Sterling Mountain seen from the summit of Madonna Mountain
Our snowmakers and groomers did a great job on Lower Chilcoot and it is now open. Ruthie’s was groomed this morning and it is open with natural snow coverage. We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with 5 lifts operating and 58 trails open. We have terrain open for all ability levels. Currently it is 20 degrees at the summit of Sterling with flurries and winds of 0 to 5 mph. Today’s forecast is calling for cloudy skies and periods of snow 1 to 3 inches of accumulation possible with temperatures between 23 and 30 degrees. We could see up to 7 inches of new snow by Wednesday night. We are presently making snow on Sam’s Run, Dixie’s Knoll, and the base area of Morse Mountain.
Ski Patroller Mackenzie enjoying the great conditions on Dan’s Ford
Patroller John doing trail check on Smugglers’ Alley
It was raining this morning at my house, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that we received 2 inches of new snow on top overnight. I skied Smugglers’ Alley for my first run of the day and it was fantastic. It was groomed smooth with the 2 inches of new snow on top. The bottom half of the mountain was soft spring-like conditions. The heavy new snow bonded with the existing snow and that allowed us to open a couple more trails today. Hangman’s Drop and Highlander Glades opened for the first time this season. We also plan to open more terrain tomorrow. The Birch Run Terrain Park will be open with 4 rails, a roller, and a jump. Lower Rumrunner will also open for the first time this season tomorrow. We are presently making snow on Chilcoot from the S turn down to Waterfall.
Eric on Hangman’s Drop
We also plan to make snow on the Practice Slope tonight. Tomorrow we plan to have the Sterling Lift and Sir Henry’s Wonder Carpet open with 21 trails open. 8 out of the 21 trails will be groomed for tomorrow, including Smugglers’ Alley for a grand total of 26 acres of freshly groomed terrain. Tomorrow’s forecast is calling for partly sunny skies early increasing clouds later in the day with temperatures between 27 and 38 degrees.
Eric having fun in the Highlands Glades
Moguls on Steriods?
Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. Today was a beauty! The sun was out for the duration. Riding up the Village Lift, I had to do a double-take. Where did those moguls on steroids come from, I wondered. They weren’t moguls but snowmaking whales. Despite nearly 2 feet of snow in the past week, our snowmakers are still busy making the white gold. Speaking of moguls, Mogul Mouse’s BFF Billy Bob Bear has been working out at the gym. So, I want to deny the rumors that Billy Bob is on bear-roids.
No other Mother like Madonna
Cruising to the upper mountains on the Midway trail, I stopped to get what I think is an “artsy” shot of Madonna Mountain as viewed looking over a pile of snow near one of the snowmaking reservoirs (known in the summer as Rumrunners’ Hideaway). On the ride up the Madonna I Lift, I marveled at Patrol and others negotiating Upper Liftline.
Blue Sky Liftline
I enjoyed a sunshine-guided run on Drifter and sailed on more snowmaking whales – this time on Lower FIS. My last run of the day I took in all 2,610 feet of Smuggs vertical: Upper Chilcoot > Link > Waterfall > Ruthie’s > Midway > Curley’s > Meadowlark. At 3 miles long, I believe this is the longest run on the mountain. Can anyone other than Hugh or Steve Wry confirm that? If you can – respond to this blog post in the comment section below.
Spring is in the air and so is Pat! Upper Chilcoot has to be my favorite cruiser run. I love how it starts on the back side of Madonna Mountain and works its way back to the front. You get beautiful views of the Presidential Range in New Hampshire from the top. I also like coming through the S turn and then getting the view towards Lake Champlain. We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating and 77 out of 78 trails open.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day here in Northern Vermont! The close to Spring Equinox Sun shined brightly across the upper spine of the Green Mountains, as the early sub-zero temperatures moderated to a quite comfortable level. I personally have been skiing my tail off lately, so I thought I might take it easy and enjoy a few cruisers. I grabbed a brand new pair of 4FRNT skis, and headed up Madonna to carve some corduroy. My first run was down Chilcoot, which has a great variety of turns, bends, dips and rolls. Combine that with a little speed and fresh skis, and you’re sure to have a fun time and warm your legs up as well. My next run was down Drifter, another long cruiser off of Madonna, with equally as much character as Chilcoot.
I nabbed the first picture below from the top of Shuttle, which is accessed off of Drifter and connects you back to Sterling. You can see the top of Mt. Mansfield AKA “The Chin” in the background, this is the highest point in the state of Vermont at 4,393′. In the foreground you can see a zone known as “The Highway” which is part of the 1000 skiable acres here at Smugglers’. Make sure if you are planning on skiing or riding anywhere off trail that you play it safe, know where you are going, and don’t ride alone. If you are interested in learning more about side-country skiing and riding, perhaps look into a private lesson/guide, which is booked at the Ski and Ride desk by the hour for up to 6 hours.
