Powder Day


geoff pow. blogWe received 10 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and 22 inches in the past week. The forecast called for 1 to 2 inches of new snow overnight and we got 6 to 8 inches. We had colder temperatures last night and that made the snow light.

My first run of the day was on Madonna Mountain. I was shocked by the amount of new snow that we received overnight. I took a video with my iphone and sent it to Alex Martin of Smuggs TV to show him all the fresh snow that we received. He was also shocked by the amount of new snow and said that he was on his way to the Upper Parking Lot. After Alex put on his boots and grabbed his video camera we headed for Madonna. We had a great time playing in the powder filled glades. Alex headed back to Smuggs TV so that he could edit and post the powder video. To see this video just go to http://vimeo.com/search?q=smugglers+notch+february+powder+grab

I received a text message from my good friends Tony and Geoff saying that they were in the Upper Parking Lot.  I told them that I was on Madonna and the conditions are fantastic. We headed back up Madonna to find more powder stashes. We ran into our good friend Lenny at the summit of Madonna and he joined our group of powder hounds. It’s really hard to beat skiing with great friends in great conditions. I had so much fun today that I never took a break to go inside. I want to thank my good buddy Lenny for sharing his bagel sandwich with me on the Madonna I chair lift. It really helped me get through the afternoon.


Skiing in the trees


brad blogI went down to the Nordic Center this morning to check out the 13th Annual Northern Vermont Snowshoe Race and Family Snowshoe Festival. There was a ½K fun run for kids, a 3.5K fun run/walk, and an 8K race that is a qualifier for the 2014 US Snowshoe Association National Championship. This is a wonderful event that is fun and also raises money for some local charities. One of the neat things about snowshoe racing is watching the snow fly. The hinged action of the snowshoe really kicks the snow up into the air.

I headed up to the Upper Mountains next to meet up with my friend Brad. We went up the Madonna chair lift first and skied Drifter. I would have to say that Drifter is one of the most scenic trails here at Smuggs. You get some great views of Sterling Pond, Sterling Mountain, and the Notch. We decided to do some glade skiing next to see if we could find some powder stashes. The photo you see here is Brad enjoying both the views and fresh snow.


Cat Trax Express


P1180906.JPG blogWow what a beautiful morning for the Upper Mountain Fresh Trax with the Cat Trax Express. We arrived at the summit of Madonna and in the east there was a layer of clouds. The sun was above the cloud layer and it was casting sunbeams of warm light. The color and shape of the sunbeams just kept slowly changing. The best part was getting to ski down the mountain with this amazing background.


Get in the Zone


Ozone blogI was riding the Sterling T-Bar this morning and I was checking out the new features in the Zone Terrain Park. The Smuggs Park Crew just installed five rails. I was watching the skiers and riders testing out the rails and jumps. There are four sets of jumps in the Zone with each set having two jumps. One jump is larger than the other, giving the skier/rider a choice of size. There was snowboarder who was only hitting the jumps. He had a smooth style and was nailing his tricks. I waited for him at the top of the T Bar and then chatted with him. He was recently in Utah and he was watching the progress of the Zone Terrain Park online from there. He was stoked to finally be here hitting the jumps. I was stoked to watch him and take photos. This picture here is my favorite because of his body position and he has the grab.


Madonna Liftline


snowboard liftlineWe received 12 inches of new snow in the past 2 days. We had all 78 trails open today. The conditions are just fantastic and to top it off it was sunny today. I found some nice powder stashes in the trees and I also enjoyed the groomed trails. The new snow has been groomed in and mixed with the older snow to make nice soft corduroy. I had a hard time deciding which trails to ski because they are all so good.


Highlander Glades


blade blogThe forecast called for 4 to 6 inches of new snow today. We received an inch of new snow overnight. One of the great things about getting a snow storm during the day is that the conditions just keep getting better. As the snowfall totals went up so did the trail count. We opened Drifter for the first time this season, so I just had to ski it. We also opened Shuttle. I love the steep pitch on Shuttle and I found some nice powder on skier’s left. The lower section of Shuttle is not as steep as the top and usually holds snow very nicely. This section does not get hit by the wind much so; the snow stays light and fluffy. I would stay in someone else’s tracks to build up speed and then shoot into the deep powder which would slow me down again. I continued to play this game the rest of the way down Shuttle. I headed up Sterling next where I ran into Snow Sport University Instructor Blade and his class. They were enjoying the powder in Highlander Glades and so was I. Blade is pictured here having fun in the trees.


Shake it up and FIZZ!


Feb 4, 2014 Fletch n HokieRockin’ Ron for Hugh. Shake it up and FIZZ is not a recipe for a cocktail but how Fletch states his trail pick. That’s ironic because Fletch is the bartender in the Black Bear Tavern at the Base Lodge. The trail he’s referring to is Upper F.I.S. aka Fizz, which is intoxicating in its own way. After cruising down the upper part of Upper F.I.S., I tend to turn onto lower Doc Dempsey’s aka Doc’s, but Fletch said let’s stay on Fizz. So I cancelled my Doctor’s appointment, and we shook it up and fizzed some more. By the time we reached Link, I felt like a drunken sailor but without the rum. Pictured on top of the snow-covered Madonna Mountain prior to fizzing, are the aforementioned Fletch, and Hokie one of our Shuttle Drivers.

Elsewhere around the Resort, I saw the Hogans and the Coadys – families from Canada who vacation here together. In an interesting twist, the kids are skiers and the dads are snowboarders. Skyler, one of the young boys, had a chance to become a boarder but decided against it because he would have to wait until he was good enough to go on some of his favorite trails like Smugglers’ Alley. In fact, Skyler told me his goal this week was to ski Upper F.I.S. for the first time. To quote Fletch “Shake it up and FIZZ!”


Race training on Black Snake


blogToday started off cloudy with some flurries, but the sun made an appearance in the afternoon. The snow and frost covered trees were shining in the sunlight. I took a cruiser run this afternoon on Upper Chilcoot. Upper Chilcoot has some great turns, different pitches, and wonderful views. The new snow that we received the night before last has been groomed in and was skiing great. I took a run on Sterling next and ran into a couple of friends. We skied Upper Pipeline down to Black Snake. We got to the “pine tree start” and saw a sign that said race training in progress. We stopped and watched some of the racers. They were flying out of the race start building and down through the GS gates.


Upper Madonna Liftline


madonna liftlineWe received 4 inches of new snow last night. The snow was heavy and it blanketed the mountain nicely. The denser snow allowed us to open more natural snow trails like Freefall, Upper Madonna Liftline, and the Black Hole. Madonna Liftline was open from the top down to the work road from Robin’s. Freefall was open from the top early in the day, but is now open from the traverse on Upper FIS. I skied Upper Madonna Liftline and the Black Hole. I found some untracked snow in the Black Hole that was fantastic.


Essex High School Winter Carnival


Essex race blogToday was a great day for a ski race. There were many racers and many spectators. It was wonderful to see so much support for the racers. The race today was a slalom race on Lower FIS. I like the way Lower FIS has big rollers. The racers had to nail the gates on the steeper section to carry their speed on to the flatter sections. I had a good time watching these young athletes representing their different High Schools. Thank you to everyone who helped with the race.