Stratton 3/5/19

After last week’s injury I wanted to ease back in and figured what better way to ease in than to head to my favorite mountain on the face of the earth. Figured if my back hurt too much, I wouldn’t be too sad leaving 😀

Kinda got a late start and finally arrived around 10:30 to a dead Sun Bowl lodge. Much easier parking and getting around on that side than in that abortion they call a village (or as the people at the table next to me called it, "Downtown Stratton").

First couple hours were a bit tough. Lots of stiffness but it was starting to work itself out. Skied mainly groomers with a few dips in and out of the woods mixed in. Groomers were superb, natural stuff was bulletproof underneath the 5" of snow they got 2 days ago. Some parts skied really nice (especially in the many untracked areas), but anything that was skied off was as slick as it gets. Best groomers were Sunriser, Kidderbrook, and Tamarack. Late run down Drifter was slick, but expected with its narrowness (and because 2/3rds of the skiers at the mountain seem to be obsessed with the new Snow Bowl lift).

After lunch I was really starting to feel and ski way more normal and of course that meant searching out any glades I could find. I didn’t know Test Pilot has a 2nd entrance, because that first entrance with the long singletrack is a PITA. Once it opened up it was pretty skied off and slick. Kidderbrook Ravine was less skied and had better snow but kind of weird to ski the double fall line while trying not to ski into the stream. Why Not was the ugliest glade on the mountain…very skied off in that cliff section with roots, rocks, and lots of ice.

Much better on the glades on the Ursa trails. Moon Dance and Diamond in the Rough were both worth a few reruns. Actually found a lot of untracked lines in both, but also the best coverage and least slick spots. Lots of fun. Also did a run down Ursa liftline, tried skiing like a hero until I hit one of the uncovered ice sheets and ate shit under a couple full chairs. Luckily no pain resulted from the fall so that actually made me feel like my back is almost completely better.

Spruce is a narrow and fun blue cruiser…oh wait Stratton thinks its a big scary double black. Shredwood Forest to the right was iffy…not worth any reruns. Standard also a nice cruise top to bottom (and the gondola was a walk on which was nice). Dancing Bear glades had some decent untracked areas but dumped out onto World Cup which I don’t think was even open and was pretty ugly. West Pilot is pretty cool, a lot longer than I expected. It’s flat for the most part, but a couple spots have a decent pitch and I can’t believe Stratton actually lists this as a blue square.

Overall, a very nice day and happy that I felt good late in the day after feeling like a few weeks or even the rest of the season was in jeopardy a week ago. And yes, I s’pose it is possible to have a fun day at Stratton especially when starting away from the masses at Sun Bowl and being the only one on the mountain that wanted to actually go places no groomer has ever been. Keeping an eye on the weather but hoping to get up to Stowe, Smuggs, and Sugarbush this weekend. Then it’s on to Jackson and SLC!

On a lighter note, took the "back way" down to route 30 in Jamaica on the way home. I guess that whole road is paved but you’d never know it. Reminded me of the days of yore cruising around the dirt roads of the NEK. But not sure it saves you any time so I’d say stick to the access road unless you like a little scenic (and this time of year, very bumpy) ride.