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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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Drifter

 

drifter view blogThis photo shows one of the reasons why I like Upper Drifter so much. There are just so many great vantage points. As I ski down I find myself stopping along the way to take in the ever changing views. I love how you look down on to Sterling Pond, Sterling, and the notch in the background. Many of the trails on Sterling have a double fall line. The trails not only pitch down the hill but they also pitch towards skier’s right. This allows skiers and riders on Sterling to be pretty visible from Drifter.

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Skiing in the trees

 

brad blogI went down to the Nordic Center this morning to check out the 13th Annual Northern Vermont Snowshoe Race and Family Snowshoe Festival. There was a ½K fun run for kids, a 3.5K fun run/walk, and an 8K race that is a qualifier for the 2014 US Snowshoe Association National Championship. This is a wonderful event that is fun and also raises money for some local charities. One of the neat things about snowshoe racing is watching the snow fly. The hinged action of the snowshoe really kicks the snow up into the air.

I headed up to the Upper Mountains next to meet up with my friend Brad. We went up the Madonna chair lift first and skied Drifter. I would have to say that Drifter is one of the most scenic trails here at Smuggs. You get some great views of Sterling Pond, Sterling Mountain, and the Notch. We decided to do some glade skiing next to see if we could find some powder stashes. The photo you see here is Brad enjoying both the views and fresh snow.

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Get in the Zone

 

Ozone blogI was riding the Sterling T-Bar this morning and I was checking out the new features in the Zone Terrain Park. The Smuggs Park Crew just installed five rails. I was watching the skiers and riders testing out the rails and jumps. There are four sets of jumps in the Zone with each set having two jumps. One jump is larger than the other, giving the skier/rider a choice of size. There was snowboarder who was only hitting the jumps. He had a smooth style and was nailing his tricks. I waited for him at the top of the T Bar and then chatted with him. He was recently in Utah and he was watching the progress of the Zone Terrain Park online from there. He was stoked to finally be here hitting the jumps. I was stoked to watch him and take photos. This picture here is my favorite because of his body position and he has the grab.

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Race training on Black Snake

 

blogToday started off cloudy with some flurries, but the sun made an appearance in the afternoon. The snow and frost covered trees were shining in the sunlight. I took a cruiser run this afternoon on Upper Chilcoot. Upper Chilcoot has some great turns, different pitches, and wonderful views. The new snow that we received the night before last has been groomed in and was skiing great. I took a run on Sterling next and ran into a couple of friends. We skied Upper Pipeline down to Black Snake. We got to the “pine tree start” and saw a sign that said race training in progress. We stopped and watched some of the racers. They were flying out of the race start building and down through the GS gates.

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Air time on Upper Exhibition

 

Hugh B jump liftlineWe received 6 to 10 inches of new snow in the past 36 hours. The trail count is over 50 and we are also expecting more snow tomorrow. My son Hugh and I were riding the Sterling lift this morning. We were watching the skiers and riders floating through the powder on Upper Exhibition. They made it look too good, so we just had to ski Upper Exhibition. The trail was covered in two of Hugh’s favorite things jumps and powder. We had so much fun that we had to ski it again!

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Highlander Glades

 

highlander blogI ran into my good friend Andy this morning. He works at 3 Mountain Equipment and his shift started at 2pm this afternoon, so we wanted to get in some good runs before work. We met in the Upper Parking lot and headed for the Sterling lift. On the lift ride up we discussed which trails we wanted to ski and why. I mentioned to Andy that Hangman’s Drop and Chute were groomed last night with a winch cat. We agreed that steep groomed terrain would be a bunch of fun. Next we headed for Highland Glades for some powder in the trees. The photo you see here is Andy finding some of that powder in the trees.

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Ice climbing on Sterling mountain

I was riding the Sterling lift with my wife Harley and we saw someone on the ice flow next to the big rock on Sterling liftline. You ski to the ice flow and then go ice climbing. Another cool winter experience here at Smuggs! This program is held on Tuesdays and Fridays. Here is some more information. Peak Expeditions is pleased to offer a pay per climb experience on the ice cliffs of Sterling Mountain. Just a ski lift ride away is one of the most adventurous thrills of a lifetime. Ride the Sterling lift and ski down Upper Rumrunner until where it goes under the Sterling lift – the ice cliff is directly adjacent. Stap on some crampons, grab some ice axes and give ice climbing a try with our experienced staff. Must have a valid lift ticket, accessible by chairlift only. Ice climb tickets can be purchased at the Base Lodge or the Village Center ticket booths. Weather permitting. $9 per climb or three consecutive climbs for $24, equipment provided, ages 11 & older.ice climb blog

 

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Race training

 

Jan. 13, 2014 st mike girlThe Saint Michael’s College Ski Team was training today on Sterling Mountain. They had a GS course set up on Black Snake, Snake Bite, and Practice Slope. Snake Bite is a pretty steep trail and I respect anyone who races down it, especially GS. The racers were laying it out to the point that their hands were touching the snow.

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Upper FIS

 

Jan. 10, 2014 harley blogMy wife Harley and our youngest daughter Hayleigh went skiing together this morning. Hayleigh really enjoyed the magic carpet at Sir Henry’s and riding on the Mogul Mouse Magical Lift. Hayleigh was starting to get tired, so Harley took her to Treasures for her lunch and a well deserved nap. While Hayleigh was napping, Harley and I were skiing on the Upper Mountains. We had a great time on Madonna and Sterling. We skied Upper FIS for our last run and it was the best. Our snowmakers had just put down a nice new surface for our skiing and riding pleasure.