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Old 12-10-2012, 06:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Stowe last weekend...VT's in bad shape!

We had cheap CT Ski Counsel tix to Stowe this past weekend (Dec 8-9), $33 bucks a day. That's wicked cheap, as their new daily rate is $92, or $79 with their Evo RFID card, which you refill online (Good side: you don't wait in ticket lines, just strap in and go to the lift). A regular 2-day ticket is now $182! Ours cost $66. Join the ski club!

Anyway, Saturday was surprisingly good, considering there is only man-made snow. I mean, there is NOTHING in the way of snow even that far north. You ride up the lifts staring down at dirt with a dusting of white. It was pretty depressing. Still, they managed to have some good terrain open. The south side of Mansfield, including Ridge Run, Lord, North Slope and the terrain parks were open (even Nosedive, top to bottom), and the snow was actually pretty good. We got some decent snow squalls to freshen it up during the morning. But by afternoon, the temps rose and the clouds/fog moved in. Visibility was down to barely fifty feet, at best. It was crazy...but the snow was fun.

The buzz was that Sunday would be much better. Partly sunny, possible snow overnight, gonna be a good day. We got up bright and early Sunday, hit the mountain at 8:00 am and there are already people coming off the mountain. I was just putting my board in the rack as some guy came scraping down the short hill to the Mansfield lodge. When I say scraping, I mean scraping. Not even throwing up any dust in his wake. Like, just sliding across ice. Yikes. I ask "Is it really as bad as that sounded?" He says "Man, it's tough up there," and walks off.

I tell my wife...maybe we have a cup of coffee and go get some new edges and wax. By the time that's done, maybe it'll be better. So that's what we do.

We hit the Four Runner quad and go up to the top a little before 9:00. Big mistake. The drop-in to Ridge View was hard-pack, but nothing unusual for VT. No prob. But halfway down, where you have to choose your route to the lower mountain, all hell breaks loose. I headed to North Slope...the approach was practically bulletproof. And bumpy. I waited for my wife, who is a skier, but still learning. It takes forever for her to deal with the hardpack and make her way down, and I wave her off to Standard because North Slope looks pretty sketchy.

Sketchy isn't the word for it. Some of the worst shit I've ever ridden. It was solid as a rock, and even with freshly sharpened edges I couldn't get a grip. The only choice was bomb it and pray, or plow. I started bombing it, and was going so fast on the ice, with virtually no control because I couldn't set an edge, that when I tried to slough off some speed I just slid out and landed on my butt. And I didn't stop. Even sitting on my ass, I couldn't dig and edge into the "snow" and stop myself. I literally slid on my ass down the last fifty yards of the middle section of North Slope.

When I finally stopped, I made the transition to Lower North Slope, and it was beautiful. Snow was smooth and fast, and I was able to finish with a 1/3 of a great run. My wife finally showed up from Lower Standard and said "Fuck this!"

It turns out that it had rained about 5:00 am, after they'd already groomed. Then it all re-froze. Even at just $33 a ticket, those were two of the most expensive runs I've ever had.

Last edited by surfinsnow; 12-10-2012 at 07:20 PM. Reason: Details, details
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That sucks man. Sorry you had such a shitty time. I'm heading up to Stowe on the 20th and I hope they get some by the time I get there.

I really don't understand these messed up weather patterns. It was cold and freezing for the past few weeks then all the sudden it got warm this past weekend (including today) melting all the snow they made. I hope it doesn't turn out like last year. I've been looking at the snow report on just about every mountain in VT and they're all struggling. Mammoth got over 6 feet of snow and we can't even get 6 inches. Effen East coast sucks.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Does suck, but you can usually expect sketchy condition in Dec, even early to mid January unless it stays cold and a few good dumps happen.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Efilnikufesin View Post
Does suck, but you can usually expect sketchy condition in Dec, even early to mid January unless it stays cold and a few good dumps happen.
Hey, it was still Stowe, and we still got plenty of top to bottom runs in on Saturday. Saturday was really pretty good, just flat light, really dreary, and the mountain got totally socked in with clouds. It was just Sunday that was solid ice.

It was great either way. It was the first time I've ridden since foot surgery in November 2010 for a torn metatarsal tendon and a chipped ankle bone. I sat out all last winter...but considering how terrible last winter was, I didn't miss much. My friends loved me for my handicapped parking pass! It just felt great to be back out on the mountain again! And not it PAIN!
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Does suck, but you can usually expect sketchy condition in Dec, even early to mid January unless it stays cold and a few good dumps happen.
Seems to me that I get pissed off with the lack of coverage every year about this time.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This was the typical view Saturday...



And this was Sunday morning, about 11:00 am, from a few miles down the road. It looks nicer, but it wasn't...


Last edited by surfinsnow; 12-10-2012 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Seems to me that I get pissed off with the lack of coverage every year about this time.
Trust me I do too, the last few years before these last two spoiled us for snow, but areas like Stowe, Smuggs and Jay will all get theor 300 inches +- or so, just not yet.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by surfinsnow View Post
This was the typical view Saturday...



And this was Sunday morning, about 11:00 am, from a few miles down the road. It looks nicer, but it wasn't...

http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...51170593_n.jpg
March really is the best time to hit the northern Vermont places, they seem to get dumped on then, early late season is always sketchy.

Though not as much snow, I do love Sugarloaf. It's a drive, but there are no crowds, the mountain is HUGE for EC, it stays cold so less freeze/thaw, and always seems to get enough snow to freshen up nicely when you need. Spring boarding is also awesome there, often till May. Probably my favorite place on the EC, though I haven't hit Jay at the right times myself, just spring or windblown conditions when I have been there.

Edit: Did I mention ski and stays in condos are dirt cheap at the 'Loaf?
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've been to Stowe about 6 times and each time I went there the mountain was covered in snow. This will be the first time where it will be bare. Depressing.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efilnikufesin View Post
March really is the best time to hit the northern Vermont places, they seem to get dumped on then, early late season is always sketchy.

Though not as much snow, I do love Sugarloaf. It's a drive, but there are no crowds, the mountain is HUGE for EC, it stays cold so less freeze/thaw, and always seems to get enough snow to freshen up nicely when you need. Spring boarding is also awesome there, often till May. Probably my favorite place on the EC, though I haven't hit Jay at the right times myself, just spring or windblown conditions when I have been there.

Edit: Did I mention ski and stays in condos are dirt cheap at the 'Loaf?
Never been to Sugarloaf. We tried to book a couple of days at Jay Peak for New Years, but the place is 100% booked. No problem...the last week of January I've got Jay/Burke tix for $35/day! They'll have some snow by then, and it's well worth the drive. We'll hit Sugarloaf one of these days...it's just a long haul from Eastern CT.
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