How to Ski Any Mountain Like a Local

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Travel
Master Class 1004

Skiing the same

mountain season after season affords a certain level of comfort-you learn where the powder tends to pile up and which trails to avoid at midday. But after a while, the once daunting 62 trails become the same old 62 trails, and a skier's desire to explore new territory kicks in. So you head somewhere else. But with wanderlust can come confusion, which can lead to wasted daylight. Lifts operate for eight hours (or less), and it can take that long just to figure out how to lose the fanny-packers and find the prime territory. Unless, that is, you know the local tricks.

After 52 years of skiing around the world, Harvard grad Kim Brown, 57, has learned how to read an alien mountain like a tea leaf. His career as an architectural designer is merely a funding source for his nonpaying pursuit: ski junkie. Brown, who lives near Stowe, Vt., estimates he's cut tracks on more than 100 mountains and rattles off trail names, annual snowfalls and weather patterns the way some people banter about their favorite baseball team. In short, he knows where to look for the best snow, he knows why bars aren't a great source of information, and he knows how never to get stuck on the bunny slope-unless, of course, that's where the best skiing is. And some days it is, you know.