Lyndon Outing Club: March 1, 2015

Resort: Lyndon Outing Club, Lyndon, Vermont

Date: March 1, 2015

Conditions: Variable (P/PP); Weather: temps in the 20’s and sunny with increasing clouds.

Report: Coming home to Burke was fun and the Lyndon Outing Club was even better. This was in large part because the conditions were so good. I was a passholder and regular skier at the Outing Club between 1991 and 1999. In fact, I have held more season passes at the Outing Club than any other place (six years at Sugarbush; four years at Burke; four years at Snowbird). During my teenage years, Burke was too expensive for a lot of families so that made a nice niche for the Outing Club. Pretty much every kid in Lyndon who skied did so at the Outing Club at least once a year or so (lots of night visits).

I was really lucky. The cheap pass prices and good snow years meant I could spend as much as five days a week at the Outing Club. On a typical day, I would do a couple hours downhill before doing some snowshoeing or nordic skiing. Night skiing featured a lot of my peers from school including the Burke regulars.

Unfortunately, cheaper passes at Burke, and fewer kids and volunteers, have taken their toll on the Outing Club. The past few years they have struggled to continue to operate. As the guys at Eustis and I commented, the Outing Club has much history and unreal resources. The Outing Club volunteers in the 1980’s and 1990’s cut some nice trails, built a nice lodge that is rented out for private events in the summer (and was the site of my Scout meetings), and did a lot of TLC on the donated T-Bar and their homemade rope tow. They have very good night skiing thanks to great lighting. All on a respectable 450 vertical feet within sight of most of Lyndon. The Eustis guys would KILL for what the Outing Club has.

I was hoping to ski at the Outing Club most of my visit because, historically, they were open daily during local school vacation. But a lack of volunteers and skiers has ended this tradition. They do not even sell season passes anymore. This is a far cry from the ski area that was the host of my high school’s ski team for decades and saw many state, regional, and national ski competitions. The hill had at least two ski jumps. This was a time when the same ski racers did all three disciplines in a meet: alpine, nordic, and jumping. The Outing Club SHINED with all three events.

The upside was that the ski conditions were superb. I have never seen the Outing Club have such good cover with no rocks, grass, or dirt. Low traffic was a big contributor to the incredible conditions.

Two volunteers welcomed us and when they heard out last name instantly recognized us as locals who had come home to visit. We regretted not being in the Kingdom anymore to help them out because we would in a heartbeat. Unlike previous cadres of volunteers, most of the current crew do not even ski and that makes things challenging because they don’t understand what skiers want or like. So grooming was much more limited than in years past.

After getting our tickets (a six-punch card came in at $50 and we split the cost amongst four of us), we booted up in the nearly empty lodge and spent the next 3 hours hitting all of the trails and reminiscing about our younger years.

Suicide had seen one pass of the groomer but was much narrower than I remember. Face featured a great view as always and, as I had learned in the hundreds of times skiing it, had varying conditions depending on what aspect you skied. Apple Orchard had one groomer pass and lots of untracked powder. Lions Den was largely untracked but had a crust from the sun. Bunny Hop, as always, skied well and was a nice mix of groomed snow and soft snow. Wheeler Way, like Lion’s Den, was tricky because of the crust and deep unpacked snow. It is a nice trail that was a joy to ski when groomed.

It took me about an hour to get keyed into the conditions and how to ski it. After a short break, the 102 mm wide Monsters from Utah were ready to rip. I quickly jumped onto Zitz Mark to find amazing cover and great turning for the fat GS skis right down the fall line. Mixer, which in years past was a double-fall lined mess or rocks, moss, dirt, and undergrowth, was SUPERB with nice chalky snow and few tracks. I hit it multiple times.

My brother-in-law did excellent on this his third day on skis. He commented that he liked groomed conditions better, but this was a great way to introduce him to skiing natural and variable conditions and terrain.

We did too many T-Bar runs to count. It was nice to see that it was still running and moving the 15 or so customers with ease.

And that 450 vertical feet or so did eventually wear me out. I went right up until closing…with multiple jumps through the "L" and "O" of the "LOC" sign on the hill of course 😉

With these conditions, you OWE it to yourself to ski this place this season. It does not get much more authentic than this.