Smuggler’s Notch 04/05/2014


Conditions – icy, MM dust on crust up top (all day) and softer towards the bottom

Trip Report

Smuggs was not our friend!

We were heading to Smuggs excited about skiing there in the spring (shorter lift lines) with the whole mountain still open the day before. This was going to be perfect!

Keep in mind, my wife hated our last outing at Smuggs, slow chairs, doubles only, it was super busy, lodges were crowded! So she was not optimistic! She also did not like how long it takes to get there (should have been 2 hours and 45)! She was also concerned that it rained all night and it was going to be near freezing at the base when we arrive!

I never bothered to read the snow report before leaving so my wife, about half way there, wanted to see what was open and low and hold it was reporting 15 trails (she was not pleased) – however it did say more trails would open up as temps increased. We are still going to be OK!

We followed the GPS and it took us up Route 108 only to find the road closed over to Smuggs. Our target time to Smuggs was 10 am and now that was not going to happen. Even though Smuggs was about 5-8 miles away we had to turn around and drive like 40 miles to get there (Add an hour). (my wife was not pleased). I was trying to keep the calm by saying we will get there when we get there!

At this point everyone needed to use the rest room adding more delay! (wife not any happier)

Finally get there and park on the Morse side. We carry our skis up and someone suggest taking the shuttle up rather than skiing the slow run – snow was sticky according to them. So we did and the driver takes us to the Sterling Yurt. Not where we wanted to be we asked to go to the Madonna Lodge. The bus driver proceeds to talk to every tailgate party up there and pissing my wife off more! The day is not starting off well AT ALL!

One of the ski instructors asked him if he would take him to the general store to pick up more beer for their tailgate. He was kind of funny (a little hammered) however heading down to Madonna Lodge he happens to mention that conditions suck and are dangerous! Wife’s facial expression was priceless and I was thinking – F%^&! At this point the wife is livid! She storms off the bus and the ski instructor then says – if you stay on the groomed trails you will be fine! What! Could he have said that instead of – the trails suck – while my wife was still on the bus? Turns our he was talking about trails he poached!

While getting our gear on my wife was not saying a word and was in a bad mood at this point – I just wanted to get out on the lift! Going up, I explained what the guy on the bus said about groomers being fine and she was willing to give things a try! It turns out there were about three different runs down using a combination of – the Rumrunner trails, Treasure Run, parts of Black Snake, Exibition, Practice Slope, and Birch Run! We skied about 4-5 runs from the Sterling lift which was ski on ski off and then decide to eat at the Black Bear Tarvern. My wife orders a bloody mary and they ran out of bloody mary mix (I ducked). Actually the food was not bad and after a couple of drinks we skied for a couple more hours and our attitudes was "Ski what the mountain gives you!". We ended up having fun but did start getting bored with the same runs over and over. Talk about highlighting the chairs speed! It started to get colder and snow was lightly falling and it ended up never warming up! We poached a trail but it was bumpy glass ice and felt very sketchy. We also tried the woods which kind of seemed ok but now an then you would break through crust which got scary next to trees!

Needless to say "Smuggs was not our friend, again!". We made the most of it and we skied there on the cheap using the Fox 44 card for two, liftopia for one, and The Ride and Ski Card for another. Turns out that was a great deal $15 the lift ticket price which was already lowered to $38 for a child! We actually had a good time the runs there were long and it was about getting family turns in!

My wife really never wants to go back! I want to give it one more try.

Exibition and OK spot!
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Rare busy moment
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Looks nice it is dust on glass hard frozen rain soaked snow
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