A little new snow overnight


New snow on Upper Exhibition

Well, we got a little bit of everything last night from snow, freezing rain, sleet, to rain. The new snow absorbed the rain and was pretty heavy. The new snow stuck to everything and was a little sticky. The new snow would hold you back nicely so I headed for steeper terrain like Chute and Smugglers’ Alley. I also had a great time cruising down Black Snake, Treasure Run and Practice Slope. I found that as long as I had my skis up on edge I would fly through the new snow, but if I had my skis flat on the snow they would slow down. The flat ski allows the wet snow to make a vacuum which slows you down. Once snow goes through a thaw-freeze cycle it will turn to corn snow the next time it warms up which is a faster snow.

Smugglers’ Alley

Tomorrow we plan to have both the Madonna I lift and Sterling lift operating with 62 trails open. We plan to groom 13 trails tonight, that is 53 acres of freshly groomed terrain. Tomorrow’s forecast is rain mixed with sleet early then freezing rain and rain later in the day with temperatures between 31 and 39 degrees. Wear something waterproof and enjoy the spring conditions!


Nate having fun on Upper Exhibition

Ice flow on Thomke’s


Spring has sprung


Sterling Mountain

Today was a classic spring skiing and riding day. The snow set up last night so I started my day off with groomers.I ran into my good friend John Farrell a.k.a. Dr. John of 3 Mountain Equipment. We had a blast cruising down Upper Rumrunner, Black Snake, Practice Slope, Upper Chilcoot, Mulcahy’s Link, Lower FIS, Thomke’s Express, Crossover, Treasure Run, and Lower Exhibition. The snow was getting softer with every run. I ran into my good friend Chris Diegel of C.H. Diegel Photography in the afternoon and we made some sweet corn-ocopia turns on Sterling. The snow was soft all the way to the top of Sterling in the afternoon. Everyone is getting spring fever and we are ready for some Chillin’ & Grillin’, Backcountry Basecamping,  Drench Trenching, and live music filling the Upper Parking Lot.

Tele turns on Upper Exhibition

This is happening next weekend here at Smuggs! Tomorrow is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shops.  Swing by the Smugglers’ Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, 12:00 noon – 8:00 pm. This year, we are accepting donations for the Cambridge Food Shelf, so bring a food or money donation, and bring your sweet tooth!


Tomorrow we plan to have both the Madonna I Lift and Sterling Lift operating with 62 trails open. The Birch Run Terrain Park is open. 15 trails will be groomed for tomorrow that’s 68 acres of freshly groomed terrain. Tonight’s forecast is calling for an inch of new snow.


Treasure Pitch

Tomorrow’s forecast is rain, freezing rain, sleet, mixed snow early then some freezing rain and rain in the afternoon with 29 and 37 degrees.


Black Snake with Mount Mansfield in the background

Tele turns on Black Snake

Treasure Pitch


Are you ready for this?


17264260_10155132275337298_2972167989096255106_nSaturday, April 8th

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Smugglers’ Notch have come together to bring you The Drench Trench: the best way to skim into spring with delicate grace…or not! Get wet (let’s be honest, you probably will) with skiers and riders dressed in ridiculous garb, all competing for gear, prizes, and the prestigious title of “Pond Skim Idol”!

• Biggest Splash
• Best Dressed / Costume
• Best Digger (fall)

GOODIE BAGS (must be 21+ years): http://drenchtrench.app.rsvpify.com/

DRENCH TRENCH REGISTRATION (day of): Registration starts at 10:00 am in Parking Lot 1.

EVENT: 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm in The Zone Terrain Park
The first skimmer takes a bath at 12:00 noon! The best part is that all this fun is not for naught—some of our lovely partners are sponsoring skimmers with donations that benefit the Chill Foundation, an awesome organization dedicated to inspiring youth to overcome challenges through board sports.

CHILLIN’ & GRILLIN’ TAILGATE PARTY: All day Saturday in Lot 1!
Did you skim-ulate your appetite? Kick back with a refreshing Sierra Nevada brew and refuel at the all-day-long Chillin’ & Grillin’ tailgate party where cash and prizes will be awarded for:

• Best Smuggs-themed tailgate(flair/festive/fun)
• Best original recipe (main dish/side dish/drink)
• Best barbecue Best overall tailgate

Burn off all the delicious grub you just stuffed yourself with by dancing to some sweet tunes from Brett Hughes and the Honky Tonk Crowd!

After all is said and done, you can congratulate yourself on having fun for a good cause and for your bravery in attempting to take down the gnarliest mountain beast since Bigfoot: The Drench Trench.

The event is FREE for all, but if you are 21+ years of age you can receive a goodie bag courtesy of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. by RSVPing (for free) below on this page or by donating directly to Chill Foundation online here:http://www.chill.org/support-chill

ONLINE: http://drenchtrench.app.rsvpify.com/

DONATE: http://www.chill.org/support-chill

Want to sponsor a skimmer? If you’d like to sponsor a skimmer and send your best employee, friend, or neighbor down The Drench Trench, contact sthomas@smuggs.com for more information.

