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Some musings on Mt. Snow...

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nelsap
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 5:03 PM GMT

I had a great time last week skiing with Woodcore (Jon) at Mt. Snow. It was the perfect ski day - full sun, temps in the lower-mid 30's, no wind, almost all terrain open. This included a lot of natural snow trails that I was not expecting to be open this winter.

Some thoughts on Mt. Snow - feel free to agree/disagree. Remember, we skied midweek - so these conclusions could be quite different on a weekend.

Positives:

1. Mt. Snow has wonderfully long, high speed cruising trails on the Main Mtn. These trails are in the 1.5-2 mile long range, and are of mid intermediate difficulty. They are not all wide and straight - Overbrook, Lower Ledge, and One More Time were narrow and twisty enough to keep things interesting.

2. The North Face has some great steep cruising terrain. I was shocked to find a trail called Challenger - narrow, steep, but groomed - for some really fun flying down the mtn. Fallen Timbers and Freefall were groomed to perfection and just the right steepness.

3. Carinthia - always love skiing "lost" areas that still operate. This side was nearly deserted, with everything open. Narrow Gauge was a great narrow cruisier under the double. Iron Run was a narrow cruise through the woods that dropped dramatically at the base. Nitro/Titanium were great cruisers.

4. There are historical elements all over the mountain! The top of the Ego Alley Triple was the top of the old gondola, so you get off "inside" the top building. There are several unused liftlines where their old "trams" (doubles) used to run up the mountain.

5. Lots of fun sides of the mountain to explore - makes it quite the large resort.

6. Glades are everywhere - but the base wasnt enough to warrant the damage risk to skis.

Negatives

1. The North Face really needs a HSQ. The Yan triple just looks worn out over there, and I was yearning to make more runs on that side of the mountain. A HSQ would have made some more runs. Or, run a chair from the base of the North Face to the top of One More Time.

2. The Summit Local Triple on the Main Face - looked REALLY worn out. I can't imagine riding on that thing - 1.5 miles long, it must take 20 minutes to the top on the weekend at least with stops. Maybe replace that and the Summit Express with a 6 pack? The summit express was a bit worn out too, hard seats.

3. Ego Alley and Sundance Triples - these looked a bit worn out too. Maybe replace them both with a HSQ on Sundance? That side of the mountain looked a bit abandoned, with some trail edges full of brush.

4. The Sunbrook Quad is slow - I remember this from skiing there on a weekend several years ago. A HSQ there would be nice - so many fun intermediates in that area.

We had a great time there - though I cant imagine the mountain on a busy weekend.

Jeremy

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joshua segal
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 5:13 PM GMT

I agree with most of what Jeremy said, but I haven't been there on a weekend in over 30-years.

I have some negative impressions of the North Face, feeling that PDF, Jaws of Death, etc. are "mass produced expert runs" that have no individual character to them. Also, if the lift dies, there is no easy way out.

And Ripcord, albeit short, might be the steepest trail I've seen in the east (although my perception of it might have been jaded by the icy moguls that were there the last time I skied Ripcord.)

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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 5:16 PM GMT

Your take on Mt. Snow is accurate. Luckily the Carinthia chair is an HSQ as well. Did you get to ski the extreme steep of Ripcord on the North Face? (The glade next to it is incredible as well). Without the crowds it's a great experience.
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 6:31 PM GMT

Enjoyed JD's post. Just visited Mt. Snow for only second time ever. On an empty March weekday it has a sort of nostalgic quality like an old amusement park.
3/9/06, Mt. Snow: had a ruggedly good time here cruising blue and easy black groomers on all faces of the mountain with 15 yr old son. Frozen ice pellets fell all day, anything not recently skied or groomed got real funky later in day, sort of frozen/crusty slush. Busier runs were fine. I donned poor man's Gore-Tex, a large trash bag with holes punched in it for head and arms. Son refused to make that fashion statement even after 6 hours with ice coated jackets. Motel sauna felt good that night. Believe Ripcord was temporarily closed that day, but passed below and it still had lots of cover and large moguls. Enjoyed other, easier blacks on North Face (including aforementioned Challenger) and lots of stuff down the main face.
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 6:48 PM GMT

As one who skis Snow as a 'home base' I can agree with most of what you say.

-Snow is definitely the king of the long cruisers though there is something for everyone if one knows where to look.

-The North Face has some excellent expert terrain. Although as at so many areas it's a shame that many of the original olde-style narrow contour-hugging trails have been broken up if not obliterated with 'boulevards' there still are runs that wholly or partially have that flavour.

