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Hugh's Blog & Photo-of-the-Day

The very latest direct from the slopes!


Rays of sunlight in snowmaking plume.

Photo taken November 19th, 2012

November 18th, 2012
Rockin' Ron for Hugh-Man. I was at the Cambridge Area Rotary Ski and Board Swap today. Historically, this has been the last Swap before the Season starts. Folks are grabbing some last minute gear because they're Jones-in' to get their first runs on Madonna, Sterling, and Morse. Well, it won't be long now. The next blog you read will be Hugh's.

November 16th, 2012
COUNTDOWN!!!! Just one week to our anticipated Opening Day of Friday, November 23rd, 2012 CE at 8:30 am EST! Rockin' Ron tempin' for Smuggs permanent Snow Reporting Legend - Mr. Hugh Johnson. Its all down to cold temps and low humidity, (aka the wet bulb temp for you Snowmaking afficinados), and that gal o' gals - Mama Nature. So visit 3 Mountain Equipment and get your skis and snowboards tuned, pull out your long undies, and get ready to ROCK the Winter!!!!!!!!!

November 14th, 2012
Rockin' Ron a-rockin' it for Hugh. Hugh will be back in the Snow Report saddle this coming Monday. I was talking to Justin Thoelke, our Snowmaking Operations Manager, and he was quite enthused about his 150 NEW snowguns. He says they are more efficient and use less air. I tell you what, yours truly is enthused about seeing Justin and his crew blowing snow on Upper Rumrunner. I also want to say 'HEY' to our 2-4-U Smuggs/Bolton College Pass holders. Anticipated Opening Day is Friday, November 23rd at 8:30 am.

November 5th, 2012
Ron Carter, Smuggs E-team member and winter back-up blogger extraordinaire for Hugh's Blog (so says Karen Boushie).
Rockin' Ron in the Blog Spot for Hugh. The picture above was taken by Hugh after he took the Shoe Leather Express to the top of Madonna Mountain. If you don't know by now, Hugh is a skiing fanatic. About a month ago, this point was once again brought home to me. I was on the phone with Hugh when he was out of state. I asked about the weather where he was and he told me it was raining. Feeling prankster-ish, I exclaimed that it was snowing here. He was ready to book the first flight back to Burlington, when he realized I was joking. I know he was more than a little disappointed. However, I don't think he'll be disappointed by this upcoming season. With $1,000,000 in snowmaking enhancements, and our anticipated Opening Day of Friday, November 23rd just around the corner, what's not to get excited about!

October 10, 2012
Fall project: The new Knight's Revenge Gladed Terrain Park
Greg Fatigate, Snow Sport University

If you haven't heard, we have been creating a new type of terrain park in one of our Madonna Mountain glades, Knight's Revenge, in between Lower Rumrunner and Lower Madonna Liftline. This terrain park is what we call a "natural" terrain park. So what's that mean? Well, some of the features will be piles of logs that will serve as jumps and rollers. Other features are built from small trees and saplings that were blown down from previous wind storms. Others still are built from locally harvested hemlock from LSF Forest Products of Fletcher. Check out photos of a few of the features below.

So far the lower half of the glade has all of its features set. These include several rollers, a couple jumps, some mountain bike-type bridges, several log slides, and a wall ride at the end. All of the features have been secured to the ground, so don't expect them to move. Along the lines of "natural," this park will have no snowmaking in it, so we'll be counting on Mother Nature’s bounty of snowfall. Even with melt-off or low snow periods, many of the features will be usable as all of them start from the ground.

What will separate this park from our other parks is that it still maintains its character as a glade. We did not have to cut many trees at all, and most of what was cut was either tiny or dead. The lower half of Knight's Revenge is relatively low angle (read: not steep). Therefore you'll need to keep up momentum and as a result there will be a pretty sweet flow to this park. I'm a lifelong skateboarder and I've tried to bring in some of that aspect to the flow end of the set-up.

Recently I've been working on the upper half of the trail. Expect this half (above Link) to have a few more jumps, some killer rails, banks, and rock rides. It's a little steeper up there and therefore we'll be able to do some different things. In the entire glade, expect to have to take several runs through it to figure out how all the goods flow together, and maybe even find a few hidden things.

There's a lot of heavy lifting going on, and a good deal of the labor has been tough. Special thanks go out to John Burton and our brush-cutting crew for helping with some pretty tough jobs, Mike Chait of our Snow Sport University for helping me create a few features that could not have been possible alone, Nate Burnor for helping me find some recycle supplies, and our Mountain Operations crew for lending some much needed tools.

September 27, 2012
What's been happening during the off-season on the mountain?
Caitlin Shaw of Mountain Ops provides an update...

It's been a busy summer in Mountain Operations!

Probably the biggest news on the mountain this summer is our snowmaking enhancements. We've purchased 150 new tower guns, and the first order of guns has arrived with more due to be received this fall to install for the start of the 2012-2013 winter snowmaking season. These guns are from 3 different manufacturers and are energy efficient, meaning they need less air to make snow than our current tower and land frame guns. This will allow us to make more snow with the air capacity that we currently have. Speaking of air ... we're also purchasing a second electric air compressor to be installed at the snowmaking shop. This compressor will allow us more flexibility in our snowmaking - we'll now have twice the electric compressed air capacity, which means we can rely a little less on our diesel compressor rentals and the price of buying diesel fuel. We're also replacing the snowmaking pipe loop that covers the top of Morse Mountain to allow for more efficient snowmaking at the summit of the Village Lift and on the Midway Spur.

This month we've been freshening up the Madonna 1 Lift with a new coat of paint. We're also working on installing a new drive in Sterling which will allow for better energy efficiency.

So if you're out on the mountain in the coming weeks I'm sure you may see all of the work that is going on to prepare for the upcoming winter season. Let's hope the snow flies soon!

The additional snow guns are being placed on all three mountains: Practice Slope, Treasure, Lower Exhibition, Upper Rumrunner and Smugglers' Alley on Sterling Mountain; Lower Madonna Liftline on Madonna Mountain; and Lower Liftline and Log Jam on Morse Mountain. In the new terrain park on Madonna in the Knight's Revenge glade, there are about 18 natural features currently in place with more to be installed in the coming weeks. We're excited about this great new playground in the woods; blog entry with more information to come soon!

September 12, 2012
Out & about with Tommy Smith of Ski & Ride

Summer can be seen as a season for relaxation and spending some quality time around your favorite swimming hole. Well, up here at Smugglers' Notch we've been busy making sure that all of our skiers and riders are as pumped about the 2012-2013 season as we are. With over $1 million in new snowmaking enhancements, and a brand new gladed terrain park in the works, winter is feeling like it's truly on its way.

