in Mount Holly

      Lake Ninevah is also a great escape that offers a naturalistic setting. There is so much wildlife to be found here among the foliage. Head over to the boat launch and drop in your toy of choice, whether it’s a kayak or paddleboard, enjoy the day on the lake and take in the mountain views covered in orange, red and yellow hues. 



      That's the local scoop on the best places to view foliage in the Okemo Valley! While these locations are definitely top-notch, we urge you to find your own adventure and soak in the foliage wherever you can. Happy leaf-peeping!



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        The Local Scoop for Viewing Foliage! Part 1

        The Local Scoop for Viewing Foliage! Part 1

        Vermont is arguably the best state in the country to visit during foliage season thanks to the higher elevations, beautiful valleys, peaks and the 4.5 million acres of forest land that come together to create the brightly-colored landscapes we love! 

        Experts believe that Vermont will have a great foliage season this year because the trees are currently vibrant, rich and green and have seen minor to normal amounts of defoliation from insects and disease throughout the past year. Did you know that the speed and timing of foliage season is dependent on factors including light, temperature and soil conditions? These factors can change every year, making foliage season a moving target. However, you can expect to see the foliage at its peak between the end of September to mid-October. While there is no one “perfect” time to plan your visit, the rule of thumb is to start your leaf-peeping party at higher elevations, since these trees will start to change color first, making Ludlow a great place to begin your Vermont fall vacation or excursion.

        Leaf-peeping is the official hobby of the fall season throughout Vermont, which is why we have created a list of the best locations for foliage viewing in the Okemo Valley! If you end up visiting one of these locations, take a picture and tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #vtpropfoliage and we will happily share your memory on our page.

        Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog for more epic foliage viewing spots!


        1. Okemo Mountain

        While this seems like an obvious one, we couldn’t leave it out. Okemo Mountain offers sweeping views of the Okemo Valley and there is more than one way to enjoy the views. The first option is to drive up Mountain Road, a ski trail that transforms into an actual road in the summer and park at the gate. Before you get to the parking area, you will pass the Mount Holly Overlook and the Ludlow Overlook. You can most definitely soak in the views here, or you can keep driving to the parking area and then walk to the summit! If you decide to reach the summit, enjoy a mild 15-minute walk to the top. The summit of Okemo is also home to the fire tower, which could offer thrill-seekers an even more jaw-dropping experience. If you are looking for a bit more exercise, hike up the Healdville Trail in Mount Holly, which leads you up the backside of Okemo and drops you off at the top. You could also pick your favorite ski trail and hike it…perhaps Chief or Sapphire? And finally, if you want to take a more relaxing route, buy a ticket for a Scenic Chairlift Ride on Okemo’s Sunburst Six Chairlift! No matter which option you choose, they all lead to some epic foliage views. 


        2. Echo Lake Vista Trail

        The Echo Lake Vista trail is a great option if you are looking for a beginner hike and you only have an hour to spare while on your leaf-peeping excursion. Pop the Plymouth State Park into your GPS and park in one of their free parking lots, which are located on the opposite side of the road from the park. Walk down the road past the park entrance and you will find an inconspicuous trailhead and you’re there, we promise! This hike is about a mile loop with a few steeper sections but nothing your young children can’t handle. The hike through the trees is gorgeous, but the view from the top is even better. You’ll know you reached the top when you can see Echo Lake surrounded by the popping foliage. This is a must-see!


        3. Buttermilk Falls Trail

        Although this trail doesn’t necessarily lead to anything, this beginner hiking area is so beautiful and serene. Buttermilk Falls is located on Buttermilk Falls Way across from the Jackson Gore Resort entrance. Follow the road down to the trailhead and park along the side of the road. There are several different pathways that adventurers have paved for you. As you enter the woods, you will be enveloped in the foliage with extreme tree coverage overhead. The trees pop against the roaring falls and offer a fantastic photo-op. Pack a picnic or hike with your dog through the glittering woods, you won’t be disappointed!



        Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog! We will have more locations for you to visit during your foliage tour in the Okemo Valley. 


