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Smuggs Owner at Town Meeting

Bill at Town Meeting

Bill Stritzler says YES to community involvement!

Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. Town Meeting is a great Vermont tradition. On the first Tuesday in March, citizens of the Green Mountain State gather to discuss and vote on local issues. Depending on the year, we also vote for state and national offices. Bill Stritzler, the Owner and Managing Director of Smugglers’ Notch Resort is a regular attendee of Cambridge Town Meeting. In fact, the Resort encourages its employees to attend their respective Town Meetings.

You may have noticed that Bill is sporting facial hair. When snow dances failed us earlier this season, Bill offered to grow a beard until 50% of our trails were open. We hit the 39 trails mark in mid-January, but Bill wanted to maintain the hirsute hoodoo, so he’s keeping the beard until the end of Winter Programming on April 3rd. It looks like it’s going to work tonight, as 1 to 3 inches of the fluffy stuff are in the forecast. I think most of us in these parts are voting for SNOW!

 

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Catching some air off the rail

birch air with grab

Going for the grab

 

It was another beautiful day here at Smuggs. It was warm enough to soften the snow on Smugglers’ Alley.  I really enjoy the neat shapes and contours that are on the Alley. It has not been groomed this season, so it still has the snowmaking whales. There are now moguls on the whales to play on.

 

 

smuggs logo rail

Check out the Smuggs logo on this new rail.

I stopped by the Birch Run Terrain Park to check out the action.  There were quite a few skiers and riders hitting the features, hiking, and then hitting them again. The soft snow made for nice landings off the rails.

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Black Snake snow-make/Black Bear remake

Randy and his gang

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Bear

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.

 

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Skiing above the clouds

hugh and cloudsIt was so foggy this morning on my drive to the mountain. I was pleasantly surprised to see beautiful sunny skies when I arrived here at Smuggs. The clouds stayed in the valley all day today. It looked like a sea of clouds and mountain peaks looked like islands.  We have 2 lifts operating the Sterling lift and Sir Henry’s Handle Tow. We have 8 trails open with terrain for all ability levels. The Birch Run Terrain Park is open with 6 features. 7 out of the 8 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, that’s 31 acres of freshly groomed terrain.

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Opening Day of the 2015 – 2016 Winter Season

drew ridingIt felt great to be back on the mountain today.  The weather was mild and the snow was soft.  It was easy to set an edge and let it ride.  I had a wonderful time making turns, but I also really enjoyed catching up with different members of the Smuggs family.  It was nice to hear about what people were up to for the summer and how they are excited about another great season here at Smuggs.

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Employee Rally

Justin&Ian-HKDPrior to each season Smugglers’ holds an employee rally. It’s fun to see returning faces and meet new folks, and it’s a great way for resort staff to learn about what’s new for the season through various presentations. One of the sessions today was hosted by snowmaking manager Justin Thoelke and Ian Jarrett of HKD Snowmakers. Justin and Ian talked about the resort’s improvements in snowmaking over the last several years, including the completion this summer of the pipeline that enhances the water supply for snowmaking. They also described the balance of weather, resources, and timing that affect the art and science of snowmaking. Employees asked a lot of questions that included wondering what types of snowguns Smuggs has, what temperatures are optimal to make snow, and where current snowmaking efforts have focused on the mountain (thus far, efforts have focused on intermediate trails on Sterling and on Sir Henry’s for beginner terrain).

Justin_HKD

Thanks to Justin and Ian for sharing their expertise!

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World Famous Cookie Race

HaylleighToday was another beautiful day with sunny skies and a high of 22 degrees. I was on Morse Mountain today and it brought back so many great memories. I remember when I was learning how to ski here at Smuggs. Starting off on the lower mountain as a beginner and working my way to the top of Morse. Fine tuning my skills on Snow Snake and Upper Morse Liftline. More great memories were made today too as I watched my 3 year old daughter ski down from the top of Morse to the Cookie Race. It’s great watching her enjoy what I love so much! We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 76 out of 78 trails open. All 8 lifts will be operating on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 31 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, including Drifter, Lower Black Bear, and Snow Snake for a grand total of 166 acres. All 6 Terrain Parks are open. Tomorrow’s forecast is calling for increasing clouds with a chance of flurries in the afternoon and a high of 33 degrees.

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Another beautiful day at Smuggs

My first run of the day was on Madonna Mountain. The sun was out and the winds were calm.  There was an inversion this morning; the summit temperature was higher than the base temperature.  The skier’s right side of Upper FIS was groomed last night. This allows skiers and riders the option of moguls or groomed terrain.  It also gives you an out if you get tired while going for it in the bumps.  I was on Morse Mountain midday and stopped by to see Father Winter in his teepee.  Every visit is fun and also educational.  Father Winter’s teepee is located between Lower Morse Liftline and the Magic Learning Trail. Father Winter pictured on the right is at his teepee on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  I headed back to the Upper Mountains later in the afternoon for one more run on Madonna Mountain.  It was so nice out that I decided to ski Upper Drifter and take in some wonderful views.  The photo on the left was taken from one of my favorite vantage points. We are 100 percent open with top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 78 trails and all 8 lifts operating. 33 trails will be groomed tonight, including Smugglers’ Alley, Snow Snake, and skier’s right of Upper FIS.  The forecast is calling for 3 to 6 inches of new snow in the next 24 hours and up to 11 inches by Friday!  There is also more snow in the forecast for this weekend.
DSC06754 (1) drifter

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hugh powder turnThe snow just keeps piling up here at Smuggs. We received 2 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours, 15 inches in the past week, and 47 inches in the month of February so far. The forecast is calling for another 3 to 4 inches of new snow by Sunday night. I had a great time this morning on the Upper Mountain Fresh Tracks Tour. I met Mike and Joe from Long Island. We all enjoyed making tracks through the drifts on Catwalk and Upper FIS. We also found some beautiful powder on a work road from Upper FIS to Goat Path. I also got to take a few runs with my good friend Ken and his son Justin. We went exploring in the glades trying to find untracked lines. We found some amazing light fluffy powder like you see here in the photo. Weather permitting, tomorrow we plan to be 100 percent open with top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 78 trails, and all 8 lifts operating. 161 acres of freshly groomed terrain for Sunday.

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With a Little Help from the Wind

Matt surfing tthe waveOften times at Smuggs we might only get a few inches of measurable snow but when our prevailing winds do their job it rides much deeper. An example of this is here, where we found a drift tucked between two trails that was probably two feet deep. The sun also came out this afternoon which really made it a much more pleasant day than many had forecasted. Tomorrow look for lots of untracked snow on Madonna with more reasonable temperatures and some light snow falling. Talking about snow, it looks like we have a chance of another 5 inches by Sunday night, which will add to our already impressive snow total of 187”. We will be 100% open and things are shaping up quite nicely for the weekend! Also check out Rails for Ryan tonight in front of the Base Lodge from 6-8 PM benefits go to a great cause and people will be showing off some jibbing skills, the Black Bear tavern in the Base Lodge will be open too.