Steve Launches the Tower 10 Cliffs (Photo Credit: eatskisleep / Micky O’Brien)
This was definitely a morning to sleep in (oops) as thing were quite firm out of the starting gate. But things got really good later in the day. Really really good. I arrived at the mountain at quarter past nine and ascended the Single feeling a chill in the air and could barely see two chairs in front of me due to fog. The Triple Crown Bump Competition was being held today and they wanted it on Chute. To break up the frozen crust, they were encouraging the bump comp folks to lap Chute. Despite the crusty snow, Mad River went with Chute and looked to have a solid event despite lack luster turn out.
My first run was down frozen groomer tracks on Upper Antelope and then around to Bunny for a top to bottom frozen groomer tracks quad burner. My skis haven’t been tuned in about a year at this point and the edges were no match for the frozen snow. I slid my way down to the Basebox and awaited the arrival of my partners.
After hanging out for half an hour, I chatted with the guys and we all headed back out for a run down Chute which had been cut up by the bump competition skiers. Better than Upper Antelope but a far cry from spring skiing. Down on Canyon, the bumps were actually surprisingly sweet with especially nice lines in the middle elevations of the trail. We hit the double chair for two more runs down Canyon to Waterfall which got better every run due to lower elevations warming up and traffic being focused on Canyon as the lower mountain bump run of choice.
Then it was back to the Single for some top to bottom action under the chair including some sensational aerials under Tower 10. I will take another, thank you very much! Tower 10 cliffs had me coming back run after run for aerial maneuvers. We ultimately took four runs down Liftline including two from the mid-station which means I skied Liftline more times today than all my previous days at Mad River combined. It was skiing nicely, especially later in the day when things started to soften up. Unlike Cat Bowl, which we did twice and both were rather crumby runs. One of those runs sent us down Catamount which was fun and on to Lynx/Beaver which skied the best I have ever experienced (normally a trial combination I avoid due to generally poor conditions most days). We finished that run with a few choice bumps on Rockefellars which signaled the beginning of the bumps corning up on the lower mountain. Things were going to get really sweet after lunch.
We did another Chute/Liftline and a Chute/Glade. Upper and Lower Glade were skiing marvelously (another run that I rarely get to most days). Trees were calling us so we hit the double for a pair of sweet steep tree runs, righteous. What started out as “I might not have come if not for shareholders day” was gradually turning into a spring day to remember. By the time we worked our way down to Periwinkle Bowl, my legs were begging for mercy. So, of course, we did Chute/Liftline and then back up for a stupendous tree run and finished off with a mid-station Liftline run right at the closing buzzer. Faaaaantastic.
Not a bare spot to be seen any where on the open trails except perhaps right before the final pitch on Snail. Fall Line and Paradise were never opened today though I think the rope could have dropped after lunch time based on Cat Bowl conditions. Certainly not pretty but doable by MRG standards. They should almost certainly be open tomorrow. Upper mountain above the mid-station never really warmed up and only cleared the clouds as the lift was shutting down for the day. The rest of the mountain setup perfectly with corn that never got mushy and bumps that always felt right. I spent more time in the bumps today than I have all season. Got to chat with Patrick a few times in the lodge, but we were always either coming or going in the opposite direction and never got to share some turns, unfortunately. Any one not out tomorrow for the perfect corn bumps on pretty much all terrain options would certainly be missing out.