Working its magic



Magic Learning Trail

It has been 12 years since Susan skied last, but today she is back at it! She took a few runs on Sir Henry’s Learning Hill to warm up a little bit and now she is going to mid-station on the Mogul Mouse Magic Lift.  She is getting her ski legs back and is having a blast!



Happy New Year!


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Clock Tower with Village Lift and Mogul Mouse Magic Lift in the background

Today we have 6 lift operating Sterling Lift, Mogul Mouse Magic Lift, Madonna II Lift, Village Lift, Morse Highlands Lift, and Sir Henry’s Wonder Carpet. We have 65 skiable trails and 53 lift accessible trails open today. The Madonna I Lift is presently on wind hold. 30 trails have been groomed for today, that’s 116 acres of freshly groomed terrain. Today’s forecast is calling for partly to mostly sunny skies with a high of -2 degrees. Currently it is -19 degrees at the summit of Sterling with partly cloudy skies and with of 0 to 5 mph. It is time for function not fashion. Wear an extra layer, use mittens instead of gloves, use hand/foot warmers, take breaks, and enjoy the great conditions.



Dusting of new snow overnight


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Cleaning the chairs off on the Village Lift

We have 65 skiable trails and 53 lift accessible trails open today. The Madonna I lift is presently on cold hold. Today we have 7 lifts operating Sterling, Madonna II, Mogul Mouse, Village, Morse Highlands, Sterling T-Bar, and Sir Henry’s Wonder Carpet. 31 trails have been groomed for today, that’s 132 acres of freshly groomed terrain. Last night we made snow on Black Snake, The Zone Terrain Park, Snake Bite, and the Practice Slope. Currently it is -15 degrees at the summit of Sterling with partly cloudy skies and winds of 10 to 20 mph. Wear an extra layer, wear mittens instead of gloves, use hand/foot warmers, take breaks, and enjoy the great conditions.



Getting ready for the weekend



Grooming out the snowmaking whales on Lower Morse Liftline.

I would like to thank our lift maintenance, our snowmakers, and our groomers for all their hard work so that we can have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains this weekend. Lift maintenance has been working on the Madonna I Lift and the Village Lift to get them ready to turn this Saturday and Sunday. I saw Lift Maintenance Manager Boder Stevens at the summit of Madonna today. He was getting the heaters turned on in the warming hut and the top shack. They also have to clear all the chairs and the cable of snow. Our snowmakers have also been quite busy on Morse Mountain covering Midway, Meadowlark, Lower Morse Liftline, Sam’s Run, and Garden Path.


Huge snowmaking whale at the base of Morse Mountain.

Snowmaking continues tonight on Sam’s Run, Midway, and Meadowlark. Our groomers have been working on flattening the snowmaking whales to make the trails nice and smooth. Once the snow is pushed out we can make more snow where it is needed. This weekend we plan to have the Village Lift and Mogul Mouse Magic Lift open to the top along with the Sterling Lift, the Madonna I Lift, and Sir Henry’s Wonder Carpet operating.



Smuggs Lift Maintenance Manager Boder Stevens making sure the Madonna I lift is ready to operate this weekend.


Conditions keep getting better



Jason having fun on Pipeline Escape

At 5:30 am this morning we had 2 inches of new snow and by 7:45 am we had 4 inches. It continued to snow really hard this morning and by lunch time we had 6 to 8 inches of new snow. It snowed all day long we ended up with 8 to 10 inches of new snow today. The great thing about it snowing throughout the day is that the refresh button gets hit continuously. Tracks that I made this morning were hard to see by the end of the day. The forecast is calling for another 4 to 7 inches of new snow in the next 24 hours. It is going to be a little windy tomorrow and the direction has changed from southeast to northwest. The snow globe is being shook up pretty hard right on. Conditions will be amazing tomorrow and I can’t wait. Tomorrow we plan to have 3 lifts operating: Sterling Lift, Sir Henry’s Learning Hill surface lift, and Mogul Mouse Magic Lift to mid station. We now have 30 trails open with terrain for all ability levels.



Knee deep


Nate catching some nice air in Birch Run Terrain Park

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Face shots will give you a frosty beard


Flatdown rail in Birch Run Terrain Park


Throwing the skis sideways in Birch Run Terrain Park


Ready for another run

Mogul Mouse’s Magic Lift

We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 4 lifts operating, including the Madonna I Lift. Today’s forecast is mostly cloudy skies with flurries and a snow shower with an inch of accumulation possible and temperatures between 26 and 38 degrees. We are expecting 2 to 4 inches of new snow Friday into Friday night. 32 trails have been groomed for today, that’s 127 acres of freshly groomed terrain.



Delayed opening

The Madonna I Lift is presently on wind hold. Some trails will have a delayed opening this morning until they soften up. The forecast is calling for freezing rain this morning and rain this afternoon with temperatures between 31 and 37 degrees.  The Sterling Lift,  Mogul Mouse’s Magic Lift, and Sir Henry’s Magic Carpet are presently operating.


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!


Another great day

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Father Winter tells a story in his teepee

It was a little warm today, but the spring conditions sure were fun. I had a great time helping out Snow Sport University by shuttling little ones up the Mogul Mouse’s Magic Lift. Every ride was different and entertaining at the same time. I made a quick stop to see Father Winter in his teepee on one of my runs. His teepee was full of kids listening to another one of his great stories. I want to thank the employees of 3 Mountain Outfitters, especially Jessica and Adrienne. They were very helpful with picking out the right goggles for me and my wife. They also went the extra mile when it can to dealing with some older gift cards that I had. It was great to be wearing my new goggles with the bright sunshine today.



Snowmaker Justin Thoelke does some air boarding at the Mogul Mouse’s Magic Lift

Tomorrow we plan to have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating and 77 out of 78 trails open. Tomorrow’s forecast is partly sunny skies early becoming mostly cloudy skies in the afternoon a chance of a shower with temperatures between 40 and 49 degrees.



New goggles