It just keeps getting better!

Matt riding the wave

I can not believe that we received another foot of snow last night after receiving 40 inches of snow since Tuesday morning. The snow we received last night was nice and fluffy. The wind moved some of it around last night, but the snow in the trees stayed put. My first run of the day was with Snow Sport University Instructor Oliver Blackman. We skied Upper FIS and the skier’s left-hand side was just fantastic! Most storms that roll through Smuggs load up the skier’s left-hand side of Upper FIS and today was no exception. I ran into Snow Sport University Instructors Matt McCawley and Mike Brainard in the afternoon along with Smuggs Employee Lenny. We had a great time on Black Snake, Harvey’s Hideaway, Full Nelson, and Half Nelson.

Lenny making a powder turn

I love the combo of Harvey’s to Full Nelson. If you do this run always be aware of people coming down Jolly Rodger as you come off of Harvey’s and head up to Full Nelson. I found some great snow on the skier’s right-hand side of Full Nelson, especially at the bottom. We all headed to Madonna for our next run and hit up the Headwall.

It skied fantastic with tons of snow, especially on the sections where there is less of a pitch and the wind does not get to it. We jumped into the bottom half of Red Fox Glades after finishing the Headwall. I was pleasantly surprised with all the snow that was in the trees. It was all

Snow Sport University Instructor Matt McCawley enjoying the deep powder

so good that we headed back up Madonna and this time we went for Freefall. Freefall is not open from the top, but you can get to it from the traverse on Upper FIS. We cut into the Black Hole and I was floating through the trees in powder up to my waist! It’s hard to beat good times with great friends.




We are 100 percent open with top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 7 lifts operating, including the Madonna I lift and all 78 trails open. 39 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, including Goat Path, Wanderer, and Bootlegger for a grand total of 134 acres of freshly groomed terrain. There is a chance for another inch of accumulation tonight. Tomorrow’s forecast is flurries

Snow Sport University Mike Brainard loving the powder conditions

early, then skies becoming partly sunny with temperatures between 11 and 25 degrees.


Hey did you see the photo of my ski pole?

Lenny taking on the Headwall

Mike catching some air on the Headwall

Matt finds the good in the woods

Mike goes deep into the powder


115 acres of freshly groomed terrain


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Lower Morse Liftline

Last night we made snow on Smugglers’ Alley, Chute, Bootlegger, Lower Rumrunner, Treasure Run, and Lower Exhibition. Today we have 7 lifts operating with 51 skiable trails. The Madonna I Lift is presently on wind hold. Today’s forecast is partly sunny skies with a high of 7 degrees. We are expecting up to 5 inches of new snow by Tuesday night with more snow in the forecast for Wednesday and Wednesday night. The Extreme Skiing Challenge is on Full Nelson today.



The Land of Misfit Poles

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RIP silver Rossi pole

Matt McCawley for Hugh. Instead of trying to spin a somewhat depressing day here in ALL of Northern Vermont and the entire East Coast in general, I thought I would take a different route and give a satirical tribute to an often overlooked and under-appreciated piece of skiing equipment… The Ski Pole. I decided to pay homage to the ski pole as I was riding up the Mogul Mouse Magic Learning Chair and noticed an amazing assortment of mismatched, single, or broken poles scattered under the lift. This area, and past mid-station on Madonna, are both well known as ski pole graveyards.

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Only part that made it past mid-station

Many people forget to lift their ski poles above the foot rest on the chair as they go over and past mid-station. This leads to a dramatic interaction between the unloading ramp and the ski poles, with a brief moment of grinding and scraping with a giant lurch in the chair, followed by a heavy bending or snapping of the ski pole. People then decided that the best plan is to throw the disfigured pole off the lift, probably to avoid a reprimand or replacement fee, and then that poor pole sits on or under the snow for close to forever.

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Misfit ski poles

Before we go into depth about ski pole usage, let’s take one second for a moment of silence to remember all the ski poles we have lost this winter, and all winters…





I want to start by looking at the very basic and most known ways that a ski pole is used. The ski pole can be used for propulsion, we push ourselves all over the place, to and from lodges, lifts, parking lots, greeting areas, on flat trails, and on traverses. We use our ski poles for balance and to make plants before each turn. By reaching for a pole plant or touch, we get our bodies over our skis, and moving into the next turn. This then keeps us out of the backseat and allows us to drive our skis in control down the hill. It is an indicator and initiator of turning, and must be used with rhythm and timing. The plant can be a simple flick or touch on mellow terrain, it can also be more forceful as you are about to make a jump turn on steeps or in the woods. The plant can set you up for a spin in the park, or can keep you balanced while ripping a zipper line in the bumps. Anyway you cut it they are always there and should always be used.

The ski pole is also a very versatile tool with countless everyday uses on and off the mountain. I’m sure some of these will be things you have never done, and I’m sure there are many more that I fail to mention today. For the ease of reading and writing, I’m going to lay this out in a listed fashion and in no particular order:

-Banging snow off ski boots before stepping into bindings (better than wearing out toe piece of bindings by scraping bottom of boots, and not everyone has a personal snow scraper like racers do)

-Releasing heel piece of binding (better than stepping on with other ski, and less likely to make you fall while standing still)

-On snow writing utensil for ski instructors (or spot pointer outer, or to hold across with both hands in front of you, or to look through as window going down, so many pole related tasks)

-Unclipping lower boot buckles to avoid bending over (lazy)

-Ice/Snow scraper on frozen or snow covered chairlifts (cold and wet = uncomfortable)

-When placed under your butt on a chairlift they act as barrier between ski pants and chair surface (see above)

