Making springy turns at Stowe, Vermont, on St. Patrick's Day

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 07:29 PM

Spring skiing in Stowe, Vermont
St. Patrick blessed Stowe today with some terrific spring conditions.
Switchback trail off the gondola
FourRunner Quad and Liftline
Gondola and Gondolier
Lower National
Midway Lodge deck

Must be the luck of the Irish. We had a beautiful day of spring skiing at Stowe today!

Stowe had special $35 lift tickets for St. Patrick's Day, so the Skimeister and I — and several hundred other people — made tracks for Mt. Mansfield.

Blue skies ruled the day. We loaded the gondola about 9 a.m. We didn't think the runs off the quad were soft, and we didn't see anyone skiing Liftline or National until late morning.

Gondolier and Perry Merrill were already quite soft. We took a number of runs off the gondola to get in some good corn snow skiing. We found the Switchback trail to be fun (with less traffic) as well. Chinclip was closed—not sure if things were frozen or there was thin cover. The line moved quickly at the gondola, and we ducked into the singles line when people were piling up.

We shot over to the quad via Cliff Trail, which must really bake in the sun because the snow was very sticky there. Again the lines weren't bad and we did the singles line thing one more time before the crowd started thinning out at lunchtime.

Liftline was fun, but challenging because the center of the run was hard packed (some would call it icy) that was tough to edge, while the sides had the soft corn snow. If you moved between these areas, you had to actively adjust your balance to compensate between the extreme "stop and go." No lazy skiing today!

The moguls on the side were quite good and they were best directly under the liftline. Nothing like an audience, eh?

We zipped over to Nosedive — a classic Vermont trail — for the next run and found the very top pitch was hard packed, followed by a very nice soft stretch of snow. The weather was so gorgeous that we decided to lunch in the sun just to the side of Nosedive. Great view of the gondola side of the mountain and Smugglers' Notch. Yummy sandwich. What more could you ask for?

Again in the lower stretch of Nosedive skiers had beaten a slick path down the center of the trail, with the corn snow on the sides.

Later I wanted to hit Hayride because I had some fun runs there last year. It was jam-packed with large, soft moguls, making for a fun workout. I ran across a few scratched-off areas here and there.

By the looks of the snow off the sides of the trails, it appears that it rained at Stowe recently and formed an ice coating. We needed today's temperatures in the 40s to loosen things up!

We enjoyed skiing more bumps on Centerline and later on lower National. Starr and Goat were closed; something about being potentially hazardous to one's health and well-being. (I think these shady trails were still frozen solid.) Too bad, I usually enjoy the bumps on Starr.

My legs were getting tired from driving my skis through the corn snow and the moguls. It was soon time to relax on the sunny deck at the Midway Lodge with a drink and some live music.

Later we stopped in at the Shed on the Mountain Road to have a hand-crafted beer (I had an unusual dark wheat beer—as dark as a Guinness!) and some pub grub.

What a perfect St. Patrick's Day in Vermont. The blue skies and warm sun made you feel like you were skiing out West. Now, back to work I go, just in time for the impending rain!

Filed in: Alpine / downhill skiing, Food, coffee & après ski, Mt. Mansfield, Spring skiing, Stowe

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