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Another beautiful day filled with sunshine and snow

We received 10 inches of new snow in the past week and 102 inches this season so far.  Our snowmakers have been working around the clock at the Morse Highlands area and Morse Mountain recently.  The photo on the left shows the amount of snow our snowmakers can make in just one night with the right conditions.  Our snowmakers made tons of snow on Log Jam which was groomed out today and we plan to open the Log Jam Terrain Park soon. Our snowmakers have moved up to Sterling Mountain for tonight. We are presently making snow on Upper Pipeline, Hangman’s Drop, Bootlegger, the Zone, Lower Rumrunner, and Lower Exhibition.  The perfect snowmaking temperatures will allow us to open more trails this week.  We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 6 lifts operating, including the Madonna I Lift. We have 64 trails open with fantastic conditions.  On the grooming list tonight is 30 trails, including Upper FIS, Thomke’s Express, and Snow Snake.  A grand total of 164 of freshly groomed terrain.  Tomorrow’s forecast is partly sunny skies with temperatures in the 20’s.  The forecast for Thursday night and Friday is snow, 3 inches of accumulation possible.
snow and view snowmaking

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You’re my Blue Sky, you’re my sunny day…

Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. I was singing the Allman Brothers’ “Blue Sky” as I was delivering the Snow Report this morning. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a sunny and crisp winter day in Vermont (is that too much bull for the “No Bull” Snow Report?). Once again, the snow guns are set for STUN to take advantage of the single digit temps. The bottom right picture includes the Gazebo and Bonfire Pit. This is the site of Winter Welcome Warm-ups on Mondays, and Winter Carnivals on Thursdays. In the summer, it’s where Goodtime Charlie does his Bonfire sing-along. Today may be too nippy for strumming guitar to Puff the Magic Dragon, so let’s stick with a capella Allmans.

MidwaySnowmaking Morse

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Upper Exhibition

mattWe received 4 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours, 13 inches in the past week, and 101 inches this season. The forecast calls for another inch of accumulation tonight and perfect snowmaking temperatures for the rest of the week.  Tonight we plan to make snow on Sam’s, Dixie’s Knoll, and Log Jam.  Tonight we also plan to groom 30 trails, including Smugglers’ Alley and Snow Snake for a grand total of 156 acres of freshly groomed terrain. We have been opening more terrain and now we have 60 trails open. Tomorrow we plan to have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 6 lifts operating, including the Madonna I Lift.

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Another great day at Smuggs

I started the day off watching the sunrise from the summit of Madonna Mountain.  In the photo on the right you can see the moon over Mount Mansfield. The air was crisp and the winds were calm. It was beautiful to watch the colors change as the sun rose over the horizon.  Once the sun came up I skied down. I really enjoyed the corduroy on Upper Chilcoot, Upper FIS, Link, and Lower Madonna Liftline. I was at the Practice Slope this afternoon checking out the USASA race.  It was exciting to see these snowboarders taking on the race course.  The snowboard gates are high on one side and low on the other, as you can see in the photo on the left. They are designed this way to let the racer lean over the gate. This allows the racers to get their snowboards closer to the gate as they go over it. We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 56 trails open. We have been making snow on Snow Snake, Midway, and Lower Morse Liftline. We plan to open more trails and terrain parks soon. The forecast calls for 4 inches of new snow by Monday night. moon mansfield vert usasa race

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Cat Trax Express Fresh Trax

chris and kelsyI love Saturday mornings because I get to do the Fresh Trax Tour of the Cat Trax Express. Every Saturday morning at 7 am the Cat with a heated cabin takes you from the Base Lodge to the summit of Madonna Mountain. You do not need to be a skier or rider for this tour. You can simple just ride in the cat on the way back down the mountain. One of the great things about this program is it allows people to go to the summit of Madonna Mountain who would otherwise never get to go. There was a group on the tour this morning that had some people who had never been on Madonna Mountain before. As we were riding up in the Cat different people took turns telling ski stories. “Those are the glades that I was telling you about that had the great snow in them”, “That’s where I did a face plant in a drift”, “That’s where I tell my family goodbye because they go down Catwalk to the expert trails and I go down Chilcoot”, and many more. Did I mention my favorite part is getting to ski down? There was an inch of new snow on top of the groomed terrain which was nice to play in. Pictured here at the summit of Madonna Mountain are Chris and Kelsey from Michigan. Tomorrow we plan to have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating and 51 trails open. We plan to groom 157 acres of terrain tonight, including Upper FIS and Smugglers’ Alley. We plan to make snow tonight on Snow Snake, Midway, and Curley’s Cutback.

