Tag Archives | flooding

I’m all shook up.

I harbor a deep, dark secret:

I didn’t grow up in the mountains.

Instead, my childhood was spent in a land of sand and surf: the Jersey shore. I lived there until I graduated high school. And though I moved away long ago and  now live in Vermont,  I still have plenty of friends and family — as well as a deep, visceral attachment — to the ocean and the beach.

So to me, the images of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy are especially heartbreaking. You know the amusement pier that collapsed into the ocean in Seaside Heights, NJ? That’s a few miles south of my brother’s house. Yes, he’s fine; he evacuated to his business a short distance inland, though he won’t be allowed back home for six to eight months, until all the gas mains on his barrier island are replaced and his house is inspected for structural damage. And after all that, it may still be condemned. Awful, for someone who’s lived in the same place since 1974.

Hurricane Sandy, Jersey shore

Last year, when Irene hit Vermont, we were amazed at the extent of the destruction. Perhaps it was naive to think this was exceptional. There have always been storms, there will always be storms. But human memory is short. If it wasn’t, no one would build on barrier islands. These are fragile environments, and the ocean is a huge and powerful machine. It builds up easily, it takes down mercilessly. And there’s little we can do about it.

Science tells us climate change is here and the future will bring great changes, including larger, more powerful storms. This isn’t easy to fathom, but it’s true. The more we come to accept it, adjust our lives accordingly, and take steps to prevent things from getting worse, the better off we’ll be.

All that aside, the important thing right now is to help those who’ve been affected by this most recent tragedy; those who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their property.  Having been through Irene, I can easily relate to what’s happening on the coast. If you’ve never experienced a natural disaster, consider yourself lucky. But also consider this: it could happen to any of us tomorrow. If it did, we’d hope someone would help us, too.

So I hope you’ll forgive me if I ask you to give what you can to help. I know this has nothing to do with skiing, but incredibly enough, even I know that there some things more important than that.

Here are a few places that are accepting donations for those in need:

The American Red Cross: Go to www.redcross.org, call 800-Red-Cross, or text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Salvation Army has dozens of mobile feeding units and shelters along the East Coast that are working to serve thousands in the areas most heavily hit. Visit www.salvationarmyusa.org to donate.

FeedAmerica has thousands of pounds of emergency food, water, and supplies in the disaster zone that it’s working to distribute to the storm’s victims. To donate, visit www.feedingamerica.org or call 800-910-5524.

World Vision is distributing flood clean-up kits, personal hygiene items, and emergency food kits to people hit by the hurricane. To donate, visit www.worldvision.org.

Save the Children is also working to provide relief to families and their children. Visit www.savethechildren.org to donate.

Americares is providing medicine and other supplies to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. To donate, visit www.americares.org.

Samaritan’s Purse is asking for volunteers to help storm victims. To volunteer, visit their website.

The Community Foodbank of New Jersey coordinates efforts with the state’s Office of Emergency Management, as well as with state and local nonprofit organizations. Visit www.njfoodbank.org.

And here’s something really cool:

Vermont’s ski resorts have launched Mountains of Love, a fundraising campaign to help with Sandy recovery. You can find out more about it here.

Thank  you.





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Five Days After.

It’s a beautiful day here in The Green Mountain State. I’m sitting out on my deck enjoying perfect weather. I have power, internet, water, and food. Truly, life is good.

That’s not the case for a lot of Vermonters. As I’m sure you heard, people all over the state have lost their homes. They’re stranded on “mountain islands,” with no access to the outside world. Businesses are destroyed. Road and bridges,completely gone.

Here’s a road where I used to ride my bike. I guess I won’t be doing that for a while:

If you read my last post, then you know I was afraid I’d  be stranded, too. We parked our car on the other side of a deteriorating roadway, so  we were able to walk to it and drive away. And now that they’ve repaired the dirt road that’s our other means of access, we’re fine. The road’s pretty bumpy and adds a bit of time to any trip out, but that’s minor.

There’s work going on everywhere.  As I sit here, I can hear the sound of heavy equipment half a mile away. The National Guard is around, as are FEMA and the Salvation army, and there are tons of volunteers. And though the grocery store in Ludlow will be closed for months, they’re putting up a large tent in the parking lot, from which they plan to sell staples. People are coming together to do what needs to be done. It’s the human spirit at its very best. Vermonters are a hardy lot, and the generosity and ingenuity they’ve displayed through this is amazing. I’m proud of my friends and neighbors.

