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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.

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Jacob finds a powder stash on Madonna

 

jacob blogThis is my nephew Jacob who is visiting from Georgia. I had so much fun today giving him a tour of Madonna and Sterling. We did a warm up run on Upper Chilcoot. We stopped at Dan’s Ford and noticed that it only had a couple of tracks on it. We decided to put a few more tracks on it. We were riding up the Sterling lift and I asked Jacob if he had ever been out to Sterling Pond. He said that he had not, so we made it our next stop. We skied Black Snake next and headed to the balcony. The balcony is the lookout that is in the woods behind the race start building. It’s a wonderful view of the notch.

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Picture perfect

 

treetop view blogWe received 16 inches of new snow in the past week and the conditions have been fantastic. It was a beautiful blue bird day. I have been trying to get this photo for a while now. I have been able to get Sterling and Mount Mansfield in the frame, but I was not able to also get Madonna in the frame. I had to climb up a couple of trees to get a clear view of all mountains. I find that Madonna and Sterling look different from this angle.

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6 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours.

 

Jess bermudaJess enjoying the fresh snow in Bermuda. We received 17 inches of new snow in the past week. I was taking some photos from the summit of Madonna when I saw my son and his Mitey Mites class. He told me that they had just skied Doc Dempsey’s to Bermuda. He said it was a great long glade run. I took his advice and headed for Doc’s. I found some nice fresh snow on skier’s left. Bermuda was next and I was looking forward to the low angle glades. Bermuda got its name from being warm and sunny. The trees provide protection from the wind and it is southern facing. The low angle allows you to cruise between the trees without having to worry about speed control too much. I love floating down through the powder in the sunshine.

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Madonna Liftline

 

headwall blogI want to thank the Smugglers’ Notch Ski and Snowboard Club along with the Ski Patrol for their hard work today. They side stepped down Madonna Liftline to get it ready for the 2014 Smugglers’ Notch Extreme Skiing Challenge. The event is this Sunday, March 9, 2014. Extreme Skiing Challenge – The Smugglers’ Notch Ski and Snowboard Club will host the 2014 Smugglers’ Notch Extreme Skiing Challenge – an opportunity for junior and adult freeskiers to show their stuff on some of the most difficult terrain Smugglers’ Notch has to offer! The course is planned for the Madonna headwall, an ungroomed steep with a double fall line descent filled with cliffs, bumps, trees, chutes, and stumps. Competitors will be judged on line, control, fluidity, technique and style.

As the competitors run the course on the headwall from just below Catwalk to just above Madonna midstation, the best seats in the house for watching the excitement will be on the Madonna summit lift. Spectators also can view from a roped off area at the Red Fox Glades near the finish area at the base of the Madonna headwall, easily accessed from midstation.

$45 entry fee (includes t-shirt) and $29 lift ticket available. The field will be capped at 100 competitors. Register now at www.snscvt.com!