As the traveling events guy, I've been out promoting all the products and upgrades the mountain has to offer. From NYC's Central Park, to this week's Burton 13 movie premiere in Colchester, there's anticipation for the dumping of powder we so greatly deserve. I'm happy to hear that the skiers and riders who proudly proclaim Smuggs as their hometown mountain are stoked to hit the slopes.

We kicked off the summer with a weekend in NYC's Central Park, partnering with Burton to give hundreds of kids a taste of our Riglet Park for hopeful new riders ages 3-5. Following Central Park, the next big event took place at Lake Champlain's Maritime Festival. Eighty degree heat and sunshine didn't stop folks from coming by and swapping stories about their favorite runs up at Smugglers' Notch. Next, I headed over to Burton's Annual Summer Sale. The Burton Sale kicked off our pass sales which began on August 13th. The intense heat and long lines didn't deter hopeful shoppers from finding their favorite gear, and picking up their passes and badges on their way out.

The release of our brand new 2 for U college pass has inspired a lot of excited college students. I'll be visiting local campuses: UVM, Champlain College, St. Mike's, and Johnson State throughout September and October to represent Smuggs and provide students an opportunity to pick up the new combo Smuggs/Bolton 2 for U for just $249!

Come and see me on the road at this weekend's Burton 13 movie premiere on Saturday, September 15th at the Sunset Drive-In theatre in Colchester. The event kicks off at 5:00 pm with appearances and signings from Burton’s Pro Riders. The movie will officially begin at 8:30 pm. If you can't make it there, maybe I'll see you the next week at the Alpine Shop Avalanche Sale - get your gear, get your pass … it's time to think snow!

Hope to see you at one of the fall ski & ride events!

Winter 2011-2012: Hugh's Blog Archives

Hugh's Blog - March 2012
March 25th, 2012
The last day of the winter season always comes to quick. I guess it’s true that time flies when you are having fun! I want to thank our Mountain Operations Crew for all the work they did this season to give our guests the best experience possible. Mother Nature did not make it easy for us this winter, but we made the most of everything she gave us. Early season our snowmakers took advantage of colder temperatures either day or night. If it was cold enough we would make snow around the clock for many days in a row! Our groomers also worked hard this season making our trails safe and fun. The majority of the grooming happens at night, so we don’t see all the work it takes to groom around 160 acres of terrain each night. We show up at the mountain in the morning and we think that magically the trails were made into smooth white carpets. The terrain parks were taken care of by Rick Witham, Greg Fatigue, Mike Bert, Pat Olszewski, and more. They had some new features this season in Birch Run and the Zone! They also did a wonderful job with our special park events like the Rail Jams, Slopestyle, and the Big Air! I also want to thank everyone who came up to Smuggs this season and became part of the Smuggs Family! I’m looking forward to the day after Thanksgiving, so we can start the 2012/2013 Winter Season here at Smuggs!

March 23rd, 2012
Today was filled with family fun! I started the day off skiing with my daughter Hannah, her good friend Lidia, my wife Harley, and her good friend Joie. We had a great time on Garden Path and Lower Morse Liftline. The young girls were practicing their parallel turns and hockey stops. After multiple runs to the top of the Mogul Mouse Magic Lift all the girls went for lunch and I went to the Upper Mountains. I had a bunch of fun on Smugglers’ Alley and Upper FIS. Next, I picked up my son Hugh B after school and we headed up the Mogul Mouse Magic Lift. We then skied Garden Path and cut over to Morse Highlands. Hugh B had his sights set on the Log Jam Terrain Park. We had a blast jumping on and off the Spines.

March 22nd, 2012
As pleasant as this taste of early summer weather has been, the warm temperatures have taken their toll on our terrain. Therefore, we will be shutting down our ski and ride operations at the end of the day on Sunday, March 25. A big thank you to our Mountain Operations staff, and in particular, the groomers, who have worked very hard over this warm period to keep our slopes in good shape for our guests.

P.S. The Harvey Wesson Memorial Race set for Friday, March 23rd has been cancelled, but the end of the season race party will be held at Stella Notte Friday, March 23rd from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm.

March 21st, 2012
I skied all 3 mountains today. I started in the morning on Morse. I wanted to see my daughter Hannah in her ski school class today, because it was dress up day. All of the girls in the group, Instructor Ramsey, and Instructor Dayna were all wearing tutus. The ski school headed in for lunch and I headed up to the upper mountains. I went in search of some soft moguls covered in corn snow. I found what I was looking for on Upper FIS and Smugglers’ Alley! We have great spring conditions and I can’t wait to get back out there tomorrow!

March 20th, 2012
Rockin' Ron recitin' for Hugh on da Blog. Yesterday I saw long-time Smuggler-ite Laurie and she told me her daughter wanted to ski with the Friendly Pirate. So at 10 bells (that's 10:00 am EST), Arianna and I hit the slopes. First it was Madonna - Upper Chilcoot to a slightly bumpy Lower F.I.S., which was still thawing from overnight. Then Arianna said we had to go to Sterling because she wanted to attack the moguls on Smugglers' Alley (she has chutzpah), and then cruise down Lower Rumrunner. We had to do that run twice. On the Lift rides she gave me suggestions for which songs from my CD "Give Me an RRR!" I should turn into videos, and she told me how much she likes Goodtime Charlie singing "Comin' Back Home Again", because Smuggs feels like her second home. On the way to my car in Parking Lot 1, I ran into the legendary Fletch (of Black Bear Tavern fame). He was doin' the Lot 1 Hang with Mike & Marian, who have been Smuggs Homeowners for 20 years. Mike and Marian told me their daughter Cayla has been chasing Hugh around for years trying to get her picture on the Blog. Sorry Cayla, even though it's only verbal, Mom & Dad got on the Blog first. They told me to tell you... na-na n-na, naaAAA! Hey, I gotta go and get me sum sun - later gators!

March 18th, 2012
This past weekend was just absolutely amazing with beautiful sunny skies and spring temperatures! There was chillin’ and grillin’ going on in Parking Lot 1! I saw many great outfits, costumes, and even “Animal” from the Muppets! I would have to say that Upper FIS was my trail pick for the weekend. It was a little firm on Saturday morning, but softened up by the afternoon. The soft bumps grew through out the weekend and were a blast to ski through! To see some of this action, check out the recent videos on the Smuggs Facebook page.

March 16th, 2012
Today the Harvey Wesson Memorial Race Series was held on Lower FIS. The race was Giant Slalom which is larger turns. We usually race on Lower Madonna Liftline where the Free Family Fun Race is held every Saturday and Sunday. This race was longer and you could not see all of the gates from the top of the course, because of the rollers. The rollers made it pretty interesting because you had to plan where to go. You don’t have much time once you crest the knoll to figure out where the next gate is! The race was exciting and a ton of fun. Thank you to Smitty, his helpers Michelle Moreau, Warren Palmer, Nick Lane, Pat Cleary, Rena Perkins, and Greg Beeman for putting in the extra effort so that we could have a GS race today!

