After much debate regarding skiing plans for the final weekend of April, I decided on taking advantage of Sugarbush’s $10.00 lift ticket Saturday afternoon. Due to an over night freeze, I decided Tuckerman Ravine could wait until Sunday and one final day of lift serviced skiing for the season would be preferable to hiking for turns at Jay Peak. My decision was sound and resulted in a fantastic afternoon of skiing under a bright warm sun and Blue Bird skies.
Due to the overnight freeze, I slept in and took my time getting ready. Temperatures were still a bit brisk when I packed up the car around 8 A.M., but forecasts called for temperatures to soar into the fifties during the afternoon hours so I worried not. I made a quick detour and stopped by work to pick up my camera before making the drive down Route 2 and Route 100B to Sugarbush.
One would think people would come out in droves for $10.00 skiing on a perfect Blue Bird afternoon. But pulling into the parking lot at Mount Ellen, one would be sorely mistaken in believing many people thought skiing in April is a worth while endeavor. Their lose is my ski on lift.
Uploading was done with skis on, thanks to a short ribbon of snow, via the Green Mountain Express. There was a complete absence of snow under the GMX prior to reaching the Glen House and the Summit Quad. Even more impressive was the absence of many skiers at 10 A.M. as I skied onto the Summit Quad without a wait.
From the Summit, a few options were available including Rim Run, Panorama, and F.I.S. Both Rim Run and Panorama skied well when I first arrived but slowly deteriorated due to skier traffic after noon time. Grass and brush were rearing their ugly heads by my last run at 2 P.M. F.I.S. was sporting big wall to wall bumps and ample coverage. Downhill sides of the bumps were slow to warm up but started corning shortly after noon time. The troughs were deep in places but decent lines could occasionally be found, generally along the edges of the trail. Looking Good to Lower F.I.S. was a piss poor reward for conquering the bumps on F.I.S. The run out sported the worst coverage on the upper mountain and ended in a slushy slog back to the chairlift. Elbow was sporting some decent snow which started to get mashed up later in the afternoon.
After a solid ten runs, I heard that a BBQ at the Glen House consisted of a fantastic meal for only $6.00. Despite bringing a bag lunch (left it at the bottom any ways), I could not resist the smell of hamburgers on an open deck with quality Reggae music playing (we are not talking about over played Bob Marley here, we are talking quality jams). The meal consisted of a big burger cooked to order, a bag of chips, a piece of fruit, and a 20 ounce beverage. For $6.00 at a ski area… unheard of!!! So let me get this straight: $16.00 gives me a lift ticket and a big ass lunch and only a hundred people show up?
The burger line was getting long when I got there and the workers behind the grill were having a hard time keeping track of things. After waiting somewhere between 15-20 minutes, both myself and another guy noticed people who ordered after us were getting their meal first. After noticing the long line, none other than the owner of Sugarbush, jumps behind the grill and helps get things moving! Before helping the wait staff flip burgers, the guy was burning down F.I.S. and looking pretty good doing it. Nice to see the true motivation for keeping Sugarbush going another weekend, the owner still wants to ski!!
With most of the skiers being pass holders and the low prices of food and lift tickets, Sugarbush would have been lucky to sell enough lift tickets and burgers to cover the cost of payroll, let alone the other costs associated with running a ski area late season. I noticed this and appreciated all the more the $10.00 lift ticket and $6.00 meal while down Route 100, Killington was gouging $39.00 for the same amount of terrain and one less lift. Pathetic. It was a real treat to see an ownership that cares about their customers going a step beyond in keeping the place open one more weekend and doing so with such affordable pricing. Good will and good karma all around, a fantastic afternoon of late season skiing.