I headed over to Sterling from there via Shuttle, and headed up the mountain to ski Black Snake to Practice Slope, so I could do my locals race runs. There was a lot going on in this part of the mountain. There were two slalom courses set for training, the locals race Giant Slalom, the machine made bump lines, and the two big jumps in The Zone. I ended up taking a couple laps on the T-Bar so I could try each of these things. It was a pretty cool sight watching everyone practicing in their own way so I grabbed the second picture to try to show everything that was going on.
Tomorrow look for sunny skies, temperatures moderating even more, and probably many folks enjoying the sun in the upper lot! There will be skiing and riding on our three mountains and all 8 lifts will be operating.
“The Chin” over “The Highway”
The practicing place
Madonna Mountain Trails, L to R: Doc Dempsey’s (a small section is visible), Upper FIS, Freefall (with a clump of trees in the middle), and Upper Liftline (featuring the headwall where the Extreme Challenge takes place on March 8th).
Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. Of course I love all the great skiing that Smuggs has to offer, and it has been extremely GREAT lately! I also enjoy the social aspect of our friendly mountain. I ran into SSU legend Sherm White in Green Peppers and he said he was looking forward to reading the Blog. I shared a joke with Fletch and Doug who were holding court in the Black Bear with regulars and irregulars including Larry & Michele from Long Island, Tom & June from New Jersey, and Jean from Vermont (famous for her Maple Cotton Candy). I got to say hi to Steve Wry of Mountain Ops. He told me that Matt McCawley, also filling in for Hugh this week, was in the first group of Mitey Mites kids along with his daughter. I exchanged greetings with Sara, as she was cheerily checking tickets at the Madonna I Lift. My run of the day was the classic Chillycoot > Catwalk > Fizz > Lower Doc’s > Ruthie’s > Curley’s > Meadowlark. This ‘run’ is 2,610 feet of vertical and 3 miles of unadulterated joy and I dedicated it to recently departed friend and former Smuggs co-worker Bruce Tetrault.
I started the day with the Cat Trax Express on the Upper Mountain Fresh Tracks tour. The temperature was mild and the wind was light. There was some nice soft morning light on Upper Chilcoot as we skied the fresh corduroy. I stopped many times to take in the wonderful views. Today we opened the Prohibition and Zone Terrain Parks. I had a blast watching the skiers and riders hitting the big jumps. We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating. We have 77 out of 78 trails open with terrain for all ability levels. 174 acres of freshly groomed terrain for Sunday. The forecast calls for 2 inches on new snow tonight.
I started the day off with the Fresh Trax Cat Trax Express. We left the Base Lodge at 7 am this morning and headed up Madonna Mountain. The air was cold and the sky was clear. It was wonderful to watch the sun rise over the presidential range in New Hampshire. After taking in the amazing sights and snapping a few photos it was time to ski and ride. The corduroy on Chilcoot was just fantastic. Later in the day I go to ski with my good friends the Rule Family. We had a great time on Upper FIS, Doc Dempsey’s, Bootlegger, Treasure, and the Birch Run Terrain Park. I think everyone’s favorite part of the day was finding powder stashes in the glades. Pictured here is Ken finding some of that fluffy stuff! We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating. We have 69 trails open with terrain for all ability levels. Tonight we plan to groom 33 trails for a grand total of 165 acres of freshly groomed terrain. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for snow and mix to develop in the afternoon and we could see up to 9 inches of new snow by Monday night.
Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. “If there’s a fork in the trail… TAKE IT!” so says Fletch, the eminent Philosopher and Black Bear Bartender. I took a run on Upper Chillycoot with the Socrates of the Slopes and the Tuesday Crew of Brett, Peter, and Dale & Darcy.
Two other pearls of wisdom from Fletch: “there are no bad conditions, just bad gear” and “getting excited about a snowstorm is like getting excited about a pay raise – you could be disappointed if it’s not as big as you thought it was going to be”.
I’m going to throw caution to the wind, and get excited about the 4 inches of new snow we could get by Wednesday night, and by the primo snowmaking conditions that are in the forecast for the rest of the week – both of which should lead to more trails opening. That’s the fork in the trail I’m taking. OK… I’m done for now, but don’t stick a fork in me… that would hurt.
Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. 23 inches of snow in the past week and another 3 to 6 inches of snow by Thursday morning is in the forecast! The mountain is in great shape going into the Holidays. Today’s combination of fog and early winter/late afternoon light had me singin’ Foggy Mountain Breakdown. In fact, a mogul snuck up on me as I rounded the hairpin turn on Upper Chilcoot. You know that “woo” feeling, when your stomach stays in the air a little longer than the rest of your body. Later, I talked to a guest who said he very much enjoyed his first day of skiing the East in 48 years, and his first day ever of skiing at Smuggs! In related news our Nordic Center is open with 12km of trails. We’re all covered in SNOW!