Sonic Youth – Teenage Riot
Everybody’s talking ’bout the stormy weather
And what’s a man do to but work out whether it’s true?
Looking for a man with a focus and a temper
Who can open up a map and see between one and two
Time to get it
Before you let it
Get to you
Everybody’s coming from the winter vacation
Looking for a ride to your secret location
It better work out
I hope it works out my way
‘Cause it’s getting kind of quiet in my city’s head
Takes a teen age riot to get me out of bed right now
Lionel, Powderfreak, JoshFox and all the others were talking about the upcoming stormy weather. The finally long awaited storm for the snow starved Northeast mountains.
Is it true or will everyone be disappointed again?
Looking at a map and trying to figure out where it will hit and where I can go?
I can’t choke now on a trip to Vermont.
Got to Mad River Glen and everyone was there.
Looking to ride in a secret location.
Not the smartest thing to do when you’re solo and run into trouble.
Trying to get my head quiet from my problems.
Still a challenge to get out of the bed right now!!!
So I finally managed to motivate myself to get out-of-town and drive to Vermont. It looked like a serious storm was going to hit on Valentine’s Day and I started dreaming about the last Valentine’s Day storm back in 2007. I only had a 24hr window as I had to be back to Edelweiss for 7am on Saturday morning. I hadn’t made my decision on where to ski, so the 5-hour drive made me contemplate my choices. Initially the storm epicentre had a southern track of Southern Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine into the Gaspé Peninsula. Saddleback seemed like an excellent choice at first, however the logistics and time didn’t really make it feasible. I still hadn’t use my Foxcard vouchers, so I focused on Burke, Cannon, Smuggs or Mad River Glen. The shorter drive back made me narrow in on Smuggs and Mad.
Arrived at the Skiing Youth couple’s home (aka FISHQ) in Stowe at 11pm Thursday night. White knuckle driving south of St-Jean; snow-covered highway, blowing winds and snow drift on the road. The drive between Burlington and Stowe was easier and found the place to crash by memory. Everyone was sleeping as they had set the alarm for dawn patrol before heading to work. I got up, but return on the couch and fell asleep, woke up late and ran out of the house to drive to Mad.
Squeezed in the upper lot
It was a snowy drive to General Stark mountain with the odd car and truck in the ditch on Highway 17. As I got closer; people were parked along the highway. I had to drive up to the small upper lot above the Practice Slope where I managed to shove my car as the main parking lot was full. I heard that a short time after an 18-wheeler jacked-knife and blocked the highway. One poor snowboarder had driven over the mountain pass to go to Sugarbush, but couldn’t make it further than MadRiverGlen.
Mad River Glen Video Snow Report 2 14 2014
Got ready at the car and proceeded to ski down a powder covered Practice Slope. The sight at the top of the final pitch made me stop in my “fresh” tracks: HOLY MASSES!!! I don’t recall ever seeing so many people at Mad River? I skied down to get my lift ticket and opted for a quick lap on the Practice Slope again.
Where did these people come from? I had never seen so many people at Mad.
a) People starved for a storm?
b) Valentine’s Day special with $14 for kissing couples?
c) Snowday at local schools?
d) Ramp skis demo day?
e) 50% off tickets for Ski The Point day people?
f) It was Friday?
g) Friday before a Holiday weekend?
h) Friday before one week school break in Mass?
i) All of the above!!!
Both liftlines were long, so I opted to ride the Sunnyside double first. I waited 18 minutes to ride the 1400′ vertical double. I missed skiing off the double which resulted on a descent via Partridge and Slalom Hill. The sign at the top was correct…the new snow-covered a firm base amongst other things.
(Soooo very) Firm Base ! – Under Fluff
Rocks – Ice + Thin Cover in Spots – But …..
What’s the Point (of not being happy today?)
