MLK Weekend: 3 Days in Stowe, or, how I did not throw my skis off the Kitchen Wall

As some of you know, we make an annual trip up to Stowe VT each winter for a long weekend. We have family there, so our lodging is free- making the despicably overpriced lift tickets slightly less painful.
It’s usually a drive up on Saturday, ski Sun/Mon, drive home Tuesday. This year, we took an even longer trip than usual - drove up on Friday Jan 16, arrived early evening. I typically ski/board 2 days of the trip, so I had the opportunity to pick and choose the best 2 days of the weekend.

Looking at the weather report for Saturday- static temperature of 11* with a wind chill of -34. Yikes! I was going to write off the day, but my brother-in-law convinced me to go, as it was his only day on the mountain that weekend. And we had a short hike planned out for some mild side-country…

Day 1: Saturday 1/17/15: Expecting horrid cold, we bundled and layered up early Saturday am and headed to the mountain. It was cold, but not actually windy at all, except at the very top of the chairlift ride. Sunny, blue skies. We started at the Quad at Mansfield, made a bunch of fun warmup runs. Conditions were quite good, a little scratchy on the trails but plenty of snow in the trees. Tres Amigos glades had really nice coverage.
After a short break at the Octagon, we headed over to the gondola, skied down a bit and started our hike out to the Bench. Being on the snowboard, the traverse over was a little awkward. Had to walk/ hike quite a bit, but the sun was shining, the temp wasn't bad at all, and just being out in the trees were beautiful.

Got out to the Bench and headed into Angel Food woods. The snow was fantastic; my out-of-shape body made getting down way more work than it should have been. Still, tons of fun. Only came across 2 other people the whole time. It was such a nice run down, and towards the end we traversed back so we came out right by the gondola base for an easy walk back onto the mountain proper.
Headed back over to Mansfield for lunch, took a couple more runs, and my legs were done.

Day 2: Sunday 1/18/15: This day was all about cruising on skis with my 10 year old daughter. We spent the whole day at Spruce. Conditions were much warmer, great snow, scratched off & icy at the center of some of the busiest trails. I lost count of how many runs we did, but mid afternoon, after the second run down Sterling, we were cooked.

Day 3: Monday 1/19/15: Unexpectedly, my 7 year old son, who has been on skis a few times but shown no interest or love for it, decided on Sunday that he really wanted to ski. I’ve been asking him/ prompting him numerous times each winter, only to be met with negative response. So I had pretty much given up on asking. I guess he finally realized how much fun his sister was having, or realized that Stowe is just too damn awesome to pass up.

We got him a rental package at AJ’s and I started the day with my son on the beginner trails at Spruce. My daughter was originally rather upset that her brother was going to “ruin the ski day” had a pretty good change of heart when I told her she could head off to the lifts on Spruce by herself. She brought her snowboard and made a ton of runs while my son and I hit the easiest of the beginner trails.

And it was snowing. So much snow! Windy, but it just kept coming down. I ended the morning with my son at lunch time, then headed back out with my daughter (on her skis now) for the afternoon. And it just kept snowing. She took her first legitimate, albeit short black diamond run on West Smugglers, then a few more runs on assorted trails off Spruce. Then we took Sterling over to Whirlaway. Looking down at the massive, super soft moguls... At the entrance, she said- “Dad, you better let me go first- I’m faster.” And she was.

The place was empty, lifts were ski-on all day, and there was just so much new snow. Probably one of the best ski days I’ve ever had, and by far the best multi-day trip I’ve ever done. Simply awesome skiing and riding. Didn’t stop for too many pictures, but did take one of my daughter:
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