March 14th, 2012
I was skiing on Morse today and my friend Dougie reminded that Mother Nature is in her teepee on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I decided to ski down and give her a visit. There was a ski school class in the teepee with her when I got there. Mother Nature was telling the children about the different animals that live here in Northern Vermont. Mother Nature really knows her stuff and I learn something new every time I see her! Mother Nature and her teepee are another one of Smuggs wonderful gems!

March 12th, 2012
Rockin' Ron reVERBerating on Hugh's Blog. What a great day - SUN & SKIING - life don't get much betta!!! Can you say splendiferous? Spazz-tastic?? Awesome-possum??? A shout out to our friends north of the border. That's right, it's Canadian Week, and half of Ontario is here (can you say 'A', or is it eh?), and so I was helping out SSU by teaching a Level 3 Ski Lesson. Actually, I wasn't teaching, it was Rick Kinsman (btw - he choreographs hip hop dance on the side). He had the kids imitating jungle animals which got them doing parallel turns and hockey stops, not to mention laughing and having fun. I was having fun too. Like I said, "what a great day"!

March 11th, 2012
Today was absolutely gorgeous! The day started with a beautiful sunrise, which was captured by Smuggs employee Jeremy Corkins. To see this photo go to the Smuggs Facebook page. Upper FIS was groomed last night and I could not wait to ski it. To make it even better I was trying out some new skis from 3 Mountain Equipment! I think the skis love to turn as much as I do! I felt like a kid playing at recess. I found the sweet spot and let 'em ride! Different skis ski differently and it’s always fun to try something new.

March 9th, 2012
The weather was a little warm yesterday, but the temperature fell in time to get 3 inches of new snow last night. My first run was on Upper Chilcoot and I had a great time playing in the fresh snow on the side of the trail. The new snow really made a big difference. The new snow will be groomed into the existing snow and will make for some nice conditions tomorrow. The forecast even calls for another inch of new snow tonight! Keep it coming!

March 5th, 2012
We received another 2 inches of new snow overnight and 4 inches in the past 36 hours. The light fluffy new snow on top of groomed terrain was wonderful! Every once in a while some snow would fall from a tree branch and it would form a wispy cloud that slowly floated down. Harvey’s Hideaway and Full Nelson were both very fun, but when I got to Half Nelson I was surprised. It was groomed last night and it was covered with fresh snow! My friend Matthew was with me, so I took the freshies on the left and he took the freshies on the right. Who says there no friends on a powder day!

March 4th, 2012
We received 2 inches of new snow today and it made a big difference. I was headed down Upper Chilcoot this morning when I saw the rope for Sally’s Alley and the closed sign was not up. I made a quick hockey stop and headed for the section of Upper FIS that is above Catwalk. This section has a nice steep pitch and the snow was skiing great! I took Catwalk down to Upper Madonna Liftline which was open, but I decided to head over to Robin’s Run. Robin’s Run is a challenging trail but it also had some wonderful views. It looks down on Sterling and the notch, but the snow clouds today did not allow for much visibility. That’s alright because I know what Sterling and the notch look like and I would prefer the snow clouds!

March 2nd, 2012
I was surprised to see the Upper Parking Lot fill up so early this morning! Everyone must have heard about the wonderful conditions. Our midweek schedule is to have 6 lifts operating. Our Mountain Operations crew had all 8 lifts operating today to accommodate all the skiers and riders! I want to thank Steve Wry and all of his wonderful employees for going the extra mile to make our guests have a wonderful experience here at Smuggs!

March 1st, 2012
Rockin' Ron representin' for Hugh. OoooooooooohhhhhHHH!!!! 10 inches of snow today and 63 inches in the past 8 days! The snow was creamy & dreamy, and my smile was beamy (OK, one rhyme too many). I took a run with Ben from Group Sales while he was on lunch break. It's incumbent upon him to test the product so he can give arriving group guests accurate info. On our way to the Madonna I Lift, we ran in to Fox 44 TV in front of the Base Lodge and they asked what we thought of the conditions. Ben said "GREAT", and I said, "FREAKY EPIC"! Since Ben is a Dead Head, our trail pick was Shakedown (as in the Grateful Dead song Shakedown Street). Ben claims he had a hand in naming the trail and I think he's right. That was the year we added The Shire (Hobbits ski too), Knights Revenge (in honor of our St. Mike's College partnership), Bermuda (Patrol's name for it, before it was on a trail map), Norwegian Woods (Beatles song reference), and the aforementioned Shakedown. Of course Shakedown also fits the smuggling/bootlegger theme. Anywho, we had a blast shaking it down, especially with all that fresh hero snow - we felt like skiing Rock Stars!

Hugh's Blog - February 2012
February 29th 2012
We received 55 inches of new snow in the past week! The skiing and riding has been absolutely amazing! Believe it or not the forecast calls for up to 10 more inches of snow by Friday!

February 27th, 2012
Well that was quite the snow storm with 36 inches of new snow in 36 hours! We are 100 percent open with fantastic conditions. The powder is wonderful in the trees and in the bumps, but it also groomed in very well. Oh by the way more snow is forecasted for tonight and another system coming in the middle of this week! Bring it on!

February 26th, 2012
Well I thought yesterday was crazy with a foot of new snow overnight and another foot during the day. Last night really topped things off with yet another foot of new snow! This snow storm was just perfect, the storm started with heavier snow which bonded well with the old snow and then finished with light snow! To make things even better the sun came out today! How do you beat blue skies and powder up to your knees!

February 25th, 2012
Wow what a day! We received a foot of new snow last night and it snowed hard all day! I love snowstorms during the day, because tracks just keep filling in! It was like hitting the refresh button every run! I got back the parking lot at the end of the day and everyone was digging their cars out. We ended up with 2 feet of new snow in the past 24 hours and it is still snowing hard! I can’t wait until tomorrow for another powder day!

