Winter in the Mad River Valley. Nothing exemplifies this area better. And winter up here isn’t as patient as in other parts of the country. By late October, white mountain peaks create a dramatic backdrop to a landscape still peppered with shades of red and gold. The snow capped mountains make us anxious to hear the mechanical hum of ski lifts, and feel the crisp, cold air on our cheeks as our bodies are kept warm in layers of knit socks, long underwear and thick, down coats. Eventually we’ll retire to a cozy spot in front of a blazing fire, with our hands soothed by the warmth of a mug of a hot chocolate or our favorite drink. The early snows cannot keep these thoughts from entering our minds, but no need to worry. With the slopes in Vermont opening soon (some as early as November 3rd) this winter wonderland is only days away.