-I agree that the Ripcord, though short, is one of the very steepest in the east!

-I don't miss a HSQ on the North Face so much....

-....but Sunbrook is a different story! The Sunbrook Quad is very possibly THE slowest lift ever (the Summit Triple too but luckily it's rarely needed). It needs to be a HSQ *and* run during the week since it's the only lift that serves that area without going all the way back to the base area and returning to the summit (unless one is purely doing bump laps on Beartrap, not something that happens often unless it exceptionally soft powder or spring conditions).
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 7:25 PM GMT

I have to agree...a HSQ would be great on sunbrook. But I don't really miss it on the north face. Granted those Yan triples are looking pretty old. But on crowded weekends they have both running and I have not known them to have many mechanical problems. Further, when skiing the north face, I'm either in the woods or on a bump run and therefore, the fixed grip ride is a nice respit. Plus its only about a 1000 vert over there.

There are some really fun trails near the sundance area. The sundance triple serves fabulous terrain and is never crowded on a weekend. Granted its a bit slow, but well worth it to beat the crowds.



Talisman
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 7:48 PM GMT

Your mid-week impressions of Mt Snow are accurate. On a weekend imagine a mob of people filling the corrals to overflowing at every modern lift. On those days the Summit Triple (aka Summit Cripple) seems like a good alternative. There are certain runs that are empty even on crowded days, look for the 'thin cover' signs and you will find an empty trail

One of the historical elements at Mount Snow I like are the old mine entrances at Carinthia. A colonial era iron mine entrance is visible in the woods just off of the HSQ. The high iron content can be seen in the reddish brown snow made from water collected over there.
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 7:49 PM GMT

The last time I was at Mt Snow, they still had the double bubble chair to the top. I rode it up with a local who sparked a joint and passed it to me. I was 14.
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 8:29 PM GMT

Will second, Chute and Fallen Timbers are great trails, kind of low-end diamonds that are two of my favorites, I ski like I actually have skill when I'm on those trails. Pres weekend Sneaux was quite crowded; no lines on the Outpost chair due to arctic temperatures and the fact that they had it slowed to an utter crawl due to winds. Sunbrook was on hold, then open, and the snow was like formica.

Ego Alley chair was a lifesaver that weekend. Summit Express lines were brutal -- Canyon was worse. Summit Local (the triple) had no lines but was painfully slow and stopped frequently. No lines on Ego Alley chair, smooth ride, protected from the wind, surprising number of trail options. Collegiate racing Sat. & Sun on Ego Alley trail had no noticeable impact on chair traffic.

A little trivia...Fallen Timbers trail used to have (4RKDS) after the name. It's not on this year's trail map. Wazzit mean? It sounds out to "For our kiddies." I always wondered about that.

Anybody know what it means, how it got there, why it's gone? (this isn't a quiz, I honestly don't know)
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newpylong
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 8:29 PM GMT

I am a big fan of Mt. Snow. You can't beat their cruisers....
I find they have much more character than those of Okemo.


I do not think the runs on North Face are mass produced expert runs at all. I think they ski very well, have some tough fall lines and terrain. Jaws and Olympic are great like that...

I don't think a High Speed quad is the answer there... when its real busy and they have both triples spinning, the crowds are managable. I don't think the runs are that long there anyway, I think the triples are a good time to rest.

Sunbrook Quad is unbelievably slow. I remember when they put that in to replace the double? I was thinking what junk it was...

I agree, Sundance/Sunbowl area is underutilized. I skied a Super G there once...



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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 9:19 PM GMT

I agree with everything there. Mt. Snow is in a strong need of new lifts. An HSQ in the North Face and Sunbrook would be great. I would love to see Tumbleweed go to mid-mountain and Sundance go to the top from mid-mountain, I think that would be a nice combo. I can see what your saying about the Grand Summit Express and Summit Local. They are both pretty beat up.
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 10:36 PM GMT

my home base is mt flurry, but i really dont mind it early in the morning on weekends and as long as you get to the north side first thing you can get 10 good runs by 10, then its time to leave as the trails start to look more like the long island express way. i agree with the sunbrook needed updates, but when itr comes to the north side, put an hsq in where lift 18 is and re reroute this lift calssic yan to come out a the top of lift 9. now i have to be a little selfish and say only run this new hsq midweek and before 10 on weekends thus not attracting the crowds, that would never happen, lol.

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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 10:52 PM GMT

I agree with what was written above...

I love the multiple choices at the top of the main lift. It's refreshing having 8 or so different ways you can go instead of 2 or 3.

