Today I had the best powder day EVER in the East.
Sugarbush is among the Vermont resorts that were hammered by snowstorms and mountain snow showers over the last several days. Yet, on the heels of the major storm on Sunday came wild winds on Monday. The wind closed the lifts at Sugarbush by 10 a.m. on Monday. Bottom line: We would have fresh tracks and nicer weather to enjoy today. The Skimeister and I could not pass it up.
We got to Sugarbush's Lincoln Peak area about 8:30 a.m. and picked up our two-for-one tickets thanks to our Catamount Trail Association member coupon book. It would be the best $35 ski day I've ever had.
At 9 a.m. they opened the lifts and we headed up the Super Bravo quad to Heaven's Gate lift. We were among the first 20 people or so on Paradise.
I could not believe that I was sinking into the powder up to my thighs. Where the heck was I, in Colorado???? I think it must have been about two feet of snow or so. It was incredible!
I was getting face shots so often that I had to wipe my face every time I stopped for a breather. I felt like I had a constant milk mustache.
I fell two or three times during that first amazing run as my body struggled to remember how to ski in deep powder. But I adapted quickly and thoroughly enjoyed about four laps on Paradise.
The skies were clearing but there was still a cloud as we neared the top of Heaven's Gate lift and Lincoln Peak (elevation 3,975 ft.) Up in the clouds and powder, it was truly heavenly!
Later in the morning I would take a fun run down Organgrinder in broken powder. Seems like there were fewer people around as I had the trail nearly to myself. Some had headed over to Castlerock chair, no doubt, while perhaps some of the locals regrettably set off to work.
I stopped at the very nice Gate House Lodge to drink some water and enjoy the "everything" bagel I had purchased that morning on the drive to the mountain. I sat at a sunny table with views up Lincoln Peak. It's a very pleasant new lodge.
Then I zipped up the Gate House quad (one of two high-speed quads on Sugarbush's Lincoln Peak area) to meet the Skimeister at the Castlerock double chair. I sought out the last of the untracked powder on the edges of Castlerock Run—a great twisting and turning expert run. Later I would enjoy the Middle Earth trail before heading north once again to ski off of the Gate House quad.
I was getting tired and I wanted to try some mellow woods before my legs gave out for the day. I had fun in Deeper Sleeper glades between Sleeper and Hot Shot. The skies had turned fully bluebird blue by midday, so the sun had warmed up the snow at the top of the glades. It was a bit heavy to ski through. But that was not the case in the lower part of the glades. It was fun to zip around trees and crash through the brush to get to the powder.
The winds that were chilly in the morning hours were diminishing and the sun was feeling warmer. Again, I felt like I was in Colorado. But a check of my lift ticket assured me I was still in Vermont.
I enjoyed a wonderful cruise on the intermediate Sleeper trail. It has some birches sprinkled on the trail—very pretty. On any groomed section of trail that I encountered, I felt like a hero on the perfect packed powder.
The sun was starting to dip behind Lincoln Peak by mid-afternoon, casting the southern-most ski runs into the shadows. (Can you say flat light??) But I wanted one more run so we headed up Super Bravo lift again and I selected Murphy's Glade while the Skimeister headed for another two runs in the woods.
The wind was coming right up Murphy's so I stuck to the sides of the trail where there was deeper snow. There are a few trees sprinkled on this trail as well—it's not a full-fledged glade. I took my time and shot a few photos in the afternoon sun. I was soaking it up for all it was worth!
Back at the base, I sipped on a hot chocolate with a shot of coffee and milk. I enjoyed the patio on the sunny southern side of the Gate House Lodge as I reflected on an amazing powder day.
Having expended so much energy, we just had to treat ourselves to a bit of beer and some delicious pub food at the Alchemist in Waterbury, Vermont. We drive right past the place—it would have been rude not to stop.
If you can get out skiing this week in Vermont, you must do it. It was simply incredible today.
Where have you played in the powder recently?