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Sunny turns on Sterling at Smugglers' Notch

Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2016
— Alpine / downhill skiing, Smugglers' Notch, Fall & early season

Fun turns on the Thomke's Express trail.

A sunny view atop Sterling Peak, looking toward Mt. Mansfield.

Fresh snow atop a manmade base on Black Snake.

We hit the slopes this morning and enjoyed sunny views and turns at Smugglers' Notch. The resort had received about two inches of fresh snow overnight, which made for smooth turns in many places.

On the main mountain, the Sterling lift was open. It gives you a ride up to 3,040 feet. Two lifts were open for beginners down at Morse Mountain. Smuggs plans to fire up the Madonna lift this weekend for top-to-bottom skiing. We saw snowmaking guns doing their thing over on the Madonna side of the resort today.

The resort reported a total of 19 inches of new snow fell over the last week. We zipped around to test out a variety of trails: Rumrunner, Black Snake, Snake Bite, Treasure Run, Lower Pipeline, Harvey's Hideaway, Full Nelson and Thomke's Express, for example. 

The trails that had snowmaking had a solid base with some fresh snow on top and to the sides of the trails. Snake Bite had received snowmaking recently, and Upper and Lower Rumrunner are always well-covered.

The natural-snow trails were thin in spots, but featured silky, powdery snow. I can really tell the difference between skiing manmade versus natural snow. Can you? Because it is still early season, you need to keep looking ahead on some trails to be sure you aren't closing in on a water bar.

After making fun turns on Thomke's Express (why don't I ski that more often?), we made a bad turn onto lower Bootlegger to find only a rocky path down the hill. But this was the worst spot that we came across on a trail this morning.

We finished up the morning by cutting over to the lower section of Upper Exhibition, and then continuing on the ungroomed side of Lower Exhibition. We enjoyed powdery turns. Good stuff.

The sun felt great on our faces as we rode the lift up. And the views were fantastic. You know that classic view over to Mt. Mansfield from the top of Sterling Peak? Yeah, it's awesome.

We're thankful that cold weather is in the forecast and that snowflakes are, too. December skiing continues to roll along in style in Vermont!

P.S. Pick up Smuggs' new retro trail map. It celebrates the resort's 60-year anniversary.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Vermont, at a glance   

  • 8 lifts: 6 doubles; 2 surface lifts
  • 2,610' vertical drop from top of Madonna to the Village
  • 78 trails
  • Novice: 19%
  • Intermediate: 50%
  • Advanced/Expert: 31%
  • 300 acres of marked and patrolled acreage
  • Additional 700 acres of unmarked and unpatrolled terrain
  • 5 terrain parks and 1 learn-to-snowboard park
  • 62% snowmaking capacity

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