Having a slow triple in the North Face area really does keep the crowds down, there's usually a lot of fresh hiding out for days in The Trials (OK, my secret is out).

I think the glade system can be fantastic, but the lower mountain areas - Claim Jumper, The Boonies - gets skiied out very quickly. Darkside of the Moon is OK, however can be very tight in spots and is really, really isolated.

Being very wide-open, Snowdance and Nitro (and to a lesser extent South Bowl) make for excellent let-'er-rip runs. Right next to Snowdance, Overbrook usually holds fresh snow for at least a day or two later than most other Main Face runs, few people seem to get around to skiing it.

Best place to park is Carinthia. If you're coming up from Wilmington, it will save you about 3/4 of a mile and you can park much, much closer to the HSQ.

Overall, Mt. Snow is not exactly a cookie-cutter mountain and can offer a good skiing experience - just be sure to make it on a weekday!
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 11:20 PM GMT

The MT Snow Academy has an annual banquet/fundraiserat which they auction verious items: skis, hotel rooms, Scot Reeves (haystack was highest bidder this year) and the Jewel goes to the highest bidder to be able to name a trail for next year. It goes in paren's () on map so as to not confuse the confused customer.
On that note I wonder who named BIG DIPPER in Sunbrook....worse yet, who was little dipper...lol
WoodCore
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Posted: Mar 13, 2006 - 11:26 PM GMT

Quote:
I had a great time last week skiing with Woodcore (Jon) at Mt. Snow. It was the perfect ski day....


Likewise Jeremy!! It was the prefect ski day.

Here's some of the pictures I snapped last Wednesday. Enjoy

(Click here for the full Gallery)


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rstuthill
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Posted: Mar 14, 2006 - 1:13 AM GMT
Edited: Mar 14, 2006 - 1:19 AM GMT

I grew up in northern VT, and boy did we look down on Mt. Snow when it opened and during the first few decades! Just despised the place and its clientel.

So imagine my surprise when I skied it for the first time four years ago. I now love the place. I guess that other than Ski Sundown, you would have to call it my home mountain. A few points:

Going up in the morning from the South, you don't need to be terribly careful on the Rt. 112/100 Colrain cutoff. Drive pretty much how you like as long as it is quite early. On the way back, obey the speed limits exactly where they are reduced or you will pay dearly. In MA, the non-reduced areas are 45 not 50. Pay attention to that too.

Weekends -- get there by 7:15. Almost a private parking spot as close as the valet parkers at that hour. Be at the Summit Quad by 7:50. Fifty percent chance you can get on immediately. Ski like hell for three hours. When the main face gets crowded, move to Sunbrook or the North Face. The North Face will have flat light until almost noon, but deal with it. Free Fall when it is groomed is my favorite trail there. Two triples is enough for the North Face considering the trail traffic they generate, but Sunbrook could really use a HSQ. Ridge on the Main Face is a great high speed trail when the (upper leg) quads start to burn and you want to pull the throttle back a little. I almost always finish on Ridge.

Knock off for lunch at 11:00. Back at it by 12:00. Use all the tricks in your bag to avoid the lines. Summit local is fine for the first run after lunch if there is sun. If no relief can be found from the crowds, knock off at 1:00 or 1:30. Beat the traffic jams at Wilmington and at the Greenfield circle. You had a hard workout anyway, no sense in overdoing it and falling asleep on the drive back. Make sure that you have some coffee for that drive.

I will definitely renew my AF1 this year. Good value especially when you throw in Kmart and Pico into the local mix.
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Posted: Mar 14, 2006 - 4:24 AM GMT

Quote:
I grew up in northern VT, and boy did we look down on Mt. Snow when it opened and during the first few decades! Just despised the place and its clientel.

So imagine my surprise when I skied it for the first time four years ago. I now love the place. I guess that other than Ski Sundown, you would have to call it my home mountain. A few points:

Going up in the morning from the South, you don't need to be terribly careful on the Rt. 112/100 Colrain cutoff. Drive pretty much how you like as long as it is quite early. On the way back, obey the speed limits exactly where they are reduced or you will pay dearly. In MA, the non-reduced areas are 45 not 50. Pay attention to that too.

Weekends -- get there by 7:15. Almost a private parking spot as close as the valet parkers at that hour. Be at the Summit Quad by 7:50. Fifty percent chance you can get on immediately. Ski like hell for three hours. When the main face gets crowded, move to Sunbrook or the North Face. The North Face will have flat light until almost noon, but deal with it. Free Fall when it is groomed is my favorite trail there. Two triples is enough for the North Face considering the trail traffic they generate, but Sunbrook could really use a HSQ. Ridge on the Main Face is a great high speed trail when the (upper leg) quads start to burn and you want to pull the throttle back a little. I almost always finish on Ridge.