        End of Summer Bucket List

        Have you noticed the nights getting colder already? This is a sure sign that summer is coming to an end. While many of you may be excited for autumn leaves and snowy trees, don’t rush the summer by just yet! There is still a lot of fun to be had and Labor Day weekend is coming up, giving you an extra day to enjoy the great outdoors!

        1. Rent a kayak or paddle board from Tygart Mountain Sports or the Tyson Store and head to one of the great lakes in the Okemo Valley. If you are looking for calm water, check out Lake Pauline, a great spot for a leisurely paddle. However, if you are a bit more experienced and want to take a swim, as well, Lake Rescue or Echo Lake may be the way to go!

        2. Do you love brunch? Let’s be honest, who doesn’t! This Sunday, September 1st, is the last Rose on the Fairway at Willie Dunn’s where you can sip a crisp rose and try some delicious brunch specials.

        3. Head to Trout River Brewing Company in Springfield, VT on Saturday, August 31st for a Labor Day Party. There will be live music by the Blue Grasoles, along with pizza being served by Goodman’s American Pie!

        4. If you are looking to get out of the area this weekend, check out the Southern Vermont Garlic Festival in Bennington. This is one of my favorite festivals of the entire year with delicious food and booze options, along with awesome local craft vendors!

        5. Attend the last Jackson Gore Summer Music Series Concert this Friday, August 30th! The Blind Owl Band will be taking the stage from 6-9pm.

        6. Go to the Okemo Adventure Zone for a fun day of zip lining, mini golf, mountain coaster riding, the challenge course, disc golf, and so much more! 

        7. Check out a show at the Weston Playhouse! “Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolf” is currently playing through August 31st!

        8. Go for a hike up the backside of Okemo on the Healdville Trail to the summit and firetower! My favorite way to do this is to start around 9am, pack a picnic lunch, and head to the top for an awesome view.

        9. Spend a day at Plymouth State Park relaxing on the sandy beach, playing volleyball, and grilling up some hamburgers! 

        10. Spend a day at the Okemo Valley Golf Course for a round of golf!

        Summer Adventure in the Okemo Valley

        Summertime is the best time for adventure. There are so many different kinds of adventures just waiting to be had, especially in our backyards in the Okemo Valley! Did you know that Okemo offers several summer activities that are fun for the whole family?

        One of Okemo’s newest attractions and probably the most extreme adventure is the Evolution Bike Park. The Bike Park is located at the main base area of Okemo, where mountain bikes can be rented, along with helmets and other gear. The trail systems are placed throughout the lower mountain trails around the A and B Quads and extend from the top of the Sunburst Six (bubble chair). The lower trails are great for all kinds of riders, from beginning mountain bikers to serving as just a warm-up run for more experienced riders. There is still a trail from the top of the mountain, Scrambler, that is accessible for moderate riders, however, it is longer and takes more endurance. If you are looking for a more extreme trail ride, check out Shake and Bake! Another option is to hike to the top of Mountain Road and take a nice, long, coasting ride to the bottom! While you are at the top, enjoy the views and breathe in the fresh Vermont air!

        Much of the summer adventure happens at Jackson Gore in the Adventure Zone! Here you will find anything from zip lining to miniature golf. One of my favorite activities is the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster. This is similar to an alpine slide but on rails. Ride alone or with a friend! Another fun activity is the Segway Tour. These tours are available for all levels. Start with an introductory lesson or take the off-road tour. How often do you have the chance to ride a segway, so take advantage when you are in the area!

        The most popular activities in the Adventure Zone are the Sawyer’s Sweep Zipline and the Haulback Challenge Course. Glide through Photo by Okemothe trees at 40 to 50 feet above the ground on a zipline tour with 7 different ziplines to complete. When you have finished ziplining, head to the Haulback Challenge Course for a fun adventure in the trees where you get to challenge your mind and body to complete several different obstacles.

        If you are looking for a less extreme adventure, check out the Lumberin’ Cal Miniature Golf course or The Maples Disc Golf course. If you are looking to fill up the majority of your day, play some disc golf, which will bring you through the beautiful woods of Jackson Gore, but if you just want a quick activity, play some miniature golf!

        There are so many adventures to be had, so don’t wait! Head to Okemo Mountain Resort today to start your first adventure!