-To de-tune tips and tails of skis (over-tuned skis that hook and or catch edges are scary, hold pole perpendicular to ski edge and run it up and down edge on top and bottom 12 or so inches of ski)

-Polish Horseshoes (it’s a game with a Frisbee, water filled beer bottles, and two short distance spaced ski poles)

-To grab something that is just out of reach (like your other ski pole when you drop it)

-To block gates or tree branches from hitting you (whippets and branches to the face are no fun)

-Form of communication between two or more people to indicate if a jump or drop is clear to hit (both poles straight up in air “ I I “means good to go, poles crossed in an “ X ” means not clear)

-To bang the edge of cornice to see if it will slide (happens out west and sometimes on upper Sir Henry’s)

-To drag alongside you as you ride any surface lift to draw pretend turns (there are always fresh pole turns on the side of the T-Bar)

-To knock snow off tree branches onto unsuspecting people underneath (nothing is as endearing as knocking some snow off of a branch and having it land into your friends jacket collar)

-To wave aggressively at out of control people who buzz by you (DARN KIDS! SLOW DOWN! Shake arm and say in an older and grumpyish tone)

-Letting your snowboarder friend borrow to get across flats (and with this act of kindness all sour relations between skiing and snowboarding have been abdicated)

-Sword fights (win your game of thrones with the coveted aluminum lance of power)

-Wind Chime (check out the one at the bottom of the Headwall, lookers left side below last cliff band)

-Garden Stakes (Not only will poles penetrate snow, but soft organic dirt too)

-To stick straight up in the air in a Jerry tuck to reach maximum velocity (just learn how to tuck properly so you avoid looking foolish)

In all seriousness though, remember that all equipment is important. We must take care of all the parts and pieces that will make our skiing and snowboarding experience better. Also, throwing out broken ski poles because you couldn’t remember to lift them at mid-station is still littering, and is very much frowned upon at any ski area. Carry in, Carry out.

Tomorrow expect mixed precipitation with temperatures starting close to 40 degrees, but falling throughout the day. We plan to have 6 lifts turning, including MI, with 41 trails open, 39 of which are scheduled to be groomed, that’s 133 acres or 5,793,480 square feet. 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.

Latest forecast says 4 inches of snow by Thursday, let’s all hope that Northwest Flow delivers even more. Do the dance, think snow!


Morning Update

Matt McCawley for Hugh. All Morse area lifts and Sterling are spinning, while MI is on hold. Report from Patrol is that the re-groomed snow is quite nice and that Morse will be your best bet for good conditions. Our trail count as of now has gone down, but trails will reopen as the snow softens. On a more positive note our latest weather forecast is calling for 4 inches of snow by Thursday, so do whatever snow dance or ritual for snowfall and let’s all hope for a change in the weather cycle.


Sunny with a 95 percent chance of Corduroy


Village Lift

Matt McCawley for Hugh. Spectacular start to the day! Sun is shining and the weather is sweet with light winds and great visibility. 95 percent of our open terrain was groomed last night, so finish your complete breakfast and get up here to enjoy the carvable corduroy. For most of the Vermont schools this is one of the last days of winter vacation, don’t waste it, go skiing or snowboarding! Remember to dress in layers too, as temps will be on the rise throughout the day.


Early morning groom

groomWe are presently checking lift and trail conditions. It’s presently snowing and 24 degrees at the summit of Sterling with winds of 25 to 45 mph. Today’s forecast is snow showers early then flurries with an inch of accumulation possible, windy with temperatures between 16 and 28 degrees. The temperatures dropped overnight and the wet snow from yesterday has set up.  Sterling Mountain will have an hour and a half delay for grooming this morning. For the latest in lift and trail closures go to smuggs.com/snowReport


Sometimes you just can’t wait

timothyThis is two and a half-year-old Timothy. He has not seen snow all winter. He could not wait to play on the snow! Today we plan to have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 6 lifts operating, including the Madonna I lift. We have 55 trails open with terrain for all ability levels. 40 trails have been groomed for today, that’s 144 acres of freshly groomed terrain. Today’s forecast is cloudy skies early becoming partly sunny with temperatures between 25 and 37 degrees. It’s presently 24 degrees at the summit of Sterling Mountains with partly sunny skies and winds of 15 to 25 mph.



125 acres of freshly groomed terrain


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Lower Morse Liftline

We are 97 percent open with top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating and 76 out of 78 trails open. Some trails will have a delayed opening until they soften up. We have snow in the forecast for Saturday night into Sunday with 2 inches of accumulation at the base and 4 inches at the summit possible. Today’s forecast is skies becoming mostly cloudy with a chance of rain mostly in the afternoon and temperatures between 41 and 49 degrees.



Freshly Groomed Terrain

Freshly Groomed

It looks like this could be anywhere, but it is from Lower Morse Liftline.

Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. The Groomers were busy last night and early this morning laying down the corduroy on 49 trails – that’s 161 acres of… FRESHLY GROOMED TERRAIN for your skiing and riding enjoyment.


New snow and 152 acres of freshly groomed terrain

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Lower Morse Liftline

We received 2 inches of new snow overnight and 12 inches in the past 3 days. Today’s forecast is snow with another 2 to 4 inches of accumulation possible with temperatures between 4 and 15 degrees. We could see another 2 inches of new snow Friday night into Saturday. There is also snow in the forecast starting Sunday afternoon and ending Monday morning. 46 trails have been groomed for today including Upper FIS, Smugglers’ Alley, Snow Snake, and Bootlegger for a grand total of 152 acres of freshly groomed terrain.