Spent Monday on the slopes at Smuggler’s Notch in upper Vermont. This was my first time on this mountain, though likely not my last. The view from the top of Madonna Mountain is worth the drive. The skiing is too.
Yes, the lifts are fixed-grip doubles that take their time getting to the top. But since there were no lines at the lifts it wasn’t a nuisance or a bother. And it was a sunny, windless day in the low to mid-30s so it really was a pleasant ride back to the top.
A lot of the trails on Madonna were closed, with a lesser amount roped off on Sterling. There were big heaping piles of glacier ice on many closed trails, so there was good reason. The trails that were open were nicely groomed, and were firm, fast, and fun to start the day.
Despite the sun and relative warmth, the snow never softened. Instead, many areas got scraped clean, especially steeper terrain. By early afternoon popular trails were tough to set an edge into, and I settled for the less steep terrain where I felt I had more control, and where it was less exhausting to wrestle control out of the hard pack.
My only regret is coming 2 weeks too late. Smuggler’s would be awesome sporting powder and packed powder across all peaks. The mix of narrow, winding trails and broader open faces makes for a very pleasant, very New England setting.
The bottom line is that skiing and riding remains pretty good. Smuggler’s seemed to have less surface cover to play with than say Okemo a week ago, but I don’t know if that’s due to differences in snow-making or the weather from north-to-south. The slopes are steeper at Smuggler’s Notch than at many of the more southerly mountains, and that likely is a factor as well.
There is snow. And there is good skiing and riding. Take advantage while you can. If you can’t steal away mid-week like I did, check out the Avie’s trip to Mount Snow this coming Sunday, the 12th of March. There’s only one more trip north after Mount Snow, so get your fill of snow now while you can.