February 23rd, 2012
Blog-o-rama... Rockin' Ron for Hugh. Hail to the Chiefs - tis Presidents Week, and at this Resort most of the staff wear lots of hats (I do too, plus one Pirate bandana). My jobs include Snow Reporter, Ticket Seller, Science Show Scientist, Chamber of Commerce representative, Friendly Pirate, and this week I added a helmet and an instructor's jacket as I taught Level 4 skiers, ages 11-15. The kids were all having fun working on their hockey stops and parallel turns as we cruised over to Morse Highlands, where we had a blast in the Log Jam Terrain Park with its rollers, spines, and quarter pipe. Joey from Long Island was in my class. I've known him and his family for many years, but this was the first time we skiied together - how cool is that! Back to Snow Reporting - Smuggs long-timers Violet & Ron emailed me from Michigan asking if they should ski here this week. I told them our conditions are much better than one would expect and that they should make the trek to VT. I saw them as they arrived yesterday morning with four groggy but eager kids - I'm glad they made it safely and I know they will have a GREAT time. My advice to them was vindicated (sigh of relief) by the 10 inches of new snow we've recently recieved on top of Madonna Mtn. YAY - Freshies for Wolverines, Catamounts, Badgers... and EVERYONE!!!

February 21st, 2012
The St. Mike’s College Ski Race Team was training this morning on the Practice Slope. They were training slalom which is smaller tighter turns. The gates are break away, which means that the gates have springs inside that allow the gate to be hit and then they will stand straight up again. Only the skis need to go around the gate and the racer’s body can go through the gate. If you look at the photo of the day from Feb. 21st you will see that only the skis are on the far side of the gate. The racer cross blocks the gate which knocks it down and out of the way. It was pretty amazing to watch these racers attacking the course!

February 19th, 2012
I was over at the Practice Slope today and I decided to take a run in the trees. Sherwood Forest is a gladed run next to the Practice Slope on skier’s left. This is no regular glade run! I found many natural features, by natural features I mean features make of cut wood and some bent over trees. The bent over trees have been turned into rainbow rails and the cut wood has been turned into jumps! It is pretty neat to see these natural features in the woods!

February 18th, 2012
Today was the Gravity Control Slopestyle Event at the Zone Terrain Park. The Park was in great shape! The weather was perfect with nice light and no wind. The skiers and riders were just amazing. I could not stop taking pictures; in fact I took almost 200! A big thank you goes out everyone who made this event possible!

February 15th, 2012
I picked up my son Hugh B after school today. We then headed straight for the Upper Parking Lot. We changed into our ski boots, grabbed our gear and skied down the Sterling Lift. On the chairlift ride up we talked about the trails that Hugh B has and has not skied. We have a Smuggs Trail Map taped to a wall in our house where trails that Hugh B has skied are marked with a highlighter. I realized that Pipeline Escape is one of those trails that has escaped Hugh B. We did a warm up run on Upper Rumrunner, Black Snake, and Birch Run. Pipeline Escape is a part of Pipeline, which is narrow, straight, and steep. We took our time and enjoyed every turn. Hugh B made it to the bottom with a smile on his face, knowing that he had just skied another new trail at Smuggs! It’s time to get home and update the Smuggs Trail Map hanging on the wall!

February 14th, 2012
Upper Drifter and Lower Drifter were groomed last night. Drifter is one of the best trails for scenic views. You get some wonderful views of Sterling, Sterling Pond, Smugglers’ Notch, and much more! I had a great time skiing groomers on Madonna and Sterling today. I also had fun looking for powder stashes this afternoon in the trees!

February 13th, 2012
I want to thank our snowmakers for making some great snow last night! The snowmaking crew took advantage of some cold temperatures and covered Full Nelson, Black Snake, and Practice Slope with nice caulky snow. It was easy to set an edge and the snow was skiing great! I ran into some friends who at lunch time had already skied Full Nelson four times in a row!

February 12th, 2012
I went to watch the torchlight parade and fireworks last night. It was a little cool, but it was fun to watch the red glow work its way down Lower Morse Liftline. As they get closer you can tell if they are skiing or riding. Once they got to the bottom they made one long line and all put their flares out in the snow together. After the red glow disappeared the fireworks started. It was really neat to watch the different colors of light reflect off the snow. Thank you to the Griffin Group and everyone who made this special event take place!

February 11th, 2012
I was taking pictures in the Birch Run Terrain Park, when I saw Rick Witham raking and shoveling. He was putting the finishing touches on a jump that he just rebuilt with a snowcat. He then caulked the jump to make it easier for the skiers and riders to see the take off. The caulk provides good contrast against the snow. The jump was now ready to be open. We watched a few skiers and riders hit the jump. Rick would then ask them what they thought about the take off and landing. I think it’s great the way Rick uses the feedback from the skiers and riders to make our parks that much better!

February 10th, 2012
Today was absolutely beautiful with lots of sun and no wind! For our first run my wife Harley and I headed up Madonna Mountain to take in all the wonderful views. We decided to ski Upper Chilcoot and had a blast carving some GS turns on the corduroy. We were warming up for the Harvey Wesson Memorial Race Series a.k.a. Local’s Race. We race on Fridays and the teams are made up of instructors, patrollers, snowmakers, rental shop employees, 3 Mountain Equipment employees, wait staff, bar tenders, local business owners, a snow reporter, and more! It’s great to get together each week and race for fun. Of course we all want to win, but you really want to beat the person who beat you last week!

February 9th, 2012
Rockin' Ron attempting a haiku - let's call it my-ku (if Hugh wrote one like this, it'd be Hugh-ku!):

snow reporter me
on sun-touched Smugglers' Notch slopes
love working Thursdays

February 7th, 2012
I was headed back to the Upper Parking Lot this afternoon and something caught my eye in the Zone Terrain Park. It was a new feature that I had not seen before. I just had to take a closer look! I could see that it had some painting on it. It’s a 12 foot propane tank with a shark painted on it! It looks great and I want to thank Bridget Chait, Mike Chait, and Rick Witham for making it possible!

February 5th, 2012
Today was another beautiful day here at Smuggs! My 6 year old son Hugh B participated in the 11th Annual Northern Vermont Snowshoe Race and Family Snowshoe Festival! He did the half kilometer race and had a great time! The adult race started after the kid race was finished, so we got to watch the start. We were very impressed how fast these athletes could run with snowshoes! There were also people who decided to walk in their snowshoes and take in the views of our winter wonderland. I want to thank Zeke and all his volunteers for making this event possible and fun for everyone from 3 years old to over 70 years old!

February 2nd, 2012
Rockin' writin'. Hugh and I have a joke - whenever I fill in for him, the trail count goes down. I thought today would fit that bill, but au contrair. Last night's clear & unformed snow (aka rain) in the Village was actually 2 inches of honest-to-goodness snow on Madonna and Sterling, and it was the kind of snow that bonded nicely on the trails. So, 73 of 78 trails were open today, and conditions were awesome!!! I also made a breakthrough in my technique thanks to 3 people: Bruce from took a picture of me on the race course that exposed flaws in my skiing form, he then showed me a picture of SSU instructor Brock, who has a much, much better form, and then it was all explained and demonstrated to me by none other than the regular author of this blog - Hugh Johnson. I took your advice Hugh and let my turning foot lead the other foot and voila... breakthrough time! OK, that's enough for one blog entry.


