First Time at Stowe (I broke my ski in half)

Date: March 20-22
Weather: Some sun, some snow, and some cold
Conditions: mostly PP with some machine groomed

If you want to read the trip report, scroll down, but I'm sure the words in parenthesis got your attention, so I'll start with that story first.

The Broke Ski Story (which is probably why you're reading this)

Got to the mountain at 8:10 on Friday for my first tracks at Stowe! So pumped! After a freeze-thaw earlier in the week, I thought things would be pretty bad on the ungroomed, so I played it safe my first two runs. Ridgeview to T-Line and then Lord to Hayride. The snow was exceptional, so I decided to dabble in the trees on that infamous third run...

That third run would be Nosedive. After the top hairpin turns (side note- holy crap this must of been an awesome trail back in the day) I entered the woods to the skiers left. It was nice. Real nice. It was only my third run and my first time in the trees so I was taking it slow. Nice and easy. I think I made it 15 turns before SNAP!

I think I fell. I don't remember. But I do remember looking down at my skis and seeing the snap right in front of the binding. I swore. Loudly. I was pissed. My 2013 Atomic Nomads were destroyed. I was an incredible break. Every layer was destroyed. I've never seen anything like it... let alone have it happen to me. Me thinks their was a tiny crack or something I had missed last time I waxed them... which was that Thursday. I've never done rails or anything. Never had serious damage with these skis. I wasn't going fast or anything. Just hit a trough wrong and snap. I took the damaged ski, hobbled out onto the trail, and began my descent.

Like I said, I was pissed. My first time at Stowe was ruined. I was only a 1/4 of the way down Nosedive, if that. With my poles and broken ski in hand, I went down with one ski on. I got down in 6 minute. I looked like the guy from Better Off Dead in the final race with one ski.

At the base, I went into the Stowe Toys Demo Center. This was where the weekend began to turn around. For $58 I could demo anything all day and switch skis whenever I wanted. Purchases were 50% off since it was the end of the season. I tried out a pair of Rossi's that I wasn't too impressed with. Very stiff and heavy. Next I tried a pair of 2012 Dynastar Paradise Legend skis. Wow, these were good skis. Very responsive on anything. Crud, groomers, trees, even moguls were no match for these babies. After a few hours, I walked into the demo shop and asked "Is there any used ski that could be better than this?" The shop techs told me no.

Now here's the good part... The skis retailed in 2012 for $920. They were down to $340, I believe. Add in 50% off, and the reimbursement of the 58$ that I paid to demo them, and they were $120. $120 for skis that had never left the demo shop and were $920 three years ago. I think I did good. I was told to bring them back Sunday and they'd tune em up before I went home.

A note from the editor: That night I looked up reviews of the new skis... and found out they were woman's skis. Oh well. I should've been told that though. I don't have enough technical knowledge to know the difference between a man's ski and a woman's ski. With the color schemes these days it's impossible to tell the difference, unless you have technical knowledge (which I don't). One reviewer said that the sweet spot on these skis is in the front. I found that sweet spot Sunday on Gondolier. OMFG... wow. My amazing skis just became perfect skis. A small stance change makes all the difference. With a little more bend in the knees I could do anything on these skis. I felt like Superman.


F*** you


My new babies

The actual report:

The snow is much better than I thought it would be, considering I heard they had a freeze-thaw earlier in the week. Coverage is really good. The Front Four is in good shape. Few rocks to be found. In the woods, things are amazing. I love the woods here. So much off the map stuff it's nauseating. My favorite trails were Lookout, Gondolier, and T-line. I love the gondola area. So much vertical. Good, consistent angle for cruising and trees. Loved the brook that's over there. Also loved (since everyone knows about it) the sidecountry trees next to Chin Clip. Bypass woods were great. Wish I had ventured further in there. Didn't want to find myself on top of a 20 foot cliff though.

My complaints:

Spruce Peak was pretty disappointing. I couldn't find good terrain over there. Only spent a couple hours there Friday and then returned there on Saturday because some friends wanted to go. Need more terrain off the gondola, or reduce the capacity of the lift. Perry Merrill and Gondolier looked like scenes from a Chinese Downhill all weekend. Stop the brutal grooming of Liftline. If you're gonna groom it, do it right. It was ice all weekend while other groomers were in perfect shape.


I'm coming back to Stowe. Soon. Freak'n awesome mountain. It shattered my high expectations. So much vertical. So much variety. So steep. So much history. So awesome on so many levels. It feels like a smaller Killington without the traversing and more tree skiing. Similar atmosphere (minus Spruce) and similar variety. I love it.

Let's end this report with the Mighty Mt. Mansfield. She broke my heart (and ski) but quickly rebuilt it.
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