Bluebird Day. Midway in the foreground, Practice Slope in the middle, and Mansfield in the distance.
Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. Twas a Bluebird Day! With the sunshine and warmer temps it felt like summer up here (OK, I put a little bull in the No Bull). However, it was more seasonable than yesterday. My trail pick of the day was Lower FIS, while Steve Wry of Mtn Ops picked Upper FIS. To warm-up after a few runs I stopped in the Black Bear for a hot chocolate and I ran into my friends Jack, Cary, and Rich (I think Jack’s trail pick was Long Trail). Locals and Resort Guests were enjoying Jammin’ Sam’s apres acoustic music. Sam knows I like The Beatles, so he played “Blackbird” and “Here Comes the Sun”. It was not a bad day at the office.
Julie Silverman, one of SSU’s finest.
Jammin’ Sam and special guest Amy set a relaxed mood with a performance of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”.
Snow Sport University Instructor Justin Wright teaching on Wanderer
Today I was helping Snow Sport University. I was riding the Mogul Mouse Magic Lift with children who are too young to ride without an adult. I have been doing this throughout the week and I got to know many of the kids. There was one boy that I rode the lift with many times. We played the “I spy with my little eyes” game every time we rode the lift together from the time we loaded the lift until we unloaded. He had asked me to ski with their group, but I told him that I had to ski back to the lift quickly in case there were more kids needing a ride. Today I rode the lift with him again and it was the last run of their lesson. We got off the lift and he asked me again to ski with their group. I told him that I could this run because I did not have to rush back to the bottom. I followed him down the mountain making turns where he did. We were about half way down when he turned around and said, “You are my best friend and I am going to miss you.” I told him that he was my friend too and I will also miss him. I did not expect him to say that, but it still meant a great deal to me!
The warm weather we had today will stick around for one more day, before it gets cold again. Tomorrow’s forecast is cloudy skies with some drizzle and showers likely, temperatures between 47 and 55 degrees. The temperatures will be falling tomorrow night with rain turning to snow. We are expecting up to 4 inches of new snow at the top by Sunday night. 30 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, including Upper Chilcoot, Dixie’s Knoll, and Practice Slope for a grand total of 125 acres of freshly groomed terrain. Tomorrow we plan to have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating and 64 out of 78 trails open. The Black Bear Tavern Après Sport Party this weekend will be featuring Otter Creek. This Sunday, February 26th is a USASA Slopestyle event in the Birch Run Terrain Park. Registration is from 8am till 9am at the Madonna/Sterling Base Lodge. The competition begins at 10am.
Annie and Grace on Mulcahy’s Link
L to R: Jammin’ Sam and Goodtime Charlie entertaining at the Black Bear Tavern
Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. Dueces were wild this Tuesday! I rode the Madonna 2 Lift for only the second time this season (M1 has been running almost every day I’ve been on the Upper Mountains this winter). I heard 2 skiers on the chair ahead of me singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and saying hi to the Lifties and people skiing on the slopes below. I told them I liked their attitude and asked if I could take a picture of them for the Blog. Without hesitating, Annie and Grace said yes! Later, after a couple of runs, I popped into the Black Bear for a bowl of Veggie Chili. Smuggs sensational Acoustic Duo of Goodtime Charlie and Jammin’ Sam were performing a special apres show for Canadian Week. They are just TOO good! That’s all 4 now, I’ve got 2 go.
Rockin’ 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.
Shirley, Becky, Randy, and Ken share a moment of reflection.
Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. I took my first turns of the season today! I’m getting my ski-legs back (kind of like a pirate’s sea-legs). My plan was to take a picture of the snowmaking on Black Snake. That’s where I ran into Randy and Shirley – who have been Smuggs Owners for 25 years! They keep coming back – and this time they brought along Randy’s sister and her friend. They agreed to pose for a photo with a snowgun blasting away in the background.
Laurie and Paul enjoy a beverage at the Black Bear Tavern’s “Mahogony Ridge”.
Later on, I went to the Black Bear for lunch. I was much impressed by the recently remodeled bar. While waiting for my meal, I talked to Laurie (former ski instructor) and Paul (future patroller) from the Philadelphia area. They were enjoying grown up time – their daughter was in Discovery Camp and their son was at Treasures. They said they would come back to Smuggs again. As I was about to leave, in comes Geoff Minton (of Village Tavern fame), who was celebrating his birthday by skiing with Hugh Johnson (our legendary Snow Reporter) and Tony Lehouillier (of Foote Brook Farm renown). Happy Birthday Geoff – have a great time! Me, I gotta get back to work. Ski ya later.
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.
The Village Lodge is home to Green Mountain Deli, Riga-Bello’s Pizzeria, Bootleggers’ Lounge, and Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop.
Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. Here’s the scoop… we’ve got the POWDER and we’ve got the Ben & Jerry’s. Enjoy one of the best snow years that Mother Nature has dished up, and top it off with a dish or a cone of the best tasting Ice Cream – yahoo and yummy! After a few runs, there are lots of good eats to be found at Smuggs: Green Mountain Deli has sandwiches and soups, the Mountain Grille has burgers, salads and dinner entrees, Riga-Bello’s has pizza and calzones, the Country Store has snacks and soups, and the Hearth & Candle offers fine dining in the evening. On the Upper Mountain there’s a variety of eating options: Green Pepper’s, the Black Bear Tavern, the Base Lodge Cafeteria, Top of the Notch, and the NEW Waffle Shack. We’ve got the snow and food… so eat, drink, and SKI merry!!!
Rockin’ 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.
Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. Shake it up and FIZZ is not a recipe for a cocktail but how Fletch states his trail pick. That’s ironic because Fletch is the bartender in the Black Bear Tavern at the Base Lodge. The trail he’s referring to is Upper F.I.S. aka Fizz, which is intoxicating in its own way. After cruising down the upper part of Upper F.I.S., I tend to turn onto lower Doc Dempsey’s aka Doc’s, but Fletch said let’s stay on Fizz. So I cancelled my Doctor’s appointment, and we shook it up and fizzed some more. By the time we reached Link, I felt like a drunken sailor but without the rum. Pictured on top of the snow-covered Madonna Mountain prior to fizzing, are the aforementioned Fletch, and Hokie one of our Shuttle Drivers.
Elsewhere around the Resort, I saw the Hogans and the Coadys – families from Canada who vacation here together. In an interesting twist, the kids are skiers and the dads are snowboarders. Skyler, one of the young boys, had a chance to become a boarder but decided against it because he would have to wait until he was good enough to go on some of his favorite trails like Smugglers’ Alley. In fact, Skyler told me his goal this week was to ski Upper F.I.S. for the first time. To quote Fletch “Shake it up and FIZZ!”