Hugh's Blog - January 2012
January 31st, 2012
Today was another great day at Smuggs! I skied today with some writers who had never been to Smuggs before. First we headed up the Madonna I lift and took a cruiser on Chilcoot. The writers enjoyed the nice long run and the great conditions. For our next run we decided to go to Sterling. We then skied Upper Rumrunner to Black Snake where I took them to the lookout behind the “Pine tree start building”. It was snowing pretty hard so the visibility was not great, but we were still able to make out some the different features in the notch. We headed up Sterling again for our next run. We skied Thomke’s where we found some powder on the side on the trail. I stopped and got some photos of them skiing and riding by the ice flow on Thomke’s.

January 28th, 2012
Today the American Cancer Society held its “Hope on the Slopes” event here at Smuggs. Individuals or teams have a good time skiing and riding, while raising money for a great cause. There are two categories that people could compete in, one was most money raised and the other was most vertical skied between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm today. I entered as an individual and had my sights set on Madonna. I set a goal of 20 runs on Madonna in the 6 hour time frame and I made it with only minutes to spare! I rode the Madonna I lift as a single and got to meet some very nice people who gave me words of encouragement and even a chocolate. I want to thank everyone who donated money and participated in the vertical challenge!

January 26th, 2012
Rockin' Ron byline on the Hugh blogline. I had a Sunshine soundtrack playin' in my head today (Good Day Sunshine, Here Comes Sunshine, Happier Than the Morning Sun, Sunshine on My Shoulders) whilst I was cruisin' down Upper FIS, Lower Doc's, and Link. I then approached the Lower Madonna Liftline Race Course and Smitty said I could take a run. Garry the FunMeister announced my time as 30.6 seconds, which is good for me, but less than stellar for the serious racers who do the same course in 22 seconds or less. Anyway - I had a sun shiny day on the slopes!

January 24th, 2012
Our snowmakers gave Rick Witham and crew a huge amount of snow to work with at the Zone Terrain Park. The hits look great and the landings are even better. The large amounts of snow allowed for nice long landing zones. There are 3 sets of jumps and some have 3 hits! The jumps are on skier’s/rider’s right and we plan to fill the skier’s/rider’s left with rails and boxes. The Zone Terrain Park will open very soon! I will keep you updated.

January 22nd, 2012
Today was a beautiful day with sunny skies and a high of 26 degrees. My son Hugh B and daughter Hannah had a great time in the Riglet Park this morning. They both love the rainbow box and the rollers! These are both wonderful tools for teaching balance on their boards. It’s great when the kids are just having fun and they don’t even realize how much they are learning!

January 21, 2012
There was a boardercross and skiercross on Lower FIS today. The features were pretty wild! There is woo tang near the start that was like a wall the skiers and riders had to get up and over. There is also banked turns, jumps, rollers, and oh yes gates! It is a combination of Terrain Park and racing gates! Strategy is the name of the game because if you fly too far off a jump it could be hard to make the next gate. It was interesting to see the different lines that the skiers and riders took through the course.

January 20, 2012
The forecast called for an inch of new snow last night and we received 4 to 6 inches! I like it when the weatherman is wrong in a good way! It was wonderful to glide through 6 inches of new snow on top of groomed snow! Upper FIS was groomed last night and it was my trail pick of the day.

January 19th, 2012
Rockin' RRRon rockin' it for Hugh. I got to take some turns with the phabulous Philly phamily of Barry, Anna, Haylee, and Jade. I've known them for years and we try to get a few runs together during their Winter week at Smuggs (during their most recent Summer week we went on the ArborTrek Zip Line Tour). As we approached the Waterfall trail, Barry started singing the song 'Waterfall' by Jimi Hendrix... yeah, man. I've never paid much attention to this trail, but today I feel like I discovered my Waterfall chi - my velocity and the rolling terrain contour felt totally smooth and natural, dude. Peace out - RRRon :D

January 17th, 2012
I was riding the Sterling Lift this morning when I noticed a rope on the ice flow near the big rock on Sterling Liftline. I saw someone standing near the bottom of the ice flow with some kind of gear. Once I got to the summit of Sterling I skied down Hangman’s Drop to Chute. I then hiked over to the bottom of the ice flow where I met Josh. Josh works for Peak Expeditions and they do Ice Climbing Experiences here at Smuggs! They also have an Avalanche Beacon Training Park here at Smuggs! For information about their different programs go to or call 802-644-8851.

January 16th, 2012
Today started off a little cold, but warmed up as the day went on. I caught up a with a friend of mine, Nils and his wife. We did a few runs on Sterling in the morning. We had fun on Upper Rumrunner and Black Snake. After enjoying some groomed terrain we decided to look for some powder stashes. The snow we found was not untouched, but we still found tons of powder to play in!

January 14th, 2012
We received 10 inches of new snow overnight and 14 inches in the past 2 days! The fresh snow was wonderful! I did not make it on the mountain until almost 9:30 am and I still found some fresh untracked snow. The temperature was a little cold, but that made the snow nice and light. I hope the wind blows the new snow around a little so that all the tracks get filled in for tomorrow!

January 12th, 2012
Rockin' Ron carrying the snowin', blowin', bloggin' banner for Hugh. Speakin' of Hugh, his pix from Jan. 9th - 11th (Ride Smuggs, Self Portrait, and Sunrise) are totally AWESOME! 5 inches of FRESH today, and it's still comin' down! Sometimes you wonder who is readin' yer writin'. Well, I ran into a guy today at the Base Lodge and he said he enjoys my blog posts. He reminded me that we rode the lift together last year and I name checked him. Sorry Darren, I only name check people once. Anywho, my best run of the day was warping down Lower F.I.S. (Lower Fizz, to those familiar). It was the kind of run where you catch a little more air than you expect, but it was exhilarating!! OK, gotta go, there's a driveway to shovel.

January 10th, 2012
This Saturday, January 14th is the Gravity Control Rail Jam. The event starts at 12:00 noon and will take place by the base of the Madonna II lift. Registration takes place in the Base Lodge from 10:00 am till 11:00 am. The twenty dollar entry fee allows you to compete for cash and prizes! I will see you there!

January 8th, 2012
We received 2 to 3 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours. We are presently making snow around the clock on Lower Chilcoot, Midway, and the Zone Terrain Park. Tonight’s forecast is calling for some good snowmaking temperatures also!