About the Chill Foundation-

The Chill Foundation’s youth development program revolves around a six-week curriculum that uses board sports to teach life skills and increase self-esteem of their participants. Chill has served more than 20,000 young people since the program began, working with approximately 1,400 youth annually. They work with social service agencies, mental health agencies, foster care programs, juvenile justice programs, and schools in local communities to select youth participants. Everything is provided to the youth at no cost. Participants range in age from 10-18 years old. Learn more at http://www.chill.org/

– Ages 8 & older
– Two skims per participant
– No poles or sharp objects
– Alpine or Nordic (traditional x-country or mountaineering gear) skis, and snowboards are allowed. NO snow skates, jack jumpers, kayaks, etc.
– Inverts are not recommended

Thank you to our prize Sponsors: C. H. Diegel Photography, Bern Unlimited, Outdoor Gear Exchange, and Sierra Nevada.



Great conditions and great weather


Picture yourself here

Fat-ypus skis had a demo today in front of the Base Lodge. I stopped by to check it out and see what they had. They suggested that I try the M5 all mountain ski and I did. I had a blast testing it out on groomers and powder in the trees. I headed over to Sterling next to see the George Tormey Challenge which are athletes ages 10 to 13 racing Dual Giant Slalom on Saturday and Dual Panel Slalom on Sunday.  You need to focus on the gates coming at you when you are racing and when someone is right next to you doing the same thing it can be hard to do.  It can also push you to go faster when you see the other racer pulling away from you. It was exciting to watch this head to head competition. I look forward to watching the fast action of the dual panel slalom race tomorrow on the Practice Slope. The Practice Slope will be a busy place tomorrow because there is also the Molly Fund Benefit Rail Jam at the Zone Terrain Park. This special rail jam benefits the Molly Rowlee Fund, which supports families with children undergoing treatment for cancer.

Carving it up on Lower Madonna Liftline

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 Parking Lot 1, the Jam starts in the Zone Terrain Park at 11:00 am! www.mollyrowlee.org


The forecast for tomorrow is partly sunny skies with temperatures between 20 and 33 degrees. We are 100 percent open with top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating and all 78 trail open. Robin’s Run is open from the work road down. Tonight we plan to groom 30 trails, including Upper Drifter, Snow Snake, and Black Snake for a grand total of 122 acres of freshly groomed terrain.

Riding down Lower Catwalk

A sign of good times

Schaffer family on Morse Mountain


Blue bird day here at Smuggs!

Sterling and Mount Mansfield seen from Upper Drifter on Madonna Mountain

34 trails have been groomed for today, that’s 126 acres of freshly groomed terrain.

Fat-ypus ski demo today in front of the Base Lodge

George Tormey Challenge on the Practice Slope this weekend

George Tormey Challenge on the Practice Slope this weekend

George Tormey Challenge on the Practice Slope this weekend

George Tormey Challenge on the Practice Slope this weekend

George Tormey Challenge on the Practice Slope this weekend


Race training

race 3Today’s forecast called for cloudy skies with some showers likely, but we really lucked out and hardly got any rain. I got to ski with my nephew T.J. this morning and we had a blast. We skied Hangman’s Drop, Chute, Black Snake, Full Nelson, Practice Slope, Upper Pipeline, Smugglers’ Alley, Treasure Run, and Lower Exhibition. The snow was fast but very edgeable. We had a great time playing on the huge snowmaking whale on Full Nelson, at the bottom. The backside of the whale is steep and just so much fun. Talk about steep I watched some racers training on Snake Bite this afternoon. They were running slalom gates on Snake Bite and the Practice Slope. Snake Bite deserves respect especially when it has gates on it.

race 1Tomorrow 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 54 trails open with terrain for all ability levels. Tomorrow’s forecast is snow showers early then flurries 1 to 2 inches of accumulation possible with temperatures between 16 and 29 degrees.

race 4 race 2


Practice Slope

bending gateI was at the Practice Slope this afternoon. Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans was race training. They were running slalom gates. The only thing that needs to go around the gate is your skis. The racers were doing a great job of cross-blocking. Cross-blocking is when the racer uses their ski pole to knock the gate down and out of the way. The gates have springs at the base which allow them to stand back up once being knocked down. The racers use special poles and padding to protect them from the impact of the gate. You might not think that it would hurt that much, but when you get hit in the same spot over and over it can start to hurt. There are more gates and they are closer together in slalom racing compared to giant slalom or downhill. Things happen fast in slalom racing so you have to be quick.

race 1Tomorrow 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. Tomorrow’s forecast is calling for flurries early then partly sunny skies with temperatures between 27 and 39 degrees. 40 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, including Upper FIS, Smugglers’ Alley, and Snow Snake for a grand total of 144 acres of freshly groomed terrain.



Private Lesson


ssu snowboard

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.