The snow forecast was a bust with barely an inch of fresh. But the forecast wasn’t for much more and I hadn’t planned on a powder day. Word on the ‘net was that Smuggs was solid packed powder despite not much new snow during the last two weeks. So I did as I do when the snow is packed and the powder has long since been tracked: I go exploring.
Jay has taught me to always keep my expectations in check. High expectations can lead to disappointment even when conditions are better than average. And some of my fondest days are those that I expected less than stellar conditions.
But today I got exactly what I was expecting, yet another six inch powder day. A base that never seems to fully consolidate off piste. Never ending packed powder with frequent but never substantial reloads. Without the highs and the lows, we just experience a dull constant. A few inches here, a few inches there. It is nice but never epic.
This is the season of the ho-hum powder day.
With a voucher valid on President’s Day weekend and potential day old powder in the woods, I couldn’t resist giving Middlebury Snow Bowl another try. My first and only previous day at Middlebury was also a President’s Day weekend crowd dodger, but with abysmal conditions preventing me from skiing the trees. I’ve since heard rumors of incredible off map glades. With potential day old untracked lingering in the woods during a holiday weekend, Middlebury seemed like the perfect plan. Would rumors of Middlebury’s woods live up to the hype? Read on…
Yesterday’s mellow powder at Bolton gave way to today’s aggro powder at Mad River. Bolton crams insanely good terrain into short little packages. Whereas Mad River Glen kicks your ass all the way down the mountain. And that is just the way I like it.
An extra inch or two fell during the previous night bringing the storm total up to over a foot in the past two days. And more snow continued to fall throughout the day. While Mad River Glen is reporting four feet of snow in the past week, the season total is only listed at 101-151″ which suggests that the base isn’t quite perfect yet in areas that can get skied off.
That caveat said, the conditions were spectacular packed powder almost everywhere and untracked powder (cumulative storm total plus blow in) was easy to find in the woods. The Single Liftline was skiable top to bottom with all drops such as Tower 5 open (an extreme rarity).
Today was my first day of the season essentially skiing from open to close and I went for it. After two “warm up runs” (Ha!), I met up with some friends and we tackled some of Mad River’s best and toughest tree lines. Careful route finding yielded many shots of barely tracked and untracked powder. The skiing was absolutely phenomenal and today was easily my best day of skiing this season, just barely edging out the three day Cannon Trifecta during Thanksgiving Weekend.
The plan for today didn’t call for Bolton Valley. But I woke up to unexpected reports of more than half a foot of fresh across the Spine of the Greens. I expected one to three inches and I had planned to burn a free voucher at nearby Gunstock after a late start. You know, just to get out there a bit while awaiting the big snow totals later this weekend. The reports this morning had me scrambling for a plan B.
So, much like my last trip there, I got a late start and drove like hell for 7-9″ at Bolton Valley. Unlike my last trip there, I knew the lay of the land and felt much more confident in my decisions on how to work the mountain. I missed first chair by only half an hour so I took a lap off the Vista Quad in Cobras Woods and made my way towards the soon to open Timberline Quad.