January 6th, 2012
Today Freefall was open from the top! I had to ski it this morning and this afternoon. I love to hug the trees on far skier’s left. The wind usually pushes the snow on to skier’s left, which is true for many of Smuggs trails! The natural snow that we have received in the past week or so has made a big difference in the conditions. Our snowmakers also have been making snow around the clock for days! Meadowlark is now open, so you can ski or ride back to the Village from the Upper Mountains.

January 5th, 2012
Rockin' Ron a-writin' for Hugh. From Parking Attendants to Housekeeping, there are many people and departments that contribute to the guest experience here at Smuggs. At this time, let's single out the SNOWMAKING crew for their herculean efforts. They've been making snow around the clock in cold and often adverse conditions. SNOWMAKING is headed up by Justin Thoelke and includes (in alphabetical order) Justin Allen, Shane Barnes, Dylan Boardman, Nate Burnor, Josh Connor, Donny Eaton, Julie Fredericks, David Gagne, Dan Gilbert, Tyler Hall, Kody Houle, Garrett Koval, Morgan Sasso, Justin Smith, Chris Trefft, Derrick Tomassi, Tim Tomassi, and Lee Warren. We THANK YOU for getting a bunch o' trails open!

January 4th, 2012
Today was a little cold to start off, but that was fantastic for snowmaking! Our snowmakers have been keeping the guns running around the clock on Morse and Madonna. I saw some nice snowmaking whales on Lower FIS today. We plan to make snow on Meadowlark, Midway, and Upper FIS tonight.

January 3rd, 2012
The forecast called for 2 inches of new snow and we got 4 to 8 inches in the past 24 hours! I took a run on Upper Chilcoot early this morning and the new snow on top of the groomed snow was wonderful! I also found some nice drifts to play in. This snow storm made our trail count jump up to 33 trails open! Many trails opened on Sterling today with only natural snow. Full Nelson and Upper Exhibition were a couple of my favorites today. Pssst don’t tell anyone because I'm going to ski again tomorrow.

January 2nd, 2012
We received 1 to 2 inches of new snow last night. I headed straight for the Madonna I lift this morning for a nice long cruise down Upper Chilcoot, Link, and Lower Liftline. I did not make it up to the top until about 10:00 am and I still found some fresh snow to play in on the side of the trail. My next run I took was on Sterling because I wanted to ski Thomke’s. On the lift ride up I could hear the sound of compressed air, which means snowmaking! The snowmakers were busy at work firing up guns on Smugglers’ Alley, Chute, Hangman’s Drop, Upper Pipeline, and Thomke’s Express. The forecasted temperatures for the next few days look great for snowmaking!

January 1st, 2012
Last night we received some strange weather with some freezing fog. The snow that was groomed was fine, but the untouched snow was a little slick. The temperature rose during the day and the snow softened up some. I had a great time skiing the snowmaking whales on Black Snake and Practice Slope. The forecast calls for snow tonight along with colder temperatures. We are expecting 3 to 6 inches of new snow by Tuesday night.


Hugh's Blog - December 2011
December 30th, 2011
Today was the Grand Opening of the Burton Riglet Park at Sir Henry’s Learning and Fun Park! A riglet is a retractable cord that attaches to the front of the snowboard, which allows the young rider to be pulled. The Burton Riglet Park has multiple features and a tree house, which is primarily for 3 to 5 year old children who are in a snowboard program of the Snow Sport University. My 3 year old daughter Hannah had never snowboarder before today and she had a blast! The Burton Riglet Park is an amazing teaching tool that allows these little riders to learn so much about snowboarding in a playground atmosphere! Instead of swings and seesaws there are rollers, fun boxes that are flush with the snow, a mini quarter pipe, and much more. Hannah did not want to leave the “snow party” and I can see why!

December, 29th
Rockin' Ron for Hugh. Sno, Sneau, Snoe... SNOW! No Matter how you spell it means HAPPINESS to riders & skiers everywhere :)))

December, 28th
We received some mixed precipitation last night along with everything else, but the temperature dropped this morning and we received 4 to 6 inches of new snow today. We have resumed snowmaking on Black Snake, Practice Slope, Birch Run, Lower Morse Liftline, and Garden Path. The wet snow we had this morning has bonded well with the new snow that we received today!

December 27th, 2011
I ran into a couple of good friends in the Upper Parking Lot this morning. We did not plan a meeting, it just worked out. We had a great time doing some long cruisers on Upper Chilcoot, Link, and Lower Lifline. We also had a bunch of fun playing on the snowmaking whales that were on Waterfall. I found some nice snow on far skier’s left on Waterfall and my friends found it right after I did!

December 26th, 2011
We received 4 to 6 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and we are still making snow around the clock. The Madonna I Lift opened today and I was on it early. The new snow on top of the groomed snow made for a wonderful run on Upper Chilcoot, Link, and Lower Liftline. The Morse Highlands Lift opened today also. I was over at the Morse Highlands area this afternoon and it is great to see this beginner area open!

December 25th, 2011
Happy Holidays! We have been making snow around the clock and we received 3 inches of new snow today! We plan to open the Madonna I lift and Morse Highlands Lift tomorrow Monday, December 26th! We now have 15 trails open and 5 lifts operating. We are presently making snow on Birch Run and we plan to open it soon. I want to thank our Smuggs employees working during the holidays!

December 23rd, 2011
We received 3 to 4 inches of new snow today! The temperature has been falling all day long. We made snow on Upper Chilcoot and Waterfall today and we are now making snow on Dixie’s Knoll and Sam’s Run! We have some great snowmaking temperatures forecasted for the next couple of days and we will take advantage of it! The new snow was nice to ski in this morning. I was really enjoying how quiet it is when you ski in new snow!

December 22nd, 2011
Rockin' Ronald on the blogatorium for Mr. Hugh Johnson. I saw the Madonna I lift turnin' today - the Mtn Crew was preppin' her for Monday's opening. As for skiing, I took my first run of the season on Madonna Mtn - up on the M2 Lift, then Link to Lower Liftline. Yeah! I really enjoyed the fresh air and gettin' a workout for my legs. As Hugh says "it's all about days on the hill". However, I would be fibbin' if I said these were the greatest runs of my life. To paraphrase an old golf adage "The worst day of skiing is better than the best day in the office".

December 21st, 2011
Today is the last day of the Fall season and I am ready for Winter. The forecast for tomorrow night calls for snowmaking temperatures and we plan to do just that! Snowmaking temperatures are forecasted right through the weekend. We made snow on Upper Chilcoot last night and we will resume once the temperatures drop again. The forecast also calls for a little snow on Thursday night and a period of snow on Saturday. I hope the seasonal alarm clock goes off when it becomes Winter tonight and wakes up Old Man Winter, Mother Nature, and Jack Frost! We welcome winter!!!!!

