Snow Biz

Jan, 19, 2016 Powder

POWDER! Photo by Hugh Johnson

Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. I cover for Hugh on his day off, normally Tuesday. The man is passionate about the sport and he’s going to be skiing anyway, so he said he’d send some powder pics. He must be the Hardest Working Man in Snow Biz, or at least the happiest. Bonus for me, I didn’t have to get my hands cold snapping shots. I did get on the hill though, and the conditions were AWESOME! I like my peanut butter crunchy and my skiing smooth and creamy, and that’s what it was today. How about these numbers: 6 to 8 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours, and 12 to 16 total in the past 48. Ah… there’s no biz like SNOW BIZ!


Fresh snow

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Andy having fun in the fresh snow on Full Nelson


Fresh tracks on Hangman’s

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Upper Chilcoot

We received 8 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and more is on the way. The forecast is calling for another 7 inches of new snow by Wednesday night. Snowmaking continues around the clock on Lower Chilcoot, McPherson’s, and the Practice Slope.  We opened more terrain today with natural snow coverage. Doc Dempsey’s was open from Teigh’s traverse which is located on skiers’ right below Catwalk on Upper FIS.  Full Nelson and Harvey’s Hideaway also opened today.  We now have top to bottom skiing and riding  on all 3 mountains with 5 lifts operating and 40 trails open.  21 trails will be groomed tonight, that’s 114 acres of freshly groomed terrain.


Snow making on Upper FIS

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Carving up Upper FIS

The temperatures dropped last night and snow making resumed on Upper FIS.  The cold temperatures allowed our snowmakers to produce some quality snow.  The snow making whales are covered with nice edgeable snow. Upper FIS was definitely the expert trail pick of the day.






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Tower guns on Upper FIS

I want to thank our snowmakers for a job well done!  The clear skies made for a beautiful sunny day and that was the calm before the storm. The forecast is calling for snow developing tonight 2 to 3 inches of accumulation possible. We could see up to 9 inches of new snow by Tuesday night.





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Sterling Pond and Mount Mansfield

Tonight we will also plan to make snow on McPherson’s and Lower Chilcoot.  We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 5 lifts operating and 32 trails open. 21 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, that’s 120 acres of freshly groomed terrain.


Birch Run Terrain Park

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SNSC Coach John Murphy

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SNSC Alumni Jesse Wells

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SNSC Freeski Team Member

The forecast called for a little bit of everything today with snow, sleet, mix, and a chance of freezing rain too. Elevation made a big difference today with snow up high and mixed precipitation down low.  It is currently 27 degrees at the summit of Madonna with cloudy skies. The temperature tonight will be between 12 and 25 degrees. We plan to resume snowmaking on Upper FIS and McPherson’s tonight. Catwalk to Upper FIS opened today and we now have 30 trails open.  The Birch Run Terrain Park is now open with 12 features and a hit.  I headed over to check out the additional features and ran into a few good old friends.  It was the Smugglers’ Notch Ski and Snowboard Club members, coaches, and alumni. It was fun to hang out with Rick Witham and Raymie Wells as we watched the skiers and riders take flight off the hit.  It was great to see Raymie’s son Jesse who is an SNSC Alumni pulling off a bunch of his tricks. I also got to see long time Smuggs rider and SNSC Coach John Murphy.  John was demonstrating how to get the grab and style points at the same time.  It was not only fun to watch Jesse and John, but it great to hear them encourage the younger athletes.  I was having such a great time that I stayed until my camera was full.  I now have the camera downloaded and ready for tomorrow.


Fireworks seen from Morse Mountain and more

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Cat Trax Express

It was snowing hard last night when we rode in the Cat Trax Express up Morse Mountain. We could see a groomer push out the snowmaking whales on Sam’s Run.




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Cat Trax Express

It was so much fun watching the torchlight parade and the fireworks from the Morse Mountain. It was pretty neat to watch from a completely different viewing point.






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The Sterling Rock


My first run of the day was on Upper Chilcoot, Link, to Lower Madonna Liftline.  It was a great warm up cruiser run.  Sterling Mountain was next with Hangman’s Drop, Upper Pipeline, Lower Pipeline, to Treasure Run.  I also had fun on Smugglers’ Alley, Black Snake, Practice Slope, and Chute.  Today we opened the bottom half of the Birch Run Terrain Park and it now has 12 features. We are making snow around the clock on Upper FIS, Practice Slope, and Meadowlark.  Tonight we plan to groom 21 trails for a grand total of 114 acres.  We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 5 lifts operating and 28 trails open.

Tomorrow’s forecast is snow, sleet, and mixed with 1 to 2 inches of accumulation possible and temperatures between 26 and 34 degrees. We are expecting more snow Sunday night into Monday.


Burton Riglet Terrain Park and Cat Trax

burton rigletOur Burton Riglet Terrain Park has moved from the top of the Sir Henry’s Learning Hill to behind the Meeting House.  Our Snowmakers were busy last night on Morse Mountain. They made snow on Dixie’s Knoll, Midway, Sam’s Run, and at the Burton Riglet Terrain Park.  The tree house at the Burton Riglet Park is really cool with ramps to ride down and a ski lift chair to hang out in.  This park is designed for beginner kid snowboarders. Our park crew will now start shaping the different features with the snow our snowmakers produced last night. These features are great teaching tools because the kids can work on their balance, bending their knees to absorb, and much more.  The park should open sometime in the near future. You can check the trail by trail report to find out when it opens.

