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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.

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Harvey’s Hideaway

 

tom blogToday was another beautiful spring day with sunshine and a high of 53 degrees. Every trail on Sterling is open and in fantastic condition. We have deep base depths and great coverage. There is some great spring skiing and riding to be had out there. This weekend we plan to have both the Madonna I lift and Sterling lift operating. Pictured here is Tom enjoying the soft spring bumps.

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Robin’s Run

 

robin view.JPG blogToday was another beautiful spring day. I skied Upper Madonna liftline from the top and I also skied Robin’s Run. Robin’s Run had good coverage with nice soft conditions. This photo shows the amazing view you get from Robin’s Run. I also really enjoyed skiing Freefall. The skier’s right side was a ton of fun. Tomorrow’s forecast is partly to mostly sunny skies with a high of 42 degrees. I can’t wait to do it all over again.

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Andy having fun on Full Nelson

 

andy full nelsonWe received 3 inches of new snow on top in the past 24 hours. We had some mixed precipitation and rain at lower elevations. The new snow is wet and heavy so it sticks to everything. I had a great time skiing with my good friend Andy today. We skied Madonna liftline from the top down to Freefall and it has great coverage. Freefall was also open from the top and skiing well. We then turned into the Black Hole for some glade skiing. The new snow is heavy but fun!

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Another beautiful day

 

chilcoot snowy.JPG blogThe sun almost felt as good as the soft snow under my skis today. We received 19 inches of new snow in the past 5 days. We are 100 percent open with all 78 trails open. I had a great time today carving up the corduroy. I also enjoyed the deep fluffy stuff that I found in the glades. The views from the Madonna I chair lift were also hard to beat.

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LINKed to Smuggs

 

Mar 18, 2014 LinkRockin’ Ron for Hugh. Smuggs inspires loyalty from many quarters. I have been working here for 17 years and I still love it. Being a Snow Reporter one day a week is nice work if you get it. Of course, it wasn’t hard on a day like today with sunny skies and great trail conditions. They haven’t given me any cuff links though (that’s not a hint).

I linked a bunch o’ turns on Madonna and Sterling with John Fabrega and his son Connor (pictured here on Link). The Fabregas live in Tallahasse, Florida and have been coming to Smuggs for 11 years. Connor and his siblings Taylor and Alex all learned to ski here. In fact, it’s the only place they’ve skied! Connor’s mom Stacey met us for lunch in the Black Bear.

This past weekend, I made the acquaintance of Dan Luneau. When he realized I was the Rockin’ Ron who blogs for Hugh, he told me about his links to Smuggs. I share some of his comments here.

“It was the winter of 1961-62 and at that time the [St. Albans ] “Rotary Bus” ran on Friday afternoons and it took us to Smuggs for a lesson and some free ski time. I was in the seventh grade at the time at Holy Angels grade school. Our nuns held it over our heads all week that if we did not behave – no skiing come Friday. I never remember missing one single week for misbehaving.  The nuns loved the program as much as we did because we were perfect during the week. Not only did we get to go skiing, they got the best behaved kids as their bonus. As it turns out, I very often ski with my childhood friends who came from that program. Jim Cross, from the Burlington area and Mike Patenaude, from St. Albans are two who were in my grade and in the program. Jim and I skied this past Saturday. Over the years we have spent many a day at Smuggs enjoying the memories of our youth. Steve Wry (Smuggs’ current and long-time Director of Mountain Operations) and many more were regulars. When the first chairlift went in on Sterling, we thought we died and went to heaven. I could go on and on, but you can see that the ski program that the St. Albans Rotary provided to us (and is still going today) helped shape the lives of many, many kids in the St. Albans area.”

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Upper Madonna Liftline

 

Madonna liftline.JPG blogWe received 2 inches of heavy wet snow yesterday and the temperature was falling as it continued to snow into the night. The snow that fell overnight was light and dry. The new snow insulated the wet snow. The moisture did not freeze allowing it to wick down and also to bond with the new snow. The quality of the snow is great and we received 31 inches in the past week. Speaking of quality, I got to spend some quality time with my son Hugh B as he skied Madonna Liftine top to bottom for the first time. The snowboarder pictured here was also enjoying the great conditions on Upper Madonna Liftline.

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Extreme Skiing Challenge

 

extreme.JPG blogThe Smugglers’ Notch Extreme Skiing Challenge was just amazing today! It was a beautiful sunny day and we had a great turn out. This year’s competition had more age brackets with 10 and under, 11 to 13, 14 to 18, 19 to 44, and 45 plus. Pictured here is Pete Kochalka competing in the 45 plus category and ripping it up! There’s a reason why they call it the Extreme Skiing Challenge and Upper Madonna Liftline has some of the gnarliest lift serviced terrain in the east! This is a fantastic event that really showcases what Smuggs has to offer. Smuggs is of course known as “America’s Family Resort” and people think of Mogul Mouse, Billy Bob Bear’s Cave, the World Famous Cookie Race, Sir Henry’s Learning and Fun Park, the Burton Riglet Park, Log Jam Terrain Park, Father Winter’s Tee Pee, and many more things found on Morse Mountain. One of the great things about Smuggs is the diversity of terrain that we have on our 3 mountains. If you enjoy long groomed intermediate cruisers with awesome views we have that. If you are an expert who enjoys steeps, glades, and moguls we have that also. This event highlights the Headwall’s toughness with its double fall line, steep pitch, rocks, and changing conditions.

A huge thank you goes out to the people who made this event happen. The driving force has been the members of the Smugglers’ Notch Ski and Snowboard Club, the SNSC Freeski Team, Andrew Snow, Matteo Campbell, and Bryan Salatino. The Smuggles’ Notch Ski Patrol also worked hard with side stepping the trail days before the event, prepping the Upper Madonna Liftline and most important was their presence at the competition.

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Double grab

 

double grab.JPG blogI started the day off with the Cat Trax Fresh Trax Tour up Madonna Mountain this morning. It was a little cloudy but we could still see Lake Champlain and the Presidential Range in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. There were a few people on the tour who had never been on top of a mountain before. They were amazed with the beautiful views in every direction. I skied down Chilcoot and enjoyed the fresh corduroy. I went to the Zone after finishing the morning report. There was a group of skiers and riders that were nailing the rails and jumps. Pictured here are two of the skiers and I was lucky enough to capture them getting the grab at the same time.

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Taking flight

 

MilesThe 2014 Smugglers’ Notch Extreme Skiing Challenge is this Sunday, March 9. I posted a photo on March 2 of Ski Patrol and members of the Smugglers’ Notch Ski Club side stepping down the Headwall of Madonna Liftline. The past few days they have still been working on Upper Liftline for the competition. The extra work has paid off and the conditions are better. Hopefully we will be able to hold the competition on the Headwall. Pictured here is Miles testing out the conditions.