Picture perfect with great conditions

I had a great time this morning on the Upper Mountain Fresh Tracks tour.  The temperature was in the 20’s and the wind was light at the summit of Madonna Mountain.  We all had a blast carving up the fresh corduroy. I met up with John mid morning, who is pictured here.  We played in the glades on Madonna and Sterling looking for powder stashes. We saw Vin from White Room skis outside the Base Lodge after we had taken a break.  Vin was demoing his custom built Vermont made skis. Vin put both John and I on a pair of his beautiful wood top sheet skis. We headed up Madonna and skied Liftline top to bottom. The skis and the conditions passed with flying colors! We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating and all 78 trails open. 33 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, including Drifter, Snow Snake, and Thomke’s Express for a grand total of 170 acres.  We are also expecting another 1 to 2 inches of new snow tonight.
john 3 cat trax


Flying down Upper Chilcoot


patair boundSpring is in the air and so is Pat! Upper Chilcoot has to be my favorite cruiser run. I love how it starts on the back side of Madonna Mountain and works its way back to the front. You get beautiful views of the Presidential Range in New Hampshire from the top. I also like coming through the S turn and then getting the view towards Lake Champlain. We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating and 77 out of 78 trails open.


Glade skiing

matthewToday we are a little cool and breezy. I found protection from the wind in the trees. I find that I stay warmer skiing in the trees because I ski slower and make more turns. The snow is also protected from the wind in the glades. The wind can knock the air out of the snow and make it wind packed. I had a great time today exploring the trees on Madonna and Sterling for powder stashes. I am looking forward to doing it all over again tomorrow. Tomorrow’s forecast is mostly sunny skies with less wind and a high of 21 degrees. We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 78 trails open. We have 7 lifts operating, including the Madonna I lift. All 6 Terrain Parks are open. 37 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, including Smugglers’ Alley, Hangman’s Drop, Snake Bite, Timberrr, and skier’s right on Upper FIS for a grand total of 178 acres.


Mulcahy’s Link… that’s the ticket!

Mulcahys LinkRockin Ron for Hugh. If ye had to have a St. Patty’s Day Trail Pick, ye could do no better than Mulcahy’s Link. The Link trail on Madonna Mountain, was renamed this season to honor our recently retired, long-time President Bob Mulcahy. Bob still skis here every week with the 55+ Club. Cheering the trail choice were ticket seller Kathleen and ticket checker Sara. Top o’ the day to ye… now go link with yer Irish pals.


2015 Smugglers’ Notch Extreme Skiing Challenge


extreme challengeThis has to be one of my favorite’s events. It really showcases what Smugglers’ Notch has to offer when it comes to gnarly terrain. The event is held on the Madonna Liftline from Catwalk down to the bottom of the Headwall. 100 competitors took on this steep double fall line trail. I want to thank the Smugglers’ Notch Ski Club Freeski Team for all their effort to make this wonderful event happen. A big shout out goes to Andrew Snow, Matteo Campbell, and Bryan Salatino. These guys were key in getting this event started and keeping it going now for 3 years! We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 78 trails open, Robin’s Run is open from the work road down.


Great conditions with more snow on the way

The Smugglers’ Notch Extreme Skiing Challenge is tomorrow on the Madonna Liftline from Catwalk down to the bottom of the Headwall.  My son Hugh B and I are both entered in the event, so we were on Madonna today getting in some practice.  The Madonna Liftline is filled in very nicely and is in great shape for the competition!  We skied from Catwalk down to the work road checking out our lines for tomorrow.  It was skiing great and the forecast is calling for 2 to 4 inches of new snow in the next 24 hours.   The competition is going to be amazing with 100 competitors taking on some of the gnarliest terrain on the East Coast! We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 78 trails and all 8 lifts operating. 29 trails will be groomed for tomorrow including skier’s right on Upper FIS, Snow Snake, and Black Snake for a grand total of 163 acres.
Ken powder Hugh b powder


