Sugarbush: For the Record

“For the Record” seems to be the standard trip report for spring skiing this year. Despite incredible spring base depths and most major resorts going later than average and/or scheduled, weekend weather has not been weekend warrior friendly to say the least. Most spring weekends have been split between bad and not as bad. Occasionally, the weekend splits with a sunny day and rain. Back to back sunny spring days in any given weekend has yet to happen.

Sugarbush closing weekend was better than average at Lincoln Peak with top to bottom skiing. Most years, Sugarbush only has Stein’s or perhaps Spring Fling after skiing barely tolerable coverage on Snowball. Off the summit, Ripcord, Organgrinder, and Jester were skiing to the always horrid Downspout. The bumps on Ripcord absolutely sucked with huge gaps between the irregular mounds. Organgrinder was much better with mostly tight lines. Jester was beyond thin coverage and in the “guaranteed base damage” aspect. But being the only way to go top to bottom, Jester was mandatory.

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Stowe: Closing Day for the Season

Hayride

After closing out Mad River Glen last weekend, I had another “use it or lose it” voucher so I decided to close out Stowe for the season. Perhaps next weekend I will close out Sugarbush before moving onto Jay and finally Killington. The choices are rapidly decreasing and the odds of unused vouchers are increasing.

Meanwhile, I am not earning turns (despite the sunk cost factor) because I can’t bear to let my vouchers go to waste. I hadn’t accounted for the Jackson Hole trip when I purchased my vouchers. Otherwise, I would have had nearly flawless execution of my voucher strategy this season. For next season, I need to remember I only need vouchers for three months. Early and late season are cheap and earned turns in April on Washington are even cheaper.

As with Mad River Glen, the temperature was just barely conducive to t-shirts but damn it, spring is here, so I rocked the short sleeve T again despite the slight chill while riding the lift. Another bluebird day with excellent corn snow commenced. But could I find the same bump line to die for that I found last weekend on Paradise?

Nosedive

I cruised down to Hayride where I enjoyed soft and easy turns. Near the bottom, some bumps avoided the mower but they left much to be desired. I continued warming up on Nosedive where I opened up my turns nearly edge to edge and let it fly. Super fast big turns still put a smile on my face, I seldom utilize the style but it just felt right on Nosedive.

Feeling properly warmed up, I dropped into National where I found decent bumps but nothing overly exciting. I was beginning to fear that the afternoon would be less than satisfactory in regards to spring bumps. But I found mine on Goat where an absolutely amazing line had setup with perfect rhythm and flow. Lap after lap after lap, Goat kept on delivering. Goat ended on Lower National which had a really nice line on skier’s far left.

Mixing it up a bit, I tried National again but ducked through the woods onto Starr. After a few mediocre pitches, I found more great bumps with good lines and flow. The punishment was hooking right onto lower Lookout which sported mandatory grass skiing and ice patches. Interesting “skiing” but Starr wasn’t better than Goat so not worth the minimal punishment at the end. I finished my day with another Goat run and left satisfied.

Stowe closes with deep wall to wall coverage on almost all trails excepting a few thin areas at the very lowest reaches of the mountain. Turn earning should continue for at least another month if not more. It is hard to believe Stowe couldn’t make enough money to continue operations by only turning the Forerunner and the Overeasy, what with $10 burgers (without fries) and $68 lift tickets. But I suspect most skiers today were pass holders, skiing on vouchers, and/or brown bagging it. So returns are diminishing below their established thresholds.

MRG: Closing Day for the Season

Fall Line

With one Mad Card to go, it was “now or never” so I skied Mad River Glen on what would be their closing day of the season (due to significant wind and rain on Sunday). I enjoyed a late start to allow the snow time to soften. Despite not setting an alarm, I arrived at the mountain just when the snow was getting good. Waking up without an alarm is a huge perk to spring skiing.

By 11am, the snow was prime and almost all trails were still open with mostly wall to wall coverage except in the usual late season thin spots. Most skiers were wearing jackets or long sleeves. But I decided it is spring, damn it, and it was warm enough for short sleeve t-shirt skiing despite the occasional chill on the lift.

Fall Line

Highlights included Gazelle top to bottom, Fall Line, and two super runs down Paradise. I often don’t ski Paradise much. The trail can get scraped down and boney during the winter. But come spring time, Paradise owns. The bump line down the skier’s left was marvelous with perfect flow with occasional obstacles to launch mid-air pivot turns. So many steep trails suffer from poorly formed moguls but I found a quality line on Paradise. Despite the late day fatigue, I couldn’t stop without doing a second lap.

Pardon the poor quality phone pictures. The one drawback of t-shirt skiing is not having any place to hold a camera.

Creamery

Mad River Glen

Not a single trip report has been posted here since March. No, I have not abandoned the season. But I am suffering from a lack of motivation to blog. The words and stories haven’t been coming to me. The words don’t do the experiences justice but the experiences haven’t been sensational enough to inspire massive photo blogging missives. It is a symptom. I lack inspiration and even skiing is shaded in gray. This too will pass.

Due to poor weather on Shareholder Day, I opted to ski Sunday instead of Saturday and by all accounts it was a good decision. Surfaces were still firm when I arrived around 11:00am and met Tim by the double. At the top of the double, introductions were made between Greg, Alex, and I and we sped down Bunny which was much softer than the bumps, per the crew’s morning report.

The bumps eventually softened, led by Quacky per usual. Most of the Single’s trails never quite softened though Cat Bowl skied extremely well below the usual thin spot at the top. Periwinkle was excellent though the Bowl was “adventurous”, fun for those of us that don’t care about our bases. Birdland was ripping fun and I ended with a top to bottom down Gazelle which was quite fun.

The skiing was solid after noon and we skied almost until close. A great day of skiing though the best terrain never softened. I enjoyed the company perhaps more than the skiing itself. More than ever, I am starting to feel bored when skiing alone so I was glad to be introduced to some fellow skiers that enjoy the same terrain that I do.

A Jay “Powder” Day

Jay Trees

Early and late season powder days are usually my favorite of the season. Especially when almost all of New England is receiving a drenching rain. Shoulder season means fewer people. Rain in metro areas means even fewer still. After two shit springs, March finally delivered. But few stick around to enjoy the harvest.

After driving almost two hours through rain and upper 30 degree temperatures, I must admit to having my doubts. I passed through Jay village and began the ascent up 242 but the temperature was not dropping. The rain was not changing to snow. But when I opened my car door at the base area, sure enough, the precipitation was frozen.

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