Deserted Partridge – Hurrah for low capacity lifts
That is a perfect summary of the conditions of my first run off the double. For the next run, I braved the line for the single. The snow was getting more intense: 34 minutes later I was on the chair. As I missed a secret stash off the double, I decided to head for one off the top. I guess it was the euphoria playing tricks with my judgment as I headed into the woods solo. They were a few traps under a few feet of powder snow and got caught. I lost a ski in the deep powder in the middle of the tight woods and continued almost in a small tree well. Don’t Panic!!! First I needed to breath and relax, push off from the tree and start climbing and digging into the snow to find my ski. I have skied here numbers of times in big storms with Lucky Luke and never had any difficulties. I eventually found the piste and skied on the powdered covered trails down and back to the long single lineup.
The Chute from Midstation
It was already 12:15, this was the type of day where you didn’t want to stop. I eat a granola bar in the liftline and called it lunch. I reached the top shortly before 1pm and processed to head for Paradise. You knew from the height of the waterfall that it hadn’t been a stellar season so far. Paradise had some sharp rocks and ice flows buried under the snow which wasn’t necessarily paradise for my skis. When there isn’t a lot of fresh snow, you can avoid the obstacles. Anyway, it wasn’t the best run of the day: the fact that it’s one of the marquee runs of the East, it attracts too many skiers.
Top of the single
Looking down Paradise
Waterfall on Paradise
Even if the wait was longer, I opted to return to the single. The long wait permitted me to catch my breath and rest my legs. Skiing short groomers versus today’s long descents in a mixed of heavy snow, fluff, bumps and firm base was taxing. During the next half-hour wait, it really started puking: full storm for Fall Line. The conditions were getting better and it was a real creamery and it continued down the Glades. Best run of the day so far. Although I didn’t want to stop to eat, it was already passed 2pm and I hadn’t really eaten much at all today besides yogurt and granola bars. One quick stop inside the Basebox for a cheeseburger and water then back inline.
Now it is Puking
Although the lineups were so long, the mountain was deserted thanks to the low capacity lifts. Unfortunately this ride up the single was going to be the last one of the day. Opted to head down Lynx and Beaver…the conditions kept getting better.
It was 3:40 and I wanted to get on for last ride up the single. As I needed to ride the Practice Slope double to access my car, I opted to take that lift and move my car to the main parking lot and catch the last chair. The problem was that my car was stuck and I eventually decided to remove my right ski boot to maneuver out of there. I eventually managed get it unjammed. I easily found a new parking spot in the main lot, however I had to fight to get my cold right ski boot on. There was still a lineup for the single, but it was alas passed 4pm and the line was closed.
I wasn’t defeated, I headed for the Practice Double for my best 3 runs on that lift EVER!!! Unfortunately the lift closed at 4:15 and skied down over the boardwalk, across the snow-covered Highway 17 all the way to the car. My car as well as other vehicles were stuck and needed some muscle power assistance to get out on the road.
What a day!!! This Valentine’s Day kept getting better all day long. It was going to be a long drive back to Ottawa.
Ski-in and ski-out – but couldn’t drive out
End of day snow conditions
The Valentine’s Day storm that we have all been waiting is still raging. As of the closing bell we have seen a total of 16-19″ of snow from the storm and it is still DUMPING REALLY HARD! This on top of the 7-10″ from earlier in the week gives us well over 2′ since Monday! MRG is now officially “off the hook” and just in time for what is shaping up to be a historic President’s Week holiday. If you have been waiting to ski MRG with optimum conditions your long wait is officially over! Snow is expected to continue overnight so the skiing should just keep getting better and better! Be sure to check out the latest weather forecasts from the Single Chair Weather Blog which really nailed this storm quite some time ago – nice work Josh! This weekend we will spin all 5 lifts with skiing on 100% of our legendary terrain with POWDER skiing surfaces. The groomers will be out in force overnight tacking down all this bounty so there will be some sweet groomers out there too for those of you into that kind of thing! This is what we have been waiting for folks so come on up and… Ski It If You Can!
Flatline = waits, lunch+wait, car stuck & getting frozen boot on again.
PJ Harvey – This is Love
Mad River Glen – February 14, 2014