December 20th, 2011
Today’s temperatures were colder than predicted, which is just fine by me. We are presently making snow on Upper Chilcoot and plan to have the Madonna I Lift operating on Saturday, December 24th, 2011! We also plan to open Birch Run Terrain Park on Saturday, December 24th.

December 19th, 2011
Today we opened the Madonna II lift and Mogul Mouse’s Magic Lift to mid-station. That allowed us to open Lower Madonna Liftline, Link, and Lower Morse Liftline! I skied Link and Lower Madonna Liftline this morning. I saw one of our snowmakers out taking a run on his snowboard and it was great to see him enjoying the fruit of his labor! He made snow last night and was riding on it this morning. I took a couple of runs with my son after school on Lower Morse Liftline and we had a blast!

December 18th, 2011
Today was clear and cold. The temperature was zero this morning, which is great for snowmaking. Our snow guns have been running around the clock for days! The snowmaking whales will get groomed out tonight. Tomorrow we plan to have some terrain open on all 3 mountains! Thank you once again to our snowmakers and groomers for providing us with more terrain enjoy!

December 17th, 2011
What a difference a day makes! We received 3 to 4 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and we have been making snow around the clock on Morse Mountain and Madonna Mountain. We plan to have Lower Morse Liftline, Link, and Lower Madonna Liftline open this Monday, December 19th! The new snow was so much fun to play in. I found myself slowing down and looking for powder turns anywhere I could.

December 16th, 2011
The day started with some pretty crazy weather. We had warm base temperatures and strong winds at the summit. That system blew through and the temperature started dropping. Our snowmakers took advantage of the colder temperatures by making snow on Link and Lower Madonna Liftline this afternoon. The forecast calls for great snowmaking temperatures this weekend and we plan to make the most of it, literally! Tonight we continue snowmaking on Madonna along with Lower Morse Liftline and Crossover.

December 15th, 2011
Rockin' Ron Carter bustin' a blog for "he's an unbelievably great skier, but he's only "Hugh-man" Johnson. It's raining right now, but SNOW and SNOWMAKING temps are in the forecast for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and we're fighting back with Smuggs wit and work. Reflecting on the unseasonably warm temps, Donna Safford from 3 Mountain Outfitters (our sport shop) has the quote of the day: "Mother Nature is off her meds." To meet the demand of those jonesin' to jib, Terrain Park manager Rick Witham has put up 2 Fun Boxes and a Rail. And (I know you're not supposed to start a sentence with 'and', but it's the Pirate in me) to offer continued encouragement to Discovery and Adventure Camp kids, I'll be hosting the Cookie Race as Rockin' Ron the Friendly Pirate - Give Me an RRR, and a boatload of SNOW!

December 13th, 2011
I went skiing this morning with a friend and it was his first day of the season. I say first day but, he has been skiing for almost fifty years! It did not take long for him to get back in the groove. He was skiing and feeling better with every run. Lower Rumrunner opened today; we did a few runs on it and had a blast. I love carving GS turns on Lower Rumrunner! I want to thank our snowmakers and groomers once again for making it possible to open more terrain!

December 12th, 2011
Sir Henry’s Learning and Fun Park opened today with a Wonder carpet operating! Once again thank you to our snowmakers for another job well done. It is great to see beginner terrain open; I know my daughter Hannah is very happy about it! She is so excited to ski with her ski school friends.

December 11th, 2011
Today was a beautiful sunny day with nice cold temperatures! We have been making snow around the clock on Sterling and Morse. The snowmakers did a great job on Smugglers’ Alley and it is now open! It is wonderful to have some expert terrain open. It was also great to see Rick Witham setting up a Fun box on Lower Exhibition. I saw both skiers and riders having a blast on the Fun box! Thank you to our Snowmakers and Rick for their efforts! Oh, I almost forgot that we plan to open Sir Henry's Learning and Fun Park tomorrow with the Wonder Carpet operating!

December 10th, 2011
I want to thank our snowmakers for their hard work on Smugglers’ Alley! The Alley will open tomorrow Sunday, Dec. 11th and I am looking forward to it! We now have expert terrain open and we plan to have some beginner terrain open soon! We made snow on Sir Henry’s last night and today. We plan to continue snowmaking on Sir Henry’s tonight also!

Dec. 9th, 2011
We have been experiencing some colder temperatures lately and I love it! We have been making snow around the clock! We are presently making snow on Smugglers’ Alley, Thomke’s Express, and Lower Rumrunner! Tonight we plan to also make snow on Sir Henry’s Learning and Fun Park.

December 8th, 2011
For Hugh, it's Rockin' Ron (aka Snow Reporter Jr.) bloggin' 4 real. Today was my first day of thee season on thee Mountain. I was stressin' with the day 2 day until I put on my skis, hopped on the Sterling Lift, floated through the Vermont sunshine, and cruised down the bread & butter (Upper 'runner, Crossover, Treasure, and Lower Ex). OK, it was a little firm, but I was easily able to carve. It was just what the PhD ordered! Actually it was Tommy from Ski & Ride who said I'd be remiss in my duties if I didn't get out there and sample the product. Thanks Tommy!

December 5th, 2011
I had a great time out on the mountain today! I did some non-stop runs to build up the “ski legs.” I did some hiking this Fall to get in shape for the season, but nothing gets you ready like actually making turns! I could feel my thighs working hard as I was arcing out some big GS turns!

December 4th, 2011
Today is the Opening Day of the 2011 – 2012 Winter Season! I want to thank our snowmakers for all their hard work. They have been doing all they can to get us open as soon as possible! It was great to see so many familiar faces this morning at the base area of Sterling. It was like a Smuggs family reunion. Many people I have not seen since April, but it feels like just yesterday! It was fun to catch up with everyone while we anxiously waited for the lift to run. It was a beautiful ride up the Sterling Lift with the early morning light shining into the notch. I usually hang out at the summit for a while when I hike up the mountain, but today I rode the lift and I could not wait to carve up some turns!

December 1st, 2011
We are presently making snow top to bottom on Sterling. We will continue making snow until the day time temperatures get too high. Our snowmakers are taking advantage of every opportunity that Mother Nature gives us. The projected opening day is Sunday, December 4th! I'm looking forward to another great season!

Hugh's Blog - Fall 2011
November 23rd, 2011
Mother Nature is taking her time switching to winter. Our snowmakers have made the best of the few cold nights and daytime periods that allowed efficient snowmaking. Despite the snowmaker’s best efforts and today’s natural snowfall, the coverage at the base area is not at a level that would provide a quality experience for our customers. The warm base temperatures have made it challenging for snowmaking. The forecast calls for warm temperatures in the days ahead, which will affect the natural snowfall and the product of snowmaking thus far. We now plan to open on Fri. Dec. 2nd, allowing more time for snowmaking operations to continue their work to ensure a great experience for skiers and riders at Smuggs. The long range forecast calls for seasonal temperatures in early December. Last season started like this and we ended up with a season snowfall total of 341 inches!

