This week’s daily snowfall in Northern Vermont continued last night with Bolton Valley taking top honors in New England with 7-10″ in the past twenty four hours. While a few inches overnight would have been par for the course this week, almost a foot of snow was a complete surprise. A surprise I learned about when I groggily reviewed my phone this morning and found out that I had set my alarm to the wrong day of the week, oversleeping an hour. This error would later prove to be both painful and serendipitous.
My usual fuel sipping driving style was left at home and I made the 2.5 hour drive in just over two hours thanks to empty back roads. You can’t get there from here my ass. While scrambling to take care of business in Bolton’s woefully inadequately sized base lodge, I managed slam my right middle finger HARD into an unnoticed stairway railing. I could move and bend it and squeezing all points caused no pain. Pressing on my fingernail yielded a white spot. I didn’t think it was broken. Game on!
I contemplated the odd’s of running into fellow blogger J.Spin of J&E Productions. The odds seemed ludicrous. But in accidentally over sleeping an hour, the timeline was arranged perfectly and I skied into line behind J.Spin and family just as they were about to load the Timberline Quad. Introductions were made at the top of the chair and we dropped into the rolling and open trees of Adam’s Solitude much to the delight of his two younger rippers.
With Jay reporting in two feet to Cannon’s one foot, the plan was to ski Jay. But thanks to mobile technology, I discovered en route via smartphone that Jay’s summit was reporting 60 MPH winds and that lifts would be effected. Despite my good luck with yesterday’s short wind hold at Mad River Glen, I pulled a page from my ski tactics play book: don’t get greedy going for the unknown when the sure thing is staring you in the face.
So I was the first car to pull into Cannon’s lot just before eight in the morning. After farting around in the lodge, I got my shit together and made it to the Peabody for third chair and then onto first chair up Cannonball to the summit. The ride up the Cannonball was unusual in that there was no wind. And I spied with my eyes a perfect canvas just below me on Profile.
I can’t remember the last time I skied Profile. It is normally a wind blown icy mess. It is a wide and straight shot without any redeeming quality. But with six inches of untouched fresh over groomed, it was a dream. I ripped it straight down skier’s left non-stop bouncing surfy turns to and fro. I’ve never said it before nor will I ever say it again, but my run of the day was Profile.
Does the above picture look familiar? It is one of my favorite spots on the mountain, within bounds no less. The above photo was captured during my second lap through this area. The first lap was mostly untracked and there was no slowing down to stop for pictures.
But I am getting ahead of myself. East winds are no good for Mad River Glen so it was decision time when I arrived. I delayed purchasing a ticket but also did not return to my car for my touring gear. The winds were forecast to shift and soon they did. After an hour delay, it was game on and line up for first run was the longest line of the day.
Late season powder days are almost always the best of the year. While I am fond of early season powder days due to reserved trails, options are limited due to non-existent base. Whereas late season powder often falls over a decent base. And for whatever reason, many skiers (even dedicated powder hounds) are AWOL for the best days of the season. Maybe people have other obligations or perhaps thoughts are drifting towards “spring” outdoor recreation (as if skiing wasn’t at its best in the spring!). But for whatever reason, the masses abandon the season by mid-March.
Such was the case on Saturday at Mad River Glen. The summits of the Mad River Valley scored the jackpot with a foot of fluff at the summit. That was followed by 4-6″ Friday night setting up what would be a mid-season perfect storm: a well publicized localized jackpot followed by another half a foot of fresh heading into a weekend. Any other time of the season, Mad River Glen would have 40 minute lines with skinners claiming a hundred tracks before the Single even opened.
Magic Mountain led Vermont in new snow reporting in with 10-14″. It felt deeper in spots but never felt less. The snow was extremely dense and super surfy. I was expecting more people but crowds were light and the double was ski on all day. It felt great to have a relaxing powder day.
Red Line and Black Magic were closed to conserve snow conditions for this weekend’s Ski the East Freeride Tour stop. It was disappointing not being able to ski one of New England’s best liftlines, but I could certainly get behind the cause of ensuring Magic has a great event on Saturday. Otherwise, the mountain was completely good to go, though there wasn’t much base to speak of underneath the new dense snow.