After skiing the previous day at Mad River Glen, I was fairly sore but ready for more of the Mad River Valley. Staying one hour south at the Turn of River Lodge in Killington, VT reduced drive time for the low price of $20 per night. My mini two day vacation continued on Tuesday at Sugarbush, a mountain a faintly remembered from a teenage ski trip with the family. From that earlier first trip to Sugarbush, I most vividly remembered making High Speed GS turns down the windy Upper Jester and eating pizza at a local establishment. We camped out at a four season camp ground in a motor home and had an awesome weekend at Mount Lincoln. Those memorable family trips laid the ground work for my developing skiing habit that later became a major focus of my life.
I started my day at Mount Ellen but quickly found out that the conditions were less than satisfactory and the Slide Brook Express was closed during mid-week. After only one run in low visibility, I packed up my gear and drove over to Mount Lincoln. Conditions were much better and I began the morning skiing the Lynx area. After skiing the four Lynx runs, I returned to the lodge for a break before trying Castlerock. Or so I thought. Castlerock was later put on Wind Hold as was Heaven’s Gate relegating my skiing to the Super Bravo and Lynx chairs.
Overall, this was a rather disappointing afternoon at Sugarbush due to poor conditions, wind hold, and not being able to ski the Castlerock and Heaven’s Gate trails. I would return a few years later to properly sample the mountain in its entirety.
My first Mad River Glen experience featured excellent coverage, great conditions, and beautiful blue skies. This visit greatly expanded my exposure to some of the best terrain in New England. Ski It If You Can, indeed. Shareholder since 2007.
Driving into the parking lot, I was directed where to park by an attendant. Upon opening my car door, I was greeted with friendly and warm conversation despite the frigid cold of the morning. Entering the lodge, I was enthusiastically and happily greeted by several employees. The main floor of the lodge is spacious and contains ample tables and chairs, including wood benches surrounding a red brick fireplace. Downstairs on the bottom floor, I purchased my lift ticket for $32 and quickly became engaged in conversation with Black’s attentive and hospitable staff. I was amazed by their Rental setup which seemed well designed and well staffed. Black’s reputation as a family friendly resort that specializes in beginners and those just learning is well deserved. But I was about to learn that Black has more to offer than just for families and beginners!
Black is a Mountain for everyone. First timers to Experts alike will delight in Black Mountain’s classic, narrow, winding trails. Beginners have two dedicated areas for learning which include a J-Bar servicing a wide open practice slope and a Platter Pull Surface Lift which accesses three charming Green Circles. Even expert skiers would do well to try the Platter Pull lift at least once for the experience! If you have never seen a Platter Pull lift, think T-Bar with a plunger instead of a T. The plunger gets placed between your legs which may lead some self-absorbed skiers to believe it is an extension of their man hood.
Despite recent disappointments with Cannon grooming almost all of their trails flat as a pancake, I could not resist the Two-Fer $40 on Valentine’s Day. There is nothing I would rather be doing on Valentine’s Day than skiing by myself! I am not being facetious, I mean that quite literally and seriously. But my opinions on Hallmark Holidays, their negative effects on mental health and general outlook on life, and binge Holiday consumption are really neither here nor there and do not pertain to this particular report. Feel free to email me; however, if you would like to discuss these topics in depth!
It was a freezing cold day at Cannon on Friday. Temperatures at the summit started at -20 F. Fortunately, the wind was manageable as I unloaded from the High Speed Quad and quickly ducked over to By-Pass. Quickly, I noticed that most trails were groomed to what some skiers might call “perfection.” However; unless I am in the mood for ripping GS turns, any grooming leaves much to be desired. I tracked down to the Front Face and ran laps skiers left to right starting on Gary’s. Gary’s and Rocket featured the so called perfect groom with occasional natural pockets on skiers’ right on Rocket. Not much consistency or fun to be had on those occasional natural snow areas.
Made it up to Haystack in Vermont for the Massachusetts Day $29 deal. Haystack is the often overlooked little sister of Mount Snow and the Bastard Child of American Skiing Company. Despite Haystack being less crowded, having no lift lines, and decent terrain, the mountain has not been as successful as neighboring Mount Snow. Instead of increasing advertising and awareness, ASC simply turned Haystack into a weekend only operation to reduce friendly fire on Mount Snow.
The loss of everyone else becomes my gain! Despite the $29 deal for Massachusetts residents, the mountain remained rather uncrowded. Most lifts were ski on with an occasional one to two minute wait on the POMA Brand Barnstormer servicing the summit and the Hayfever Triple accessing two-thirds of the mountain. The CTEC Brand Witches Triple, servicing Haystack’s expert terrain, closed shortly after the mountain opened due to high winds. This lift would later re-open and was always ski-on. The base lodge was roomy and had adequate seating with a perfect window view of the mountain face.