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Snow flying on FIS

snow flyingWe received 2 inches of new snow last night and another 2 inches this afternoon in a short amount of time. This morning I was at the Morse Highlands Area with my wife Harley and 3 year old daughter Hayleigh. The Highlands area is perfect for kids and beginners. The slopes are wide and have a mild pitch to them. The Morse Highlands Lift is kid friendly with lower chair loading and unloading. The Morse Highlands Lodge is also fantastic. We stopped for a hot chocolate break and for a nice hot lunch. It really started to snow hard after lunch. I was riding the Madonna I Lift and it was pretty much a white out. Upper FIS was groomed last night and the new snow on top was wonderful. This photo shows the great conditions on Upper FIS this afternoon.

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View from the Village Lift

village viewWe received a dusting of new snow last night and 15 inches in the past week. The forecast calls for another 4 inches of new snow by Saturday night. We plan to make snow tonight on Morse Mountain. I was riding the Village Lift today, taking in the views. Throwback Thursday came to mind because I was thinking back to when I was a kid learning to ski. I learned to ski here at Smuggs riding the Village Lift. I remember taking in the wonderful views of Madonna and Sterling from the top of the Village Lift. I also remember how their beauty and size inspired me to work hard on my skills so that one day I would be able to ski the upper mountains.

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Former snowmaking pump house

Our heartfelt thanks to fire departments from Cambridge, Jericho/Underhill, Fairfax, and Johnson for their quick response to a fire at a small utility building on our upper mountain last night. Additional thanks to Cambridge Rescue and VTrans, as well as our snowmaking, mountain operations and corporate development staff for their support. Under extremely difficult circumstances due to the weather, the fire was contained, and although the structure was a complete loss, there were no injuries, only property damage to a former pumphouse. Snowmaking will resume today. Phone service to the Base Lodge will be out for a matter of days, otherwise all operations should continue as usual.

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3 to 4 inches of new snow today

board and snowDSC01259The forecast called for periods of snow and some snow squalls today. I was on top of Madonna Mountain earlier today and it was snowing so hard that you could barely see in front of you.  Upper FIS was groomed and the new snow on top was icing on the cake. I would have to say that McPherson’s was my trail pick today because of the big snowmaking whales plus the new snow.  Our snowmakers have also been busy on the Zone Terrain Park and Prohibition Terrain Park.  Playground is now open with natural features.

 

The forecast calls for perfect snowmaking temperatures for the rest of the week and another 3 inches of snow on Friday. Tonight we plan to groom 145 acres of terrain for tomorrow.  Make sure to bundle up and cover up for tomorrow’s colder temperatures.

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Fork in the Trail

Trail signsRockin’ Ron for Hugh. “If there’s a fork in the trail… TAKE IT!” so says Fletch, the eminent Philosopher and Black Bear Bartender. I took a run on Upper Chillycoot with the Socrates of the Slopes and the Tuesday Crew of Brett, Peter, and Dale & Darcy.

Two other pearls of wisdom from Fletch: “there are no bad conditions, just bad gear” and “getting excited about a snowstorm is like getting excited about a pay raise – you could be disappointed if it’s not as big as you thought it was going to be”.

I’m going to throw caution to the wind, and get excited about the 4 inches of new snow we could get by Wednesday night, and by the primo snowmaking conditions that are in the forecast for the rest of the week – both of which should lead to more trails opening. That’s the fork in the trail I’m taking. OK… I’m done for now, but don’t stick a fork in me… that would hurt.