Local’s race series

darren raceThe best part of the Local’s race series is the comradery. You might not win the race, but you want to beat your friend. You know the one who always finishes right ahead of you. Today that friend beat me by more than I would like. Pictured here is my good friend Darrin. He even looks like he is moving in a still photo. This weekend we have many events like the Molly Rail Jam in the Zone Terrain Park starting at 2 pm on Saturday. Also on Saturday we have Boston’s Sports Hub Radio 98.5 in the Black Bear from 2 pm till 4 pm with music, games, and prizes, including a pair of tickets to see the Boston Celtics! We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating. 38 trails will be groomed for Saturday, including skier’s right on Upper FIS, Smugglers’ Alley, Chute, Harvey’s, Snow Snake, and Evaporator for a grand total of 181 acres. We are also expecting up to 5 inches of new snow by Sunday night.


The Zone Terrain Park


zoneToday was a beautiful blue bird day. It started off a little cool, but it did not take long for the sun to work its magic. I was out on my snowboard with a hard setup. The groomed snow was perfect for carving some nice turns. I could really trust the snow and just lay it out. It was a great day to be out on the mountain enjoying the sunshine and great conditions. The weather this weekend looks fantastic with temperatures in the 20’s and we are expecting 2 inches of new snow on Saturday night. 31 trails will be groomed for tomorrow including skier’s right on Upper FIS, Snow Snake, and Thomke’s Express for a grand total of 164 acres. We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 78 trails and all 8 lifts operating.


The Mitey Mites


“The Knuckleheads”


View of Smuggs at 6AM this morning

Today I got to spend the 6th Sunday this season with my Mitey Mites group, known as “The Knuckleheads.” This group of chargers has been so much fun to ski with, we might not be pretty, but we can make it down anything. I have taken a unique approach with this group, instead of bombarding them with drills to perfect turns, I have been pushing mountain awareness. (note: I do teach skills too) The goal with this is to develop all of these local kids into lifelong skiers, who have a passion for the sport, and can conduct themselves in an appropriate manner on the hill. We have looked into such topics as weather, equipment, conditions, safety, and group or team camaraderie. I have enforced these ideals through homework assignments like knowing the weather, equipment upkeep, knowing the responsibility code, and watching ski videos. For a final project I am having each student lead the group down the entire mountain for 1 run, and in doing so they will have to make an appropriate trail choice, manage the group, and know where they are going. This might not sound like the toughest task, but for a child to be responsible for 8 others at one time, really will be nothing short of a miracle, but I have faith. I’m really excited for our last two weeks, to see where these “knuckleheads” drag me. To the right you can see six of the members of our group at the top of F.I.S.  Normally there are three more, but because of the school break we have a few members on vacation, to places such as Colorado, California, and British Columbia.

I also grabbed this picture on my way to the mountain to do the morning report. Pink sky in the morning, skiers and riders aren’t taking warning, we are getting our gear ready because snow is in the forecast!

Tomorrow look for 77 trails to be open, accessed by 6 lifts. Snow should be falling out of the sky with accumulations adding up to around 5″. Temps again should be in the 20s, but probably will be dropping during the day. 36 trails will be groomed, or around 175 acres total.

-Matt McCawley


Mountains of Adventure, Mountains of FUN


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.


USASA Northern Slopestyle Event

The Upper Mountain Fresh Tracks tour this morning was just beautiful. There was a little cloud cover to the east which allowed the soft morning light and color to last a little longer. I enjoyed the snow filled bumps on the skier’s left side of Upper FIS. We also found some nice powder on one of the work roads from FIS to Goat path.  I headed to the Birch Run Terrain Park next for the Slopestyle event. I had a great time watching these skiers and riders show off their skills. The Park was in great shape and had a nice flow. One of my favorite features is the rainbow rail pictured here.  I think it looks real cool and it seems to ride so smooth.  I want to thank everyone who helped make this wonderful event possible. 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 for tomorrow, including Drifter and Snow Snake for a grand total of 168 acres. We received 2 inches of new snow this afternoon and we are expecting another 6 inches tonight.  Tomorrow is going to be a great day with fresh snow and temperatures in the 20’s.tony race

snowboard with flagrainbow


Great conditions and the FamilyFun Magazine Winter Carnival

We received 6 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and 11 inches in the past week.  My first run of the day was Upper FIS and the skier’s right side was groomed again last night.  The super light powder on top of the groomed snow was just amazing. My skis were riding on the smooth consistent groomed snow while the fluffy fresh snow floated and flew around my ski boots.  At one point I threw my ski sideways just for fun so the snow would fly over my head. I was taking a run on Snow Snake this afternoon and I ran into Long Island Rick and his wife Elizabeth.  It was nice to see these members of the Smuggs Family out enjoying wonderful conditions.  The icing on the cake was the FamilyFun Magazine Winter Carnival. A great festive event with games, music, outdoor barbecue, a bonfire, ice carving, face painting, and giveaways. 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. The forecast is calling for another 6 inches of new snow by noon tomorrow.  There is even more snow in the forecast for this weekend.  This Saturday, February 21 there will be a slopestyle event in the Birch Run Terrain Park.


billy bob bear hockeyjeff patrol


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


Essex High School Carnival Race

We received another 5 to 7 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and 32 inches in the past week. The forecast is calling for another 15 inches of new snow by Monday night.   The Upper Mountain Fresh Tracks Tour this morning was just wonderful.  We enjoyed the light powder filled moguls on Upper FIS. Dan’s Ford was also really fun with smaller powder covered bumps.  Lower Chilcoot was groomed early last night and had about 5 inches of super fluffy stuff on top.  Everyone starting making GS turns so that we could get up to speed and float through the champagne powder.  One of the quotes that I can repeat was “Best snow I have ever rode in my life!”  I headed to Lower FIS this afternoon to check out the slalom race.  It was exciting to watch these racers cross blocking the gates to get a faster line.  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. 168 acres of freshly groomed terrain for Sunday. All 6 Terrain Parks are open and groomed daily.
essex race 1 essex race 2


Ride the Plank

Shelly on Pirates Plank

Shelly riding her plank on Pirate’s Plank

Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. What do a Pirate, a Poacher, a Knight, and a Doctor have in common? They all have glades named after them at Smuggs, and they were all enjoyed today by myself and my friend and co-worker Shelly from Treasures Child Care.

We also enjoyed runs on Upper FIS, Drifter, and Pipeline.There was POWDER everywhere! It’s not a long run, but we floated down Dan’s Ford on SWEET marshmellow-like snow! We were never cold and we were sure the thermometer was lying. Shelly’s husband Brian said not to miss these great conditions, and he was right. I’m glad we were able to poach a few hours and pillage some fun! All I have left to say is “Good Knight Pirates”.



2 boarder airThe Smugglers’ Notch Ski and Snowboard Club is hosting the Northern Vermont Series Skier and Snowboarder Cross on Lower FIS this weekend. We received 14 inches of new snow in the past 2 days and 22 inches in the past week. The base depths are deep and the snow is soft! We have top to bottom skiing and riding on all 3 mountains with all 8 lifts operating. 31 trails will be groomed for tomorrow for a grand total of 155 acres.