I am no fan of Stowe Mountain Resort but I do love Mount Mansfield. The resort has some great trails among its wide and homogenized so called classics; it truly is the best and most all encompassing ski area in the east. The trails can be epic when the conditions are right (and the ample amount of powder hounds aren’t out in force) and there is an enormous amount of tree skiing. But Stowe lacks the character and temperament of the far superior ski area across the notch. But take a hike above treeline and Mansfield offers some of the best skiing in the east for the least amount of effort.
So I try to get atop Mansfield’s ridge line at least once a season. Few other ski areas can offer a true alpine experience for such minimal effort. I am selective of my Mansfield days preferring a warm and sunny day in the spring time before everything starts to melt. This year I timed it pretty well though the snow was far from ideal due to delayed warming.
I’ve gone to bat numerous times for Jay Peak defending them against attacks of embellishing conditions and snow totals. I’ve actually cited Jay Peak for solid and reliable snow reporting accuracy and transparency. But I am no homer and when something is amiss, I am going to call it out. It is time to unveil the Truth in Snow Reporting category and Jay gets first crack at it (emphasis mine):
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.