Knock off for lunch at 11:00. Back at it by 12:00. Use all the tricks in your bag to avoid the lines. Summit local is fine for the first run after lunch if there is sun. If no relief can be found from the crowds, knock off at 1:00 or 1:30. Beat the traffic jams at Wilmington and at the Greenfield circle. You had a hard workout anyway, no sense in overdoing it and falling asleep on the drive back. Make sure that you have some coffee for that drive.

I will definitely renew my AF1 this year. Good value especially when you throw in Kmart and Pico into the local mix.


If your leaving MS and know that the Wilmington Traffic is going to screw you, here's 2 "short cuts" to avoid the traffic hell that can happen:

If you're going to to the 100 South/112 to I-91 Exit 26 Route, heading out of the main base area, go straight down handle Rd towards Carinthia and Haystack. Shortly past the entrance to haystack, take a right onto Country Club Road and then Bear left at the fork in a mile or two and you'll end up essentally at the light in Wilmington, coming out just West of the light right by Dot's.

Short Cut 2, if your going to take Rte 9 East towards I-91 in Brattleboro, as your heading down Route 100, just past Riverbend Market, take a Left onto Higley Hill Road (Ames Farm is here). Take Higly Hill Road about 6 miles to the end (the last 2 miles is a dirt road, and this time of the year (mud season) a 4x4 with good ground clearance is basically mandatory. You'll end up on Route 9 about 1/2 miles PAST Hogback! And if you really want a wild short cut, I can tell you how to get from this junction of Higley Hill Rd/Rte 9 all the way down to Rte 112 about 4 miles fom the 1 lane bridge near the Ma/VT border (look for the sign pointing you towards West Halifax on Rte 112 the next time you head up because thats where you come out - MANADTORY 4x4 this time of the year as you have 7 or 8 miles of likely very muddy road this way (I won't even contemplate this way this time of the year if my wife is in the car due to the grief she'll give me
)

Now if Mass DOT could just get that stupid bridge work done just South of Exit 26 on I-91 done(the job was listed as 48% done when I checked the web site Friday), life would be much better! Thank goodness my 2 years old slept through the 20 or so minutes of traffic back-up there yesterday as I was headed home from Killington
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Posted: Mar 14, 2006 - 4:29 AM GMT

You could just avoid dealing with parking/crowd/traffic problems and go to Berkshire East instead!

The I-91 bridge project likely won't be done until after next ski season, that is if the railroad cooperates. Thus far Guilford has been partially responsible for the delays in getting the first phase done.

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Posted: Mar 14, 2006 - 6:09 AM GMT

I have been skiing Mt. Snow for the past 16 years and I can tell you I have seen a lot of changes, it only gets better. The Canyon hsq used to be an old double to the top of Standard. Also the summit express was upgraded and seems not to break down as much. The Ego alley chair is usually only run on weekends or if there is a race there, and that lift works fine, just needs some paint. Also the lifts on the North Face look well used but can be facelifted and I have never been stuck on the lifts there. No need for a hsq there with two lifts running during busy say 4 big weekends. As far as the Sunbrook lift that was a waste of money since it only runs during weekends, I usually just ski that area to get to Beartrap or just hop on the Beartrap lift and ski back down to the Summit Express, just as fast. During the week the place is a gem for people close to the area. And you cannot beat the season pass price for the amount of terrain. Yes improvements at any mountain only make it better but hay whats the hurry I go to enjoy the time spent and try to make the best of what is there. I skiied up there last week on 2 perfect days and it was the best skiing for the year. Also went to Stratton on Wed, and it was great to. But I still go back to Mt. Snow, it just has that different feel then Stratton. I say keep it the same with just small improvements. I do know that they are planning on taking water out of Somerset someday which would make it 100% snowmaking that would be a great improvement. Hope to get up for some great spring skiing soon. See you on the hill!
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Posted: Mar 14, 2006 - 1:58 PM GMT

Quote:
The MT Snow Academy has an annual banquet/fundraiserat which they auction verious items: skis, hotel rooms, Scot Reeves (haystack was highest bidder this year) and the Jewel goes to the highest bidder to be able to name a trail for next year. It goes in paren's () on map so as to not confuse the confused customer.
On that note I wonder who named BIG DIPPER in Sunbrook....worse yet, who was little dipper...lol


Thanks, that explains it. Does that date to the trail maps they published back in the day where one of the North Face trails was just an asterisk, "name to be determined" or something like that?


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