Riding on a cloud

ghost riderI have been gone for the past week, but it only took a few turns to remind me just how good the conditions are. The coverage and quality of snow has stayed consistently wonderful. I started my day off with some GS turns on Upper Rumrunner and Black Snake. I had a blast carving through the fresh corduroy. I also really enjoyed exploring the glades on Madonna and Sterling in search of powder turns with some good friends. The great part was that I did not feel like I had to rush to get the good line before someone else, because there is plenty to go around. We all had so much fun playing on the many natural features that Smuggs has to offer. Pictured here is Pat doing just that! For tomorrow we plan to have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 78 trails open and 7 lifts operating, including the Madonna I lift. 32 trails will be groomed for Friday, including Smugglers’ Alley, Snow Snake, and Drifter for a grand total of 170 acres. The Après Sport at the Black Bear Tavern is sponsored by Bud Light this weekend. On Saturday ON3P skis will be demoing their handmade skis from Portland, OR for one day only at the Base Lodge. Also on Saturday come join Boston Radio 92.9’s Rock & Ride at Smuggs in the Black Bear Lounge from 2 pm till 4 pm. You could win over $1,000 in free music, concert tickets, lift tickets, winter gear and even a pair of skis or a snowboard. The 2015 Extreme Skiing Challenge is this Sunday, March 8th being hosted by the Smugglers’ Notch Ski and Snowboard Club. The course is planned for the Madonna headwall and competitors will be judged on line, control, fluidity, technique and style. Spectators are welcome and the best viewing area is from the Madonna I lift. Spectators can also catch the action from a roped off area at the Red Fox Glades near the finish area at the base of the Madonna headwall.


“Its Solar Power, son”

Solar Power SON

Solar Panels facing the morning sun in the presence of Madonna and Sterling Mountains. This photo was taken on Edwards Road near Bootleggers’ Basin, which serves as a snowmaking reservoir in the winter, and a swimming & boating area in the summer.

Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. Smugglers’ Notch strives to be and has been recognized for being an environmental leader. Some of our efforts include employing energy-efficient appliances, diverting food and paper waste to compost, and using Solar Panels (pictured here) to generate power. We also have the power to make you happy by providing skiing and riding on a snow covered mountain on a SUNNY day!


Bluebird Day

It was an absolutely gorgeous day here in Northern Vermont! The close to Spring Equinox Sun shined brightly across the upper spine of the Green Mountains, as the early sub-zero temperatures moderated to a quite comfortable level. I personally have been skiing my tail off lately, so I thought I might take it easy and enjoy a few cruisers. I grabbed a brand new pair of 4FRNT skis, and headed up Madonna to carve some corduroy. My first run was down Chilcoot, which has a great variety of turns, bends, dips and rolls. Combine that with a little speed and fresh skis, and you’re sure to have a fun time and warm your legs up as well. My next run was down Drifter, another long cruiser off of Madonna, with equally as much character as Chilcoot.

I nabbed the first picture below from the top of Shuttle, which is accessed off of Drifter and connects you back to Sterling. You can see the top of Mt. Mansfield AKA “The Chin” in the background, this is the highest point in the state of Vermont at 4,393′. In the foreground you can see a zone known as “The Highway” which is part of the 1000 skiable acres here at Smugglers’. Make sure if you are planning on skiing or riding anywhere off trail that you play it safe, know where you are going, and don’t ride alone. If you are interested in learning more about side-country skiing and riding, perhaps look into a private lesson/guide, which is booked at the Ski and Ride desk by the hour for up to 6 hours.

I headed over to Sterling from there via Shuttle, and headed up the mountain to ski Black Snake to Practice Slope, so I could do my locals race runs. There was a lot going on in this part of the mountain. There were two slalom courses set for training, the locals race Giant Slalom, the machine made bump lines, and the two big jumps in The Zone. I ended up taking a couple laps on the T-Bar so I could try each of these things. It was a pretty cool sight watching everyone practicing in their own way so I grabbed the second picture to try to show everything that was going on.

Tomorrow look for sunny skies, temperatures moderating even more, and probably many folks enjoying the sun in the upper lot! There will be skiing and riding on our three mountains and all 8 lifts will be operating.

-Matt McCawley


“The Chin” over “The Highway”


The practicing place



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.