Main content

Big dump, mixed bag of conditions at Smugglers' Notch

Skiing in the new snow at Smugglers' Notch, Vermont.

Snowstorm totals as of Thursday:

Ascutney - 14"
Bolton - 17 - 19"
Bromley - 10 - 12"
Burke - 15"
Jay Peak - 12 - 16"
Killington - 21"
Mad River Glen - 10 - 12"
Magic - 12 - 16"
Middlebury - 14"
Mount Snow - 10 - 14"
Okemo - 17 - 24"
Pico - 21"
Smugglers' Notch - 14"
Stowe - 16 - 20"
Stratton - 13"
Sugarbush - 21"
Suicide Six - 12"
Source: Ski Vermont

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

OK, it wasn't that dramatic, but it was an interesting day of skiing at Smugglers' Notch today. The Skimeister and I knew we'd have some substantial snowfall on Wednesday, so we had our ski gear packed up and waiting by the door for Thursday. We were dreaming of faceshots from fluffy, light powder. We got freshies, but they weren't all that light because they were windpacked nearly everywhere we went on the mountain. It must have been howling yesterday and last night.

We had plenty of enjoyable runs, but I, for one, had to make some adjustments to my stance so I could get my skis turning through the windpacked snow. Smugglers reported they had received 14 inches of new snow from Wednesday to Thursday morning. Those who were riding "fatboy" powder skis and snowboards had an easier go of it today than I did. Yes, I was a bit jealous.

Our goal soon became clear: to visit as many glades as possible to find the stashes of light snow. We skied exclusively on Madonna Mountain so I got to learn more of the terrain there. Red Fox Glades to Three Mountain Glades was so fun I did it twice. I also skied lower Doc Dempsey's Glades, which is always a good ride. The top of the run, however, looked so rocky and scraped off that I skirted around it on FIS.

Then we tried Shakedown Glades, which was more challenging but fun. It is a looonnnngggg glade that starts at Lower Drifter and dumps out onto Lower Rumrunner. Good stuff, just a bit of a pain to get to because you have to take Catwalk or Drifter a good way down the mountain.

Speaking of Drifter, today it showed why it has that name. The Upper Drifter section had very cool snowdrifts, some looking as they had been hand-sculpted by the wind. Upper Drifter is a bit like a backcountry trail as you must push along the flats at the top. It is pretty, though. But then on Lower Drifter they needed some "thin cover" signs as the wind had inflicted its damage there, scouring the slope down to rock, ice and frozen moss.

If you look at my photos, you'll see this interesting juxtaposition of windpacked powder stashes and wind-scoured trails. There was powder, yet there were plenty of icy linoleum spots and rocks to avoid.

We were having a good time checking out new trails and then noticed we had more company in the lift line as the morning wore on. They even opened up the Madonna II lift midday to help with the lift lines. Others had the same idea that we had—to put off work for part of the day to make some turns. The sun also came out, making me think we were in Colorado, just for a moment. I actually got a bit of a sunburn today. Guess I needed more than the SPF 15 today.

As I said before, it was a day for the glades and we both skied Moonshiner's Glades before setting out to find Bermuda Glades. Boy are we glad we did. First of all, I discovered Ruthie's Run is an enjoyable intermediate trail with twists and turns through the woods. This trail had been groomed but in the places where some snow had blown on to the sides of the corduroy, it was heavenly. All of the groomed trails were fantastic today, and they will be for the weekend, I'm sure.

And then in the sunshine we skied Bermuda, which was snowy, long and full of hardwood trees. It was great fun.

So, in the end it was not the "epic" powder day we thought it would be, but we had new snow to play in and new glades to explore. Gotta love it.

Share This Blog Post

Latest posts

Photo of chairlift ascending a snowy Vermont mountain with small, sunlit snowflakes

Vermont ski resorts open for 2021 - 2022 ski season with snow in forecast

Posted 11/26/21

Updated 11/26/21 While Killington has been open for some time, other Vermont ski resorts are now opening with the added benefit of late-November snow in the forecast! When do Vermont ski resorts…

Photo of a red double chairlift on a snowy day

Smaller, independent ski areas rock!

Posted 10/30/21

A new short film focuses on the country’s small, independent ski areas. TGR recently created “In Pursuit of Soul” and among the ski areas featured are a pair of gems from Vermont. Check out the…

Photo of a ski swap with people looking at lots of skis

SkiMaven’s 2021 list of Vermont ski swaps

Posted 9/7/21

Updated 11/17/2021 When there's a chill in the air and we start to reach for fleece layers, that's a sure sign that ski swaps will take place in Vermont! Here's our annual round-up of ski swaps in…

Photo of a skier moving through the woods with blue sky

Spring has sprung! Gotta make the most of the snow!

Posted 3/20/21

We're looking at a stretch of sunny (yay!) and warm (not so yay!) weather in Vermont. Better get out on the snow while we have it! Forty-six inches of snow at the stake atop Mt. Mansfield. That's…