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 08:20 PM.
Reason: Details, details