All the same, there is much heartbreak. An artist in Wilmington loses her life’s work. A young couple I know lose their entire farm. Three people in the state lose their lives. These are only a few examples. It seems petty to think about skiing. But skiing is an important part of life around here, and a major player in the state’s economy. So here’s what’s going on, in that department:

In my neck of the woods, Killington was the hardest hit. The biggest problem is Route 4, the main artery leading to the resort. In many areas, the road was entirely washed away, leaving 20-foot drops. Here’s an example:

How this can be repaired before ski season, I have no idea. It goes on and on, too. I know the road is a top priority, but jeez louise, look at it. Makes my heart hurt.

Until just a couple days ago, about 400 people were stranded at Killington, and helicopters were used to bring in supplies. That’s improved with the recent opening of a temporary road that’s allowed people to leave. Even better, I just learned that Killington is making temporary housing available for those in need. Kudos to the resort.

Killington says their infrastructure received only minimal damage, so they’ll be open for the 2011/2012 ski season. This is good news for skiers — provided they can get there.

Okemo fared a bit better. According to FirstTracks Online Ski Magazine, the resort’s Snowstars conveyor lift and F-10 conveyor were buried under four feet of mud and silt. The parking lot, a sewer line, numerous driveways and offices were also damaged, and there was a landslide above the resort’s Sachem chairlift. And though the resort’s primary access was damaged, it’s now being repaired. The resort is hosting  a benefit concert for local hurricane relief tonight. Kudos to them, too!

Many people have asked how they can help the people here in Vermont. Here are a few ways you can do that. There is much to be done here and people are in need, so please don’t hesitate to give.


We appreciate any and all help.

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Pix from the Vermont Flood

There are zombies in Vermont right now. Correction: we’re all zombies in Vermont right now, walking around dazed, barely able to comprehend the extent of the destruction.

Anyone who thinks (are you listening, George Will?) that the media exaggerated the effects of Irene only needs to set foot in the state (oh wait, you can’t get here from there). Okay, we’re not New York City-center-of-the universe (no offense, New York). But as they say,what are we, chopped liver?

You may have heard reports that many people in the state are essentially cut off from the outside world. Well, you can practically add me to the list. Why do I say practically? Here’s the deal: there are essentially two ways to the main road from my house. One of them is completely washed away, and the other will probably be gone very shortly, since a stream is literally eating away at the road bed. We spotted a car on the other side of that before it goes, so hopefully we’ll be able to get out when we need to (although we’ll still have to ford the stream). With so much needing to be done throughout the state, it’s anyone’s guess how long this repair will take, so we may be hoofing it back and forth to the car for a good while.

Here’s what I’m talking about. Yesterday morning this was nearly two lanes wide. By the afternoon it was barely one.

We also walked up the road that leads over the mountain by our house, and it’s G-O-N-E. I understand it’s this bad at both ends, so the people in the middle are entirely cut off.

This is only a taste of the destruction around here. It’s truly heartbreaking. And it’s this way everywhere, all over the state.

How will we rebuild? Before winter sets in? This is a small state with limited resources. My township, for example, has exactly three dump trucks. Yes, three. That’s it.

Perhaps Jim Cantore, of The Weather Station (and my new crush) said it best:

For anyone who wants to help, you can do one of three things:

  • VTResponse.com is working to connect volunteers ready to help with those that need assistance. If you want to help clean up and rebuild, let the folks behind this site know.
  • Donate to Vermont Red Cross. You can do that here.
  • Text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to the Vermont Foodbank. The Foodbank will turn each donation into $60 for families in need.

BTW, on a ski related note, the K1 and Snowshed lodges at Killington have collapsed:

Pardon me. I think I’ll have a good cry.

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Swept away.

Oh, Irene, you’re a tricky one. When all our attention was diverted to your path south and east of here, you sneaked inland and gave us a whump upside the head. I mean, since when are Vermont and hurricane used in the same sentence — except of course to say, “We never get hurricanes in Vermont”?

Right. Never. Until now.

Okay, Irene was a tropical storm when it got here. But it sure did a number on us.?Torrential rains yesterday caused catastrophic flooding. Roads were destroyed, covered bridges swept away, towns and villages flooded.

Here are a few heart breaking images.

This is Ludlow, the town nearest me. The flooding is pretty typical throughout the state:

Here’s Route 7, south of Rutland:

Here’s Route 4, near Killington:

And here’s a remembrance of the covered bridge in Quechee, which was completely destroyed:

My heart is breaking for my beautiful state.

It’s going to be a long time before anyone can travel anywhere around here. Simple questions: how will we get groceries? ?What about getting into town to get the mail?

And larger ones: how long will repairs take? What will this cost the state?

A lot needs to be sorted out. Right now the state is assessing the damage, seeing what needs to be done.

Thanks a lot, Irene.

Be sure to visit?TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

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