DSC04833Tonight was our first Cat Trax Tour of the season. We went up Madonna Mountain and it snowed harder the higher we went. I took one photo from the inside of the heated cabin as we were nearing the summit of Madonna Mountain. In the other photo you can see the snow coming down in the lights of the Cat. It was pretty neat seeing the crescent moon over the snow clouds.




Fresh snow

We received 6 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours.  I headed to the Upper Parking Lot this morning to meet up with Alex Martin from Smuggs TV. We were filming the “No Bull Video Snow Report”. I was pretty excited and could not wait to make some powder turns.  Our first run was on Smugglers’ Alley. I skied the Alley on Monday when we were making snow on it and I thought it was good then. The fresh snow that we received last night would only make it better.  Our second run of the day was Black Snake to Practice Slope.  It was fun to take a cruiser run and play in the powder on the side of the trail.   We were able to open a few trails today with just natural snow like parts of Hangman’s, Upper Exhibition, Upper Treasure, and Lower Pipeline.  Alex and I decided to check out a few of these newly opened trails on our third run.  I found some really nice powder on Hangman’s.  To watch the video from today just go to the Smugglers’ Notch Facebook page. The excitement of the all new snow made me forget to zip up one my pockets and my phone fell out.  The help of my lovely wife Harley and find your phone made it possible to get my phone back.  My wife was nice enough to let me use her phone and she gave me directions to the location of my phone.  Even after I could hear my phone it took some digging to get it.


My wife Harley having fun on Smugglers’ Alley.

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Still frame from No Bull Video Snow Report Credit Alex Martin

Snow making continues around the clock on Lower Morse Liftline, Dixie’s Knoll, Midway, Sam’s Run, and Curley’s Cutback. Tomorrow we plan to have top to bottom  skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 5 lifts operating and 23 trails open.  We have stopped making snow on Lower Birch Run and features were being installed today. 19 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, that’s a grand total of 115 acres.  Tomorrow’s forecast is cloudy skies with a chance of flurries and temperatures between 10 and 21 degrees.


Picture This

Picture ThisRockin’ Ron for Hugh. Picture this: the snow was falling and will continue to fall into the evening (3 – 5″ forecasted) and the temps are settling into a sweet snowmaking range for the rest of the week! I took a Midway ride to join the circus on the upper mountains, but I wasn’t clowning around when I zipped down Upper Chilcoot and Mulcahy’s Link. I had to slow my show a little on Lower Madonna Liftline – if I fell like a clumsy trapeze artist – everyone could’ve seen it from the Lift. For intermission, I enjoyed a bread bowl of Veggie Chili in the Black Bear (where the attached photo was taken). Whilst dining, Kevin entertained with his colloquialisms and Julie shared her fashion tips. Then, I made a quick visit to Rob-Bob-Stu who gave me an update on some of the latest Patrol Operations. For an encore, it was sailing over the snowmaking whales on Meadowlark on my way back to the Village. Along the way, I was passed by Justin and two other Snowmakers on their snow machines as they went to monitor their efforts. Today’s Snow Reporter Show is over. I hope I painted a nice picture.


Snowmaking in progress

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Heading to Smugglers’ Alley

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Snow making on Lower Birch Run

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Riding in the snow making cloud on Smugglers’ Alley

The temperatures fell pretty quickly last night and our snow makers took full advantage. We are presently making snow on Smugglers’ Alley, Chute, Bootlegger, Lower Birch Run, Practice Slope, Thomke’s Express,  Hangman’s Drop, Meadowlark, Midway, and Upper Pipeline.  My favorite trail of the day was Smugglers’ Alley. I want to thank our snow makers, I thought the quality of the snow was wonderful.  The snow guns were running all day so you needed goggles to see, but was I liking what I was feeling under my feet. I met a family who also were skiing and riding on the Alley. I stopped to talk to them and ask what they thought of the snow. The quote was “The Alley is going to be mint tomorrow morning!”  Speaking of tomorrow we plan to have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 5 lifts operating and 21 trails open. 19 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, that’s a grand total of 114 acres of freshly groomed terrain. I also want to thank our groomers for grooming right before we opened this morning to give us the best conditions possible. There is snow in the forecast with 2 to 4 inches of accumulation in the next 36 hours.


Sir Henry’s Learning Hill

beginner lessonToday the weather was a little crazy with some rain and windy conditions, but don’t worry it’s going to change. The temperature is falling tonight and we plan to make snow on Smugglers’ Alley, Hangman’s Drop, Upper Pipeline, Bootleggers, Thomke’s Express, Practice Slope, and Lower Birch Run.  Tomorrow’s forecast is calling for flurries and snow showers with 1 to 2 inches of accumulation possible. Colder temperatures and snow are in the forecast for the rest of the week. Tonight we plan to groom 20 trails for a grand total of 108 acres. Tomorrow we plan to have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 5 lifts operating and 21 trails open.

I was over at Sir Henry’s Learning Hill this afternoon. I was watching some of the ski and snowboard lessons.  I was impressed with Smugglers’ Notch Snow Sport University. The instructors were doing a great job of making learning fun. The features that are added to Sir Henry’s Learning Hill daily make it that much more fun.  There were fun boxes, rollers, gates, jumps, hoops and more for the kids to play on. The great thing is that the kids see the props as fun, but what is really happening is they are learning new skills.  They really are fantastic teaching tools.