Employee Rally

Justin&Ian-HKDPrior to each season Smugglers’ holds an employee rally. It’s fun to see returning faces and meet new folks, and it’s a great way for resort staff to learn about what’s new for the season through various presentations. One of the sessions today was hosted by snowmaking manager Justin Thoelke and Ian Jarrett of HKD Snowmakers. Justin and Ian talked about the resort’s improvements in snowmaking over the last several years, including the completion this summer of the pipeline that enhances the water supply for snowmaking. They also described the balance of weather, resources, and timing that affect the art and science of snowmaking. Employees asked a lot of questions that included wondering what types of snowguns Smuggs has, what temperatures are optimal to make snow, and where current snowmaking efforts have focused on the mountain (thus far, efforts have focused on intermediate trails on Sterling and on Sir Henry’s for beginner terrain).


Thanks to Justin and Ian for sharing their expertise!


Making memories

Pictured here Justin and his daughter Michaila.  Justin is the snowmaking manager here at Smuggs. This was Michaila’s first time ever skiing Sterling Mountain.  The photo on the left shows Justin capturing the special event.  The photo on the right shows them living the moment. We have the Sterling lift operating with 31 trails open for Wednesday. 10 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, including Smugglers’ Alley, Thomke’s Express, and Black Snake for a grand total of 51 acres. Great spring conditions! Tomorrow’s forecast is mostly sunny skies with temperatures between 34 and 49 degrees.
justion picture justin and makela


Another beautiful day filled with sunshine and snow

We received 10 inches of new snow in the past week and 102 inches this season so far.  Our snowmakers have been working around the clock at the Morse Highlands area and Morse Mountain recently.  The photo on the left shows the amount of snow our snowmakers can make in just one night with the right conditions.  Our snowmakers made tons of snow on Log Jam which was groomed out today and we plan to open the Log Jam Terrain Park soon. Our snowmakers have moved up to Sterling Mountain for tonight. We are presently making snow on Upper Pipeline, Hangman’s Drop, Bootlegger, the Zone, Lower Rumrunner, and Lower Exhibition.  The perfect snowmaking temperatures will allow us to open more trails this week.  We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 6 lifts operating, including the Madonna I Lift. We have 64 trails open with fantastic conditions.  On the grooming list tonight is 30 trails, including Upper FIS, Thomke’s Express, and Snow Snake.  A grand total of 164 of freshly groomed terrain.  Tomorrow’s forecast is partly sunny skies with temperatures in the 20’s.  The forecast for Thursday night and Friday is snow, 3 inches of accumulation possible.
snow and view snowmaking


You’re my Blue Sky, you’re my sunny day…

Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. I was singing the Allman Brothers’ “Blue Sky” as I was delivering the Snow Report this morning. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a sunny and crisp winter day in Vermont (is that too much bull for the “No Bull” Snow Report?). Once again, the snow guns are set for STUN to take advantage of the single digit temps. The bottom right picture includes the Gazebo and Bonfire Pit. This is the site of Winter Welcome Warm-ups on Mondays, and Winter Carnivals on Thursdays. In the summer, it’s where Goodtime Charlie does his Bonfire sing-along. Today may be too nippy for strumming guitar to Puff the Magic Dragon, so let’s stick with a capella Allmans.

MidwaySnowmaking Morse


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.


Butcher, Baker, SNOWMAKER!

Dec 30th 2014 snowmaking highlandsRockin’ Ron for Hugh.  We’ve been making snow around the clock and temps look good for continued snowmaking throughout the week. Last night it was Lower Madonna, today it is Morse (pictured here) and tomorrow it will be Sterling. More trails will open soon. To commemorate this flurry of flurries, I have fashioned this verse:


Smugg-a-dub-dud, Three Mountains we lub

Sterling, Madonna, & Morse

the Bucher, the Baker and all the Snowmakers

make snow for our skis and our boards 


A mountain of snow


snowmaking mountain. blogIt has been pretty cold the past couple of days and our snowmakers have been really busy. The snowmaking whales can get pretty big overnight, but the ones I saw this morning were just huge. The mountain of snow that you see here in the photo was made in just a day. It was the perfect storm in the snowmaking world with cold temperatures and light winds. It is just amazing the amount of snow that the new tower guns can make in a short amount of time in the right conditions. Talk about base depths!


Teleturns on the Treasure pitch


tele turn blogWe received 2 to 3 inches of new snow last night. Our groomers were out last night also and they did a wonderful job. They made 161 acres of freshly groomed terrain for our skiing and riding pleasure. Our snowmakers were also busy last night making snow on Smugglers’ Alley, Hangman’s Drop, Upper Pipeline, Thomke’s, Bootlegger, and Thomke’s Express. I was enjoying the great conditions with my son Hugh B when we ran into some good family friends. We skied half the day with them and had a great time on Madonna and Sterling.


Pete on Bootlegger


Jan. 5, 2014 bootlegger pete blogOur snowmakers were busy on Bootlegger, Thomke’s Express, and Upper Pipeline last night. Smugglers’ Alley had been skiing so well the past few days that I decided to ski it for my first run. It was still pretty flat and the snow was very edgeable. I ran into a few friends at the base of Sterling and they had just skied Bootlegger from the top. They said the snowmaking guns have been shut off on Bootleggers and it was skiing really nice. We all decided make Bootlegger our next run. The snowmakers had done a great job of covering the top section, especially where it’s steep.


Snowmaking on Smugglers’ Alley


Jan. 4, 2014 alley blogI was talking with Ski Patrol after they did trail check this morning. They told me that Smugglers’ Alley was groomed last night. They also said that snowmaking on Smugglers’ Alley was as good as it gets! My son Hugh and I decided to make Smugglers’ Alley our first run. The Ski Patrollers were absolutely right. The Alley was smooth with a fresh coating of snow. Hugh thought that we had first tracks, but I told him that it’s because of the snowmaking. I skied up to Hugh at the bottom of Alley and he says “Let’s do that again!”