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 1 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.


Another beautiful day at Smuggs

My first run of the day was on Madonna Mountain. The sun was out and the winds were calm.  There was an inversion this morning; the summit temperature was higher than the base temperature.  The skier’s right side of Upper FIS was groomed last night. This allows skiers and riders the option of moguls or groomed terrain.  It also gives you an out if you get tired while going for it in the bumps.  I was on Morse Mountain midday and stopped by to see Father Winter in his teepee.  Every visit is fun and also educational.  Father Winter’s teepee is located between Lower Morse Liftline and the Magic Learning Trail. Father Winter pictured on the right is at his teepee on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  I headed back to the Upper Mountains later in the afternoon for one more run on Madonna Mountain.  It was so nice out that I decided to ski Upper Drifter and take in some wonderful views.  The photo on the left was taken from one of my favorite vantage points. We are 100 percent open with top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 78 trails and all 8 lifts operating. 33 trails will be groomed tonight, including Smugglers’ Alley, Snow Snake, and skier’s right of Upper FIS.  The forecast is calling for 3 to 6 inches of new snow in the next 24 hours and up to 11 inches by Friday!  There is also more snow in the forecast for this weekend.
DSC06754 (1) drifter


Essex High School Carnival Race

We received another 5 to 7 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and 32 inches in the past week. The forecast is calling for another 15 inches of new snow by Monday night.   The Upper Mountain Fresh Tracks Tour this morning was just wonderful.  We enjoyed the light powder filled moguls on Upper FIS. Dan’s Ford was also really fun with smaller powder covered bumps.  Lower Chilcoot was groomed early last night and had about 5 inches of super fluffy stuff on top.  Everyone starting making GS turns so that we could get up to speed and float through the champagne powder.  One of the quotes that I can repeat was “Best snow I have ever rode in my life!”  I headed to Lower FIS this afternoon to check out the slalom race.  It was exciting to watch these racers cross blocking the gates to get a faster line.  We are 100 percent open with top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 78 trails and all 8 lifts operating. 168 acres of freshly groomed terrain for Sunday. All 6 Terrain Parks are open and groomed daily.
essex race 1 essex race 2


Ride the Plank

Shelly on Pirates Plank

Shelly riding her plank on Pirate’s Plank

Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. What do a Pirate, a Poacher, a Knight, and a Doctor have in common? They all have glades named after them at Smuggs, and they were all enjoyed today by myself and my friend and co-worker Shelly from Treasures Child Care.

We also enjoyed runs on Upper FIS, Drifter, and Pipeline.There was POWDER everywhere! It’s not a long run, but we floated down Dan’s Ford on SWEET marshmellow-like snow! We were never cold and we were sure the thermometer was lying. Shelly’s husband Brian said not to miss these great conditions, and he was right. I’m glad we were able to poach a few hours and pillage some fun! All I have left to say is “Good Knight Pirates”.



2 boarder airThe Smugglers’ Notch Ski and Snowboard Club is hosting the Northern Vermont Series Skier and Snowboarder Cross on Lower FIS this weekend. We received 14 inches of new snow in the past 2 days and 22 inches in the past week. The base depths are deep and the snow is soft! We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating. 31 trails will be groomed for tomorrow for a grand total of 155 acres.


Powder Day

me powWe received 12 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and 20 inches in the past 6 days. The conditions are amazing! It snowed hard all day with snowfalls of an inch an hour at times. The forecast calls for another 2 inches of snow tonight. This weekend we plan to have every trail open except Lower FIS and Norwegian Woods because of the Boarder Cross.


Bluebird Day

drifterWe received 18 inches of new snow in the past week and 119 inches so far this season. Last night we made snow on Lower FIS, Lower Madonna Liftline, Lower Drifter, and Link. We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 6 lifts operating, including the Madonna I Lift. We have 77 out of 78 trails open with terrain for all ability levels. The Log Jam, Birch Run, and Knight’s Revenge Terrain Parks are all open. Tonight we plan to groom 31 trails, including Bootlegger, Snow Snake, and Drifter for a grand total of 155 acres of freshly groomed terrain.


The Road to Mama

Apr. 11, 2014 Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. From Jeffersonville take Route 108 South and that will bring you home. Madonna Mountain  (aka the Mother) will be open for skiing and riding this weekend! Who says your mama don’t love you?

P.S. I know I’m not alone in thinking that when you drive up a mountain you should be heading North. Let me know if you agree.


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!”


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.