Mad River Glen 3/24/2014

Made the pilgrimage to MRG yesterday with my daughter. Lots of snow up there! Overall conditions were packed powder with a very few areas scraped off to hardpack/ice. Bumps are firm but totally edgable and skiable even by an intermediate level hack like myself! In short, conditions are good...get to central/northern VT if you can!

Our day's journey began with a run off the double...we ventured to skiers right and just went where there were bumps and avoided the groom. These trails proved to be among the most challenging of the day...being lower on the mountain the bumps were more poorly formed and "rutty" than bumps on the harder to get to sections of the mountain.

Next, it was on to the iconic single from which we skied Upper Antelope to Lynx....Lynx was quite simply stunning, both in scenery and in conditions. We were by ourselves, the trail was steep and dotted with beautiful trees, and the bumps were well formed, getting firm, but very forgiving.

Then we decided to check out lower Antelope...we skied Antelope top to bottom; what a beautiful trail! Narrow, winding, simply gorgeous. Upper Antelope is well groomed and scenic, Lower Antelope is narrow, bumpy and scenic. The short walk at the end of the trail is not a big deal, but I wouldn't do it twice in a day.

Next came Catamount Bowl to Upper and Lower Glades. Conditions are SO good that even Catamount Bowl is skiing really sweetly. There is a roped off section in the center of the top section of the bowl...I couldn't tell if the rope was marking baby trees or marking a sheet of ice...maybe both? In any case, the trail was wide open, steep and chock full of good sized, well formed, firm yet forgiving bumps. Are you picking up on the theme of the day? Can you feel the leg burn beginning?

At lunch I told my 16 yr old daughter about Paradise...I had never skied it and I told her it was often listed in "top ten" lists of best ski runs in North America, most difficult ski trails in the east, etc. She says "We should try it...what's the worst that could happen?" Her self confidence made me proud! Unfortunately, my self confidence is lower than hers and I spent a few moments wrestling with self doubt wondering if it was prudent to give it a whirl.

Fortunately I was skiing with a buddy who knew an MRG patroller who we soon bumped into. He proceeded to take us on a guided tour of some of the highlights of MRG beginning guessed it PARADISE! The so called "mandatory" air at the entrance to the trail is, thankfully, not actually mandatory. Avoiding the waterfall did involve making a pretty technical turn on a sheet of blue ice right above the waterfall, though and it definitely got my blood flowing when I fell on the turn. I stopped myself , got up and made it down into the trail proper. There it opened up into the most glorious trail I've ever skied. It's steepness approaches Ripcord at Mt. Snow in places, but the bumps were perfect, the snow was soft, and well spaced trees give one a sense of comfort and peace that just isn't there on a wide open but equally steep trail.

After Paradise we were shown a whole bunch of off the map pockets of stuff that wasn't super hardcore, but was just plain FUN!

Our day started right around 10:00, and on our last run at 3:45 when we got to Lower Glade, my legs and knees quite simply gave out from overuse and exhaustion. I had to go one turn at a time and I probably fell a dozen times on that last stretch of trail.

In the past month I've skied 7 times at 7 different ski areas including Magic and MRG, many of those trips with one or both of my teenage kids. I'm feeling pretty grateful and lucky!

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