In the wake of Irene, many of us are looking for some reprieve from the wind and rain. Monika Stokes of Norwalk is already turning her sights toward snow-covered peaks. Early September for her family means it’s time to load up on ski gear.
“Ben knows that is when we are going to get our new skies for the season,” says Stokes, reflecting on her son's excitement each year at the prospect of the oncoming ski season. The Stokes family however, doesn't need to climb up into a musty attic or dig around a cluttered garage to start preparing their gear.
Stokes rents her gear each season instead of owning. Every season Ben grows a little, so renting makes more sense. She gets her gear from Wilton's Outdoor Sports Center and makes sure she’s one of the first in the door each season for new skis and boots so she gets her pick.
“People think because they are renting it isn’t going to be very good gear. But every year they have some very nice equipment, [and] some of it is brand new,” Stokes says. She also notes that letting someone else take care of the maintenance and upkeep is an added bonus.
The equipment is also varied enough to meet an array of needs. Hard-shell boots can be difficult for people with slightly wider-than-average feet. Her father, Honza Krusina, has a hard time finding comfortable footings for just that reason. “He didn’t want to give back the boots from Outdoor Sports Center. He said they were some of the most comfortable he’s worn,” says Stokes.
Both Stokes and Krusina raced in their homeland, the former Czechoslovakia. She misses being in the mountains with snow and skiing as a constant option. “We skied every day, and we trained all the time. Then we went to races all over the country,” she recalls.
Ben hasn’t shown the competitive edge yet, but that is fine with Stokes who smiles knowing some of her favorite memories are of her son on the slopes. “We were on this really tall mountain, above the cloud line. You get this white thin frost on everything. He was skiing down the mountain with his mouth open, saying, 'I’m eating clouds!’ ” she says.
Join us on Facebook.