Single chair rides and powder turns at Vermont's Mad River Glen

Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 06:40 PM

Powder on the Fall Line trail.
More powder on the Fall Line trail.
Wind-scoured areas on the Fall Line trail.
The Single Chair travels 5,610 feet and gains 2,000 vertical.
For extroverts, it would be a kinda lonely ride!
Powder on the long, turny Antelope trail.
The wooded exit trail from Antelope.
A healthy sized tree well.
Nearing the base area.
A snowy church in historic Waitsfield Village.

Mad River Glen skiers were happy campers today. The ski area was able to reopen the Single Chair due to the storm that dumped more than a foot of snow yesterday. I skied MRG for half a day today and had fun in the powder!

Because Mad River does not really do snowmaking, the trails do not currently have a real base of snow/ice—and they make this clear in their snow report. This means that in some areas of a trail, I could see that the wind had scoured away the light powder of the last two storms. But that snow had to land somewhere, right? So typically on the other side of that trail there was wonderful powder.

In some spots, the wind had dropped up to two feet of snow. It was really fun. While in other areas, you had to keep your eyes open for exposed grass and rock.

I started on the Single Chair and took the very long Antelope trail, including Lower Antelope. This trail makes many turns and had lots of untouched powder to play in. In a couple places are rather flat for the amount of snow there was, so you had to follow everyone's well-beaten path to keep moving. I discovered that at the bottom of the trail, you have to cross a small bridge and climb through the woods a bit to return to the base area. It was worth it.

Later I did a run down Fall Line. Again, I found some deep powder stashes on this interesting, challenging trail. But toward the bottom especially, I was punching through to the ground in some spots.

Lower down the mountain I found fluffy bumps on the side of Canyon and Lower Canyon.

Later on, while skiing off the Sunnyside Double, I enjoyed runs such as the wide Slalom Hill, as well as Quacky and Chipmunk.  I don't know the mountain all that well, so I would just go where my skis wanted to take me, while always scanning the trail for powder and good cover.

While the line for the Single Chair was a bit long in the morning, it petered out midday. It was still breezy today, and it snowed for part of the day, so I kept my balaclava up over my face, and my goggles down.

Mad River has a relaxed vibe. I noticed skiers of a variety of ages were out today—from college kids to seniors. (The young kids were in school!) After some morning runs skiers were enjoying leisurely lunches in the old-school base lodge, where the food is a better value than at most ski areas. MRG also has a nice bar area with food service.

I was pleased with the way my new skis were floating in all the fresh powder today. And it was great to be skiing at Mad River Glen for the first time this season.

As a reminder to our readers, Mad River Glen does not allow snowboarding. It's one of only two -- er, make that three -- resorts in the country to do so.


Total Trails: 49
Easy: 33%
Intermediate: 27%
Advanced/Expert: 41%
Glades: Lots of gladed areas
Terrain Parks: 0
Total Lifts:
 1 Surface
 1 Single
 3 Doubles
Total Acreage: 190 skiable acres
Vertical Drop: 2036 feet
Snowmaking: 15%

Filed in: Alpine / downhill skiing, Mad River Glen

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