Mad River Glen’s quality control department looked the other way as the lifts finally came alive today for the first day of lift operations. The untracked was sacked yesterday by copious turn earners and mountain operations (first chair looked more like noon chair). But plenty of untracked pockets were available for early risers with an understanding to seek out lesser skied options.
But untracked was besides the point. I was just happy to be skiing top to bottom on natural snow again. Base depths were variable ranging from grass to a foot of fresh depending on where the wind blew. The bottom of the base was wet and pasty creating an excellent protective layer with light and fluffy powder on the surface. Perfect early season (wait, early season?) powder that covers up most of the crap while still being fun to ski.
I couldn’t help but jump on the Single for first chair even though I knew better powder options were available. After a token run down Fall Line to Canyon, I went Sunnyside where I knew the best powder pockets would be available. Slalom Hill was great and went fast. But the real treat was Birdland (wait, Birdland?) where bottomless meadow skipping could be enjoyed. Most folks earning turns are not going to hike for an hour just to ski a green circle. Which means that most of Birdland was generally untouched and perfect for high speed surfing.
Skiing the Mad River classics sans bumps is one of the best reasons to ski the Glen on opening weekend. Cat Bowl to LA was stellar packed powder with loose pockets. Both are runs that I usually skip but I took em’ twice today. Rarely will I suggest Patrol erred but while I enjoyed finally skiing trees, Lynx was not quite ready (I was rather surprised to see it open!). But my skis paid the price twice because Beaver was worth getting to.
Another early season treat is the huck fest. Rocks and cliffs are not filled in on the lee side yet. Mid-season moguled mounds and natural features are revealed to actually be rocks with five foot drops. Lift Line was killing it (and killing my out of shape legs) for rapid fire short drops and launches. A dozen three to eight footers were available in quick succession for those interested. My interest outstripped my stamina but I lapped the mid-station once more than my knees would have preferred.