Smugglers Notch 3/12/19

Went to bed to a forecast of 2-4" in the mountains and woke up to a report of 8" at Smuggs and still falling. Stoke meter instantly rocketed up. Left Snowdrift at about 8:10 which should’ve been enough time but got stuck behind a plow from downtown Stowe all the way to the Morrisville rotary. Then another plow all the way up 108. By the time I clicked in it was after 9:30.

Contrary to the initial snow report, Madonna I started off on windhold. Therefore took my first run up Madonna II into the Shire. Nice long glade…almost broke my ankle when I hit a big rock that’s in the middle of that open field towards the bottom. But fun other than that.

2nd run I’m not good with names but I want to say it was Highlander Glades (off Madonna II). Pretty tracked out. Made my way onto the cutacross to head to Sterling.

First run up the Sterling lift I looked over and saw Madonna I had started spinning. Meanwhile I went all the way left and found an awesome patch of woods with a lot of tracks but lots of powder too.

Went over and stood by the rope for Madonna I hoping to be on first chair. Liftie came out and said it would probably be an hour and a half because they had to clear a lot of icokg up top. Headed back to Sterling for 2 more runs in the same woods, then took an early lunch. While I was inside I saw patrollers head up Madonna I and knew opening was near.

Headed back outside to a decent group of people standing by the rope. It was a free for all when patrol let everyone in…ended up on 10th chair. For some reason, the first 18 people up all went left down Chilcoot so I gladly accepted the role of setting the first tracks down Drifter. It had been 3 days since Madonna summit was open and there were probably 18" up there. It was pretty windblown but…wow. Cut off into Shakedown Glades and had it all to myself with a sea of white gold to tear up. One of those runs you’ll never forget. 2nd time this year I was the very first person down a trail that was knee deep plus. The Walking Boss run might stand out slightly more for me because it is so wide open and it was November but being first in a terrific glade on a powder day is amazing.

Returned to the bottom to find the entire mountain lined up for Madonna. Probably about a 20 minute wait, headed for Doc Dempsey’s next which was totally beat up already. Must’ve been ugly before the snow. Lot of ice, dirt, and rocks.

Next up, spied some untouched woods from the lift below 3 Mtn Glades so took Drifter to Red Fox and then ate up some more untouched pow where I’d seen it. Lots of people there for Ontario vacation week…typical polite Canadians stayed on the groomers and left the powder in the woods for everyone else 😉

Next up I found the best run of the day. Hopped into the woods left of FIS and found a sweet powder filled line. Then ended up on the little traverse to Free Fall…upper was closed and the traverse is pretty well hidden. Saw a lot of ice when I first popped out, but saw someone side stepping up to the left gully so I followed and found a field of powder all the way down to FIS. Felt like bowl skiing…incredible. Went back for seconds next run.

Hit Shakedown again which was all tracked out by then but still sweet. Then went back to hit Freefall but about halfway across the traverse they had it roped. Very strict about 3:00 closing I guess. Had to bushwhack my way back to FIS but once I got there I looked across and found some wonderful looking woods. Lots of fresh lines in there…awesome end to the day.

Today will go down as one of those top 5 lifetime days. Nice surprise to go to bed hoping for a few inches and instead getting a motherlode. Put together with Sugarbush and Stowe the last 2 days, those had to have been the best 3 consecutive days I’ve ever skied.