Mountains of Adventure, Mountains of FUN


Madonna Mountain Trails, L to R: Doc Dempsey’s (a small section is visible), Upper FIS, Freefall (with a clump of trees in the middle), and Upper Liftline (featuring the headwall where the Extreme Challenge takes place on March 8th).

Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. Of course I love all the great skiing that Smuggs has to offer, and it has been extremely GREAT lately! I also enjoy the social aspect of our friendly mountain. I ran into SSU legend Sherm White in Green Peppers and he said he was looking forward to reading the Blog. I shared a joke with Fletch and Doug who were holding court in the Black Bear with regulars and irregulars including Larry & Michele from Long Island, Tom & June from New Jersey, and Jean from Vermont (famous for her Maple Cotton Candy). I got to say hi to Steve Wry of Mountain Ops. He told me that Matt McCawley, also filling in for Hugh this week, was in the first group of Mitey Mites kids along with his daughter. I exchanged greetings with Sara, as she was cheerily checking tickets at the Madonna I Lift. My run of the day was the classic Chillycoot > Catwalk > Fizz > Lower Doc’s > Ruthie’s > Curley’s > Meadowlark. This ‘run’ is 2,610 feet of vertical and 3 miles of unadulterated joy and I dedicated it to recently departed friend and former Smuggs co-worker Bruce Tetrault.


Snow and Ice Cream

Ben and Jerrys

The Village Lodge is home to Green Mountain Deli, Riga-Bello’s Pizzeria, Bootleggers’ Lounge, and Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop.

Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. Here’s the scoop… we’ve got the POWDER and we’ve got the Ben & Jerry’s. Enjoy one of the best snow years that Mother Nature has dished up, and top it off with a dish or a cone of the best tasting Ice Cream – yahoo and yummy! After a few runs, there are lots of good eats to be found at Smuggs: Green Mountain Deli has sandwiches and soups, the Mountain Grille has burgers, salads and dinner entrees, Riga-Bello’s has pizza and calzones, the Country Store has snacks and soups, and the Hearth & Candle offers fine dining in the evening. On the Upper Mountain there’s a variety of eating options: Green Pepper’s, the Black Bear Tavern, the Base Lodge Cafeteria, Top of the Notch, and the NEW Waffle Shack. We’ve got the snow and food… so eat, drink, and SKI merry!!!


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.


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!”