November 21st, 2011
Today is my first day back at Smuggs and I am looking forward to another great season! On my way up the mountain road this morning I could see snowmaking top to bottom on Sterling. It was great to see snowmaking at the base of Sterling, because it’s usually warmer at the bottom than the top. We had to shut down some snow guns at the base once the temperature rose, but we were able to continue snowmaking at the top of Sterling throughout the day. I went for a hike on Sterling this afternoon with Steve Wry our Director of Skiing Services. We checked out the snowmaking on Upper Rumrunner, Crossover, and Treasure Run. Steve told me about the work that the brush crew did this Summer and Fall. Robin’s Run was cleaned up and they put 80 hay bales down in the rough areas to help hold snow.

November 18th, 2011
A couple of ammendments to yesterday's blogage from yer scribbler Rockin' Ron. First of all, we did get a dusting o' natch snow overnight. Second, Kiri Moore (formerly Mtn Ops now Safety Director) let me know they were making snow on Thomke's Express in addition to the trails I mentioned. Third, I'm pretty sure I saw a white plume rising from the Crossover trail this morning. Fourth, Danielle Landry at the Guest Service Desk informs me that the Snow God is named Ullr. So kick up yer heels in a SNOW DANCE and let it SNOW!

November 17th, 2011
I saw it with mine own eyes as I drove up the Mountain Road - Justin and the Snowmaking Crew are busy blowin' snow right NOW on Upper Rumrunner and the Alley. But we still need the cold temps and some natch, so, Rockin' Ron says "put on yer dancin' shoes - that would be Snow Dancin' shoes - we need to let Mother Nature know we're ready for SNOW!" Put on your ski and snowboard boots too and walk around the house, so yer ready to hit the slopes from Jump Street. Fer fans o' Hugh, he's back in the Snow Report saddle full-time on Monday!

November 9th, 2011
It's yer faithful fill-in Rockin' Ron, for my man Hugh. I spoke to Justin - head of Snowmaking, and he informs me that most of the compressors are here with the remainder arriving later this week. They plan to make snow up top on Sterling on Monday night, November 14th. He also tells me that snowmaking guns are set up on the "bread & butter" trails (Upper Rumrunner, Crossover, Treasure Run, and Lower Exhibition) as well as Smugglers' Alley, and Thomke's Express. We're counting the days until our anticipated Opening Day of Friday, November 25th

November 7th, 2011
Rockin' Ron on the Snow Report beat for Hugh. I was talking to Stacey Turkos at the Guest Service Desk and she is ALWAYS thinking about skiing. I asked her what exactly she was ruminating on. She said "Smugglers' Alley when its been groomed, then hitting Lower Rumrunner (aka the Meadows), or maybe Poachers Woods, YEAH, that's it!". I was also chatting with Rick Rock and he exclaimed "I'm ready to hit any of the glades on Madonna." And, yours truly... Shack to Shack!!! Anticipated Opening Day is Friday, November 25th.

October 31st, 2011
Rockin' Ron rockin' it for Hugh. Happy Halloween - I think I'll go dressed as a... skier! The Northeast got pummeled with an early and historic snowstorm, which bodes well for an excellent Winter. Mtn. Ops. and the Snowmaking Crew are getting ready to rumble. All this just gets us riders and skiers Jones-in' for Opening Day (Fri, Nov 25th)!! Get your Season Pass or Bash Badge TODAY (and I mean today) 'cause prices go up tomorrow. See U on da slopes.

October 2nd, 2011
Rockin' Ron the Friendly Pirate here for Hugh. Bridget from No School Snowboard tells me that there was snow on the mountain yesterday. Yee-HA!!! I didn't see it 'cause I was miles away golfin' (f-y-aye, I have a nasty hook shot) with Paul Macalla from Griffin Hospital-Connecticut. Paul brings a gi-normous ski group to Smuggs every year. So, whilst we were freezing our hands in 40 degree rain on the links, the white stuff was fallin' on the top of Madonna Mountain. For us die-hard snow sport enthusiasts I'll quote The Beatles... "It Won't Be Long"!

September 28th, 2011
What's happening on the mountain? Get the scoop from Kiri of Mountain Operations:

We're almost at peak foliage up on the mountain, and there are rumors of SNOW for the higher elevations this weekend. Woo-hoo!! The brush crew has been hard at work, clearing the trails on Sterling and Madonna this fall, and a few of them have been working in some of the gladed terrain as well, notably Norwegian Woods, the Shire, and Knight's Revenge. Those are all low-angle woods trails on Madonna that are perfect for advanced intermediates looking to try to some glades. From my hike the other day, I must tell all of you what a GREAT job the brush crew has done with some of my favorites - Full Nelson, Harvey's and Pipeline. They've also been up on FIS and Freefall too. Oh yeah, and the foliage was pretty nice too. :)

Now is the best time for some hiking up in the mountains (or pre-season training as I like to think of it), so come up and experience the beauty of the autumn yourself, hiking, driving through the Notch, and checking out our Discover Food and Wine event on October 8th. Looking ahead, snowmaking is to start around November 15, weather permitting, with lift operations opening for skiing on Sterling on November 25.

We've seen some beautiful blue skies this week. Hope to see you up in the hills!

September 15, 2011
Mike from Snow Sport University here. Temperatures are expected to drop into the 30s and 20s in some places on Thursday and I don't know about you, but that makes me giddy. Speaking of giddy, have you heard about the exciting new project we are teaming up with Burton Snowboards to bring to you this season? It's called the Riglet Park, and Snow Sport University has designed it to introduce our 3-5 year olds to standing sideways in a fun and productive way. Using small terrain features made of snow in a flat skatepark-esque area, as well as a few miniature rails and boxes, kids ages 3-5 participating in Snow Sport University programming can feel how fun and easy it is to ride a snowboard! To top it all off, we will even have a TREEHOUSE that the kids can take a break in for some balance board training, or just some plain old pirate scouting. The park is named after Burton's Riglet Reel, a device that mounts directly onto our Burton Learn To Ride rental equipment which allows for a retractable cord and handle to extend from the nose of the board. Coaches pull the kiddos up, down, and around the various features in the park without the children feeling intimidated or scared by sliding downhill.

Debating over whether or not to start out your little one on a snowboard? Debate no more! We have programming for everyone from our local Mini Mites program to our daily Discovery Dynamos. Visit our children's ski and ride instruction page to see how you can get your little ones involved!

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