Chait here, covering for Ron, covering for Hugh today. I’m going to go out on a limb and say today is the best day of the season so far. Sure, we’ve had some truly memorable days this season to date, but today seemed to be a combination of all the best scenarios. Temps were mild, winds very low, and there’s so much wonderful powder up on the hill! Many were treated to some fantastic fresh lines on Madonna, due in part to cold weather closings over the past week. On top of that, 2-4 inches of fresh snow fell overnight combined with some new snow yesterday and two feet in the last week!
I heard some comments (and even joined in, myself) from the more experienced skiers and riders about how nice the snow was sliding. Again, we owe this to temperatures being much closer to the freezing point. When the weather is super cold, wax can’t melt that tiny layer of snow, and thus, there’s no lubrication between your equipment and the snow surface to keep you sliding. Now that the snow is fast again, it’s much easier to slide that equipment around underfoot!
Great conditions for all!
The warmer temps are keeping the fresh snow nice and soft on the groomers as well. I saw people of all ability levels out enjoying the nice quiet turns! Even the youngest of the shredders! Folks out taking lessons today were very happy with the way the snow felt.
For tomorrow, we plan on opening F.I.S. back up from the top with manmade snowmaking whales. These last few days, it has been closed due to a full-on snowmaking annihilation. That means Catwalk will again offer access to Freefall, Robin’s, and Madonna Liftline, as well as Lower Catwalk. While it was fun taking upper Madonna Liftline to access Freefall and the Black Hole today, it was certainly challenging negotiating the obstacles exposed by the strong winds associated with last Thursday’s storm. I’m a glutton for punishment, so I didn’t really mind it, but I know plenty of people who will appreciate the access from Catwalk, that’s for sure!
What’s happening this weekend?
We’re ready for a great holiday weekend! While there is some clear snow in the forecast for Friday, we expect it to clear out and finish off with the real kind…the white stuff. And we might just see quite a few inches of it. It’s a little early to tell for sure how much. We’re kicking off our brand new Kids’ Club this weekend with special activities, gift packs for kids, and much more, so be sure to ask about it when checking in at the Guest Service Desk. Your kids will NOT be disappointed, and it will certainly be nice to have some activities for them to work on while you do parent stuff. Find out more info about Kids’ Club here.
It was a little chilly today but it is going to be warmer tomorrow. The snow conditions are fantastic with 19 inches of new snow in the past 4 days. The glade skiing and riding is powder filled. I ran into my good friends Michael, Phil, and Phil’s son James today. We had a great time playing in the trees on Sterling Mountain. Staying in the trees kept us warmer because the trees protected us from the wind, you make more turns, and you move slower than you would on an open trail. Madonna Mountain was closed today, so there is a ton of fresh snow to be had up there tomorrow.
We plan to have top to bottom skiing and riding with 6 lifts operating. The Madonna I lift will have a delayed opening and we hope to have it running by the afternoon. It will be cold again tonight, but tomorrow’s forecast is mostly sunny skies becoming partly sunny skies with a high of +6 degrees. There is snow in the forecast for Sunday night into Monday with up to 4 inches of accumulation possible. Tomorrow we plan to have 75 trails open with terrain for all ability levels. 25 trails will be groomed for tomorrow that’s 110 acres of freshly groomed terrain. The Sterling T-Bar will open at 8:30 am. Mogul Mouse Magic Lift, Morse Highlands, Sterling, and Sir Henry’s Wonder Carpet is open at 9 am.
The glades were just amazing today! The trees protected the snow from the wind last night. There was over a foot of fresh snow to be had. Now don’t get me wrong there were many drifts in the woods, but most of them were still soft. We have 78 skiable trails and 46 lift accessible trails open for tomorrow.
Smugglers are known for being a special breed of skiers and riders; strong and bold, like a dark cup of coffee. For those noble adventure-seekers eager to take advantage of the fresh snow tomorrow, we’ll be offering full-day tickets at half-day prices, all day long. Bash Badge and Bash Badge Plus Holders receive $15 tickets for full day pricing.
To stay safe in the anticipated cold weather tomorrow, we’ll be adjusting normal operations a bit. Sterling and the T Bar lifts will load from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, and we will be holding off on opening Madonna for the day (ahem…pow turns on Sunday). On Morse, Sir Henry’s conveyor lifts, Village, and Highlands will also begin loading at 9:00 am and run until 4:00 pm. All levels for Snow Sport University will meet on the Morse Greeting Area at their normal meeting times with the exception of Discovery Dynamos and Trail Blazers level 1/2 which will meet at their normal location. Stay safe and enjoy all the new snow!
We received 23 inches of new snow in the past week, 94 inches in the month of December so far, and 109 inches this season! We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating and 66 out of 78 trails open with terrain for all ability levels. We are presently making snow on Lower FIS, Lower Madonna Liftline, and Mulcahy’s Link.
Matt McCawley for Hugh. Squallywood is a well known nickname for California ski area Squaw, but seemed a fitting title for my day, as I endured multiple squalls and skied mainly in the woods. This morning I reported 5 new inches of snow, and it snowed all day, so the totals should have gone up, but the wind was blowing so ridiculously hard that it’s tough to tell where all the additional snow went. I know I skied on zero inches in places and found other spots that were close to knee deep. Protected wooded areas seemed to hold the best and most consistent snow. The unfortunate thing for riders today is that MI remained on wind hold, the good news for those of you planning on skiing tomorrow is that MI remained on wind hold, so there should be a fair number of powder stashes there.
A big heads up for people excited to ski in the woods tomorrow or throughout the weekend… the snowpack is much much deeper at higher elevations. Lower gladed areas have taken a major hit from levels earlier in the season, and now only a few inches of snow is hiding various obstacles. Be safe out there, know where you are going, and trust Patrol judgment of trail closures.
Tomorrow expect 50 trails to be open, as usual the groomers will be out making surfaces friendly on over 122 areas of terrain. Temps should be in the upper teens and low 20s with WNW winds between 10 – 30 MPH.
We have more snow in the forecast as up to 4 more inches of snow could fall by Saturday. With the Northwest flow pumping we could very well see more, like this morning. There are two big events happening this weekend too with the Molly Rowlee Rail Jam on Saturday and The Extreme Challenge on Sunday. Check out smuggs.com for more info on both of those events.
Lastly, I want to thank all the readers out there who have followed my reports for the last 4 days. It really has been a good time, and I promise there is more to this then just skiing, pictures, and posts. Thank you Patrol and Mike Chait for all your support these last couple days. Thank you Hugh for letting me take the reigns, and I’ll gladly help out anytime you need. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their season, keep doing the dance, keep thinking snow.
Matt McCawley for Hugh Today I got the opportunity to spend some time with Sterling Patrol as we dropped closed ropes all over the place. Our trail count jumped today from 29 to 48…amazing what a couple wet inches of snow can do. Elevation was key as lower areas saw a mix of rain and snow, while the upper mountain saw all snow. As soon as it stopped snowing the sun came out full blast, which is always fun when you can ski fresh new snow with great visibility. The new snow also allowed us to get back into some wooded areas, where there is still a solid base, especially at higher elevations.
We also had the Wicked Witch of the West effect up here today as people from the valley think they will melt in the rain that’s falling at their house, despite snow falling at elevation, and thus keeping them from coming skiing. That, and probably jobs. The few brave souls that made it up here found great soft snow and lot of fresh tracks across the entire mountain.
Later this afternoon a wild squall came through dropping a quick inch of super wet snow, and even a few rumbles of thunder. Don’t like the weather, wait a minute. Or in today’s case, gain elevation.
Snow is in the forecast this evening, and off and on through Saturday. Projected totals are around 5 inches, but let’s all hope for more. Temps will be consistently falling into the weekend, which means this new snow that fell today and the snow in the forecast is not going to get washed away anytime soon.
We expect 48 trails to be open tomorrow, 36 of which are scheduled to be groomed this evening, that’s 129 acres!
The Zone terrain park is under reconstruction for the Molly Rowlee Rail Jam which takes place this Saturday the 11th this special rail jam benefits the Molly Rowlee Fund, which supports families with children undergoing treatment for cancer. This is the fifth year at Smuggs for this event, and it promises to again be awesome – come out and have some fun and support this great cause! The good times include music, giveaways, and a raffle. Registration starts at 9:00 am at the Yurt in the Parking Lot 1, the Jam starts in the Zone Terrain Park at 11:00 am!
Also, this weekend is the Extreme Ski Challenge, the Smugglers’ Notch Ski and Snowboard Club hosts this fun event — an opportunity for junior and adult freeskiers to show their stuff on some of the most difficult terrain Smugglers’ Notch has to offer! Competitors will be judged on line, control, fluidity, technique, and style.
I went to the Nordic Center today for the Smugglers’ Notch Snowshoe Festival. I watched the 16th Annual Northern Vermont Snowshoe Race. There was an 8 km race and a 4 km fun run. I was glad the race was early in the day before the snow started falling. The snow was coming down so hard this afternoon that it reduced visibility. I went to my office midday to upload the photos from the Nordic Center. I headed back out to take a few more runs and my skis were already covered in snow. The tracks that I made skiing to my office were also gone. I picked up my son Hugh B after his Mitey Mites lesson and we went in search of fresh snow, which was not hard to find.
The wind was blowing pretty good, so we decided to head into the woods. We skied a line that I skied this morning and I could not find my tracks. We received 3 inches of new snow this afternoon and it is still snowing very hard. We could see up to 9 more inches of snow in the next 24 hours. Tomorrow’s forecast is snow early then flurries later with temperatures between 13 and 26 degrees. We plan to have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 6 lifts operating, including the Madonna I lift. We are 96 percent open with 76 out of 78 trails open with terrain for all ability levels.
Tomorrow is going to be really good, so if I was you, I would call into work, tell them that you have a problem with your eyes and you can’t see coming to work!
The wind has been moving the snow around a little bit today. The best snow can usually be found on the skier’s/rider’s left side of the trail. The photo of Geoff on Full Nelson shows that there can also be snow on the skier’s/rider’s right side. I would have to say that the best snow so far today is in the glades. I found some great pockets of powder near the highway. The conditions are fantastic and only getting better with each inch of new snow that continues to fall. The forecast is calling for another 4 to 6 inches of new snow in the next 24 hours with the majority of the accumulation falling overnight. The Madonna I lift was on wind hold today, so there is bunch of untouched snow waiting to be tracked up.
We presently have 67 trails open and the new snow that we receive tonight might allow us to open even more terrain tomorrow. Tomorrow’s forecast is flurries and a few snow showers an inch of accumulation possible with temperatures between 18 and 30 degrees. 35 trails will be groomed for tomorrow including Snake Bite and Snow Snake that’s 122 acres of freshly groomed terrain. There is more snow in the forecast Saturday night into Sunday with another 1 to 3 inches of accumulation possible.
This Fall’s annual inspection of Knight’s Revenge provided a challenge: a big spruce tree blew over and crushed an old feature. No sweat though it fell on one that needed to go. In the spirit of turning lemons into lemonade, we milled the log on site and created a few new features.
To enjoy this new feature buy your season pass or badge before Halloween.
Thank you Greg Fatigate for being on location and keeping us up-to-date.